I read in a blog post yesterday pertaining to the National Association of Realtors May 23rd press release, “Existing-Home Sales Ease Due to Mortgage Restrictions; Some Markets Rising” that, because our livelihoods depend on the state of the real estate market, we Realtors (or the National Association at least) may be prone to putting a positive spin on negative data. The National Association of Realtors represents a broad body and wields its weight on Capitol Hill. Who up there isn’t putting a polish on the favorable message for any number of economic sectors? Denial is a powerful friend when protecting ones interests. It’s politics to which few are immune. Frankly, at ground level, I believe most agents offer clients and the general public a coherent, informed, fair-minded and unemotional appraisal of market data and condition, as is our duty.
Over the last twelve months, I have witnessed many of the deals I structure evolve from the knock-down, drag-out and win at all costs type into ones which are more “let’s wait and see how the seller responds to our low offer.” And, much to my surprise, given trends through the decade, these new ones stick, often without seller push-back. This isn’t to say, however, that the days of multiple offers and quick sales are behind us, at least not in the robust northwest market. Still, the heady “put the sign in the front yard and watch the line form” era is. We are not called upon to put a rosy spin on market conditions. Quite the contrary! In order to position new listings for timely sale, or put buyers in homes which will appraise at value, we must actually do the work many who haven’t should have been doing all along.
I recall attending a class not long ago in which the instructor related a story about a real estate agent who was unfamiliar with the term “comparative market analysis.” She had gotten her license at the market’s height and never done anything more than put up the real estate sign and enter the listing into her multiple listing service before multiple buyers would come screaming to the curb. Such was the market that her listings were selling with little to no effort on her part.
Being unrealistic about the marketplace does nothing but disservice to clients, buyers or sellers. Sellers are harmed because needy agents validate their inflated expectations. Buyers may be steered towards making unwise investments.
When I work with either buyers or sellers, my analysis is exhaustive, coherent and without sugar coating. It does not behoove me or my business to spend time bending market data to meet the whims of client expectations. That’s not how I get paid. Rather, I provide them the tools necessary to make informed, intelligent decisions which will get them to where they want to go as quickly and financially appropriately as possible. People continue to buy and sell homes and I am seeing signs of an upward market turn across the country. Undoubtedly, the slide will continue in some regions, but there is traction. Without it, none of my peers would be as busy as they appear to be. For those who never developed the skills necessary to provide clients with a broad spectrum of service and support that our industry mandates, they shouldn’t be in the business in the first place. For the rest, this is what real estate looks like in the real world where the work is labor intensive and wage hard earned.