• Agents need to be active participants in finding ways to understand new buyers.
  • Having a broad perspective and real data to drawn from is never a bad thing.
  • Keep builders in the region abreast of what buyers want and what's needed.

According to the most 2015 United Van Lines’ annual National Movers Study (released in January 2016), Oregon is the nation’s top relocation destination for the third year in a row. What does rapid growth mean for real estate agents? Oregonian Sandy Garner shared her thoughts with us on growth and how agents can take advantage of it from the ground up.

But first let’s look at exactly how much growth we are talking about. The study found that 69 percent of moves to and from Oregon were inbound, and the state has increased inbound migration by 10 percent over the past six years.

For one thing, said Garner, CEO of Harcourts The Garner Group Real Estate in Bend (where I’m managing principal broker), Oregon, agents need to find ways to understand these new buyers.

She said, “Be an active participant. Meet the public at open houses and by staying active in the community in order to gather information by asking questions like: ‘Why are you visiting the area?’ ‘What are you enjoying about your visit?’ ‘What are you looking for in a home, neighborhood and community?'”

Garner said that after you are able to gather enough information, you’ll start to see themes and gain insight into who is moving to your community.

For example, in our hometown of Bend (she’s a third-generation Central Oregonian), she has found that people coming here are looking for a “sense of community and belonging.”

Also easy access to the outdoors is important, not just for sports and recreation but also for that connection to nature. The resort town of Bend is well-known for its all season abundance of outdoor activities.

Beyond talking to buyers and potential new residents, it’s also important to study trends nationally and regionally and do research on thought leadership from other experts in the industry.

Having a broad perspective and real data to back up the hypotheses drawn from individual conversations is never a bad thing.

As expected, in a swiftly growing area, demand will often exceed supply. In fact, Bend’s supply right now is a little more than half of what is considered a healthy market. This growth, coupled with increasing prices and a constricted urban growth boundary, is also affecting supply in our region.

One way to make sure that you actually have product to sell as a real estate agent, is by attempting to influence development decisions surrounding any new homes and developments coming into the market.

They need to meet the needs of the new buyers relocating to the area. Your knowledge can help advise everything including how homes and neighborhoods are designed as well as how you work with buyers themselves.

Garner said, “Start from the ground up by keeping builders in the region abreast of what people are looking for and what’s needed as far as products. Work with planners and your city to help maintain the desirable environment that people have come to love about your area, while also increasing density to accommodate growth. Let your voice be heard.”

Having more information is never a bad thing. It’s our job as agents to have that deep familiarity with the market and share those resources with our clients. They want to feel like they are tapping into an insider’s look through your knowledge, so the more information gathering you can do the better.

So how do you deal with fast growth? Ask questions, get involved and expand your knowledge. It will help you be a real asset to your clients and your community.

With more than a decade serving the booming residential real estate market of Bend, Oregon, Sara LaFaver is the managing principal broker for Harcourts The Garner Group Real Estate.

Email Sara LaFaver.

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