One of the most common issues that real estate agents face is the inevitable peaks and valleys of the profession especially early in the careers of individuals and organisations. According to me the most common reason for this could be the lack of prospecting and marketing. The signs are predictable. You get about three or four real estate transactions happening at the same time. Then you get so busy attending to each client that you run out of time and stop seeking business or halt your marketing activities. A couple of months later when all those deals close and are brought to a conclusion you realise that you have no new transactions in the pipeline! The months ahead don’t look very rosy and a minor panic sets in. You know that you as a property broker have neglected prospecting. I believe that as a real estate broker, if you find yourself getting so busy with ongoing work that you put off working on this important activity then you need to take another look at your priorities. The right way to work in the real estate business or any other business for that matter is to have enough manpower and resources so that important activities such as prospecting and marketing are never neglected.
Some markets and cities in India tend to ebb and flow like a wave while some markets are relatively stable. When the prices are going up it is challenging to get new listings for sale. Why you may ask? The markets are bullish so it should be easy to get sellers willing to sell their homes for a killing. Well the truth is that some sellers become overconfident and cocky and try to save on agent commission by deciding to market and sell their homes themselves! Some sellers on the other hand instinctively realise that they are in a stronger position to bargain so they try and enlist property agents who will work for less commissions. Eventually there are multiple listings of a single property everywhere.
In the same environment, buyers also will be falling into your lap because they need our services more than the home sellers do. Experienced agents who have built up a substantial base of clients can expect to achieve remarkable success during positive market runs. During good times when market sentiments are positive, new agents also emerge in the market to see if they can catch a bit of the star dust themselves 🙂 But I always tell the junior agents in our company that even during good times one must never stop prospecting for new clients.
On the other hand when the markets are in a decline, the driving emotion is FEAR. Buyers who want to buy a home do not want to risk losing money and sellers also are stuck in a psychological rut because they do not want to lower their prices below values which were once very high. Sellers during lean times need Real Estate Agents and are much easier to deal with at such times. Buyers we find during bad times equals money in the bank because they have lots of good inventory to choose from and some sellers will give them a good deal making us look like a hero 🙂
So in a bull market new property listings are like gold and in a bear run, buyers rule the roost and bring us easy and quick pay cheques! If you find yourself in one of those always-flat markets then you can consider yourself lucky because both buyers and sellers need you at all times!
Macro Trends in Real Estate
India currently has a young population but with improved healthcare and rising incomes, we are living longer and more productive lives. Our population is expected to go the same way as more developed nations as far as life expectancy is concerned. With the number of retirees increasing, there are a large number of opportunities for real estate agents in India. It would be a very good idea for real estate agents in India to think about specialising in working with the elderly and dare I say the future looks very bright for such brokers. With the young population in India migrating to other cities and countries, there are a large number of empty nesters who would require to move into smaller homes or into bespoke residences designed and developed for the senior population. There are some fantastic retirement communities being developed all over the place now. Most of these projects follow Western project development guidelines and are designed to be much more inclusive with modern facilities like those of a dormitory. Residents who move in such projects will enjoy the company of like-minded friends apart from using the recreational facilities. Activity coordinators organise interesting events within the residential project and shuttle buses are used to visit local events, the cinemas, malls, religious places etc.
Another aspect of the senior population is the rich and wealthy senior. As the well-to-do senior population increases, they would want to spend some time of the year living in second homes located in scenic areas that have lavish pools, golf courses, cycling tracks, outdoor parks etc. Seniors discover new friendships at such places and keep returning year after year.
Future Trends in Real Estate
I think young people in the real estate business must think about how the world will look twenty five to fifty years down the line. Global warming will increase the effect of heat islands in India’s congested and unplanned metro cities thus raising average day time temperatures. Temperatures during summer might just make it unbearable for the average citizen to live and operate in cities closer to the equatorial belt. Threats of coastal flooding, water scarcity and rising temperatures are various factors that can forever change the real estate game in India. There could be large scale urban migrations happening during summer in the year 2060 where rich city folks (our children / grandchildren) leave Mumbai during summer in large numbers and head towards the mountains such as Lonavala, Panchgani or Mahabaleshwar. A smart developer should start thinking now and plan ahead about developing second summer homes in cooler areas close to the big cities! Isn’t that what they always say in the world of business – Anticipate the future because that’s where the big opportunities lie.
High energy costs and shrinking natural resources might put an end to all redevelopment activity. Old apartment buildings instead of being pulled down and redeveloped could be converted into condos for poorer income families whereas older office buildings could get upgraded into luxury residential apartments. Energy costs and infrastructure woes might lead to 4 day work weeks leaving workers with more leisure time in their hands. As people get more personal time on their hands, they will be inclined to travel much more with the result that time shares and vacation homes may see a surge in demand.
The world of transportation fifty years from now will be very different from the world of today. Fuel guzzling large automobiles may become extinct and smaller solar-powered or battery-powered automobiles may become the order of the day. Parking spaces will have to be redesigned accordingly. Buildings will have to create charging docks for recharging the powerful batteries that will power our road-hugging or flying cars of tomorrow. Imagine how cool it would be if a forward-looking developer from Mumbai already introduces car-charging docks in a new future-ready smart residential development in the year 2018. Think of the resulting hype and marketing which in itself would be enough to quickly sell most apartments in that project!
The internet might completely change the way people browse or buy homes. Young IT graduates passing out of the IIT’s and the minds sitting in Silicon Valley might invent new apps and products that may completely revolutionise not just the way people buy homes but redefine the concept of living. Co-living is one new concept that is already gathering pace the world over. With family sizes shrinking and with the new generation no longer willing to burden themselves with the high cost of home ownership, it pays for real estate agents and builders to pay attention to the needs of the next generations so that they don’t get left behind when a new disrupting idea and technology is introduced into the marketplace.