Thought for the day

When we meet young people interested in our industry, they routinely ask us what they should do to become agents. We always say that you don’t become an agent when you get your license. You become an agent when you decide to put in the time, work, and effort to separate yourself.

The moment you go door-knock, sit in an open house, and generate your own leads, then you start to learn. The moment you start to learn, that’s when you become an agent.

We’re mentioning this because sometimes it’s easy to feel stuck if the market isn’t moving or you’ve hit a slump. We think that everything is a learning experience, and as long as you are learning, you are improving.

That’s one of the reasons we started this newsletter. We know there’s always something new to learn every day. So… on that note, let’s get into it!

– James and David

Fed raises rates

Source: Unsplash

The Fed raised rates by a quarter of a point on Wednesday, its 8th rate increase in a year. Expect further rate moves to come, as the Fed continues to drive down inflation by slowing consumer and business demand.

According to NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun, this is good news for homebuyers who have been waiting for mortgage rates to come down. He believes this may be the good news people have been waiting for, though it may take some time for mortgage rates to fall below 6%.

Our take

No surprise here! We expected this to happen, and that’s why we don’t see it as a big deal. There’s evidence that interest rates have already peaked, and we’re already seeing buyers re-engage in the market. A couple days ago, a few agents on our team told us they are receiving multiple offers on properties. Remind your clients that rates are still historically low, and the past two years were a fluke!

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VRBO is using tech to end party rentals

Source: Unsplash

Ahead of the Super Bowl in Phoenix later this month, Vrbo has launched a new technology aimed at preventing party bookings. The new technology doesn't cancel existing bookings, but its algorithm identifies high-risk bookings and allows hosts to cancel them without penalty.

Here are the main takeaways:

  • Vrbo assesses each booking and generates a “risk score” based on factors like length of stay, lead time, number of guests and beds, and weekday of the first booked night.

  • During the technology’s test phase, Vrbo saved hosts an estimated $2.5 million in party-related damages, as well as disruptions to surrounding neighborhoods.

  • Over the past 12 months, fewer than 0.25% of all Vrbo weekend bookings in the U.S. led to party-related complaints.

Our take

We expect to see more of this technology implemented across our industry. If your clients own a short-term rental or they’re considering buying one, be sure to share this with them. The margins are already extremely thin for rental property owners, so this technology can help prevent unforeseen damages.

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Keep your eyes on the Midwest

Source: Unsplash

Economists expect the Midwest region to be big in 2023, with 7 of the top 10 emerging markets coming from the center of the country. The top metros are smaller cities with strong economies and more affordable homes for sale, which appeals to buyers feeling the pinch from inflation and high mortgage rates.

Here are the average home prices for 2023's top 10 emerging markets:

  1. Lafayette, IN – $299,900

  2. Fort Wayne, IN – $269,900

  3. Elkhart, IN – $247,000

  4. Topeka, KS – $224,900

  5. Johnson City, TN – $376,018

  6. Columbia, MO – $339,900

  7. Kingsport, TN – $299,950

  8. Savannah, GA – $399,900

  9. Columbus, OH – $329,450

  10. La Crosse, WI – $359,900

Our take

If you’re working in one of these markets, we suggest coming up with a game plan to meet new buyers. Start networking, door-knocking, and going to open houses. And if you happen to know a seller in these markets, it’s definitely a good time to reach back out, tell them about this list, and get them excited to make a move!

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The news that just missed the cut


Foundation Plans

Advice from James and David to win the day

One of the biggest challenges for new agents is having the confidence to establish yourself as an expert in your local market. We know that impostor syndrome can be real at first, but we're sure you know more than you think. You can gain a solid understanding of your community just by living there for a decent amount of time and doing basic research as an agent.

Here are three ways for new agents to establish themselves as local experts:

  • Create video content. Any marketer will tell you that video content is king, and we think it's one of the best ways to position yourself as a local real estate expert. Try showcasing local businesses on your social media and website, and ask them to share your posts on theirs for extra eyes on your content.

  • Make it personal. Think of a creative way to connect your passions to the local community. Passionate about art? Try assembling artists for an art show. Love animals? Host a fundraiser for the local shelter. This gets your name out there and benefits your community.

  • Create a neighborhood guide. Level up your next open house by showing potential buyers all the benefits of buying in that neighborhood. Include things like shops, restaurants, schools, and other neighborhood amenities, and be sure to include images to bring the neighborhood to life!

Want to learn more about establishing yourself as a local expert? Click to read the article.

Just in Case

Keep the latest industry data in your back pocket with today’s mortgage rates:

Source: Rocket Mortgage

That’s all for this edition of The Blueprint! Remember that next week we kick off season 2 of our podcast, Rise Above the Ranks. We’ve got some good stuff in store this season — you won’t want to miss it!

In the meantime, be sure to check out all of our season 1 episodes → Apple | Spotify | YouTube

Have an amazing weekend, and we’ll see you on Tuesday!

– James and David