As a Home Builder, Realtor or Remodeler- How Would You Answer the Question, “What Does the Housing Market Need?”

I was having a conversation with a colleague when he asked me, “What do you think the housing industry needs?”

Wow- talk about an open ended question!

Let’s set the stage. This was not a question about government intervention, housing markets recovering or consumer confidence increasing.

This was all about ‘what would you do to grow your home builder, real estate or remodeling business in the current economy?’

How would YOU answer this question?

I didn’t have a planned answer but answered the question right away. My answer surprised me but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense.

See what you think…


“The Housing Industry Needs a Good Dose of…”

I competed in my first duathlon last year. A duathlon is a run/bike/run race where you travel the same distance as a marathon (26.2 miles) in about 1.5 – 2 hours. Last year I finished in just under 2 hours and officially “got the bug.”

This August I’m competing in 5 races- 2 duathons and 3 mountain bike races. Now I’m 40 and technically a rookie. I’m learning as I go through tips from other racers, online research and trial/error.

The other day I was thinking about the keys to improving as a racer. I came up with three…

  1. Physical Conditioning. Specifically- cross training. At 40 my body doesn’t handle repetitive stress very well so I do a lot of different types of training.
  2. Technique. The better your technique the less energy used. This allows you to travel faster and farther.
  3. Mental Stamina. Racing, like selling, has a lot to do with confidence. Just like the confidence you gain from making a sale- completing a race is a huge boost to mental stamina for future races.

I’m very fortunate to live near a world class single track mountain bike trail. Single track means the trail is very narrow and one way. It’s 10 miles long and has a beginner, intermediate and advanced loop. The advanced loop comes complete with various “technical” areas such as riding up and over boulders, on narrow bridges and over logs.

I would estimate about 90% of the riders on this track skip or go around the technical areas. The first few times I rode I did the same. But I had this little voice in my head telling me, ‘If you don’t try you won’t get any better…’

If you can’t BE Young, you need to THINK Young!

Guess what- I started to try the technical stuff. What do you think happened next?

Yep, I fell down. Again, and again and again. It got to the point where my kids wanted to see my new “owies” every time I came back from riding (I was smart enough to purchase elbow and knee pads after some serious bruising).

And then finally I made it through my first technical area. And then I made it a second, third and fourth time. I still regress as I try new stuff and take some spills but I’m consistently getting better.

So what does all this have to do with the Housing Industry?

NAHB just released a report called Profile of the Typical Single-Family Builder in 2009. Much like the National Association of Realtors report, the average age of a builder is 53 and they’ve been in business for 15 years (Realtors have an average age of 55).

“What do you think the housing industry needs?”

My answer to the question is YOUTH. The older we get the harder it is to change. But the only way we can change is to try new things- and fail. It’s a simple formula that nobody likes to follow.

Sam Walton understood this lesson. He understood the biggest hindrance to growth was past success. When he tried something and failed he learned from the failure and didn’t make the same mistake again.

I see our industry still clinging to the “glory days of the past.” We’re waiting for the “markets to bottom out” and “consumer confidence to return.” We keep asking the question, ‘When will things get better?’ Meanwhile people are buying, selling, building and remodeling homes.

3 Keys for Adapting to the New REALITIES of the Housing Market

Just like the keys to improving as a racer, adapting your business to the realit
ies of the housing market takes a strategic approach.

Market Conditioning– Stop focusing on what has worked in the past or what someone did during the last recession. If you only look within the housing industry you’ll only find the same old thinking. Instead, look outside the industry. How has the auto, retail and grocery companies evolved? How has Apple grown their company? How can you incorporate some of these strategies into your business?

Technique– If you’re going to improve your marketing and sales technique you’ve got to try new ideas. Specifically I’d consider changing the “steps” you’re taking to move someone from a prospect to a customer. The key is failure. If you don’t try and fail you’ve learned nothing. After enough failures you’ll find what works.

Mental Stamina– If you think consumer confidence is low builder/Realtor confidence is abysmal. Confidence comes from successes. When I host sales meetings I always like to start the meeting with a success story from everyone involved. The success could be as simple as getting an appointment with a top Realtor or prospect. The key is to encourage everyone to try something new and focus on small successes and lessons learned from those activities.

You can find a complete summary with more ideas in my FREE resource section here>>

Remember if you can’t be young you need to THINK young. Young people don’t know what the housing market USED to be like. They are eager to learn new things. They try and fail all the time but keep trying until they get it.

I suggest setting up a “swear jar” and make anyone associated with your company put in $1 if they utter…

“Traffic stinks”

“It’s better to wait until things get better.”

“I’m not going to try that. It’ll never work.”

…and anything else you can think of. The simple reply to anyone who uses a similar phrase is, “Would a 25 year old just entering the industry say that?”

Take what your market will give you. Don’t wish for what it won’t.

Happy Selling!

P.S Do you have young or young thinking people in leadership positions in your company? Some of the most successful companies today have just that.

P.P.S Get a summary of the 3 keys for adapting to the new realities of the housing market for FREE with this link>>>

Click here>>
and get Rick’s FREE copy of 6 Secrets to Maximizing Your Home Sales in Any Market Revealed.

Rick Storlie has been helping home builders and remodelers maximize their sales since 1992. Get your FREE e-guide, “6 Secrets to Maximizing your Sales in any Economy Revealed by visiting