And the only response was a blank stare …
Let me back up. Thursday night I was at the Phoenix Coyotes’ game against Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins in my role as a free-lance writer for the Associated Press. A colleague of mine that I’ve not seen since June looked at me early in the game and said, “I’m afraid to ask, but how’s business?”
There are two important things to note about the question. First, the person asking lives in Surprise, which has been one of the hardest hit cities during the unwinding on the 2005 run-up in home prices. Second, there was an assumption of failure that I attribute almost exclusively to schaudenfruede. I’m sure there was no ill intent to the question, but there was an expected answer tied to the query.
Of course, my answer didn’t match his expectations. I’ve put 19 properties into escrow, referred two other clients to peers in Gilbert and Tucson, and am expecting to sell at least a couple more properties before the year’s out. The fourth-quarter lull that I have come to expect has yet to materialize even in this, the most difficult real estate market in a generation, give or take.
And thus, the blank stare.
A Change in Focus
So what has changed over the past year? Part of the credit goes to switching companies, though not for the reasons you might assume. I usually could be found in the office back at Century 21 a couple of times a week, not to file paperwork or do anything productive, but to look for lunch partners when I completed my morning work at home.
At RE/MAX, much as the owners would like to see me a little more often, I usually only darken the doorway when there’s paperwork coming in or a check coming home. (Don’t mail me anything, incidentally … I’ve lost track of where my inbox may be.)
Inman Real Estate Connect was the only conference I attended this year, and that came because I was an invited speaker. After flirting with the idea of attending next spring’s RE/MAX convention in Las Vegas, I elected to put the cash toward a Disneyland trip for the family.
NAR? REBarCamp Houston? Arizona PodCamp or whatever today’s shindig was called? I took a pass across the board. Unles there was something concrete I could see that would lead to an increase in business, I’m better off working the websites and the phones at home. The pick-me-up and energy infusion is great, but I can get the same adrenaline surge by helping someone by or sell their home.
The business has become the focus. And as such, I’ve finally committed to the line of though that had been expressed by others but never fully accepted personally …
My Business Isn’t Market Dependent
On Agent Genius this week I discussed the concept of evolving my business to meet the changes in the real estate market. Much of this evolution depends on my ability to meet the needs of a wide variety of clients – Canadian buyers, first-time buyers, investors – without focusing solely on any one group.
I’ve been fortunate to see agents who focus solely on one pool struggle when that demographic exits the market. Fortunate for me, less fortunate for them. And fortunate only in I was able to learn second-hand that diversity is the key in a market where it’s hard to predict where the next client will come from.
In fact, the only pool I’d not worked this year was the selling side. For all intents and purposes, I had written off the listing side of the business this year. That is, until a couple of weeks ago when I started working expired listings again.
That effort has not yet borne fruit. But in the interim, I picked up a listing in Ventana Lakes. And a second listing soon followed, this one going active in Peoria’s Bridlewood neighborhood in a couple of days.
Listings beget listings, just as business begets business.
What will happen in the future is unclear. Forget 2009. Will Tuesday’s election results increase consumer confidence, sink it into oblivion or have no impact? Who knows? And I would add, who cares?
Do you want your career dependent on factors outside of your control? Or would you rather believe that regardless of market conditions, you can succeed?
Seems like an easy call to me.
[tags]Phoenix real estate[/tags]