The Year in Review: What 2021 Taught Real Estate Agents

Congratulations: you made it through another year. Another year that was unlike any other.

For many of us, the year is coming to an end in a way that no one wanted. More worrisome news about a pandemic that still isn’t over.

But that doesn’t mean the entire year was all bad news. While there was plenty of darkness, there was plenty of light, too. There were accomplishments, wins and growth.

Let’s focus on growth. Instead of looking back at the best or worst moments of this strange year, let’s instead recognize all that we’ve learned — things we can take with us into 2022.

So let’s go. Here’s what 2021 taught real estate agents.

Always Have a Backup Plan

Things changed rapidly in 2021. 

There were times when it felt as though we were returning to normal, that there was certainty in the air. And there were times when that certainty became uncertainty in the blink of an eye.

If you didn’t have a backup plan this year — for open houses, walk-throughs, and anything that required face-to-face interaction — you felt the squeeze.

Between March 2020 and now, real estate agents have gotten really good at hoping for the best and preparing for the worst. 

That may sound pessimistic, but it’s not. Real estate agents, like professionals working in many other industries, figured out how to keep going and make things happen when it felt hard, or even impossible, to do so.

You livestreamed open houses

You sold homes sight unseen

You figured how to manage your real estate business while in quarantine.

And so much more.

A Social Media Presence Is Essential

It’s no surprise that we’ve felt for a long time now that having a presence on social media is essential for real estate agents no matter what. But this year really made it clear. 

Social media gives real estate agents potential to grow and communicate with their audience in an affordable and accessible way that’s unrivalled by more marketing traditional tools. 

It’s 24/7. It (almost) never goes down. People of all ages and backgrounds flock to it. 

All of that proves to be especially true during the ups-and-downs of a pandemic. People turned to social media. And real estate estate agents were there to put it to good use, connecting with new leads virtually as much as possible.

Social media — perhaps Instagram especially — gave real estate agents a way to stay connected and to continue to raise their profile during all the highs and lows of this year. 

Real estate agents on social media were able to find cool ways to share their listings. They used Instagram Stories and Reels to show their personalities and connect with followers on a more personal level. They experimented with TikTok in order to reach a new audience. 

Hopefully agents who have been skeptical of social media in the past are now seeing the advantages. And those who have been using it all along are more convinced that it’s an essential marketing tool.

Remote Work Is *Permanently* Changing Things

Making big moves — relocating from big cities to small towns, buying a weekend property, and upsizing — turned out not to be just a knee-jerk reaction in 2020. 

The trend continued in 2021, even when it seemed like things were finally going back to normal, and it continued to shape the real estate market.

Why? Remote work.

Any workplace that could adopt a mostly remote work policy did during the height of the pandemic. Many have either made the policy permanent or at least introduced more flexibility about where their employees work. And in the cases of companies that haven’t, many employees are leaving for companies that do.

All that has given current and would-be homeowners major flexibility when it comes to where they live. It’s also changed what they want from their homes; dedicated workspaces, for instance, have become more important than ever.

This shift has and will continue to mean big things for real estate agents, too. To keep up with changing wants and needs, they’ve had to switch up their own approach. 

Real Estate Agents Are Still Relevant

Alongside the rise of tech-based solutions and for-sale-by-owner services, there’s been a rise in skepticism about whether real estate agents are “worth it” anymore.

In a red hot housing market, when properties sell quickly, many sellers have asked whether real estate agents provide enough value for the commission they receive. Couldn’t sellers just do it themselves?

This year has answered that question. In a time of so much unknown and rapid change, working with a real estate agent provides a sense of guidance, comfort and security that “going it alone” doesn’t.

Real estate agents have held their clients’ hands this year, taking charge during a period of confusion and worry, and helping alleviate some stress and anxiety. They proved that professional services still count; there are times when you just can’t beat the experience and personal touch that comes with working with a professional.

Heading into 2022, that should be a motivator for real estate agents. You’re not just a salesperson; you’re a trusted guide who can help lead your clients and make things just a little bit easier.

What was the biggest lesson you learned in 2021?

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