Who Moved My Cheese?

, Jan 22, 2021

I sent this to our office this morning and thought I would share it here:

I recommended this to an Austin real estate agent yesterday and thought I would share with everyone. It’s another one that you don’t really need to read the book – the concept is basically a parable and fits nicely into a Wikipedia plot synopsis. Couple of links:

Who Moved My Real Estate Market?

You guys can probably tell that the 2008 recession impacted me pretty deeply. The recession hurt our industry for a lot of years and I was completely unprepared for it – negative savings, no real plan, etc… Life was pretty good up to 2008 b/c I had figured out SEO and it brought in as many leads as I wanted for what seemed like free (it wasn’t – it took a bunch of time.) Pre-2008, you could sell a house to pretty much anyone who called in because there were literally no financing qualification guidelines. (Please watch or rewatch The Big Short – it’s not an exaggeration of what was going on.) Then, 2008 hit (or really, late 2007) and all the banks went out of business. All of a sudden, you could sell a house to maybe 10% of the people that called in. It was a shock. Holy sh#t! What am I going to do? This was the first time in my business that the cheese moved. I had to figure out a different strategy.

Finding a New Real Estate Strategy

I figured out that I had to spend a lot more time qualifying folks on the phone and explaining to them that, yes, they did need to talk to a lender. I learned hard qualifying questions to ask in real estate:

  • Do you have a w2 job or are you self employed?
  • Do you currently own a house? (It was super hard for people to unload houses then.)
  • Oh, you just sold a house? It didn’t happen to be a short sale, did it? (You can’t buy a house with trashed credit anymore.)

I started spending more time up front qualifying and talking to lots more people than I used to (and wakeboarding less – that was the only real downside.) It took some time, but I figured out where the “real estate” cheese had moved. I learned a lot about efficiency and became a much better real estate agent as a result.

Adopting SEO in the Real Estate Market

In SEO, you’re basically trying to understand (or trick, depending how you look at it) Google’s algorithm. Google updates their algorithm regularly and they used to do it in big waves. The SEO community would name the updates like hurricanes. In 2012, Google rolled out the Penguin update. It completely tanked my website and we lost 95% of our traffic. All of the “free” leads and traffic went away. Holy sh#t! This was the second time in my career that the “real estate” cheese moved. I stared at the wall for a few days refreshing Google Analytics before realizing that the cheese wasn’t coming back to the same location. I knew/know internet marketing pretty well, so started exploring other paid sources. I very luckily hit on something within a couple of months. This time, I didn’t stop after finding one good real estate marketing source and kept working to find multiple sources. I learned how important diversification in marketing is. This is why we have 10+ profitable marketing sources today.

Moving Forward in the Texas Housing Market

I won’t list every time the cheese has moved in my career, but there were certainly others. Every time it happens, you learn something and you become better. I can absolutely see that the cheese moved on us in December/January of this year. Our old strategies aren’t effective anymore. You can’t meet w/ home buyers and just make offers on houses until they win one. I have a lot of thoughts on what we can do to work more efficiently in the Texas real estate market. I can also tell that you guys are figuring it out on your own (the leaderboard shows me that.) It’s tough when there are market shifts. Lots of people fail. Those that don’t fail become much stronger and they ultimately become much more successful. No one here is going to fail. Everyone here will be better, stronger, & more successful by the end of this year. I guarantee it.
</pep talk>

If you are looking for more information on the Texas real estate market feel free to contact us and speak with one of our professional real estate agents. At Bramlett Residential, our Austin real estate company is always here to chat and lend some insight on the housing market!

Additional Readings:

2020 Texas Real Estate Market Year in Review: What Happened Out There?

Is Austin Real Estate Overpriced?

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