What the recovering Arizona economy means to REALTORS®

by Ron LaMee, Senior VP of Research and Member Value, Arizona Association of REALTORS®

The last of four related topics which include:

  • Arizona population will increase faster than the national average
  • Arizona job growth to exceed population growth
  • Personal income growth in Arizona to be flat
  • Meet the economy head-on with concrete tips for REALTORS®

For most REALTORS®, 2014 will be a respectable year, but probably won’t break any records.  Looking forward to 2015, this is an excellent time to move outside your normal routine.  Attend some real-estate-related meetings (office meetings, mixers, MLS marketing meetings) and check out what is going on around you.  Investigate new technology and business ideas very carefully, plan your course of action and make sure you are properly positioned when business picks up again.  For details on the economic picture and more tips, read on.

Meet the economy head-on with concrete tips for REALTORS®

REALTORS® are always directly impacted by the economy.  Our profession draws many new agents due to its low entry requirements and great opportunity.  A better economy may mean some REALTORS® will return to their pre-recession occupations, but an improving real estate market will certainly attract new agents.  To those longtime Arizona REALTORS® who have been through several market cycles and are in it for the long term, I would advise patience and planning.

At this point (in the middle of 2014), the real estate market comeback that began in 2009 has settled down, housing prices in Arizona reflect rational expectations and there is steady market activity—I believe we can safely say there is no bubble waiting to burst.  In fact, some analysts are discussing a “shadow demand” caused by the absence of buyers returning after owning a distressed property along with the Millennials’ seeming reluctance to purchase their first home.  These factors are discussed further in a previous Arizona Realtor Magazine article at http://www.aaronline.com/2014/04/dynamics-in-housing-demand-a-look-at-gen-x-and-gen-y-buyers/.

While 2014 won’t be a record-breaking year for most, it will be decent.  Now is the time to polish skills and plan for the future.  Here are some concrete steps you can take to hone your skills:

  • Attend your broker’s office meetings.  Many brokers bring information to the meeting from their own contacts within the industry as well as the Department of Real Estate.
  • MLS marketing sessions provide deeper neighborhood knowledge and great contacts.  The Scottsdale Area Association offers an excellent map of marketing sessions in the greater Phoenix area at http://www.saaronline.com/find-your-area#comprehensivemap.  Attend several!
  • Familiarize yourself with REALTOR® organization benefits and activities. At the Arizona REALTORS®’ website, there is a directory of all other local association websites at http://www.aaronline.com/about-us/#locassn. Check to see what your associations are doing.
  • Even if you are adept with technology, look for tech education and training classes.  Be sure the technology relates directly to creating a business advantage and isn’t just expensive gadgetry.  If something catches your eye, talk with other agents before you buy to see who is using it and what kind of results they are having.
  • Investigate some new marketing and lead generation programs to make sure you are up to date.  Keep in mind that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is—find out what is working for other agents.  Some systems combine technology and methods like the Paperless Agent approach which was presented at the Association’s April 2014 Spring Conference.  If you are interested in Paperless Agent, the Arizona association has arranged a special deal for you at http://thepaperlessagent.com/azoffer/. Having said that, remember that learning a new system could involve considerable cost and have a long learning curve.
  • Since we mentioned money, always maintain firm control of your finances.  Prepare for major expenses like tax payments, insurance, automobile replacement, etc.  The University of Arizona offers a free, online personal finance course at http://ag.arizona.edu/sfcs/personalfinance/introduction.html.  Classes like this not only provide excellent information, they give you a good vocabulary for talking with your clients.
  • You hear it again and again, but the message is valid—build or review your business plan.  I really like the article from REALTOR® Magazine, http://realtormag.realtor.org/sales-and-marketing/sales-coach/article/2011/12/16-steps-your-best-business-plan. Some other resources may be found at http://www.realtor.org/field-guides/field-guide-to-writing-a-business-plan and http://smallbusiness.chron.com/write-business-plan-real-estate-agent-3052.html.  Experts say that when doing strategic planning, the greatest benefit comes from the process of thinking about goals, analyzing strengths and weaknesses and working through options.  The plan is important, but the process is even more so.

Download the entire report here

Good luck with all you do.  I hope you enjoyed this series and managed to find some useful information.  The full article can be found on AARonline.com.  Don’t hesitate to contact me with any suggestions or comments.

Ron LaMee
Senior VP of Research and Member Value
Arizona Association of REALTORS®