I was speaking with an agent the other day who is in the process of hiring her first assistant. She shared her fear of taking the leap—what if the market changes? I flashed back to 2003 when the real estate market started to blow up, especially in Phoenix, Arizona, where I live. The stories of buyers coming to the city in caravans to buy real estate were not rumors—that really happened. As I continued down memory lane, I shared with this agent what happened next. As a team, we sold 325 homes within a year at the peak of the market, and then we watched everything come crashing down in 2007.
Overnight, we found ourselves in unchartered territory having never seen anything like this in real estate, but we knew that if we were going to survive, we had to innovate and pivot. That meant we needed to get savvy with the foreclosure side of the business, and that is exactly what we did. I can clearly recall sitting in a hotel bar in Chicago with my team lead when we mapped out a plan for real estate-owned properties on a cocktail napkin. We created an REO machine and jumped in with complete faith and unwavering determination. We learned new contracts, how to do BPOs, and how to negotiate with asset managers. We leveled up our skills as real estate agents because that is what you do when faced with adversity if you want to survive.
In 2009, our team represented Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, Wells Fargo, and several other bank-owned asset companies—and we sold 679 homes. I shared these numbers with her, and she was shocked but also inspired. Out of adversity, we found a way to not only survive but sell more homes than we ever imagined possible. That is exactly what she will do, too, when the market changes.
One of the things I love the most about the real estate industry: When the market changes, we find a way to change with it, because no matter what is happening, people will always need to buy and sell their homes.
The market has started to shift with the rise of interest rates. While rates are still incredible when compared to past market conditions, this is our new adversity. This is our latest opportunity to level up our strategies and find a way to continue doing our job, which is helping people make informed decisions about their real estate needs. Adversity is an opportunity. Adversity is what makes us good at adapting. Adversity is what puts us industry experts in great demand. We should welcome adversity and then find a way to overcome it.
Sarah Michelle Bliss has been serving the Valley of the Sun in real estate since 1997. She is an original founder of RE/MAX Professionals as well as their director of education, an international bestselling author of “8 Ways to Dominate Any Real Estate Market,” and a master coach with Workman Success Systems. Get free access to some of the very same tools and resources she has used to create success in her clients’ businesses.