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Let’s Admit It’s Bad and Help Our Agents through It March 4th, 2010 | Posted in General Real Estate

Our agents are facing dropping prices, buyers without the hope of future appreciation, and FICO scores that aren’t up to par. Sellers are watching the equity that they have already spent disappear. Banks are pushing the short sale envelope until it rips. Shadow inventory with Alt A option arm re-adjustments are now coming to join the party. The government is spending more than the printing press can handle, debasing a currency that the lenders expect to get back 30 years from now. Are they going to continue to lend at 6%? You have not seen anything yet! So, get ready to change the way you do business…or move over.

You get what you deserve when you tell agents it is going to be “ok” tomorrow, because they never change. They think they are going to party like 2006 again. Keep telling them it’s getting better and watch them do what most do best — wait for a client to bump into them.

If they want to survive, even prosper, you need to do what I did when the market was horrible — increase your listing inventory by multiples populated by motivated sellers (with equity would be nice, too!). Only take short sales that have a chance of closing. Stop chasing the REOs. If you don’t have an account already, there is easier business to find!

Work only with buyers who allow counseling, written pre-approval, and sign a loyalty agreement. Give them something different so they can be loyal to you. The days of Pop-TartTM agent are over. Hoping they will buy is different in obtaining a commitment from a buyer who will buy. You will also be generating leads when you are showing your buyers the inventory of FSBOs, expireds, your new listings, properties from your sphere of influence database, and the calls generated from your demographic postcard campaign.

Stop blowing smoke. It may not be getting any better. Let go of clients who cannot perform. Remember — real estate agents work for FREE until closing. The only thing you can control is the quality of your client. Build that listing inventory, stop doing things that make little or new money, and stop working with buyers who have not jumped through a few hoops.

The business of real estate is exciting. Personally, I was always able to increase my income in tough markets by following these steps:

1. Agents get out faster than the market goes down, leaving the great clients to me!

2. It is easier to get listings, just take those that will close.

3. Learn how to add “glue” to contracts.

4. Nicely turn down buyers who will not become clients.

This will increase an agent’s income, allowing the inherent leverage of this business to work. Here’s how that leverage works:

1. A listing puts the whole MLS on your payroll. It gives you an opportunity for a double-ended transaction. It is the least expensive method to generate a buyer. Work every day to get a new one.

2. A buyer who is shown off-market listings will help you produce more listing leads. Work with fewer and show them properties in addition to the MLS.

3. Buyers and sellers pay you commission to learn and absorb information about all the good deals out there. What if you had a few extra bucks to buy prime, bargain property at 40-year low interest rates?

I guess that I am just tired of hearing all the complaints. It is time to start training agents to do the right stuff…NOW!

Walter Sanford was one of the top real estate agents in North America for nearly thirty years, and now, he is one of the most requested speakers, trainers, and coaches. He has authored twelve systems and books on checklists, pro-active lead generation, affiliate lead generation, plus others mentioned in this article. You can hire Walter or buy his products by visiting his website for more details at, by calling 815-929-9258, or emailing Walter at

4 Responses to “Let’s Admit It’s Bad and Help Our Agents through It”

  1. Thank you Walter! always feel privilaged to listen and read your blog.
    ….thanks for redefining and remaind me of what re bus. should be like.
    ross gutierrez

  2. Mica Berg says:

    Great comments coach. I agree with you 100%. Although I focus on commercial real estate, all of your principals and strategies apply. I’ve always been a fan of your no-nonsense straight forward approach. Very encouraging. Thanks.

    Mica Berg

  3. Bang on as always Walter. Our current market is still a seller’s market. However, it is different than in 2007 which was the peak year in Canada. It appears the good, experienced agents are obtaining more of the listings as sellers embrace the problem solvers rather than the order takers.

  4. Mike Grannum says:

    Walter, you are spot on, as usual. We should focus on identifying and working with buyers and sellers who are truly ready to do business – NOW. Focusing on how good or bad the market is now is a waste of time. We should spend our time educating consumers, and help them achieve their goals. Stay away from over priced listings and buyers who are not committed. Focus on the price ranges that are moving in your territory and target the buying and selling consumers in that range. Thanks for the continued guidence.

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