To keep the American experiment alive and vital, we need to buy from people who are being overlooked in the current market. Broker’s owner Troy Palmquist offers insight into ways to make dreams more attainable.
As real estate professionals, we love to talk about the “American dream of home ownership.” We use it as a kind of shorthand for all those ideas that run along a small piece of land that is entirely yours. It speaks of rigid individualism, financial goal-setting, and independence that are all part of the American character.
Depending on where you fall on gender, economic, cultural, educational, and other aspects, the American dream of homeownership can seem remarkably hollow. Since people work long hours for money that doesn’t go very far and home prices rise along with interest rates, it can seem impractical if not impossible to envision a future that includes property ownership.
I think this year, a lot of us realized in a whole new way that the American dream goes beyond homeownership. It is about autonomy. It’s about being able to make one’s own decisions, whether it’s about buying a house or about one’s own body.
As Realtors, it’s up to us to do more than talk. We should walk and help others to do the same. It’s not about handouts. It’s about keeping our hands and feet on what we say in our marketing materials and on our blogs. It’s about being action-oriented rather than sitting back and waiting for a penny buyer or cash-rich investor, while ignoring those that may require a little more time and effort.
It is also about staying educated so that we can combat the pessimism and negativity out there. It’s not 2008 and the market isn’t crashing. There are opportunities for everyone, but it requires a smart understanding of the market and the wide variety of strategies and options available today.
Here’s how we can help people find their share of the American dream while simultaneously growing the business of their dreams.
Be Wise About Alternative Financing Options
Not everyone has perfect credit, a fat bank account, and an ideal situation. Some people are working on the same income and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Some people have lost a partner, either through death or divorce. Some people just need help getting their financial ducks in line. Ask questions. Talk to your leads and potential customers about their financial needs and have multiple lender associates on call for a variety of situations.
Find homes and neighborhoods that need some love and match them with buyers
Yes, you have buyers who want all the bells and whistles and are willing to bid thousands for the “right” neighborhood, but there are also plenty of buyers who just want an opportunity. Be smart about the neighborhood and home options that are more affordable and be a true matchmaker for budget-conscious buyers.
Be solution-oriented by focusing on the people who need your help most
As the market changes, there are few agents who are able to sit back and pick and choose the clients they will need to work now. Work with buyers who need help and find solutions that best suit their timeline and budget. Help educate them and fill in the gaps in their real estate and financial knowledge. You will build an admirable client and referral source for the rest of your career.
Develop a professional network for everyone in your market with a heart
Get to know lenders, title companies, moving companies, community leaders and nonprofit organization directors. Expand your professional network beyond power brokers and look for ways to plug your expertise into your market to reach the people who will benefit most from your insights and advice.
Partner with and participate in organizations that share this vision
Who is working on affordability and housing issues in your area? They need you and the information you provide. Get involved in a way that allows you to really add value and use your passion for the greater good.
dump your cynicism
You may have some negative attitudes that you need to check at the door to make a difference in the lives of your customers and communities.
Would it be more challenging to work with someone who needs some help and education, as opposed to someone who can just write a check? Yes.
Is it worth using your expertise to help an individual or family find a place to call them? Absolutely.
Understand the meaning behind homeownership
We are living in a time when people are losing their personal liberty. They are scared and, frankly, they don’t think America’s promise, the American dream, has much to do with them.
Allowing the majority of our population to feel deprived and to feel that they have no stake in our neighborhood is not only wrong, but it is also dangerous. For the American dream to work, you need buy-in from a lot of people, and right now, not many people see the system working for them.
As an agent, you need to work for them. You need to provide them with the guidance and insight to help them invest their time, energy and money in their own pie. It is vital to maintaining the health of our country, our economy, our neighborhood and our industry.