America was built on innovation, yet we’ve thrown up our hands when it comes to our most intractable housing problems. As real estate experts, it’s time for us to get down to business.
In these times, double your skills, your knowledge, you. Join us August 8-10 at Inman Connect Las Vegas to lean a shift and learn from the best. Get your ticket now at the best price.
Unpredictable interest rates present challenges to first home ownership. People are locked in their homes and don’t feel like they could afford to sell even if they wanted to.
Meanwhile, rental rates continue to rise, not based on economic reality, but on the perception that renting is the only option for a large percentage of the population.
Home ownership was the cornerstone American Dream throughout our history. It’s literally what brought the first settlers here – the idea that there was room for everyone and the freedom to create community.
The role we play as real estate professionals
As real estate professionals, we capitalized on this idea. We have used it to sell homes and services. We printed it on our marketing materials and put it on our website. Many of us will say something similar in our social media posts during the 4th of July holiday.
Yet, in the face of very real challenges to the whole concept of home ownership as an inalienable American right, we shrug our shoulders and say there’s nothing we can do. It’s out of our hands.
Instead of looking for solutions, many of our colleagues are advocating that we be able to choose who we work with. Make sure they are pre-approved. No, make sure they are pre-signed. Work more with cash buyers so you don’t have to worry about underwriting or mortgage at all.
I am very concerned about this Gen-Z and Millennialstwo of the largest generational cohorts in our country’s history, they largely believe they will never own a house. This should constitute an emergency situation on the part of our industry. Instead, it seems to induce yawns.
A stagnant housing market at a time when so few people are on the path to home ownership should not exist. We have to figure out a way to keep the American dream alive.
Innovative development projects can help
Overcoming Government Obstacles conversion of zombie commercial space brings vision and innovation into living spaces.
What this Commercial real estate, a portfolio of properties connected to the defunct Beverly Hospital? It’s 17.48 acres and approximately 380,000 square feet on 16 lots that are already zoned for multifamily, SFR and retail, among other things. Or this Hospital in Fresno with an area of 412,280 sq.ft.
As cool as Home Depot tiny house ADUs and Amazon ADUs are, they are not enough. They are not long-term solutions, nor solutions that work for everyone.
The Sears Kit Home was the housing solution. It was built to last and thousands still exist today.
Ultimately, it’s up to us to change the narrative—and the reality
But the innovation needed goes beyond developers and investors. As I wrote earlier, I think the mortgage industry really needs to get back to coming up with some solutions for homeowners who want to sell but can’t let go of their low interest rate. After all, that’s what creates this inventory deadlock.
Why not create options that allow people to transfer their interest rate and loan amount to another property? Alternatively, offer a free re-fis to ensure these homeowners get a better deal once rates stabilize.
Educate yourself and the agents on your team or at your brokerage assistance with the payment of the deposit and helping with closing costs is one way to help match buyers with homes. Another thing is to get out of your favorite “easy” communities and find supplies in new and changing markets.
By connecting with contractors and handymen in your area to get numbers on renovations and then working with your most trusted local lenders to identify relevant loan options, you will become a resource rather than an order taker.
Connecting with builders in your area and learning about new zoning and new developments in your market can help. Caring about affordable housing and learning about programs that are relevant to your area can help.
Creating content that is buyer-centric – giving them hope, demystifying and educating them about the process – that’s what gives the world the right energy. It helps overcome the negativity and fear-mongering endemic in the media environment.
You know what you are best equipped to do. If you’re a big number cruncher and statistical analyst, team up with a great communicator to get those numbers out there. If you are interested in promoting fair housing in your area, run or volunteer.
If you are an expert in investment and development, start looking around for projects – and partners to join the new initiative. If you know everyone in city or county government, find out what zoning regulations stand in the way of adaptive reuse projects in your market.
Above all, stop waiting for business to come to you. Do it. Have a conversation. Hold buyer and seller seminars. Reach out to expired and out-of-town investors to find hidden inventory, then help prospective buyers (who may not be 100% ready) prepare and get into the house.
We’ll make it. This is what we were built for. Let’s roll up our sleeves and make it happen.