Real estate agents should be “chief economists” for their clients

Armed with knowledge of market trends, agents can gain the trust of sellers and have more leeway to strategize, top brokers told Inman Connect Now.

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A real estate agent who demonstrates a solid understanding of what’s going on in the market is more likely to earn a seller’s trust and establish a firm strategy for listing, according to Inman Connect Now’s top brokers.

Familiarity with the broader housing market is one of the key factors many clients need to see before they can hand over control of the listing process to an agent, said Chicago brokerage co-founder Tommy Choi, during the virtual panel for Thursday’s event.

“I always tell our team that we have to be the chief economists for each of our clients,” said Weinberg co-founder Choi Residential at Keller Williams.

This means not only understanding what is happening in the market in general, but also knowing what other homes are up to like the one the client is trying to sell.

“When you lead with these data points and really explain to them in layman’s terms what that means, they’re going to think of you as that chief economist,” Choi said. “And you’re going to be set up to succeed to really lead the strategy and not get pushed back too much.”

Agents can turn to their local, state, and national organizations for this information, as well as their local MLS. Checking in with these groups and their loan officers regularly can help officers stay on top of new data in a rapidly changing market, said broker Sabrina Brown, broker at Brown and Brown Real Estate in California.

“Knowledge is key,” Brown said. “I think in this market right now, agents who know their stats are going to survive. Agents who don’t, they won’t be here. They will flow.

The discussion between Brown and Choi was moderated by Amy Somerville, vice president of professional development and industry engagement at Buffini & Co.

Rapidly changing market conditions — where higher mortgage rates have already reduced demand and begun to slow home price growth — have many sellers wondering if they’ve missed the boat, Somerville said. .

Despite the continued slowdown in real estate buying activity, Brown said the current market is a far cry from what preceded the housing crash of 2007.

Back then, homeowners primarily refinanced to gain access to equity in their property, which some used to buy expensive cars, boats and other assets that lost value over time, he said. she stated. Over the past two years, the reasons for mortgage refinancing have been very different.

“In this market, people don’t get adjustable rates, they get fixed rates,” Brown said. “They refinance and get the lower interest rate and keep that money – putting it in a savings [account] Or invest it in something else.

Part of the reason buyers and sellers struggled during this time was because they didn’t get enough honest and upfront advice from their real estate agents, Choi said.

“The problem we saw in this last recession was that people were afraid to say to salespeople at their dining room tables, ‘Hey, I’m sorry, but you’re underwater on your property,'” did he declare.

And while owners have far more equity today than they did during the last major downturn, agents and their clients can benefit from having tough conversations focused on realistic solutions in this market, Choi said.

“Right now, I’m starting to have flashbacks to those conversations – [just] not to those extremes,” he said.

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