4 Can't Miss Takeaways From the YPN March Breakfast: Navigating A Changing Market | Chicago Association of REALTORS®

On Wednesday, March 31, 2021, we hosted our monthly YPN breakfast virtually through Zoom. Even though our get-togethers at Manny’s Deli were put on hold, we couldn’t wait to devour advice from local industry experts. You can stay up-to-date on upcoming YPN virtual events by following the YPN Facebook page!





Thank you to Melanie Everett, Melanie Everett & Company, Rashauna Scott, Kale Realty, and Phil Byers, COMPASS, for sharing your time and expertise with YPN! How are these local legends leveling up their businesses and achieving success while navigating a market rife with change and uncertainty?

Throwback to March 2020. When you pivot, go back to basics.

Phil brought us back to March 2020 when the shelter-in-place order for COVID-19 first took hold of Chicago, halting business everywhere across all industries. How did Melanie and Rashauna pivot during this sudden market change?

The group agreed, no one was without panic or fear. From stress eating to anxious, masked walks, the enormous task of pivoting a business that was, at the time, frozen in place felt daunting.

“I had to be very mindful about having such a presence on social media,” Rashauna, who already had a significant social media presence, admitted. “It was a very sensitive time. Once I buckled down and realized real estate was deemed essential, I took the opportunity to slow down so I could speed up. In that slowing down, I got my systems in order, built out my CRM and looked at my follow-up system.”

She got down to basics and took advantage of the pause. “It was something I needed to do anyway. When you’re in the business, you don’t take a lot of time to work on the business. Had I not taken the time, there’s no way I could keep up.”

Melanie had been celebrating almost exactly one year into her new boutique brokerage, and the shelter-in-place order had felt terrifying. Yet, she had already been paying attention and tracking key success metrics. Her wildly popular “So You Want To Buy A Condo” seminar experienced a sudden drop in RSVP’s as word of COVID-19 began to circulate the news ahead of March.

Thinking on her feet, she partnered with her lender and taught herself how to host a webinar version of the traditionally in-person seminar. By the second week in March, they were already virtual. What can be learned from Melanie’s quick thinking and adaptation? Successful real estate brokers know the behind-the-scenes of their business so well, they can recognize patterns and adapt their strategies as necessary.

Help your buyers with real-talk.

Given the competitive low-inventory market, Phil asked our guest experts how they’re counseling their buyers.

Real talk? It has been difficult to not let feelings of discouragement overwhelm buyer clients and their own teams. “My team talked about this at our last meeting. It can be so discouraging. We recommend being very open with them [your clients] from the get-go about how competitive the market is so they have that expectation when they eventually see a place they like,” Melanie said.

She asks her buyer clients how high they want to go and leaves it up to them, outright acknowledging that these limits and their comfort level is solely up to them to set. “We aren’t pushing at all. We’re partnering with them so they can understand the value on their own,” she added.

Rashauna agreed, losing again and again in a multiple offer situation is not easy. She reiterated the importance of approaching the conversation with a frustrated buyer through the lens of partnership. “When we’re getting down to a multiple offer situation, it is really helpful to have a lending partner who can quickly respond and run numbers so they can see that and understand,” she added to Melanie’s point.

The same applies to later in the transaction when contract negotiations are underway. Both Melanie and Rashauna give as much information as possible upfront and strive to empower their buyers to make informed decisions about what they want to negotiate on.

What creative ways are they finding inventory? The answer is all around us.

Your network! “I really try my best to find off-market deals for my investors because of this situation,” Rashauna said. “That’s through networking with other brokers about what they have coming up and even within my own team. I ask them what their sellers are doing.”

Phil agreed that staying connected with your colleagues and other REALTORS® has been so important over the last year. This community can help support you, share advice and insight and relate to the struggles you’re going through.

While Melanie’s boutique brokerage doesn’t have the fleet of other real estate professionals to turn to in company-wide messages or emails, she maintains friendships with other brokers in different brokerages and pays attention to her Instagram feed. “There are plenty I follow on Instagram, and when I see a photoshoot in their Story, I may reach out and ask for the address.”

They are grateful for the little things because they add up.

Like Phil said, this spring seems to offer a light at the end of the tunnel. Looking back, what stands out to Melanie and Rashauna that they’re glad they did?

“I am so glad I got my system in order,” Rashauna said. “There’s no way I could have handled getting the volume of clients I did; I was basically setting myself up for a record-breaking year.”

Reviewing your systems or finetuning a CRM may seem menial, but these small yet essential tasks set up Rashauna’s business like a fine-tuned vehicle. She was ready to hit the ground running.

For Melanie, she was grateful she and her team focused on giving back. “I ask myself, how can we bless our clients and support our city? I saw people on my leads list (not even clients yet!) come together to raise money. We did lots of little stuff this year.”

By building those come-together moments, she added dimension to her business and strengthened relationships with people in the periphery of her lead funnel. Small actions add up to large-scale success.