It doesn’t matter whether you identify as a Republican, Democrat, or neither. Now that Donald Trump is president and a new Congress is in power, we all are facing unknowns. None of us is sure how this administration will handle matters of real estate, health care, employment, national security, or any other topic. Such unknowns make people feel unsettled, and as we real estate professionals know, consumer anxiety can have a trickle-down effect and dampen real estate markets.
But a new, unpredictable political landscape is nothing we can’t handle. Even as I read about the government’s plans to loosen financial regulations that could ease lending standards—which may speed up financing but also could bring up some of the issues from the last housing crisis—I’m not too worried. First, any changes that might occur in our industry likely won’t take effect quickly. Second, remember our fortitude in volatile times. When the Great Recession began in 2007, we had no warning of how bad it would become. Record-high foreclosure levels, fewer mortgage options, and increased industry regulations through Dodd-Frank legislation hit us like a ton of bricks. The changes were fast and hard, but the skilled practitioners who were committed to fulfilling their clients’ needs figured out what to do. (Read how three such real estate pros persevered through the market crash.)
Now we have no reason to believe we’re heading toward that kind of downturn, but many real estate pros are still understandably anxious. As a broker, I’m coming up on 30 years in this industry—10 of which I spent as a selling agent—and I understand the unease you might be feeling. What do you do with the stress? Exercising, staying informed, and connecting with colleagues by sharing stories, ideas, and laughter are some ways I’ve battled anxiety in my career. But what I’ve clung to most is having a positive attitude, and that’s what our clients need from us right now.
Positivity is an innate trait among the most successful agents I’ve known. No one can take the leap into the uncertainty of this business without a confident outlook. I think back to a time when I was a single parent with three school-age children and being terrified that I had no more sales in the hopper. I’d sold all my friends’ homes already and wasn’t sure where to turn next. I started calling past clients to see how they were, hoping some business might crop up. After connecting with people who were genuinely glad to hear from me, they gave me referrals. It’s a scenario every real estate pro knows, and it’s important to remember it now. Our clients’ lives don’t stop for recessions or election years, bad times or good times. Divorces, births, job changes, and death are all events that lead to real estate needs.
I’ve been a leader in my Portland, Ore., market through much tumult: the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the 2007 financial collapse, the death of beloved agents, and office closures. I’m here to tell you that we all can persevere through hurdles like these. Yes, we’re creatures of habit, and disturbances to our routines can throw us for a loop and require time to regain our composure. More often than not, we come out on the other side stronger, happier, and more valuable to our clients.
You have to be a resilient human being to work in an industry that has always demanded a certain level of flexibility. The considerable skills you have developed through the process of selling real estate will serve you well. I, too, am anxious about what our future holds, but I have real estate in my bones. To me, that means working hard and being adaptable to whatever comes my way.