Credit: National Association of REALTORS®
This year's virtual REALTORS® Conference & Expo, originally planned to be held in New Orleans, La., began with an address by Buffini & Company's Founder and Chairman, Brian Buffini. In these uncertain times, it's important to follow the lead of industry veterans who have overcome aggressive shifts in the market and made it through recessions with their business intact.
During his morning kickoff, Buffini spoke directly to agents and brokers across the country who are navigating the COVID crisis while looking to the future of their businesses. He broke down his address, appropriately entitled "Strategies and Tips for Success in 2021," into three main points: market pivot, industry pivot and preparing for 2021.
First, Buffini discussed one of the great advantages real estate professionals currently have. Interest rates are, in general, difficult to predict, and trying to assume what interest rates will be even a few months in advance has, traditionally, been a fool's errand. This is not the case currently. The Federal Reserve, in an unprecedented move to stave off a deeper recession, has set interest rates that'll remain the same for the next two years.
"With locked in low interest rates and lower unemployment," Buffini said. "It's time to make hay while the sun shines."
Unemployment numbers have steadily decreased in recent months and, if that trend continues, the move to online work may pick up pace as well. In the wake of the pandemic, an enormous share of the U.S. workforce has moved online and, with that, the need to be within driving distance to one's workplace has disappeared.
Next year, it's likely that suburban areas outside of major cities will see a boom in their real estate market.
"Everyone is moving online and, in turn, moving 1-2 hours from their workplace," said Buffini.
Secondly, an industry pivot that brokers need to make in preparation for this coming shift is to create a network of agents. By doing this, it'll be easier to capture buyers that are coming into your area from 1-2 hours away.
"Agents are becoming more isolated and less skilled, but communication skills are critical in the real estate industry," said Buffini.
And lastly, he said what's currently on every real estate professional's mind: It's time to prepare for 2021. Much has been said about the many permanent changes that'll come about due to the pandemic: the move to online work, more buyers heading to the suburbs and a heavier reliance on tech. However, Buffini said that perhaps the most important change we need to make is a change in thinking.
"There is plenty of inventory out there, there's a shortage of listed inventory," he said.
Agents and brokers need to change the way they think about, and approach, their local markets if they're going to bounce back quickly next year.
With that, he patched National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) CEO Bob Goldberg into the livestream and the two announced their partnership "100 Days to Greatness®," a 14-week program that's designed to teach new and emerging agents how to launch a real estate business.
For more information on "100 Days to Greatness®," click here.