darren-nolander-feastThere’s a couple facts we can probably agree on as we head into the second half of 2021.

FACT: The pandemic changed the way many people operated – and where they operated from.

FACT: It also had a dramatic effect on the housing market as interest rates dropped and people rushed to refinance or purchase homes wherever they liked, now that they weren’t tethered to the office.

FACT: Though some changes from the pandemic will likely remain – more telecommuting, and enhanced sanitation habits – the world is settling into a new post-COVID normal.

FACT: The end of the year is now closer than it is farther away

This is all to say December 2021 will be an interesting one. The flurry of housing and refi activity that characterized 2020 is slowing. Even though prices are still at record highs, buyers are being more cautious now that rates are creeping up and affordability and inventory remain at all-time lows. Less inventory means fewer deals, no matter how you slice it.

These are the types of facts you should take into consideration as we inch toward the notoriously slow fourth quarter. This will be especially important if you built this year’s goals based off 2020 figures. That’s not to say you can’t still achieve them, but that these deals may not fall in your lap the way they did a year ago.

Avoid the vicious cycle of feast or famine. First, that’s essentially handing your fate over to the market, which is never a good thing. Second, while events like the pandemic may not be predictable, there is plenty of information out there that can help you plot your course, pivot and capitalize. This applies to any real estate cycle, in any market, under any conditions.

Using the excuse that the market just wasn’t as robust this year doesn’t get you off the hook for missing your goals. So keep the hustle going – just make it a smart, intentional hustle to ensure your business isn’t simply a by-product of forces you can’t control.

 – Diversify your offerings. You may be the queen of reverse mortgages, the go-to lender for veterans or the wizard of refis, but that doesn’t mean you can’t hype your other products or services. It’s great to build a business based off a specialty, but become too specialized and you’ll soon find out that when your product falls out of favor, so do you. Prevent that from happening by diversifying now.

 – Form strategic partnerships. We tend to forget about our partners in times of feast. Then the famine hits and it’s all “hey, my man! How are you? Say, do you have any business for me?” Kind of gross. And really easy to see right through. Make your loyalties known by maintaining strong ties with your referral partners in good times and bad. Plus, you never know when you might be on an upswing, but your partner is on a downswing. You would know that, however, if you kept in regular contact.

 – Automate what you can. There are only so many hours in a day and so much of you to go around. Take some tasks off your plate by letting automation do the work. This may take an initial time investment, yes, but the savings pay off in dividends. Items like email correspondence, online chats, payroll, drip marketing campaigns and client reminders can take advantage of technology. Focus on the message so it includes your human touch, expertise and authenticity.

 – Show appreciation. Much like your referral partners, you don’t want to forget about your team members. This builds loyalty and makes people feel seen and heard – two things that are very important when times are tough, and many may wonder if they should ride out the famine elsewhere. A team that sticks together through thick and thin is much more likely to emerge intact. Acknowledging others is especially important right now, as many team members remain remote. Reach out and give them the human touch.

It’s easy to love your business, goals and associates during the feast, but it’s often during the famine that we see what really matters. Don’t let any event or cycle take your business from you. Instead, come prepared and ready to play by keeping these tips in mind.

Regional Vice President - Southwest

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