Turkish Referendum & How Real Estate Agents Can Survive It
Sunday, April 16 is going to be a very important day in the history of Turkey. The Turkish people, both local and expats, have to choose between a parliamentary republic (democracy) or executive presidency (dictatorship) in the upcoming constitutional referendum. This constitutional referendum is being held in wake of the failed military coup attempt last year, and Turkey has been in a state of emergency ever since. The bill for the constitutional referendum was put forward earlier this year and went through with 339 votes from the 550-seat parliament, achieving the 3/5th majority required to pass the bill.
This weekend, the people of Turkey will have to choose between “Yes” or “No.” The result of the Turkish Referendum will define the future of the country for years to come.
‘Yes’ campaign is being led by Justice and Development Party (AKP), Devlet Bahçeli from Party Executive of Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), and other smaller parties which favor transition of the government from a parliamentary republic to the executive presidency. President Erdoğan and his supporters cite this change is necessary to take swift decisions to solve problems like terrorist attacks by Kurdish militants, Islamic State Jihadists, and unstable borders which are affecting the economy.
‘No’ campaign is being led by Republican People’s Party (CHP), Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), and a lot of other smaller parties who think transitioning into executive presidency puts too much power in the hands of one man. The supports claim that these changes, if they go through, will push Turkey back into a Sultanate, albeit without a throne.
In a recent poll conducted by a polling company on April 8-9 in 10 provinces, it seems that the ‘Yes’ campaign is ahead with 51.5%. However, there is a 2% polling error margin so the situation can swiftly become more favorable for the ‘No’ campaign.
Now, the important question that needs to be answered is what would happen to the Turkish real estate market after this referendum.
There is a lot of concern and fear, both among real estate professionals and consumers, that if the changes go through and there is a ‘dictatorship’ government in the country, the real estate market is going to crash then.
Now, I am writing this on behalf of our entire team at GREL. We don’t support the ‘No’ campaign. We don’t support the ‘Yes’ campaign either. We support the decision which Turkish people are going to take over this weekend because you know what’s best for you. This is not a political blog and is intended to help you keep your real estate business and expand it, regardless of what comes ahead.
After every major change, there is some instability in the market. Take Brexit, Britain decided to separate itself from the European Union and there were ramifications. People thought that if Britain separated, then the foreigners would leave, housing prices would become more affordable, and they would be able to live in their dream house happily ever after. What ended up happening was that the British Pound slumped after Brexit, which made it easier for foreigners to invest in British real estate, especially in London. Because of foreign investment, there was a spike in property prices which made it even more difficult for locals to afford housing.
Still, people got over the whole thing quickly, regardless of whether they voted Yes or No.
Here’s another example of a drastic change. We never thought Donald Trump was going to get elected as President of the United States and when he was, there were ramifications, both economical and political. We thought there is going to be a wall built, the Obamacare program will be dismantled, and maybe the world will come to an end. However, no wall was built (Feds only have funding for 7 miles!), Obamacare is still there (Obamacare 1.2), and Trump just annoyed his friends in Russia by bombing their allies.
The market does drop after a major problem, disaster, or a change in a country. But that change also brings an opportunity, an opportunity that you can capitalize on. Beyond casting your vote this weekend, there isn’t much you can do to change what’s going to happen. Don’t worry about what’s going to happen, instead you should focus on what you can do. You have to stand strong and not panic.
The first thing you need to do is come up with the 5 questions that you will be asked by your clients, both local and foreign. Here are some common questions you will be asked:
- Is it a good time to buy?
- Is it a good time to sell?
- Is the market crashing?
- Which areas are still safe to buy in?
- Where’s the market headed?
Then write answers to those questions and practice. You have to stand strong and answer those questions with confidence, so when you talk to your clients, they feel your strength, comfort, and commitment. If you want to get more business after the referendum, you need to adopt the mindset of an optimist.
The 2nd thing you have to do is be more knowledgeable about your market and start providing more value. People look for experts, especially when things are uncertain (which will be the case after the Turkish referendum). Instead of being just another agent who is worried about the political situation in the country, invest in sharpening your skills, gaining more knowledge about your market, and becoming a valuable resource for your clients. You have to stand out as a real estate authority who inspires trust and confidence among people in your community.
Let’s say you have a potential foreign investor and she is very concerned about the future of Turkey. Here’s how you can answer her question about the current situation and where the market is headed:
The economic fundamentals of Turkey are strong. It’s one of the countries with the least amount of debt and is considered an emerging economy in the World. Geographically, it’s in a position which is crucial for trade between the east and the west. It has a strong industrial foundation, and Erdoğan has an excellent track record of building the economy. He will work hard to fulfill his Turkey 2023 vision, which will probably put Turkey in one of the top 10 economies of the world. Even though things have been shaky in the last few years because of the bordering wars, terrorist attacks, and the failed coup attempt, the roots of Turkey are strong.”
I, as a foreigner, could only answer this question in a very limited way. You, as a true patriot, can do a much better job answering those burning questions. Your role as a real estate agent is crucial to bringing more investment in Turkey.
To conclude, regardless of the political situation, you should adopt an optimistic mindset and invest in your skills to survive these challenges. The consumers want an expert, not someone who whines and cries and is uncertain. They are looking for the best.
Our team here at GREL supports real estate agents and the real estate industry in Turkey, regardless of its political situation. We hope you will look at the positive things and disregard all the festering negativity, and be successful. We hope that, after this referendum, Turkey will emerge stronger than ever. Good luck!
Update – Sunday, April 16, 2017 : The “Yes Campaign” has won and Erdoğan has managed to narrowly clinch victory, cementing his rule in Turkey.
P.S. To help real estate agents operating in Turkey be more successful, we are offering 25% discount on our online real estate broker licence exclusively to real estate professionals from Turkey. GREL licence editions can can provide you with advanced real estate training, business tools, and scripts which you can use to grow your business.
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