2019 has been an interesting year for real estate professionals across the board. A number of factors, including the Hayne Royal Commission and a looming election, meant the hands on the Property Clock dropped to six (i.e. buy, don’t sell) in many areas.

Those who have been around for a long time have witnessed the cycles of the property market before. For the uninitiated, it can be difficult to weather the storm of a downturn, especially after Australia’s boom period following 2012.

“Tough times never last but tough people do.”

Getting through real estate slowdowns can often depend on your approach, your attitude, the people you turn to and your long-term relationships. At the end of the day, it is the strong who survive.

Advice from an industry stalwart

Based in Perth, One Agency North’s David Snell has sold over $150 million worth of property. As he explains, the property market in Perth has seen better days.

“In 2006, 2007 and 2008 the city was seeing 1,000 new residents arriving each week,” he explains. “When the mining industry began to drop off, a number of those who had paid top dollar for their homes found themselves in the unenviable position of owing the bank more than their properties were worth.”

Nevertheless, David has remained in the industry. One of his tips for real estate professionals when prices begin to slide is to learn to live with less praise. “In boom times, people are worshipping you and giving you the kudos,” he says, “Nowadays they aren’t so impressed even if you do get a good result based on the current market.”

David’s advice: “Be self-motivated. Don’t live for people to pat you on the back but see the bigger picture and know you did a good job.”

David finds moral support is another way to get through the harder times. At his office, the group is able to share their success stories and use the achievements of others to stay positive. “In a group of ten sharing highs and lows, if four have had wins you feel like good things are possible.”

For those working on their own, One Agency Group is helpful in that there are others to turn to across the network. “Surround yourself with resilient people who have seen it all before and connect with others who have had success,” recommends David.

Compartmentalise and know your strengths

David shares that he doesn’t let the doom and gloom get to him. “When things are bad, compartmentalise. Micro focus on the task at hand, whether it be an appraisal or negotiation. Learn to block out all the distractions of the marketplace, bad press and negativity, and just think ‘What do I have to do today?’”

Identifying your strengths when things are slow is another tactic David has relied on. He explains that he recently sat down and went through every sale over the past few years to see where the client had come from. Looking through mail drops, open home results, office walk-ins and referrals, David identified that a large percentage of his vendors were referred from just a handful of people. This gave him the incentive to “...pay more attention to these clients, take them out to lunch and reward them”.

One of David’s peers door knocks religiously to drum up new business. “It’s his source of business and it works for him, so why switch and start doing something like networking instead? Analyse where your business has come from in the past and work your strengths.”

Finally, David’s advice is to know your working personality. “I prefer sprints over marathons and I tend to work hard for a few weeks at a time, including at night.” Having refined his work methods, David is used to his own rhythm. “It really helps to know the way you operate best and then build it in, making sure you take time off after a period of hard work.”

When the going gets tough…

Despite working in one of Australia’s more challenging markets, David has been able to grow his business to a team of around 15. Having a property management side to his One Agency office has played a part in holding steady but he also understands that the pendulum always swings back eventually. “WA has a lot of projects coming up and the population is starting to grow again.”

Having long-term perspective, surrounding himself with resilient people and being a trustworthy confidante to his clients ensure David’s ongoing success as a real estate agent. “As the saying goes, tough times never last but tough people do!”

"It’s not what you make, it’s what you keep that counts."
‒ Paul Davies, Founder and CEO

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