The Agency’s President, Rainy Hake Austin, sat down with Capture Magazine to chat about her successful real estate career and what is trending. Read a snippet of the feature below and the full interview in the magazine (flip to page 26!).
As an executive with The Agency, what initially attracted you to pursue a career in real estate? How has the industry changed or adapted as you’ve grown in the business?
I actually fell into real estate at a young age, and never fell out. I’m a broker but have never actively sold properties. I started on the marketing and operations side of the business and quickly moved into management. I worked my way up from an Office Coordinator to Office Manager then moved over into marketing, became VP of Marketing and eventually took over running all elements of operations, from marketing, technology and training to sales and compliance as EVP, COO and Broker of Record. Though I have gained experience and gathered tools, my job today as President is the same as it was as an Office Coordinator. I use creativity to solve problems and create memorable experiences by anticipating needs and going beyond what is expected to surprise and delight our staff, agents and clients. The problems are just on a larger scale with greater impact and more influence. While I love beautiful homes, architecture and the lifestyle aspects of the real estate industry, what brings me joy is providing an infrastructure that allows our agents to create memorable experiences and greater service for our clients. My passion is solving problems and creating exceptional experiences. Each day presents new opportunities.
Today, as the President of The Agency, I oversee all of our business lines from residential to commercial and new development, ancillary services and global expansion. Since I joined The Agency in 2020, our boutique brokerage has grown to 65+ offices across 8 countries and counting. As a long-time resident and native of the Bay Area, I am very excited to share that we’ve recently expanded into Silicon Valley with our first office in Los Altos and are looking forward to further growth in prime local markets such as Los Gatos in the coming months.
There have been a great number of changes to the industry since I began my career. Over the past decade, start-ups, new brokerage models and technology have shifted our industry. At the same time, many traditional brokerages haven’t always invested or adapted to keep up with the times. I think my unique experience working for both traditional and tech-forward brokerages offers a very different perspective. I believe in leading with a customer-first service culture, with technology powering our efforts. The Agency has already invested tremendously in its proprietary technology and with my experience and knowledge, we will continue to invest in technology that improves the agent and client experience without sacrificing the human touch. We obsess over the details and finding solutions to bridge the gap and leverage technology to drive strategy and provide data-driven inputs while providing white-glove service to clients and customized experiences.
What trends in asking prices and days on market are you seeing today in the luxury property market?
The global real estate activity over the last two years has been a true anomaly and completely unsustainable. We’ve experienced extraordinary sales and business, and we are now seeing the market regulate and normalize. While pricing is beginning to stabilize, the luxury market remains very strong. Homes that are priced well are selling and for the first time in two years, luxury buyers have the chance to put in an offer on their dream home without being outbid or facing extreme competition. We are still seeing such record-low inventory and predict this will remain low into 2023. While there is such a lack of supply and pricing might be down 5-10% compared to 6 months ago, there continues to be high demand for luxury real estate and the market is strong compared to year-over-year. These sky-high building costs are a key reason prices are high and they likely won’t come down. As economists predict a softening in the new year, they still predict price growth. The markets with extreme activity during the pandemic may see larger drops, but across the board, there’s not a lot of room for prices to fall until inventory really catches up.
Finally, despite the market shifting, there is still so much wealth across the globe. As the market slowed these past weeks, savvy buyers and investors view real estate as a hedge against inflation and an excellent alternative investment. Over the coming months, I feel many buyers are still ready to buy and collectively monitor the market and inventory for their next move. And of course, finally buying at more realistic pricing.
What is the number one consideration in preparing to sell your home today?
It is imperative for sellers to stay informed of the latest hyper-local market activity, the most recent pricing trends and data, and any shifts that will affect their timeline and pricing strategy. There is great value in working with a local agent who can serve as an advisor to inform clients on their local market and the current economic landscape, including higher mortgage rates, inventory, slowing activity seasonality, and more. I believe a reputable agent that specializes in their market and price will provide more value than ever in these current conditions and the months ahead. While clients assess their options over the coming weeks, it is valuable to observe the market and have everything ready financially when the right listing comes on the market.
Read the full feature in Capture Magazine.