Do foreclosures, short sales, dropping home prices, and economic hard times have you down about the business? Real estate coach and trainer Brian Buffini with San Diego-based Buffini & Company has a message for you: “Keep on keepin’ on.” There are a lot of opportunities in the real estate market for building your business in 2012, he told attendees at a session during the REALTORS® Conference & Expo in Anaheim.
Here are some of the opportunities Buffini shared with the audience about why they should be optimistic about their business:
Home Affordability Is High
With affordability soaring, falling home values, and low interest rates, now is a great opportunity to buy a home. After all, “we’re having a sale!” Buffini told the crowd. “It’s our once-in-every-two-decades sale. We haven’t had a sale like this since Eisenhower.” Plus, interest rates are at or near record lows: Freddie Mac recently reported 30-year fixed-rates averaging 3.99 percent. In 1972, 30-year fixed rates averaged 8.92 percent, and in the 1980s they even topped 18 percent. As rates fall, home buyers purchasing power increases.
You’re Facing Less Competition
During the housing boom, people were flooding to the real estate business, and the number of agents soared. In fact, NAR membership topped 1.36 million in 2006. But in sluggish markets, some agents have dropped off. This year, membership stands around 1 million. But less competition for customers can mean greater opportunities to grow your business.
Limited Housing Supply, Growing Demand
Could there be a looming housing shortage? Demand is expected to grow from the Echo Boomer generation (the 18-32 age group, which is about 80 million strong), people living longer, and population growth projections, Buffini noted. Meanwhile, new-home construction has slowed drastically since 2008 (averaging less than half its pace during the housing booming days). “Sixteen million new housing units will be needed over the next decade to keep pace with population growth, immigration, and the need to replace existing homes and demand for second homes,” Buffini said. “We’re in the midst of a housing shortage, we just don’t realize it.”
He added that it’s important for real estate professionals to get back to the fundamentals in their business, which includes paying attention to sales and marketing, customer service, and financial management. Real estate pros can’t rely on skills from decades ago to meet customer demands of the 2011 market. Brush up on your skills, education, negotiation skills, and in understanding the growing segments of buyers, which includes single females and the Echo Boomers.
“I’ve never seen a better opportunity than now” in the market, Buffini said. He acknowledged a few more bumps may be awaiting, but “get back to the fundamentals and improve your attitude and skills, and you can be a peak producer.”