Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Top 20 things Realtors really want for Christmas in 2023

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Google “What Realtors want for Christmas,” and the usual stuff pops up: a personalized Cross pen, swag with “World’s Greatest Realtor” written on it, portable power banks, laser distance measuring devices, espresso maker for your car, business card case, foot massager, gift card for a full-body massage, another gift basket, Apple watch, drone, bottle of premium whiskey, gift card to a local restaurant — the list goes on and on.

There is only one problem with all these items — they are not what agents really want. Back in 2020, I produced a list, but things have changed since then. Here is my list for 2023.

1. Lower interest rates

Since the rise of rates began in May of 2022, the market has gone into the trash bin. Lower interest rates are really what agents want this coming year: Rates low enough to push sellers off the fence and into the market. Let’s put it another way. Whether reasonable or not, we want the Fed to stop screwing around.

 2. Sellers

Honest-to-goodness people who are motivated and willing to sell their homes. Lots of them. The sooner the better.

 3. A cork for the media

No one is interested in good news. Truth is, we all expect things to get better, so when it actually happens, it’s like, “Duh.” Bad news, however, sells.

I was recently asked, “What are you going to do now that real estate is changing and you are no longer going to get any commissions?” After my initial mouth-dropping stare, it took me over half an hour of my life — time I will never get back — to counter the myth he’d heard on national media and to then dispense the truth.

Consequently, what Realtors want most for Christmas is for the media to shut up: To stop sensationalizing the recent lawsuits and to stop feeding the masses with blatantly incorrect information. A huge cork would be just the thing.

4. Clients who read the contract

A reasonable request, one would think. Especially the parts in bold that state commissions and other terms in the listing agreement are negotiable and have been for years.

 5. A get-out-of-jail-free card

We are seeing a dramatic rise in legal action against Realtors from one end of the country to another. Billed as “the bad guys,” real estate agents are being targeted by attorneys out to make a buck from our media-hyped “misfortune.”

Additionally, as the lawsuits mount up state by state, they are not only going after previously unnamed brokerages, they are also including larger real estate teams. Consequently, new commission lawsuits are springing up like dandelions on a spring lawn. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a get-out-of-jail-free card to drop on them?

6. States that will stop trying to change us from independent contractors to employees

Realtors are typically independent contractors so long as they are 100 percent commission-based. Although it’s true that some agents are on salary and therefore qualify as employees, that is not stopping some states from trying to change the status for all agents to employees. Stop already.

7. Reasonable insurance companies

I fully understand the issues facing the insurance industry. Wildfires, floods, hurricanes and tornadoes, cybersecurity risks and ever-morphing customer needs, all have had a dramatic impact on insurance availability and pricing. It has become almost impossible to get homeowner insurance in some regions of the country without sacrificing a limb or two in the process.

For example, we own a vacation rental in a mountain resort area. Once I was actually able to find someone willing to insure a vacation rental in a wildfire zone, the stiff price of the policy far exceeded my wildest imagination.

8. Clients who accept the fact that we know more than them about real estate

Seriously. This is my day job. I would not dream of gazing into my mouth and double-guessing my dentist. So why — just because they have watched over 10,000 hours of HGTV — do they assume they know more than someone who has been doing this for over 20 years with thousands of transactions under their belt? This one falls under the category of, “Don’t get me started…”

9. A list of the top 10 cities for 2024

Which cities hold the best investment opportunities for 2024? It would be awesome to have a gold-plated list for our personal investments which we could also recommend to clients looking for winning investment opportunities across the country.

10. Lead generation companies that actually produce leads

Real leads. Leads that turn into real buyers and sellers. Leads that produce closed escrows. We get calls almost every day from companies who ask, “Can you handle eight to 10 extra closings a month?”

Wouldn’t it be great if we had some kind of button we could press to disable their cell phone? Obviously, we can block them, but it would be even better to have them out of circulation so unsuspecting newbies don’t pour money down the proverbial toilet.

Would it not be great if some of these “companies” were actually telling the truth?

11. Buyers with hot feet

We have all had our share of buyers with cold feet. Canceled transactions hit a new high in 2023. We would love a group of buyers who insist on closing escrow regardless of what circumstances come down the pipe.

12. A dozen 5-star reviews

Following a 12-days-of-Christmas theme, we could change the 12th gift to 12 amazing reviews. These could be posted on the website of our choice.

An even better gift would be 12 reviews on Yelp that actually stayed there and did not get sent to the “other reviews that are not currently recommended.” Currently, we have 151 reviews parked there because Yelp decided the reviews were too good to be true.

13. Contractors who can be trusted

Actually, let’s just start with contractors, period. In our region, due to high prices, it seems most of the good contractors have left the state. Finding a list of good contractors who are reasonably priced, can be trusted to get the requisite work done on time and on budget and are currently available. What a gift that would be.

14. Professional agents

Agents who answer their phones. Read the confidential comments on the MLS. Honor agency relationships. Understand the code of ethics. Collaborate with integrity. You know the type.

15. The ability to do Yelp reviews of clients

No explanation needed for this one. Wouldn’t it be nice?

16. Clients who understand how hard real estate agents actually work

For those of us who are tired of the “What do you actually do, anyway?” questions, a few of us would like to get clients this holiday season who understand how hard we work behind the scenes to make their transactions go smoothly.

Not only do we labor long hours, but we also work weekends and have clients who expect to reach us 24/7. And, with the commission lawsuits in the breeze, we are going to have to work even harder to justify our existence.

17. A truth serum for buyers

Or a truth meter we could point at their forehead like the temperature sensors we endured throughout the pandemic. Bottom line, the end result would be buyers who actually bought what they said they were looking for and used you to do it.

18. Clients who do not ask for a rebate

A practice that is very prevalent in some markets and is sure to increase due to the recent legislation. Well, I can dream, can’t I?

19. Zoom cameras on

Because a good deal of our business is now online instead of in person, we want to be able to see who we are talking to. It seems the trend, however, is for many industry professionals to have their cameras off.

Whether they do not want us seeing that they are working from their bedroom, their hair is messy, or they want to be doing other things while talking to us, we would like to be able to see them and know we have their undivided attention.

20. A market rebound in 2024

Business for many of us dipped dramatically in 2022 and 2023. We want 2024 to look like 2021. If business would turn around and pick up to where it used to be, I’m sure we could live without the rest of the Christmas gift wishlist shown above.

Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season and a profitable 2024.

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