The photo is of downtown St. Paul, I took it a few weeks ago and kind of forgot about it. It has nothing to do with the post but I decided it should be published.
I have been writing on this blog since 2005 and have over 1200 posts, a couple of thousand photos and 4000 or more comments.
One thing that I have not been writing about is the question I get asked almost every day. How is business? Most people who read the news know that the real estate market has changed in the last couple of years. We went from a market where homes sold quickly for top dollar to a market where fewer homes are sold, and more people are upside down on their mortgages and are even facing foreclosure.
Friends, family, past clients and neighbors keep asking me how I am doing. I guess I would have to say that I am doing fine. There never was a time for me when the job was easy but I have to say it has gotten harder. A friend of mine suggested that it is like trying to run through mud.
I can’t think of any better way to say it. Business has picked up and has been pretty good the last few months but the work is much harder. I suppose I could write a thousand words on the subject but in general listings are harder to sell and buyers look at more homes before they make an offer than they used to, mainly becasue there are more to look at. I am happy to offer them more choices but it is hard to keep up with it all. I wrote four offers last week and all of them worked out but each has been especially hard to negotiate.
Listings take much longer to sell and are harder to price. It costs more money to sell homes and it takes a lot more technology. The buyers are on the internet so I spend more time at the keyboard and more money on internet marketing and technology than I used to. I also write more and take more photos and spend more time interacting with others on the internet.
The price of galsoline has gone up and that affects everyone. It has had an impact on my business. I work much closer to home than I used to and pass on listings that are too far away and refer buyers who want to live in neighborhoods that are 10 or more miles away to other agents. The time it takes to drive is also a consideration. I live and office in a densely populated urban area where there are plenty of homes nearby. It doesn’t make sense to drive all over the metro area and it just isn’t cost effective.
As the market changes, the job changes and I need to change too. I do things differently than I did a couple of years ago and I experiment more when it comes to marketing listings. With each of my homes for sale I try something new. I use my regular marketing program and experiment with other types of marketing. I learn from each experience, and take what I learn and use it for the next listing.
Some of my peers have left the business. Some of the local real estate companies have closed offices to remain profitable. There still is no shortage of Realtors in the metro area.
So to answer the question, "how is business?" I have to say it is like running through mud but it is changing and evolving. Either the mud will get thinner or my legs will get stronger.