How to Prepare for Upcoming Changes to the R.E. Industry

The ink on the $418M NAR settlement is barely dry, and already real estate experts, economists, podcasters, and journalists are weighing in with dire predictions, speculation and misinformation.

Here are just a few of the headlines from the past week:

  • “NAR Settlement Creates Daunting Challenges For Homebuyers, Agents
    Daily News;
  • NAR $418 Million Legal Commission Settlement Could Save You Thousands On Your Next Home
    Fox 26 Houston;
  • Powerful Realtor Group Agrees To Slash Commissions To Settle Lawsuits
    New York Times; and
  • Realtors Re-Examine Their Careers After NAR Settlement
    WSJ Podcast.

I’m guessing that the CEOs of most real estate brokerages have already met with their cadre of attorneys to figure out how to proceed in the face of the settlement.

We’re definitely in a period of uncertainty, confusion and misinformation. Some say housing prices will fall, as will commissions. Others say things will stabilize and that this is “no big deal.” The truth is: no one really knows what the fallout of this landmark settlement will be.

How can you, as a real estate agent, prepare for the future?

Here are a few ideas:

  • If you have listings coming on this summer, it might serve both you and your sellers to bring the properties on during the spring market, before things change in mid-July.
  • Figure out how you can enhance the quality, type, and number of services you provide to buyers and sellers. Your experience and expertise — and the level of service you provide — will be more important than ever, especially if you are competing for listings and also need to justify your commission to your clientele.
  • Prepare a marketing piece that showcases both your expertise and the value you offer. Highlight the specifics that differentiate you from other agents (e.g., special designations that you have attained, your rank in the company, awards you have received). Even more important to emphasize are the services that you and your company offer. Examples are drone and 3D photography, assistance with staging, referrals to contractors and other service providers, professional social media marketing, international agent referral networks, home warranty offers, and presale renovation services.
  • Make sure you get a signed buyer-broker agreement from all of your customers before it becomes mandated in mid-July. Learn a script so that asking for the agreement becomes second nature.
  • Take a negotiation course that will enhance your skills. I recommend one that is in person, where you can roleplay with other agents and receive feedback from the instructor. Reading a book on negotiation is not as effective as practicing what you are learning in a classroom situation.
  • Stay abreast of the news. Attend any meetings and trainings at your agency that will inform you of new policies, procedures and approaches that your brokerage is instituting as a result of the settlement.Stay in contact with your sphere of influence, and update your client and referral base as more information becomes available.
  • This news calls for resilience, adaptability and innovation. You know you can do this! Keep calm and carry on!