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Don’t sit around waiting for the market to cycle around. Instead, use the downtime created by this more realistic market to:

Bone Up on Your Education:
Add a designation or two to your name, catch up on the latest real estate rules and regulations, and otherwise educate yourself for the next market shift. “Within the first year of being in commercial real estate I completed all the CCIM courses and joined the local chapter and Board of Realtors®, and the education has helped me tremendously,” says Robert Barber, broker with Broderick & Associates Inc. in Pinellas Park. “Even after 10 years of corporate experience and an MBA, the education targeted what I needed to know to be proficient and a professional within the real estate business.” Check with your state or local Boards to find out what your options are for the coming months.

Create the Business Plan You’ve Been Talking About:
If you came into the market when things were at their all-time high, you probably didn’t have much time to develop a viable business plan. Now is a great time to revisit that goal and get one down on paper.

Retool Your Marketing Plan:
Simply listing a property on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) doesn’t guarantee a sale in this time of high inventory and competition, so rethink your marketing plan and develop one that’s better adapted to today’s conditions.

Seek Out Innovative Advertising Methods:
Put your name and face on a park bench. Investigate the cost of advertising on movie screens at local theaters. Plant  flags in the yards of your farm area to show your support of our troops.

Find Builders Who Need Your Help:
The new-home market is experiencing the same slowdown as the existing sector, which means builders with an oversupply of homes could use your help in finding buyers.

Start and/or Use a Virtual Networking Group:
With an eye on sharing information and promoting best practices among commercial real estate professionals, Barber recently started two virtual networking groups for the Tampa Bay area, and uses sites like and LinkedIn
.com to connect with other professionals online. “Virtual networking is taking off,” says Barber, “with the likes of Google and MSN putting money in the game.”
Get to Know the Market:
Tammy DeHart, with Bosshardt Realty Services Inc. in Gainesville, is taking this time to learn everything she can about current mortgage rates, property values, property tax updates and all the pendings and closings in the MLS. She uses the information to educate customers and to make sure that her marketing endeavors are fresh and valuable. “By giving my buyers and sellers accurate facts about the market, it keeps them from expecting too much and being disappointed in me because I ‘promised them the world,’” says DeHart. “This has really made a difference in my referrals and return customers, and helped me feel more confident as a real estate professional.”