With all the interest rate hikes this past year the housing market has naturally cooled off and has entered a slower period. With fewer transactions realtors have more time to develop their businesses and themselves.

James and Denny go over everything they do in a slower market, and what they focus on to make the best use of their time.  

This episode will focus on the current situation in the real estate market, the low number of transactions, how realtors can make the best use of their time, developing your business, taking personal time, the importance of marketing, staying motivated and how to start the new year strong.

Watch and listen to the Garbutt+Dumas Real Estate Podcast below and follow us on Spotify, iTunes & YouTube.

Read the Transcript Here

Hi everyone, I’m James Garbutt. And I’m Denny Dumas. And this is the Garbutt Dumas Real Estate Podcast.

James: What’s the real estate market doing Denny?

Denny: Uhm, it is slow. Just kidding. Wow! That is a very loaded question, this is not going to be that long on the podcast but we’re in a slower period, let’s say that. Interest rates have gone up significantly, there is not a lot of activity compared to 10 year averages and we are heading into what is the slowest month of the year, December. 

As a Realtor going through a slower year, anticipating the next year will be better. How, how do you prepare? How do you use your time wisely? In a slow season like we’re currently in?

James: Yeah, we should just be clear for any listeners who this episode is for our comrades in the industry. For the Realtors out there or anyone that’s kind of just curious about that world. You could be a mortgage broker too, could just be an entrepreneur, could be just a real estate enthusiast and it is a down, it is a slow time of the year. It is a down market. There is a lot of, there’s not enough transactions for everyone to make a living. But there’s always a brighter future. And I feel that all these down months are going to be countered by up months in the future because people want to move and it just delays things and the crowd thinks alike so there’s a lot you can be doing today to set yourself up for a better tomorrow and we’re going through some of that as we are annually on every year from October to December. There is a laundry list of items that our team goes through to get out of the way so that our clients are better marketed too, are hearing from us consistently and we get it out of the way during the slow season so we can focus back on sales in the new year. 

So, I mean, the number one thing for making the best use of your time today, in my opinion is just anything that involves connecting with or updating all your clients, you know like, go through your, everyone that knows you and make sure if you don’t have a CRM, Contact Relationship Management System, get one. If you don’t have any sort of platform where you keep all your contacts in, you should. I mean, that list should grow over time if you’re planning on being in this industry for a while and, and this time of year is a great time to make sure all your contact info is up to date, and you reach out to them as well. It’s a good time to do that.

Denny: Our business is, a big percentage of our businesses is referral based and past clients. And the reason that it’s such a large percentage of our businesses is because we have done a good job over the years in staying in contact with past clients and it is, this time of year is such a good time of year because we have more free time, there’s not as many active deals happening. It is such a good time of year to connect with people that you haven’t connected with in a while. 

Go for a beer with that client that you haven’t seen in a year that moved into a new home. Sending Christmas cards is a great way to stay in touch with people. Phone calls with people that have bought or sold in the last three to six to 12 months and just checking in on them. It is, this time of year, early January is one of those like natural points that is slower in our businesses that you can use that time wisely to connect with people.

James: Fill your calendar with drink appointments, drop off bottles of wine, drop off beer, do the Christmas card thing, just phone call, text message. Just be in front of people and talking to people I think is number one, but there’s other, there’s other things that you can build for long term. And you may not have an email list or email campaign going on now. But make sure you have everyone’s email lists organized. Make sure you have the way that you want them addressed in the email or in an envelope if you sent them, their mailing title. Make sure you have their address up to date. And then the other things that you know are less, are probably the new way of kind of keeping the touch, is going through your Instagram and Facebook friends and going back to your clients. Look at which past clients can I follow on Instagram then use Instagram as a tool to keep in touch with people as well. So social media, making sure you’re following not just clients but in the industry. I think that there’s huge value in to gaining reputation and network in amongst Realtors alone because you get a lot of referrals from other areas. So…

Denny: I had an email yesterday from a Realtor on the island who is just connecting with people in Greater Vancouver to try to build those referral relationships and those are such good ideas, just connecting with people and in areas where that clients from Greater Vancouver often move to the Okanagan, the island, you know other parts of Canada and building relationships with someone over there that can go both ways.

