I believe that the real estate market is going to be significantly more challenging for an extended period of time. There will be limited trades occurring during the health pandemic as people are asked not to leave their homes and this will be followed by challenging economic and financial times.
Real Estate commissions will be hard to come by and we will all be living on less. Some agents will not be able to earn any commission at all.
If you are unable to gain your own financial stability, you will have trouble earning the right to represent people who need to buy, sell or lease. During challenging times, people are more sensitive to nuances and there is a strong likelihood that they will sense your desperation and choose not to work with you. In addition, actually getting deals done is going to take all of our capacity. We will need to be highly skilled collaborative negotiators managing complicated emotions from sellers, buyers and other agents. We will need to be creative problem solvers, trusted coaches, patient listeners and empathic sages. It’s impossible to be all these things when you are frantic about money.
Financial stability means that you have a balance between what money is going out and what money is coming in. While we can live off savings for a while, it’s not sustainable and burning through your savings early is setting yourself up for failure.
For people who have investments and feel financially secure: Review everything and speak with your financial advisor if you have one that you trust. I’m not going to advise you outside of my expertise except to say, take a deeper look and imagine if this goes on for a year or two.
For people who already feel complete panic around money: If you have only made a handful of deals in the past years when it was relatively easy, you have no savings and you have monthly expenses, you need to make some important decisions. Are you going to stay in real estate? I can’t answer that for you – I’m just saying that it’s a reasonable question to be asking yourself. You might consider negotiating out of car leases, changing your living situation, talking to your broker about costs, seeing about family support and considering other job opportunities.
For people in the middle: Reduce your costs as much as you can and commit to being one of the few agents who figures out how to make some money in this market. The earlier you lower your expenses, the better chance you will have of surviving.
Read my Story about Boom and Bust in 1989
Spoiler alert: I turned in my BMW, worked in a bike shop, and moved in with my boyfriend