You know something is very wrong with our industry when a top producing agent - and I'm talking a major player here - calls to inform me that she's going to be getting out of the market.
Background: She's been in the business twenty years. She's consistently made a quarter of a million commission dollars for the past ten years. She is well-respected in her community and in the industry.
But now her attitude is so out of alignment that she wants to throw in the towel. I could have believed it from almost anyone else. But not her.
It was certainly a shocking but enlightening phone call. I asked her, "Why in the world would you ever think about getting out of the real estate market?"
Her answer was stunning.
"Denise," she said, "even my broker tells me that it's going to take another year or two to get out of this. My husband watches the television news and is petrified that our savings are going to dwindle. Plus, every agent around me is confirming that the market is crashing, so what am I supposed to do?"
I almost pulled my hair out when I heard this. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Here's a newsflash: Real estate in the State of Washington is not crashing. Real estate in the United States of America is not crashing.
Has real estate crashed in individual areas that have overbuilt? Yes. Has real estate experienced challenges where too many investors came in and bought up too many properties in certain areas-properties that they could not afford? Yes. Were there areas hit by extremely high rates of adjustable mortgages? Yes.
But not here in Washington.
In fact, this agent works smack dab in the middle of the Seattle area. Which is why I was so shocked when I received this call.
In real estate, attitude is everything. Your attitude should be protected like an egg. It is that fragile. When you allow people to get into your head to the point where you're considering leaving the business, then it's time to take a good hard look at who you're hanging out with. In this business, your friends can unknowingly become your enemies.
If you work for a negative broker who whines about the calamity of it all every day, then you need to find a new broker. I'm serious. It's impossible to work for somebody who is tearing the business down with a rotten attitude.
If the agents surrounding you are so misinformed, then you're a tiny boat in a vast stormy sea. You'd better find some calm waters quickly.
on't just take my word for it. Check the numbers. If any agent or broker was examining their stats on a regular basis, they would see that in August 2008 the Washington market began to rebound. Just when things started to turn around we hit September which saw the beginning of an economic crisis that absolutely concerned everybody. This caused another stall in our market….but it was just a stall.
Yes, I know it's scary. I cannot predict exactly what will happen with Wall Street day to day or the global markets but what I do know for sure is that real estate is a supply and demand driven industry. What happened has everything to do with consumer concern (and we can't blame people for being concerned about this latest economic development) not the laws of supply and demand. Those laws are still there and we need to pay special attention to the facts not the media hype.
And is anybody paying attention to the lineup of buyers who are sitting on the fence just waiting to buy? Has anyone looked at our population growth in the State of Washington lately? How about Immigration? Migration? The strong job market?
True, the job market has weakened a little lately. But we've had an amazing job market for many years-much higher than many other areas of the country.
But in light of all the media coverage of the crisis, nobody can see that. The fear has become palpable. And it's causing people to do stupid things-like consider quitting their businesses.
Fear is the problem. The fear causes these people to quit, which brings the economy down further . It is the responsibility of every business owner-to their families, their selves, and their principles-to ride out bad times.
The reality is that we are fortunate to be living where we are. People love it here in Washington. They want to be here. They come here. They stay here. They buy second homes here.
The need isn't going anywhere. Demand is healthy.
So, back to the agent who called me. What do you think I said to her? Well, all I can say is that I wish I had a tape recorder running at that moment because I gave her the biggest reality check of her life.
By the time we were off the phone, she was relieved and happy again. Because she didn't really want to get out of real estate. She was literally being forced into a bad decision by people with bad attitudes.
Funny thing is, that's all she needed. She had been told so often that everything is crashing that the repetition of it became embedded into her subconscious mind.
We-and I mean all of us-are surrounded by negative people. In fact, I'd say that 98% of everybody out there is negative. We need to be part of that tiny minority-that 2% that continues to make things happen no matter the size of the storm. It's that 2% that will get all the business that the 98% will leave behind due to a bad attitude.
I don't know who you're hanging around with or who you're listening to, but you need to put a freeze on negativity. You don't have the time for it.
Instead, make good friends with the numbers. Numbers don't lie. Get out your calculator. Do the research. Get informed about your area in terms of demand. Check the trends. Don't just take the media's word for it. Find out for yourself.
Now, you may be saying to yourself, "But Denise, buyers are sitting still right now."
This is true. I won't deny it. But that's your fault too! Have you called some of them lately and said, "Listen, right now is the most opportune time to buy real estate. I understand everybody else is sitting on the fence, but as my client I want you to be the smart one."
Have you had this conversation with your clients lately? If you haven't, then you're not doing anything to help them. And that certainly doesn't help your attitude.
Have you called your overpriced sellers lately? Give them a reality check. Inform them that even if they come down 5%, the home they want to buy is also reduced 5%. So it's a moot point. If you haven't had this conversation with them, then you're simply not doing your job. You're sitting around listening to too many negative people.
I hate to have to be harsh, but the time has come. I'm fed up with bad attitudes and I'm not going to allow some of the best agents in our industry to get out of the industry because of fear!!!
So, get out there! Take action. Change that attitude. Help your clients to take advantage of what will prove to be the most opportune time ever to buy real estate.