Tackling the Inventory Crisis in a Accelerating Real Estate Market – RISMedia |
Above: Real estate is family owned (left to right): Joseph O’Connor, Terrie O’Connor, Matthew O’Connor and Katy O’Connor-Smiechowski Navigating a rapidly changing real estate market
Terrie O’Connor REALTORS®
Years of activity: 30
Cut: 8 offices, 425 agents
Regions served: Northern New Jersey and Southern New York State
Sales volume 2020: $ 675 million
2020 operations: About. 1,100
Throughout his high school and college education, Matthew O’Connor provided technical support to his mother’s business, Terrie O’Connor REALTORS®. After earning a college degree in electrical engineering, he worked for a tech company in New Orleans, and in 2002 moved to New Jersey. In 2004, O’Connor joined the company full-time to help manage and grow the business, using his technological expertise to create the infrastructure and agent tools that are still in use today. He currently serves as COO and helps senior agents navigate today’s challenging market conditions.
Keith Loria: How has your market performed in 2021?
Matthew O’Connor: So far the northern New Jersey real estate market has been very strong. We, like almost everywhere in the country, are experiencing an “inventory crisis”. That said, we still set records for the number of transactions recorded and closed throughout the first half of the year. As we all know, there are two sides to every real estate transaction. New listings are hitting the market at a normal rate, but overwhelming demand from buyers is absorbing inventory at record rates. I expect the market to remain strong for the foreseeable future as there is no short term solution to the inventory crisis and there is still a large backlog of buyers.
KL: How has the pandemic changed the way you operate?
MO: I think the pandemic hasn’t fundamentally changed much operationally, but has dramatically accelerated many changes that were already underway. We have increased the volume of virtual photographs and tours that we have produced. We were already up and running with online conferencing software, digital transaction management systems and the ability to work remotely. We’ve all improved our game in the wake of the pandemic, and many of these trends will continue for the long haul.
KL: What do you look for in the agents who join your firm?
MO: Above all, we are looking for quality people who are highly ethical and have a strong work ethic. This job is not easy. To be successful, you can’t wait for the business to come to you… you have to actively seek listings and buyers. If you have these inherent qualities, we can teach you the skills you need to be successful.
KL: What’s the best advice you can give to agents?
MO: The best advice I can offer is to choose action over action. Communicate, network, pick up the phone, talk to people, and build relationships. Most successful agents still do the vast majority of their business from within their sphere of influence.
KL: How do you manage the out of stock?
MO: The shortage of inventory is certainly a challenge, but in most parts of the country record sales are occurring. A real estate transaction has two sides, so you can’t have record sales without also having a record number of new listings. Demand from buyers exceeds listings and creates a very tight inventory, but new homes are listed. Times of change create a lot of churn, and if you don’t keep in touch with people, you’ll be surprised when their home is listed with someone else.
Keith Loria is a contributing editor at RISMedia.