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3 Steps to Recession-Proof your Real Estate Business

Previously Published on Inman

It’s possible to emerge from a down market stronger than you went into it, so long as you do the groundwork.

Nicole Solari, Level Up Realty - Fairfield, CA
Nicole Solari, Level Up Realty – Fairfield, CA

The market is shifting.

NAR is forecasting that home sales will fall by 9 percent this year. Fannie Mae predicts a “modest recession” on the horizon in 2023. The inflation rate is at a 40-year high.

While economists stress we’re not heading for another 2008, we seem to be done with the era where every house on the market received non-contingent offers in the double digits.

The good news for dedicated agents is that a softer market can be a great time to gain market share. Greener, part-time agents tend to drop out of the industry when things get hard.

It’s possible to emerge from a down market stronger than you went in — but only if you’ve taken the time to plan accordingly. Here are three steps you need to take now so that you can approach the shifting market from a position of strength.

1. Retool your business plan to focus on pipeline

First thing’s first: You need a business plan. Too many agents throw different strategies at the wall, hoping something will stick. But that’s an inefficient way to run a business.

Donnie Pingaro

The single most effective way of reaching your goals is to a) define them in writing, and b) create a detailed plan of the steps you will take to achieve them.

Second, building a pipeline should be a primary focus of your business plan for the rest of this year.

In a hot market, many agents may not have focused on marketing or networking. In a slower market, those agents may struggle unless they double down on lead generation, marketing, and leveraging their network.

The market has been so hot for so long, it may have been a while since you made a real investment in strengthening your database. Now’s the time to change that.

“Take a hard look at where your leads are coming from right now,” said Donnie Pingaro, Side’s managing broker of Florida and AREAA national president-elect for 2024. “Identify the most effective channels and commit to those. Stop spending on tactics you can’t prove are helping drive revenue.”

2. Automate and outsource low-value tasks

Once you have a solid business plan geared for the realities of this market (i.e., building your pipeline), identify the most important activities you’ll need to complete to achieve your goals.

Then, identify which of those activities you can automate or hand off to someone else.

“You need to be focusing on the $300/hour work, not the $20/hour work,” said Donnie. “And the $300/hour work, the most valuable thing you could be doing with your time, is connecting with your clients — not posting to social or sending out postcards.”

So many agents are out of practice at deceptively simple tasks that become essential to success in a slower market, like keeping your seller informed on the status of their listing. That’s why it’s critical you take the time now to streamline your back office (aka, all the administrative work) so you can gear up for spending more time in your front office (engaging with clients).

3. Find a support network

To thrive through a down market, you have to be creative, resourceful, and open to new ideas. And ideally, you’ll have a community of like-minded agents in your corner to support you.

Nicole Solari

“It’s so important to be in an environment where everyone knows they’re in this game together and is ready to help each other,” said Nicole Solari, founder of Level Up Realty. “I can’t tell you how many people in the Side partner community have come up to me to say: ‘Hey, you’re doing a great job. How can I help you with your business?’ And particularly when the market is slow, that collaboration makes such a difference.”

This process will look different depending on where you are in your career. It could mean joining a highly productive team and being mentored by an expert who has prospered through market shifts before. Or it could mean doubling down on continuing education, seeking out mastermind groups, and committing to making more connections at industry events.

If you don’t have a group of agents you can turn to for advice and with whom you can commiserate when the going gets tough, let this be your call to find one.

About Side

Side is the industry’s only real estate brokerage platform, empowering the very best agents, teams and indie brokers to create and grow their own companies — without the time, cost or risk of operating a brokerage. Unlike consumer-facing brokerage brands, Side works behind the scenes to provide our partners with time-saving technology and premier support services. This way, they’re free to focus on what matters most: serving their clients and communities. The company is headquartered in San Francisco.

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