Federal Reserve officials recently voted to raise interest rates, the first rate hike in more than three years. Many experts see the country’s runaway inflation as the motivator. What will this mean for the housing market? And how well equipped are your agents to navigate the year ahead?
Most US markets have been dealing with low inventory, buyers willing to go above appraised value, and a desirable interest rate. When interest rates begin to rise, will we see a cooling off of this hot market? Or will there be a surge of buyers trying to get into a home now before the rates increase so much that they can no longer afford the home of their dreams? According to Mike Simonsen (Housing Wire), “We may see some small shifts in the market and a short window of opportunity for eager buyers.” Agents could begin to see their time in higher demand, more extended workdays, and very aggressive offers. You want your agents to succeed, but burnout could be a genuine concern in 2022.
What can you put into place now to help your top producing agents avoid burnout?
Consider the tasks agents perform regularly. We know that the highest and best use of their time is spent on listing appointments, showings, and contract negotiation. That leaves quite a few routine tasks such as entering the listing into the MLS, creating property flyers, attending the inspection, and attending the closing. Solutions to consider could be contracting with a Virtual Assistant, re-evaluating your existing staffs’ time and responsibilities, promoting teams, or identifying potential in-house assistants.
I like the idea of in-house assistants. Not every agent will need a full-time assistant, yet an assistant may need to earn full-time pay. Consider that several agents could share one assistant and thereby share the expense. Where will you find a good assistant? Look at the current staff and agents in your office. Perhaps a staff member is looking for more responsibility or is thinking of getting their real estate license. Helping out a productive agent can be an excellent education in itself. An agent whose financial needs have changed from commission to a dependable paycheck could make an ideal assistant. They already know the business but may prefer the more regular hours and a salary.
A virtual assistant (VA) can be a good move, too. Companies using this solution found it helpful to identify a list of tasks that the VA will perform.
Embrace teams is another possibility. Teams often come with an assistant or admin. A word to the wise, make sure you first establish a policy for associating teams. The National Association of REALTORS® published a very informative article on the Legal Issues and challenges. Click here to read.
Another area to monitor is how comfortable agents are when multiple offers are submitted on one of their listings. Agents may need additional training and support to become confident handling 10-20 offers that need to be reviewed promptly and presented to a seller in such a way that they can make an informed decision on which offer to negotiate. As we know, it’s no longer just the price and financing that will sway a seller to work with one offer over another. Terms have become a whole new ball game with escalation clauses, appraisal gaps, waiver of inspection/results, and free occupancy. Consider putting together a simple spreadsheet that summarizes the offers, so the seller doesn’t feel overwhelmed. Provide the agents with as much help as possible to make the seller’s experience outstanding and stress-free.
The last recommendation is to help agents create the right work-life balance for themselves and their families. As the weather improves going into summer, consider a company-sponsored family night out at a sporting event. The minor league teams are a great deal to make this affordable, plus the games are more fun, IMO. Maybe it’s a Tuesday night BBQ at a local park. When you provide value to the agents, you’ll increase retention.
Here’s to a fabulous 2022. Make it your best year yet!