James: It’s not the time to go through all the administrative detailed tasks of updating contact information or following people when you’re in the middle of busy season. Next spring I anticipate will be busy. Get this out of the way before you hit. Get any planning out of the way before it hits. 

Another thing that would be very worthwhile is educating yourself, learning. You know, this is a great time to learn. We have changes in our industry right now with irrevocable direction of presenting offers, cooling off period. What else we have Denny? There’s, there’s a few things I mean that we were talking about. We did a previous episode talking about tenancy laws where there’s so many areas that you can add value to a client’s life or build your own sort of brand in, that now’s a good time to learn about.

Denny: If you are planning to market yourself next year, now’s a good time to kind of game plan and whether it’s educating yourself or building some sort of inventory of marketing material, whether that is flyer dropping, video. Our team right now is utilizing some free time to create more content in the anticipation of rolling that out next year. But having all of that stuff ready to go, so that when you do get busy next year, it’s not “Oh, I don’t have time to create that video” You’ve already got it.

James: Yeah. Now is a great time to create content that doesn’t expire. Evergreen content, content that will pay dividends for 5-10 years. YouTube videos are, could be blog posts. It could be anything that’s searchable. Anything that, talk about areas, talk about neighborhoods, when someone looks up a building or a development, maybe they’ll land on your video or your blog posts. That’s great content to work on now. Fine tuning your brand. One of the things that we have on our list aside from just creating content is making sure the intro and exit of our videos all jives you know? We’ve, we’ve added marketing over the years at different eras and sometimes they don’t all look alike you know. So having consistency is one thing that we’re working on for, bearing consistency.

In this podcast is around, talking about learning, learn something, you get more on it if you share it after you learn it. So you know, our podcast is around learning about a topic and then sharing it with you in this format. And you know, yes, we have experience with a lot of topics we talked about. We can wing some of them but often we prep for these podcasts and we’re looking at, you know, if we learn a new form or new regulation that’s coming into the board, we want to learn it and then share it with you. And if you’re a Realtor in the space, you should learn it and share it with your audience as well. That could go for a new form. It could be about a neighborhood, it could be looking into investment condos. It could be what is your angle, and what do you want to be known as and learn that and share that content. If you just learn it and keep it secret, doesn’t go as far.

Denny: It’s, it’s a topic in Greater Vancouver that seems like every single person that lives here is interested in real estate. And so if you can provide value to your database, to your audience, by sharing all these little things that we see on a daily basis that often we take for granted that we know, those are very valuable to people and those are what kind of builds your reputation as a leader in the industry when you are constantly providing information to people that are looking for.

James: Find, I guess inspiration too, you know? There’s, there’s Realtors in the US all over around the world, that some Realtors are focused on Reels and Instagram. Some Realtors are focused on evergreen content, YouTube format, there’s a different approach to a different style, not everyone, figure out what your style is and find inspiration and then go hard at it. Right now is the time to create content. And when you get busy, your content is going to more evolved into what you’re listing and selling. And I think that’s great content when you’re busy. But when you’re not busy, I think talking about neighborhoods, areas, if you’re, whether it’s investment condos, you name it there’s so much you can talk about right now.

Denny: As a busy realtor Jamie ,you’ve been in the industry 15 years.

James: Oh! It’s coming up! Yeah! Longest I’ve done something. Longest I’ve stuck to it, I can’t believe it.

Denny: That is hilarious that you made that comment because I was thinking about that the other day. I’m almost nine years into the industry. And I look back at like other things I’ve done whether it be sports or working in the bars or brief stint at the bank. I feel like huh, I’ve quit everything except real estate.

James: That’s cause every day is so different, every week is different. It’s like a new job every day.

Denny: Absolutely! Do you take any time for yourself? This time of year? Should busy Realtors take time for themselves? Or should they grind, update their website, make sure their content is ready to go for next year? Build inventory of flyers and all the different types of marketing stuff that you plan for next year?

