It’s easy for real estate agents to develop a love-hate relationship with online buyer leads. On the one hand, they can be a quick way to jump-start a business or enter a new market. On the other hand, they’re expensive and require thorough, consistent work to get results.
We’re also in an age where an increasing volume of buyer leads flow into agents’ databases from an increasing number of sources. The rise of sites such as Zillow and realtor.com, and the increasing popularity and power of Facebook marketing, have helped fuel this trend.
But as the number of buyer leads continues to crest, agents are spinning their wheels faster and faster to optimize the leads they receive. There’s only so much agents can do to optimize before the effort it takes to convert online buyer leads outstrips their interest and bandwidth.
We all know the systems and processes agents must have in place to convert leads at a profitable clip: respond to new leads within five minutes, put leads on a smart follow-up program, use a sophisticated CRM to help track leads and help determine which are hot and which are not.
There’s another, often overlooked solution emerging for agents who want to convert buyer leads at higher rates with less legwork: partnering with a source that scrubs leads and delivers buyers who have extra motivation, and cash, to take action thanks to a rebate they receive after closing.
Chris Coley, who runs Coley Properties, a brokerage with seven agents and operations in Alabama, Georgia, New Mexico and Oklahoma, is among a growing number of agents taking advantage of this buyer lead opportunity through SRE, an emerging national brokerage player who focuses on delivering qualified, motivated buyer leads to partner agents and brokerages. (When buyers purchase a home through an SRE partner agent, the agent keeps 1 percent and rebates the rest of the buyer’s agent cut to the buyers).
“On the whole SRE buyers are more enthusiastic than buyers from other sources because they know at the end they are going to get that rebate back!” Coley said.
For example, Coley, who has been working with SRE since the beginning of the year, received a buyer lead from SRE’s concierge center in mid-February who was looking for a three-bedroom, two-bath house with an upgraded kitchen in the Atlanta area for up to $250,000.
“We were off looking for houses within a week,” Coley said. Within two weeks, they had placed an offer on a home on the outskirts of Atlanta and closed on it in mid-March.
A unique way for listing agents to find buyers
Listing agents can also turn to services such as SRE to find ready buyers who have extra cash thanks to the rebate they receive. These buyers can use their rebate on closing costs, to buy down points on a loan or apply it to the purchase price, which can help facilitate a close.
In this way, listing agents realize the benefit of the rebate — as it helped grease the wheels and increased a buyer’s interest and capacity to purchase — without sacrificing any of their own commission.
This opportunity can be especially attractive to listing agents in markets with higher inventory levels or if they have a home that isn’t getting the attention they feel it should.
SRE is an emerging national brokerage that focuses on delivering motivated buyers to agents across the U.S. Partner agents keep 1 percent of the commission allotted to them and agree to rebate the balance to their client. SRE buyers save an average of $20,000 on each purchase.