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Posts Tagged finding homes

CONFESSIONS OF A REAL ESTATE JUNKIE/INHERENT QUALITIES

marketing-media1

As marketers and more specifically as Real Estate Agents and Brokers, we are confronted daily with making decisions about finding the best way to stand out from the crowd and to display our listings to the best possible audience. All in the hopes of connecting a buyer and seller.

As the real estate market continues its slow but steady return to the “new normal”, we finally have the chance to catch our breath and re-examine decisions we made that were driven primarily by the need to save money. Most have figured out by now that you cannot save your way to prosperity.

As I think objectively about the marketing options available, the inherent strengths and weaknesses of each media, old and new, become clearer to me.  Quite frankly, it’s exciting to have all these options, but a little confusing too. We all know that most home sellers still expect to see their home exposed locally in print and then we’re told by NAR that at some point 87% of home buyers are online and then we hear that everyone (more than 300 million people) are using Facebook.

Recently I developed the chart above to help organize my thoughts about which media is best suited for which marketing objective. I pass it on to you in the hopes you may find it helpful too. If you have difficulty reading the type in the chart above, reach out to me and I’ll be happy to send you a larger version.

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CONFESSIONS OF A REAL ESTATE JUNKIE/MOMENTUM

A quick post today to talk about the power of momentum. It can be a wonderful thing, but not always. Almost by definition, momentum can never really be nailed down, as it is always moving, with us or against us.  Even though we can’t touch it, we can certainly feel it. If you’ve played any sport you’ve likely experienced it. You’re in the lead for a while and feeling good; confident that if you continue this level of performance, you’ll win. Then slowly but consistently, for a period of time, every point, every call, anything close, seems to go against you. At first you discount it as a weird set of circumstances, but eventually you can’t deny it any longer, the momentum has shifted.

While trying to maintain composure, you attempt to examine what has changed. Is it your own level of play or has your opponent stepped up theirs? Did you stop being aggressive while you had the lead and got too cautious? While not a deliberate decision on your part, your opponent may have sensed it. You look for ways to to get the momentum to shift back to your favor. And 99% of the time the only way to make this happen is to step up your game. It’s the only thing you control.

I believe the same concept applies to our business lives. If you’re a Real Estate Agent who has a successful track record of getting new listing agreements, say seven or eight out of every ten listing appointments you go on, and then you go through a period where your win or selection rate drops materially, you’ve experienced negative momentum. It feels bad and like the athlete above, you examine what has changed.  Is it the market, the competition, your marketing plan, your personal skills of persuasion? For whatever reason your story is not resonating with your audience the way it once did. And this self exploration, while painful, is not a bad thing. Like the athlete above, we personally can have a strong impact on creating positive momentum and avoiding negative momentum, through our own actions.

As the Publisher of The Real Estate Book in 400 or so markets around North America, I can personally attest to the shifts in the market and the impact on our business.

Recently, the momentum has shifted again, this time in a positive direction for housing, for Real Estate Agents and for Publishers like The Real Estate Book. While it feels good (really good), we’ve learned that momentum is fleeting and can’t be counted on. Instead, we should look at it as a signal, that it’s time to shift our actions. We are coming out of this downturn stronger than when we entered it. Not as measured by pure ad sales, but by the courage of our convictions and the clarity of our purpose.

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March Madness – You Can’t Win If You Don’t Play.

As the NCAA Basketball Tournament or “March Madness” gets started this year, it occurs to me that real estate, like basketball is competitive.  Top agents compete for business every day, but the stakes are even higher this time of year, right before the busy spring selling season.  The real estate industry has its own version of “March Madness.”

Agents compete for listings.  They compete for buyers.  They compete for market dominance and top of mind awareness among consumers.  It’s a competitive business.  So, how’s your game?

Consider these “winning strategies.”

Reach for new prospects.  According to the National Association of REALTORS, (NAR) 2009 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, nearlyhalf (47%) of buyers were first time home buyers.  Among buyers who were able to estimate a length of tenure in their new home, the median was 10 years.  This spring, if you are relying on past clients for new business, you may be sitting on the bench.

Stand out from the crowd.   Online exposure is abundant, free or nearly free, and a basic consumer expectation.  And standing out as a top ranked player in your market is nearly impossible  if you rely solely on listing aggregate websites for business.  Consider this video from “The Ladders” career site.  “When Everybody Plays, Nobody Wins”Particularly in uncertain economic times, consumers rely on the expertise of  the top players.  Do they know you are a top player?  How do they know?  Are you sure?

Keep your sellers happy.  As sellers have to adjust their expectations on price and days on market, the challenge for agents is to show that they are doing everything possible to sell the home for as much as possible and as quickly as possible.  When you have to ask for a price reduction, the seller is much more likely to agree if they know you’ve done everything you can to get more for their property.  In other words, it’s the market, not you.  This is where marketing comes in.

According to a 2010 proprietary survey conducted by NCI, the number one reason sellers choose an agent is because of the way they plan to market their home to as many potential buyers as possible.  It’s also the number three reason they fire an agent or let the listing expire – lack of a marketing plan.

Have a game plan.  Start with your desired income.  Determine how many properties you will have to sell to reach that desired income based on the average sales price of homes in your area and your average commission.   Then, determine how many leads or inquiries you work per actual closed transaction (your closing ratio).  The question then becomes, how many leads do I need to result in the number of closed transactions I need to reach my income goal?  REALLY track where your leads come from and adjust your marketing and advertising for the maximum effectiveness.  For downloadable worksheets on this, go to www.realestatebookmediakit.com/income .

Start NOW.  The 2009 NAR study indicates that the typical homebuyer searched for 12 weeks.  They searched for 2 weeks before contacting an agent.  It’s mid-March.  They are searching NOW.  Are they finding YOU? Are you even in the game?

You can’t win. If you don’t play.

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