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Sunday, May 24, 2020

CEO's Perspective

The real impact of real estate

By John Geha, CEO

Are we in the “real estate business” or the “business of real estate.” Understanding the complete impact real estate has on our lives and economy requires us to step back and look at the “Business of Real Estate.” We see the obvious and immediate impact on the economy when a transaction is completed, but now dive a bit deeper into the real impact.

Think about an existing home, a new build, commercial, retail, industrial real estate how many products are in each property, new and existing. The bottom line the “Business of Real Estate” creates jobs! Take a moment one day and step into a Lowes or Home Depot, and look around, everything is real estate related everything must be manufactured, shipped, marketed, sold and installed…Jobs!

Of course, buying and selling homes drives the economy in other ways beyond the initial transaction. As communities grow, so do retail outlets, schools, recreational facilities, places of worship and infrastructure. And we have not even touched on the jobs created to generate the materials needed for such new construction. There are few industries that can exert such a profound impact on the economy.

That brings me to the age-old question, “What came first, the chicken or the egg?” We can apply that same question to real estate. Do we now sit back and patiently wait for the economic recovery to come and with it an improved housing market? Or do we proactively engage the consumer to instill confidence in the market now and drive the economy in the process? The answer is clear. As real estate professionals we must communicate to the consumer that there is great value in today’s real estate market.

How do we do this? One way is to stop talking numbers and start talking value. The value of home ownership. I firmly believe this is one of the best times ever to buy a home. Yet, with direct concerns about jobs, health and the media’s focus on COVID-19 we need to communicate with our clients/consumer reminding them of the value of real estate. As sales slow residential real estate values are holding steady right now knowing the recovery will be strong. With this stated use your communication skills, keep your sphere of influence informed. We know they are focused on provocative headlines that instill fear in the home-buying public, do not wait until this crisis ends, spend as much time as possible providing information. Discuss the long-term benefits of owning your own home, including freedom and pride of ownership and building equity over the long-term. Only through educating the consumer can we take away the fear and help drive the market back to recovery.

Those of you who know me have heard me say that people in our industry tend to overcomplicate our business. Remember, we need to listen to the consumer and address the consumer’s needs and provide the answers. That is how we deliver value.

As real estate professionals, we must be able to illustrate to prospective buyers the “big picture” about how home values have appreciated over time. We need to demonstrate how historically low interest rates have improved affordability and added to the buying power of consumers. So, let us not wait for the economy to turn, and carry the housing market with it. Let us do what we do best, communicate with our customers, build consumer confidence and drive our economy in the process.

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