By Alyssa Panduro
The real estate agency is an ever growing and changing market, according to Jerry Stapp, a licensed real estate professional since 2004 and a broker since 2013 in California. His experiences include being a certification of forms trainer, selling new homes, listing distressed properties, and working on the lending side of the business, which have helped him see the changes that are occurring in the real estate industry and some of the ways the market has influenced such changes.
Stapp has remained vigilant in this industry and also noted the way the large nation and world events, such as the 2008 stock market crash and the Covid-19 pandemic have affected the market for home sales and the real estate industry as a whole.
Stapp stated that he believes the most difficult time for real estate agents was during the stock market crash in 2008, though his own experience was different from those of his constituents.
“Personally, I did well in this era because I sold REO properties which are bank-owned properties taken from people that can no longer pay for their mortgages. Many other agents never had the opportunity, causing a struggle to find business,” said Stapp.
Stapp stated that the market had remained relatively balanced after it recovered, before the Covid-19 pandemic.
“From 2015 to 2019 we had a healthy market. There’s always going to be more leverage between the buyers versus the sellers at any time, but in those years there was a balanced market,” said Stapp.
Stapp stated the Covid-19 pandemic influenced that balance negatively in the past few years.
“Since Covid hit, it’s been unbalanced, and now that we’re coming out of that Covid time and rates are peaking fast we’re unbalanced again,” said Stapp.
Stapp expressed that he did not believe there could be another market crash like the one that occurred in 2008, due to the increase in stability for purchasing rates.
“They allowed people to qualify to buy a home at a fake rate of 1%. These were adjustable-rate mortgages which meant, over time, the payment would dramatically increase because the rate increased,” said Stapp.
Stapp saw himself and other agents benefiting from some of the changes for real estate agents during the pandemic.
“There was a time during the pandemic when open houses weren’t available. The California Association of Realtors laid out a strict plan on how to manage showings which transitioned presentations and meetings with clients to zoom,” said Stapp.
Stapp saw this change as advantageous to sellers and realtors like Stapp, because it was convenient.
“Now, agents find a lot of value in a meeting through Zoom, saving us time and convenience,” said Stapp.
Yet, the shift to virtual open houses did not last long according to Stapp.
“Agents pivoted to a virtual open house [during the pandemic], inviting people to Zoom or Facebook live to see the property. It was nowhere near as successful as holding a traditional open house,” claimed Stapp.
Stapp stated his clients did benefit during the Covid-19 pandemic despite the obstacles that came with virtual open houses.
“During the pandemic, my sellers benefited tremendously because of the low inventory and artificially low-interest rates… Buyers had a difficult time because of the low inventory, and to be considered on an offer, they had to offer $50,000 to $100,000 more than the asking price,” said Stapp.
Stapp claimed that this lack in inventory led to a greater willingness to pay more money for homes in order to secure a purchase.
Currently, the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic continue to take a toll on buyers and sellers because interest rates are on the rise as a result of these previous high sales of homes according to Stapp.
According to Stapp, he had one client who was approved for $500,000 previously and, as of our interview, that client’s approval went down to $450,000. The clients financial status had not changed, according to Stapp, and this change was instead attributed to “the rise in interest rates.”
“Home sellers are worried about the increase in rates on the next home purchase,” said Stapp.
Stapp stated buyers are concerned about “not being able to qualify for what they once did,” and spending more money for the same home they had intended to buy at a previously lower price.
Even with such challenging events as the 2008 stock market crash and Covid19 pandemic in his career, Stapp continued to express an eagerness for continuing the work he does.
“It’s essential for me to be ethical and not be concerned about my pay but rather, do what’s right for my client,” said Stapp.
Stapp currently is looking forward to changes that are happening in the real estate industry.
“I value this industry and my focus is to help it elevate from where it is now,” said Stapp.
A current change Stapp has partaken in himself is that of the new agency business models.
“The brokerage that I am with, such as EXP Realty, is agent owned. It’s a new concept that older brokerage models don’t like, they are afraid of it in my opinion,” said Stapp.
Stapp recognized this model as the future of real estate businesses.
“In my model, agents have an ownership component, so we’re paid better. I would say it’s the future of real estate,” said Stapp.
Stapp’s advice to any real estate agent is to remain well-established and connected to avoid ever “needing” a transaction to succeed in order to remain stable financially.
Additionally, Stapp warned agents to be aware of their time management in order to be successful.
“Many agents don’t know how to manage a calendar because they don’t have an actual boss,” said Stapp.
Stapp shared the sense of accomplishment he feels from being a part of the real estate industry.
“As an agent, we get to see clients enjoy something that we accomplished, I love this industry,” said Stapp.
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