Managing Stress in an Uncertain Market

By MNR News posted 11-02-2022 12:11

The uncomfortable state of not knowing what’s coming has long loomed over human decisions, from our early cave-dwelling ancestors to chatroom-dwelling young people. Science tells us that unknowns surrounding significant investments—among them, buying and selling property—often trigger mental anguish. Over the past two years, uncertainty has become an unwelcome, long-term guest in American households. 

APA’s Stress in America 2022 study revealed that nearly three-quarters of Americans had serious concerns about the future of the country, citing anxiety over widespread political divisiveness, the possibility of economic recession, and rising inflation among others. The study found that inflation specifically is a source of stress for 83% of Americans. Economic inflation, coupled with higher fixed mortgage rates, has cooled the once piping-hot housing market, leaving Realtors®, buyers, and sellers wondering what’s next.   

In times like these, the task of a Realtor® is uniquely challenging but incredibly important. Clients will look to their agents for expertise, guidance, and reassurance. But Realtors® can’t simply put on a happy face while ignoring their own stress and concerns. Perhaps you’ve wondered recently, How can I convey confidence to a client when I myself am not confident in the future of the housing market? What does this slowdown mean for my career, my finances, and my family? And most importantly, What can I really do about it? 
When these unknowns become overwhelming, there are steps you can take to regain emotional balance, find a healthy sense of control, and reestablish confidence without simply ignoring the reality of the challenges at hand.  

Press Pause 

24 hours is barely enough daylight for ambitious Realtors® seeking both success and personal fulfillment in their work, especially agents looking for an edge in a slower market. But burn-out doesn’t play favorites. Remember the adage, “You can’t help others until you help yourself.” Don’t let the stress of unknowns derail your work/life balance or disrupt your self-care routine. Shutting off your phone for an evening, getting out into nature, seeing a movie, taking a bath, meditating, and spending time with family and friends are a few meaningful ways to recharge.  

Whatever activity, or lack thereof, helps you press pause on the frenetic world around you—try to work those moments into your daily schedule. You’ll be surprised how reenergized you’ll feel upon returning to work, with a renewed focus and drive to serve your clients and generate new leads. 

Get Educated 

One of the things within your control as a Realtor® is the depth of your knowledge and understanding of the housing market. Educating yourself might seem like a heavy lift at first but doing so will pay dividends for your business later. Though there’s a difference between education and pessimism when it comes to reading about the market online. 

Due to the high competition for clicks, sensationalist media headlines often lean too heavily on the doom-and-gloom, and too light on historical context and facts. The reality of our current market is far more nuanced than suggested by attention-nabbing language like “crash,” “recession,” and “housing bust.”  

For instance, despite home price declines across the nation, the Midwest remains stable by comparison. The Twin Cities metro area, in particular, has weathered fewer peaks and valleys historically than other similar-sized metropolitan areas across the U.S.—a fact that can serve to comfort both buyers and sellers. In a recent Star Tribune article about home pricing in today’s market, experts suggested we likely won’t see significant declines in home prices in the future. 

Understanding up-to-date statistics local to your area or region will help you deliver quality information to your clients and gain an advantage in your business. Read as much local news as you can about housing, inflation, and the economy. Follow the MNR Monthly Housing Reports and NAR’s Newsroom. You’ll feel more empowered and emboldened to help buyers or sellers understand their situations and make the best decisions.  

Stay Connected 

Even if you take time to unplug, now is not the time to check out. Stay connected to your brokerage, discuss business strategy with colleagues, and look for new ways to generate leads. This might involve reviving traditional ways of connecting with prospective clients, like cold-calling or door-knocking. Devote some of your work week to goal setting for the coming new year.  

Consider this slower market as an opportunity to reconnect to yourself, celebrate what you’ve accomplished, and find time to volunteer in your community. Doing good for others can help you gain a clearer sense of your place in the world.