Working in One of the Fastest-growing Cities in the U.S. w/ Theresa Bastian
Join us for part two of our very special two-part Keeping It Real where we sat down with Theresa Bastian in person at Pouch 6 Studios in Austin. Theresa is an Austin-based broker and Certified Divorce Real Estate Expert (CDRE) with extensive experience selling, marketing, and pricing properties.
In Part One, Theresa talked to us about her unusual approach to social media. In Part Two we focus on how Theresa has weathered the highs and lows of working in one of the fastest-growing markets in the country.
Taking what she learned from ‘08 to inform the core structure of her business, Theresa discusses how she pivoted her business during both COVID-19 and the recent market shift.
Austin, Texas, was labeled a Boom Town community during the first few months of the pandemic and is still one of the fastest-growing cities in America. Even though this development promised good business for real estate agents and firms, things aren’t always great, especially during market shifts. Theresa Bastian has joined Real Geeks to share what it’s like to work in Austin as a real estate agent and what you can do to adapt to the ever-changing market. Keep reading to learn more!
Before: The Growth Austin Experienced During the Pandemic
When Theresa heard the news about the lockdowns in March 2020, she was already preparing for the worst. However, nobody expected the mass exodus of people from the cities. They wanted to move out of their apartments and into something bigger since they were newly able to do remote work. This development resulted in high demand and a lack of inventory.
Even though Theresa and the agents she worked with saw this as a good thing, they had to adapt and modify their process because everyone was busy. There was also information asymmetry, with many agents not having enough details about certain neighborhoods.
Still, agents were able to close homes that buyers never go to see personally. The pandemic prompted contactless showings that were mostly limited to video. Closings were also quick, and real estate agents and sellers saw a significant increase in income thanks to the demand. A home could sell for up to $100,000 above the asking price.
A Shift in the Market
All the rush came to a halt when interest rates started to come up. Theresa mentions that it was like a train hit a brick wall. These small shifts in the market were also picked up by the media, which amplified what should’ve been a minor bump in the road. Thanks to these factors, sales went down and inventories came up. Potential buyers were more concerned about the current interest rates during the nurturing stage.
What Theresa Did
When the market shifted once again, Theresa held fast and slowed down her operations. She mentions that it takes time for people to get used to higher interest rates. In fact, she observed that after six months, people were no longer asking about interest rates. People, especially younger buyers, were more keen on finding a house that fits their needs.
This change is mostly due to the idea that recessions are no longer as impactful as they were back in 2008. Thanks to the internet, people are more impatient. Potential buyers are also more knowledgeable. If these people are set on buying a house, they’d probably have an in-depth idea of what they want. The nurture stage would be shorter as a result.
Tips for Agents and Firms
As of January, new buyer registrations are going up again on the Real Geeks platform, according to Theresa. However, no matter what the current state of the market is, she sticks to strategies that allow her to stay on top:
- Meet with other agents and share data information to gain new perspectives. Armed with this data, agents can be more confident about the advice they’d give to buyers.
- Be nimble about your expenditures. The market can change at any time, so it’s better to have a scalable budget that you can adjust based on the demand or your priorities.
- Maintain a lifetime pipeline of loyal customers. The referrals from these people can help you stay on top of things even during recessions.
While working in one of the fastest-growing cities in the U.S., Theresa has faced the most demanding and perilous situations. What she learned is that agents need to play the long game, whether it’s nurturing clients or waiting out the effects of a recession. Follow what we shared above and stay tuned for our next podcast episode!
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