Market Ebb and Flow: How to Adjust Your Tactics Throughout the Seasons

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The homebuying market ebbs and flows throughout the year for many reasons. But ultimately, all real estate agents can expect the same general changes:

  • Warmer weather and longer days: business booms
  • Colder weather and shorter days: business slows

Just because business slows down doesn’t mean yours has to—it simply means you have to adjust your tactics. Here, real estate pros share how:

Set clear expectations with your clients

No matter the season or location, most experienced real estate agents agree that it’s vital to prepare clients for the current and upcoming nature of the market.

California-based Realtor® John La Mattery explains to his clients that even when the market is at its peak, it doesn’t mean it’s without hurdles.

“You will also experience more buyer competition, so be prepared to negotiate with multiple buyers,” he says.

Related: Coaching tips that turn homebuyers into homeowners in a seller’s market

Lauren McKinney, a real estate agent in Asheville, North Carolina, ensures her clients also have a clear picture of what the market will look like as the seasons change—a tactic that’s especially helpful for clients without time constraints.

“I send emails prior to the busy spring season to follow up with clients who showed interest during the fall and winter but haven’t found what they want,” she says.

McKinney also recommends contacting clients looking for a deal during the winter, as many homes sitting on the market will reduce in price.

Make the best use of your time during buying season

When you’re at your busiest, Cincinnati-based Realtor Eric Sztanyo stresses the importance of using your time wisely. For example, he recommends waiting to work with a homebuyer until they’re prequalified , so all parties know what they can afford. And preparing your paperwork ahead of time will help you and your buyer jump on the perfect home when it hits the market.

John Myers, a real estate broker in Albuquerque, New Mexico, advises his buyers to call as soon as they’ve found a home they love and make viewing the property with you a priority.

“Real estate agents should have their buyers view the home today, as it may not be available tomorrow,” he explains.

Help homebuyers narrow down their choices

During a hot market, it can become impossible to act quickly on the perfect home when your buyer has a long list of prospective homes. McKinney suggests helping clients narrow their list to a reasonable number.

“Many can be knocked off the list right away,” she explains. “It’s a waste of everyone’s time if, for example, they want to look at an outdated colonial when they want an updated mid-century ranch.”

Related: Indecisive: How to help your clients pinpoint their dream home

Winter is slower—but not without perks

Even though winter is typically a slow season for real estate, Sztanyo says there are still advantages for both buyers and sellers.

If you have a seller who’s waiting until spring to put their home on the market, he recommends encouraging them to sell now, as they’d be generally competing against fewer homes on the market.

And for buyers, Sztanyo echoes McKinney’s earlier point about getting a deal during the colder season: “When you see homes that didn’t sell in the summer and fall seasons and have been on the market longer, this could be a great opportunity to buy a home for less."

Use downtime to focus on your business

Even though the colder seasons can come with downtime, it doesn’t mean your work schedule should change. Instead, use that time to focus on evolving your business, whether it’s educational classes, marketing campaigns, a business plan or networking.

Related: 7 social media best practices for Realtors

La Mattery uses his downtime to catch up on business strategies and education.

“This includes attending real estate conferences, marketing seminars and economic lectures,” he says. “I'll even visit new developments to catch up on housing design trends and get a sense of what new ideas developers have in terms of interior decorating.”

As the seasons fluctuate, your bandwidth does, too. But all real estate pros would agree it’s important not to let your customer service suffer simply because business is picking up. Set clear expectations depending on the season, maintain focus and use the pros and cons of each season to your advantage whenever possible.

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