It’s 2005. The Arizona School of Real Estate & Business has a waiting list. The real estate markets in much of the United States are going crazy. Phoenix is one of the top 2 hottest housing markets. Everywhere you look, everywhere you go, everyone it seems is talking about real estate.
The loan officers postcard, flyer or door hanger “Why rent when you can buy?“. The co-worker bragging about the cash out refi to buy an investment property. The neighborhood for-sale signs that pop up and disappear in days. The mom and pop investors. The lotteries at new home communities.
I remember it, hell I lived it.
In 2005 I was a sales executive for one of the largest title insurance companies in the valley. I remember how crazy it was. I remember brand new real estate agents bringing me contracts 2-3 times a week, an unbelievable feat given the average agent sold less than 8 homes a year at that time.
I remember the wrapped Hummers some real estate agents had. The Cadillac Escalades (w/the Spinners), the CheeseCake Factory ads. The California and institutional investors and hedge funds that flooded the market with cash, buying homes sight unseen. The native Phoenicians on the news frustrated they couldn’t afford to buy a home in the neighborhoods they grew up in.
Everywhere you looked, everyone was talking about real estate – good and bad.
I heard a team leader at Keller Williams sum it up perfectly back then- “a blind poodle could sell real estate right now”. And he was 100% right.
In 2005, there were too many buyers and sellers and believe it or not, not enough real estate agents. It was the wild west, loan officers were largely unregulated and unlicensed. A real estate agent could sell you a home with a loan they helped generate. Real estate agents accustomed to chasing leads were being chased themselves. Flagged down as they drove through neighborhoods with brokerage magnets on their cars. Writing contracts in 120 degree heat on the hoods of their cars was the norm.
Crazy was an understatement. “Drive until you quality” (for a home) was the old adage back then, which helped build the towns and cities of Maricopa, Queen Creek, San Tan Valley, Casa Grande and Buckeye.
I also remember 2008 when it all came crashing down. Many lost everything. “Jingle Mail” was a thing, a reference to homeowners mailing their keys to the bank and walking away. Short Sales and Foreclosures everywhere.
Homes being sold on the open market in days in 05 were now being sold at auction in minutes in 08. In May 2008 there were 45,243 active real estate licensees that made up the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service. According to The Cromford Report, real estate licenses in Maricopa County have risen to 88,616 in 2020. Up from 87,983 In fiscal year 2019.
In 2005, you only needed to fog a mirror to buy a home, the same test to become a real estate agent – a successful one at that. But when the market changed, the ones without systems, tools, without plans couldn’t and didn’t survive. The top agents survived, the others went back to their jobs at intel, Honeywell and believe it or not – CVS.
You may be asking, why am I writing about a time many of us want to forget in 2008? Because history repeats itself, we’re living it all again right now in 2020. Yes, its a different market, one being fed by low interest rates, COVID and the mass exodus from California. A healthier market no doubt. A sustainable market. But the lack of investment in systems and tools by many newer real estate agents is back and with a vengeance.
Many don’t have a database, a CRM, and many more don’t have a value proposition (or understand why they would even need one) other than to lower their commission rates. I’ll tell you now, if you’re reading this in a real estate office and you look to your left and to your right, one, maybe two of you won’t be here in the event of significant market downturn, scratch that – when a market downturn happens (and it always does).
Learn from the past. Know that change does and will happen. Markets change, sometimes over night. It is possible for you to go from 10 buyers or sellers in your pipeline – to ZERO. Knowing this… what will you do today to guarantee you will be here tomorrow?
Meet with one of the valleys best title sales executives and/or loan officers – one well versed in today’s tech (Insta, FB, LinkedIn & YouTube). One that can help you create a CRM, communicate with it effectively and efficiently, help with online ads, messaging and more. Invest in coaching, Tom Ferry, Mike Ferry, Buffini & Company, Craig Proctor, Metrix etc
Get a website, fill it with content that educates and informs to help your future customers find you online. Fill it with video testimonials that speak to how you are better and different than your competition. Create content on a regular basis (preferably video as it’s what that consumer prefers) about the communities and subdivisions you market to. Answer questions in your blog and on YouTube a consumer would type into a search engine to help them find you. Send it to your database as additional touches through your CRM.
The content you create today is the digital bread crumbs to help the consumer find you tomorrow. As midivil farmers used to say “Make hay while the sun shines……”