Nothing makes an American business owner more nervous than the thought of a slowdown in orders.
Not to downplay the current downturn, but after a hectic decade in the real estate market, we suddenly find ourselves staring at post-Great Recession numbers again.
In 2014, we sold 4.94M existing homes. From 2015 to 2020 we bumped around between 5.25M and 5.64M existing home sales. Then COVID hit and we escalated that number to 6.12M in 2021. Today, we are looking at a lackluster 4.3M in 2023 and not much more in 2024, unless the interest rates begin to moderate. Total home sales – existing and new home sales – are likely to reach only 4.8M in 2023 and 4.9M in 2024, according to Fannie Mae.
The eternal optimists are betting on interest rates coming down and bumping sales back up over 5M in 2024 and the pessimists are heading for the hills.
But the realists are taking a deep breath and asking, “What can I do in the slow months of a slow year? Instead of taking a pie-in-the-sky approach or a panicked approach, is there a hidden opportunity that I capitalize on for my staff and my company?”
The health benefits of downtime
Let’s start with the health benefits of less work. Maybe it’s time for everyone in your agency to take a deep breath, slow down the pace, take some time off and enjoy life a little more. If this makes you cringe, consider that overwork kills creativity and motivation and time off resets our rhythms and makes us more resilient for what comes in the future.
Instead of looking nervously at your spreadsheets, consider how you can best nurture your staff in the present moment both as a reward for the hard work of the past few years as well as to prepare them for the promise of a better market in the future.
Encourage a little playful creativity at work. Create a “best ideas” contest for ways to improve your business. Design an ongoing contest for the next three months, calling for input on a new topic each month, such as marketing and sales ideas, operational improvement suggestions, or best ideas to improve the overall culture.
If you think you are nervous, trust that your staff is in the doldrums, too. Encouraging everyone to look past the current slowdown to a healthy future will go a long way to improving everyone’s outlook.
Explore new technology
We often limp along with what we have to work with because we have no time to explore new offerings out in the world of technology. This is a great time to not only evaluate helpful applications that could streamline your processes – such as Alanna’s Virtual Closing Assistant– but also to explore how you can capitalize in a fuller way on technology you already own.
At alanna.ai, we are happy to assist you and your staff in maximizing the use of the many features of our technology to ensure you are prepped and ready to meet the demands of a growing market in the future.
Professional development and skill enhancement
Investing time in securing your much needed continuing education credits, seeking additional professional development, or expanding your skillset is always an afterthought for a busy title agency. But it is the perfect thing to focus on in a slow time.
For one thing, it will make your staff feel like they are accomplishing something of worth and will better prepare them for the future, making them a more valuable employee for you in the long run.
And finally, remember that everyone in the industry is in the same boat. Reaching out to real estate agents, loan officers, and attorneys to strengthen your network can be a very rewarding and mutually beneficial endeavor.
Want to learn more about how Alanna can help you during any market cycle? Contact us today!