James: I’m a big believer that you live by the real estate schedule. You vacation by it. Until you’ve made it you know? Absolutely to answer your question. Realtors listening, if you are, one day you’ll, you know, there’ll be a moment where you go on vacation when you want. But rule of thumb is when you go on vacation, that’s when your next deal shows up. So, if you want to mitigate that and have the most peaceful vacations, I tend to plan around the seasons and December is a great month to get away. I think even early January is good. But once you get to mid January, there’s more in like, that second, third week of January the calls start coming in and it is, it’s good to get into work mode. You know so, my, you know everyone has a different season but my thought is my mid January. By mid January you want to get into work mode. So get those vacations out of the way. August is another great month to get away and for those with families. Do that guilt free spring break trip you know that’s in March. That’s teeing up for a busy spring. But it is one of those windows where people can be a little more latency to get away. 

So I’m coming from the perspective of when is it okay to ignore your phone? Even though you know, technically I’ve struggled to ignore my phone but most probably times are December early January, August and spring break. So yes, work those cycles.

And Denny, I guess from, from your end like, how do you stay motivated? Like, what kind of comments to you have on you know that new or Realtor that’s just done one or two deals this year and hasn’t gotten the experience yet, doesn’t have the database yet. How do you stay motivated?

Denny: If you’ve done one or two deals and you’re lacking motivation, I would question whether or not this industry is for you.

But if you’re new in your career, I think man, there’s so many valuable things you can do this time of year to set yourself up for success next year. Building content like we just talked about, that is one of the huge things that can make you look busier than you are in real estate and being part of a team, we have a ton of opportunity for younger people in the industry to share all of those stories that we’re sharing. 

The motivation thing for me is very difficult to understand because I’ve never struggled with it. It’s always been a pro for me, work ethic and being very motivated. So I struggled to answer that question for people that are looking for motivation.

James: I struggled with it a bit too. I think we’re both the types that struggle to sit still. I think the self awareness of: what did you do today that made more people aware of what you’re doing? Or did you do anything today that invested in your mind for future, you know, awareness and, and I tend to find when I was a new agent and going into the office, there’s a lot of office culture that didn’t seem to be productive. So you know, I not I mean, some people need an office to be productive, but my thought is, be honest with yourself about, yeah, you’re right in our way of motivation. If you’re struggling to be motivated, find inspiration. If it’s still a struggle, maybe reconsider the career. 

This is not an easy path. And it’s a path that it gets hard until it gets easy and then it doesn’t ever really get easy. It’s just you never, you get to a point of momentum that you just, you don’t want to lose. So once you have that momentum of consistent listings and sales and, and hundreds of people knowing that you are what you do and trusting you to do it. It’s yours to lose. But to get there you have to hustle. And if you’re not there and you’re struggling with motivation, I think I would just focus on writing down the honest truth about what your process in a week would look like to be productive, whether that’s how many calls or how many flyers you’re going to drop off or how many people you’re going to follow on Instagram or how many emails you’re going to send out to leads, you know. You put down numbers, measurable stuff, that, that are action items that get you to where you want to be. And then just focus on the process. You know, if you’re purely focused on how much money you’re gonna make, it’s gonna be a real up and down, emotional roller coaster for you. And then years ahead. But yeah, I think folks in the process of productive habits is probably the key thing. 

Well Denny, I think anyone that listened this far is likely a Realtor cause, if you’re not a Realtor, thanks for listening! And I’ll end with is, we want to, we want to work with you. I mean, if, if, whether you’re a Realtor or whether you’re a real estate enthusiast. It’s November you might be listening to this in December. This is our off season, this time to connect, reach out to our team. Whether you’re buying or selling or just want just looking for some tips or advice. As a young Realtor. We’re friendly! Where would they go, Denny?

Denny: And, I mean, this podcast is a lot of fun for us and we’re brainstorming topics every week to share. If you want us to talk about something, if you’ve done a deal with us in the past and want to share an experience or want to ask why we did something the way that we did. We’re always looking for ideas on what to share on the podcast. So reach out. We would love, if you’re taking value from this podcast for you to leave us a five star review and share it with your friends. 

James: We’re talking in an empty room right now. We need some validation, that five star review would be great! Thanks for listening.