Economic cycles will always come and go. They are nearly impossible to predict and their impact is astounding, devastating and even miraculous depending upon our point of view. Here's a few reasons our current tough market with its associated economic woes can be beneficial to a true professional in real estate:
1 The insanity that takes place during a boom creates a market for pretenders. Anyone with half a brain can get a license and make it big, as they suppose, until the market conditions change, of course. Even the most discriminating client can end up with a completely inexperienced agent representing their interests and the problems only start from there and get worse. The turn from the boom to the bust provides our industry a much needed enema, washing out the pretenders, fakes and impostors leaving true professionals to depend upon their professional skills to survive, and more importantly, provide excellent counsel for clientèle needing real guidance to keep from making life changing financial mistakes!
2 Inventory is far more stable in tough markets and properties you show on Tuesday will most likely be there on Thursday leaving valuable time for clientèle to make informed decisions where they can consult their banker, mortgage broker, parents, kids or even the Lord to make such important decisions as real estate purchases should be.
3 Prices can be better as soft markets pretty much crowd out the opportunistic sellers and leave us with those honestly seeking the sale of their properties, realistically pricing and understanding "days on market" times will be longer relieving the professional agent from the daily call asking "so, what's happening on my home?"
4 Financing is far more predictable. Rates don't change every hour on the hour like the boom markets do leaving us a great deal of explaining to a client who doesn't end up with the rate they understood they would be getting. While it's harder to score a loan these days, the predictability is so much greater if our mortgage broker is a true professional as well.
5 Professional tradesmen are anxious to work and far more dependable in tough markets. Like everyone else, they really want more work so they are pricing their work better, performing their trades in such a manner that they will get referral work and more call backs. Nothing is worse than a tradesman who really has no time to do a job. Response time is slower than molasses in January, quality of work is often at the bare minimum and prices sky rocket out of control. Few, if any of these conditions exist in economic tough times.
6 Materials and supplies are priced to sell! What used to cost an arm and a leg to purchase for a much needed project is now on sale and more than available in quantities and varieties. Entire industries cut back prices to compete in these times making us and our clients the real winners again.
7 Lastly, humility among our constituents is more evident. Is there really anything worse than the proverbial "self proclaimed god or goddess of real estate?" In my 34+ years I have watched as agents parade their awards and titles like a badge of honor only they could possibly ever have. Their walls are plastered with plaques, certificates and acknowledgments that scream "I really don't need you" to their clientèle. Our industry has no shortage of pride, arrogance, egotism and condescension to the little people. If only to a small extent, these tougher than average times can bring some of the self absorbed back to earth for a much needed dose of humility. I have seen a lot of recessions, bad markets, S&L collapses, RTC takeovers, complete market corrections and this economic mess we face these days will prove that best agents will survive because they are the ones who never quit but are humble enough to adapt and survive. We'll live and learn.