It's very confusing to decipher the current real estate market with the mix of press currently out there. First off, I had a record year in 2007, while many other agents are thinking of leaving the business and a lot have left or will soon. I'm shocked at some of the long time offices that are closing. I've had my best year, many have had their worst. I have an idea why that is.
Yes, sales were down last year. But they were down from record years. 2007 was not the slowest year for property sales, there have been many years that had less sales than 2007. So why are so many feeling like it was the worst year in history for real estate sales?
In my opinion, the old 80/20 rule exists even more today than before. 20% of agents/brokerages are doing the most business while the rest are hurting. The market is changing and those that do not change along with it will feel the pressure and lack of sales.
If agents do not embrace the new ways buyers find properties, and therefore the agents that list those properties, then they will ultimately fail. It's not just going "back to basics," it's learning new ropes. 80+% of buyers search the Internet for properties before they ever look at a place. So many agents and brokerages don't understand this fact, and they're the one's suffering. They continue to do business the old way and are losing ground.
For those of us who were able to see the future of real estate (and of course, I have no idea what the real future will bring - we keep telling ourselves that buyers will always need agents to show them the actual properties in person), we have made our websites and have brought them to the top of search engines for our important search terms. We offer property searches of active MLS listings plus many other helpful buyer and seller help pages.
A buyer can fill out the Automated Chicago Suburbs Home Finder Form on my multiple sites and put the information in once and receive listings via their e-mail. A seller can fill out my Internet Comparative Market Analysis Form and get a current market value for their property. All of these features make it quick and easy for buyers and sellers and it gives me the advantage of getting contacted by these potential clients.