As with any business, investing in real estate is associated with cycles. Seasonal trends will ultimately play a significant role in market activity. The summer months, for instance, are typically associated with a high volume of transactions. It is at this time of the year that investors tend to do very well. Conversely, the winter months bookending every year are generally slower. This drop in activity may be attributed to the holiday season, as investors may have other priorities.
While investors are highly advised to partake in the holidays, they must not relegate their business to the wayside. This time of the year provides the perfect opportunity to prepare for the upcoming year. Investors need to use downtime to reflect on where their business stands and how they can improve on their current situation. Immediate preparation will award savvy investors the chance to start 2014 off on the right foot.
With that being said, what can an investor focus on as the year draws to an end?
With what ultimately amounts to downtime, the winter months offer several opportunities to catch up on aspects of your business that may have been neglected in the past. Revisit areas that require your attention while you have the chance. Before you know it, 2014 will have already begun.
Investors are advised to review their most recent credit card statements. Take a very meticulous approach and evaluate where your money is being spent. The idea is to eliminate any unnecessary spending that you may be unaware of. Are you spending money on real estate services that you haven’t used in more than six months and have no intent on using in the foreseeable future? Are you paying for things that are not generating growth for your business? Stop it! Reviewing your expenses will essentially contribute to your bottom line, as you will reduce unwarranted expenditures.
Apart from financials, it is equally important to review your contact database. December is the perfect time to update your customer relationship management system. Add new clients that you have recently established a relationship with and remove any of those who are no longer useful. Keeping your contact list up to date is essential to managing relationships and will give you an idea of where most of your business will be coming from in the near future.
Now may even be the perfect time to reach out to contacts and let each one know your are thinking about them. Incorporate a holiday theme and your contacts are inclined to appreciate your gesture. Small actions like this will certainly place you ahead of the competition.
It is worth noting that the holiday season is the perfect time to update your website. Any free time you may have can be dedicated to optimizing each individual page. Set aside an hour or two to go through your pages and make sure everything is up to date and visually appealing.
As you should already be aware, the real estate industry is a people business. The more quality relationships you establish, the more successful you will likely become. Take advantage of the holiday season and reach out to as many people as possible. Christmas, in particular, provides several opportunities to contact everyone you have wanted to talk to over the course of the year. Even if all you do is send out a card, it lets people know you are thinking about them. At the very least, they will appreciate your efforts. They are also more likely to reciprocate their appreciation in your direction.
However, do not focus the entirety of your attention on clients. It is also critical to reconnect with industry professionals. In doing so, you may establish a working rapport or even pick up a few tips. Either way, you are expanding the potential of your business.
Prepare For 2014
Preparing for 2014 requires an acute attention to detail. It pays off to make a very specific business plan. Accordingly, your plan for the New Year must include how many transactions you wish to accomplish and where they will come from. The more specific you are, the more beneficial the plan will become. It is also helpful to incorporate successful aspects from the previous year’s plan. Improve on what worked last year and avoid strategies that failed. Every year should be a progression in the right direction.
Re-examine your market niche. As a real estate agent, you can’t be all things to all people. You’ll get the most bang for your marketing buck if you choose a specific niche like luxury homes, investment properties, first-time buyers, etc. If your marketing still revolves entirely around distressed properties, it’s time to shift your focus to a new niche.