We used to celebrate the coming of the spring market. It was a magical time when buyers were out, and sellers knew it. New agents used to treat the spring market like it was some sort of industry secret. I swear, you could walk into any Starbucks at any given time and find a minimum of three REALTORS® explaining to whoever they were networking with that “the best time to list is spring.”
Well, some agents have replaced that hot take with another one:
Spring is hard.
You may spend months showing and writing offers for a client, even though the odds may be stacked against them for one reason or another. Many of you will inform a veteran that the stigma surrounding VA financing, a benefit that they earned by serving our country, has cost them yet another deal. You may have to let a buyer know that they lost again because the seller was moved by another buyer’s “love letter,” sometimes making you question whether or not your client was just discriminated against. Some listing agents will do the right thing and call their fellow agents to let them know that their buyer didn’t get the house, only to be met with hostility and frustration on the other side of the phone.
All of this being said, the REALTORS® will make it through this, and will be back in line for the ride next year.
I recently came across an article about the state of health care during COVID that discussed “moral injury.” If you’re not familiar with the term, moral injury is often associated with military service, but can apply when a person is made to do something or perform in such a way that violates that person’s moral codes or belief systems. The article was discussing health care workers and the limited resources they’ve had at their disposal to help those in their care during the pandemic, along with the sense of helplessness they’ve felt in certain situations. Some healthcare workers were made to watch people pass away while loved ones watched, weeping, through a phone’s camera lens. Around 20% of healthcare workers have decided to make a career change over the course of the pandemic.
I want to be clear that I am not trying to liken what we go through in a spring market to the difficulties that healthcare workers are experiencing during the pandemic. I am certainly not trying to compare our experiences to the experiences of those who have fought for our nation. In fact, we have to look at what it means to struggle in our industry and consider how lucky we really are. The idea of moral injury, however, got me thinking about the things that we, as REALTORS®, often must do that may be contrary to our values.
When your buyer purchases a home and waives their right to inspect the property, do you ever stay up at night wondering if they made the right decision? What about when they waive the opportunity to renegotiate based on the appraisal? Do you stay up at night when your buyer breaks the last neighborhood sale price record by $85,000 and you’re not sure if it’s at all worth it? While it is undoubtedly a stretch to call these worries a true “moral injury,” these situations can certainly weigh on us and leave us wondering if we should create an Indeed account and try our hand at… well, literally anything else. I don’t know if you’ve heard, but everyone is hiring!
Considering all of this, why do we come back for more?
Well, for one, we probably aren’t dealing with life-or-death situations. But also, the upside is incredible. I’m not just talking about commissions. I’m talking about giving families the opportunity to build wealth through homeownership. We make our marks on our communities. We sell a home to a buyer, recognizing the possibility that a friendship forged with a new neighbor may change a child’s life. Each transaction has an enormous economic impact (keep an eye out for the new “State by State Economic Impact of Real Estate Activity” report provided by NAR each year – it’s one of my favorite annual reports) that ripples through numerous industries and is a significant portion of our region’s gross product. WE do that. And so we feel fulfilled and impactful. We feel supported by our REALTOR® family, our brokers, and the communities we serve.
Like everything else in this business, each struggle is just part of a cycle. When things are difficult this spring, remember that the reward for your work will come, and that buzz is unlike any other. All markets offer unique opportunities and pathways to that reward, and we will find our way. The REALTORS® will always be there, guiding our clients toward new chapters and changing the landscape of our communities through our work.