How to Recession-Proof Your Real Estate Operations

With economists predicting that it will be a slow growth, savvy agents are re-thinking their business models, learning how to recession-proof their real estate operations so they’ll be able to thrive under the new market conditions.

And that’s what we’re covering today. What exactly does it mean to recession-proof your real estate operations? And how exactly should you do it? What changes do you need to make to your business operations to be successful in the changing market?

Adjust Your Daily Schedule

During a hot market, you’re probably spending an hour a day prospecting, another hour replying to emails, voice notes, and messages, sometime following up on pending transactions and servicing listings, and most of your time and effort goes to your client time: listing appointments and showings.

In a recession, you will likely have fewer clients. So you’ll be able to reallocate your time to better serve the clients you do have. And to drum up new business.

Expect to double your prospecting time during the recession. In addition to following up with your sphere, contacting expired listings, reaching out to buyers, etc, you’ll want to invest some time in longer-term marketing strategies like blogging and social media.

And your new recession-proof income stream will require a little maintenance time as well…

Build a New Income Stream into Your Operations

We talk a lot about diversifying income around here. Because it’s tough to be 100% dependent on your commission checks as your only source of income. Especially during a recession! Building a new income stream is one of the best ways to recession-proof your real estate operations.

When you can find an income stream that

  1. provides value to your real estate clients,
  2. helps you promote yourself as a real estate expert,
  3. builds relationships with future buyers and sellers,
  4. And offers greater opportunity during a slow market than during a strong one…

…you’re golden!

Here are a few ideal options that meet all the above criteria:

1. Property Management

Property management is a great example. When the housing market dips, the rental market often picks up. This is a great opportunity to expand your business services in a way that makes sense for your clients. Maybe you have a homeowner who doesn’t want to sell while the market’s down, but they need to relocate. Help them rent out their home!

Even as I write this article there is a lot of demand for rentals in various areas of the city.

You might just help them advertise, screen prospective tenants, and handle the paperwork for a flat fee (usually about 50% of the first month’s rent). Or you could be a property manager for them. Collect rent, handle maintenance requests, etc on an on-going basis. You can usually earn 10-15% of each month’s rent as your fee.

2. Property Tax Appeals

Property tax appeals are my favorite recession-proof income stream for real estate professionals because 1) they’re fairly quick and easy, 2) they are a serious help to your clients (past, present, and future), 3) you already have 90% of the knowledge and skill you need to practice property tax appeals, and 4) no one else is offering this service because most people don’t even know that property tax appeals are an industry!

It takes only a few minutes per year to review the values for appeal opportunity, but you’ll be known as the agent who cares about your clients’ financial well-being long after the sale closes.

3. Credit Repair

Do you struggle to find qualified buyers? It’s a common problem in a down market when lenders tighten up their lending requirements.

So help your buyers improve their credit! It’s fairly easy, doesn’t take much time, and gives you an immediate paycheck for credit repair services and you’ll also end up with the buyer’s agent commission when your buyers qualify!

Whichever recession-proof income stream you choose, commit to spending an hour per day on marketing and performing your new services. Or hire someone to handle the marketing and administration for you so you can focus on the client-facing aspects of your business.

Add REAL Value for Sellers

If you want to land listings during the recession, you’ll need to up your listing game.

Yes, you’re a good negotiator. Yes, you’re going to market the property well. Yes, you have buyer contacts you can bring to the table. Every agent in your market can say the same!

It’s time to do something other agents aren’t doing: offering REAL value.

Example: Help your sellers stage/make their home more appealing. In a strong market, staging gets a higher price; in a weak market, staging gets the home sold. Work out a deal with a professional stager where they get a percentage of your commission (instead of an upfront fee) in exchange for their services. It doesn’t even have to be the whole house. Strategic staging in high traffic areas can make all the difference!

Or how about investing in professional listing photos for your sellers. If you don’t already have a professional photographer in your pocket, get one! You don’t want potential buyers to eliminate your listing from contention because of some poor lighting or bad angles. And your listing presentation is going to transform when you explain to buyers that you pay for professional photos on their behalf.

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