One of our professional mentors announced at the end of 2023, “Congratulations! If you made it through 2023 as a real estate agent, you have made it through the belly of the beast.” As I heard these words, and then another statistic a few weeks later (49% of agents in 2023 sold one or less homes in 2023), I began to reflect on all the moments where our team put in the work, didn’t give up, chose to grow, and finally reflect back with immense gratitude.
The Real Estate Industry took quite a wild ride in 2023. As most of you know, 2020, 2021 and even 2022 were very healthy markets. During some of that time frame, it was definitely in the seller’s favor. As we entered into 2023, we all felt a shift and that shift continued even more drastically as interest rates began to rise. We saw sellers still believing that they held all the power during a transaction and buyers finally bowing their back, realizing that it was a more even distribution of power.
I personally think that one thing that impacted the market that no one really talks about is societal fears. As the world began to focus on inflation, the war in Ukraine and the political future of our country, the last thing people had bandwidth for was to put their home on the market or purchase a property. In general, the people we saw making real estate decisions in 2023, either really, really wanted to sell or buy or had to. It was no longer people sitting on piles of equity and purchasing a more expensive home only to land at the exact same mortgage payment.
As we moved through transactions, it was our utmost priority to handle our clients with care, grace and compassion. We saw a new renewed energy around relationships and the “feel good” between buyers and sellers. Both parties began to see how important it was for forward momentum, quicker decisions, and for lack of a better term, “to play nice in the sandbox.”
I can think of countless transactions last year, where I personally got to see sides of people that brought me joy, honor, and new friendships. We got to witness a buyer and seller signing closing documents at the same table at the escrow office. We had the privilege of meeting with a seller to discuss in advance how he wanted to handle the sale of his real estate upon his death. We said goodbye to a lot of clients who moved out of the area and watched as they settled into their new “hometown.” We even saw quite a few clients return to the Rogue Valley after realizing the grass wasn’t greener on the other side.
Tenacity, grit, and in some cases sheer stubbornness got our team through the challenges of 2023. Where others would’ve given up, we pushed through. Instead of speaking fear, we spoke life, not only into each other, but also into our clients. And they in return also did the same. I couldn’t be more proud of them and us and of the way we handled the chaos, the change, the challenges and the change in culture.
As we dive into 2024, we feel alive and renewed and look forward to another prosperous year ahead.