Keeping Your Foot On The Pedal Into The Fall

It’s hard to believe, but summer is almost gone. Before you know it, the leaves will be giving us their annual show of spectacular colors. I know that traditionally agents see the end of summer as the end of the selling season, but this year that doesn’t have to be the case. In fact, there are signs in the market that are pointing to a healthy fall market.

Take mortgage rates for example. They’ve surprised naysayers who predicted a rise this year. But rates remain near historic lows and analysts say they’re not likely to stay that way through the rest of summer.

And applications for home mortgages rose 2.4 percent.

What’s more, lending standards are loosening up. Sure, getting a mortgage now is tougher than it used to be during the housing boom, but many are reporting more flexibility among underwriters. And some lenders are allowing lower credit scores on FHA loans. In addition, the new head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency says his office is changing guidelines to allow lending to borrowers with slightly lower credit scores.

Also, home resales rose to their fastest pace in eight months this summer. The National Association of Realtors reported existing home sales increased 2.6 percent to an annual rate of 5.04 million units. That was above analyst expectations and marked the third straight month the pace of home resales accelerated.

It appears home prices are taking a break with more inventory entering the market — great news for buyers.

So, how can you benefit from these market factors? Here are a few tips to keep your momentum going full steam through the rest of 2014:

1. Use this market to your advantage. Believe me, I know, there are many agents out there who have bad attitudes and they’re sulking: “Oh, this market is bad. I can’t make a living with the way things are now.” Baloney. Every story has two sides and every market has two sides. You have to look at the realities of the market and then create the game plan that fits your abilities. One reality is that interest rates are still low – no one can deny that. Use this to your advantage. Business author Jim Collins said something I love: “Whether you prevail or fail, endure or die, depends more on what you do to yourself than on what the world does to you.”

2. Get the word out. One of the best things about living in the 21st century as a real estate agent is that you are a publisher. I hope you realize this. You have more avenues to connect and communicate with buyers and sellers than your predecessors ever imagined. Share news about market specifics (low interest rates, lower prices, etc.) on your website, on Facebook, via Twitter, through e-mail, e-newsletters, etc. But also, don’t ignore traditional media. Talk to your local newspaper and other media outlets about what the market is doing – reporters always want good sources. Be one and make yourself the expert.

3. Commit to making your fourth quarter a record-breaker. Get fired up. Reignite your passion for your profession. Look at what your market is presenting you and then develop a record-breaking goal. Hey, if you don’t reach it, at least you’ll go down swinging for the fences – and you’ll probably end up better than you would have otherwise. Part of reaching these kinds of goals is laying the foundation for accountability. Share your goal with someone you trust and who can help you stay on task for the rest of 2014. When there’s accountability, action follows.

Let me hear from you. What’s happening in your market as the end of summer nears? Do you see specific opportunities to increase your business through fall? What’s a realistic fourth quarter goal for you to reach?

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