Recession-Proof Strategies: Maintaining a Lean and Robust Real Estate Business

The global economy can be unpredictable, and recessions are an inevitable part of the economic cycle. When a recession hits, it affects businesses across industries, including the real estate sector. It is essential for real estate businesses to prepare and adapt to withstand the challenges of an economic downturn. This article will outline strategies to help real estate businesses trim the fat, add muscle, and emerge from a recession stronger than ever.

Effects of Recession on Real Estate Businesses Globally

A recession typically leads to higher unemployment rates, decreased consumer spending, and reduced credit availability. This can result in a decline in demand for real estate, leading to lower property values and reduced transaction volumes. In such a scenario, real estate businesses need to remain lean and robust to survive and thrive.

Trimming the Fat in Real Estate Business

To maintain a lean and robust business, it is crucial to identify and eliminate any inefficiencies, or “fat,” that may have accumulated over time. To do this, real estate businesses should have good tracking and measurement tools in place. Here are some key areas to assess:

  1. Labour: Analyze your workforce to determine if there are any redundant or underperforming positions. Consider outsourcing certain tasks to low-cost virtual assistants or reassigning local staff to more productive roles. To identify redundant positions, examine each job role and determine if it is necessary for the company’s success.
  2. Subscriptions: Review all your ongoing subscriptions, such as software, services, and memberships, to ensure they are still necessary and provide value to your business. Create an inventory of all subscriptions, and evaluate the benefits they bring to the company. Cancel or downgrade any subscriptions that are not essential to your operations.
  3. Advertising costs: Evaluate the effectiveness of your advertising and marketing efforts. Focus on channels that deliver the best return on investment and consider cutting back on underperforming campaigns. Analyze your advertising data, such as conversion rates and customer acquisition costs, to determine which channels are most effective.
  4. Suppliers: Examine your relationships with suppliers and renegotiate contracts if possible to secure better pricing or payment terms. Research alternative suppliers and compare prices, quality, and terms to determine if switching suppliers can result in cost savings.
  5. Facilities and infrastructure: Assess your physical office space and technology infrastructure to identify areas for cost reduction or consolidation. Consider downsizing your office space, implementing energy-saving measures, or switching to cloud-based services to reduce expenses.

Auditing Your Business

To identify inefficiencies, conduct audits across the following areas:

  1. Labour audit: Examine your workforce’s productivity, performance, and workload to identify areas for improvement or downsizing. Conduct regular performance reviews and create an employee development plan to ensure staff are working efficiently and meeting company goals.
  2. Subscription audit: Review your subscription services and evaluate their usefulness to your business operations. Consider alternative solutions that may offer better value, and consult with your team to identify which services are most valuable.
  3. Advertising audit: Analyze your advertising spending and effectiveness to determine which channels provide the best return on investment. Use tracking tools, such as Google Analytics and social media analytics, to measure the success of your campaigns.
  4. Supplier audit: Assess supplier performance and negotiate better pricing or terms to save costs. Develop a supplier evaluation system that considers factors like price, quality, reliability, and delivery times to ensure your business gets the best value.
  5. Infrastructure audit: Evaluate your facilities and technology to identify potential cost savings. Assess your current technology setup and consider upgrading or replacing outdated equipment to increase efficiency and reduce maintenance costs.

Adding Muscle to Your Real Estate Business

During a recession, the market may shrink, but this doesn’t mean your business should stop growing. Invest in strategies to increase market share and emerge from the downturn as a market leader.

  1. Leverage low-cost staff: Utilize real estate virtual assistants and remote workers for tasks that can be performed remotely, freeing up your local staff to focus on more productive, revenue-generating activities. Develop a clear onboarding and training process for remote workers to ensure they contribute effectively to your business.
  2. Boost online presence: Invest in building a strong online presence through your real estate website, social media, and paid advertising campaigns. Optimize your website for search engines, create engaging content, and promote your properties and services through targeted online ads.
  3. Improve customer service: Enhance your client nurturing strategies to retain existing clients and attract new ones. Implement customer relationship management (CRM) software to track and manage client interactions, and provide personalized, timely communication to address their needs.
  4. Strengthen bookkeeping, forecasting, and projections: Support your sales team and property managers with more accurate and timely financial information to help them make better decisions. Implement financial management software and develop accurate forecasting models to project future cash flows and revenues.
  5. Optimize sales and property management processes: Streamline and automate processes to improve efficiency and productivity. Assess your current workflows and identify areas for improvement, such as automating routine tasks, eliminating manual data entry, or implementing project management software.


Recessions can be challenging for real estate businesses, but they also present an opportunity for growth and market dominance. By trimming the fat and adding muscle, your real estate business can weather the storm and emerge from the recession as a market leader. Focus on identifying inefficiencies, optimizing processes, and investing in growth strategies to recession-proof your business and achieve long-term success.

During an economic downturn, it is crucial to maintain a proactive and adaptable approach to managing your real estate business. Regularly reassess and adjust your strategies as market conditions change to ensure that your business remains resilient and competitive.

Keep your team motivated and engaged by emphasizing the importance of adaptability and innovation. Encourage employees to embrace new ideas and strategies that can help the business grow and stay ahead of the competition.

Consider forming strategic partnerships or alliances with other businesses to pool resources, share knowledge, and expand your network. Such collaborations can help your business navigate the recession more effectively and create a solid foundation for future growth.

Finally, remember that recessions are temporary, and the market will eventually rebound. By maintaining a lean, robust, and agile business during the downturn, you’ll be well-positioned to capitalize on new opportunities when the economy recovers. Focus on long-term success, invest in growth strategies, and stay committed to your vision to build a thriving real estate business that can weather any economic storm.

Author Bio:

Stephen Atcheler – Managing Director

Meet Stephen Atcheler, the Managing Director of a Real Estate Virtual Assistant Company. Stephen has been working in the industry since 2013 and has a wealth of experience in making outsourcing work for real estate businesses. He fell in love with real estate at a young age and has been working in the field since 2005. Stephen’s passion for real estate and helping other business owners thrive led him to start his own real estate business in 2012, and eventually, to establish a real estate virtual assistant company to take it to the next level. Stephen’s wealth of experience and knowledge in real estate and outsourcing make him the perfect person to guide you in setting up your own virtual assistant team. Feel free to reach out to him on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Instagram.

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