For some real estate professionals, this year has been tougher than most, particularly those in the major cities who’ve been met with an unexpected correction. After a buoyant few years operating in a sellers’ market, with relaxed lending and healthy investor activity, the tables have turned in favour of buyers.
In some markets Agents now have to work harder – to win listings, and then achieve a satisfactory result for their clients.
For more experienced agents, this is a familiar part of the real estate cycle. Whatever the newspapers may be saying, it’s worth reminding ourselves that this is simply a ‘normal market’.
The good news is that people will always need to buy and sell property, and in a slower market there are still deals to be made – the trick is ensuring you are the one that sellers turn to.
As agents, we also need to prioritise our own wellbeing for the sake of our clients. Remaining calm, focussed and professional is essential, and the quiet selling period over Christmas is a great time to rest and come back to work feeling recharged.
Focus on your mental wellbeing
In a downward market, a positive attitude is essential. While we can’t change the wider financial picture, we can safeguard our own well being with a few simple daily practices.
Time out is essential. Get enough sleep and resist the urge to fire off one more email. In the long term, prioritising sleep will increase motivation and energy, so your waking hours will be more productive, anyway.
Practising mindfulness is now recognised as one of the best ways to increase productivity and reduce stress. Apps such as Smiling Mind make it easy to check in for a five-minute mindfulness session.
A positive attitude is essential when supporting your clients through what can be a stressful process at any time, even when the sale isn’t a result of financial pressure or divorce.
One way to remain positive is to practice gratitude – simply taking five minutes to reflect on what you have in your life that you feel thankful for. Better still, write your thoughts down. Journaling enables you to tap into your deeper goals and feelings, boosts your focus, and reduces stress.
Look after your physical wellbeing
Make it a habit to get your heart rate up every day, even if it’s just a twenty-minute walk after work or a lunchtime swim. There’s no better way to clear your head and improve your mood.
This is a great time of year to relax and celebrate with friends and family. But be aware of the temptation to go overboard. Rather than skipping the fun altogether, aim to balance the feasting and late nights with quiet days of rest, healthy food, and no alcohol. This will ensure you enjoy the silly season without needing any serious damage control come January.
Build a clear strategic focus
Real estate is constantly changing, and along with new entrants we are seeing new networks and technology, offering agents more choice in how and where they conduct their business.
Once the foundations of good mental and physical wellbeing are in place, take your work and your mindset to the next level by clarifying your strategic focus.
Some areas to look at here include:
Is there a course you want to go on that might help you in your work? This might be industry focussed, or something more holistic, such as a meditation course or some life coaching. Expanding your skills is a good way to ensure you remain at the top of your game and stay focused on results.
“Fail to plan and you plan to fail” as the saying goes. Take an hour or so to set some measurable goals and milestones that you can track your progress against.
You might also want to think about how you can minimise your operating costs, but don’t scrimp on your marketing activities. Smart people and businesses continue to market themselves in a downturn because they gain more visibility and cut through when their competitors cut back.
The time that agents give to their clients – talking to buyers, following up on queries and negotiating sales is their most valuable asset.
Consider the times of day you are feeling most energetic and aim to use them well, and also take a critical look at your ‘time bandits’ – such as the internet or chatting to colleagues. Are there any changes you can make here for the year ahead to gain back more hours in your day?
Stretch your thinking
Use your downtime as an opportunity to challenge yourself in a reasonable way. Go against the prevailing mood of doom and gloom and assert yourself to feel optimistic about how you can improve your real estate business and increase your market share at this time.
So there you have it. By viewing the quiet period over Christmas as an opportunity to recharge yourself in preparation for whatever the new year may hold, you can expect to reap future benefits.