New real estate agents have a hard enough time as it is building their confidence in a new career, learning the language of real estate and managing their newly established small business.
- When starting a farm, do your research, introduce yourself to the community, attend broker’s opens and open houses and target market your prospects.
So it’s not always easy to determine the best course of action to begin a real estate business. Farming is the key to success.
To start, pick a farm in a specific geographic area of about 250 properties. It’s best to target a specific area to become a trusted community expert.
Below is a simple business plan of action for a new agent with a limited budget.
Gather info on your farm
Have your title representative pull the property records, and take a look. You’re about to introduce yourself to these homeowners, so take some time to study the market and learn the basics on each home in the area you’re going to farm.
- Which properties are owner occupied?
- What are the property types? Duplex? Apartment buildings?
- What is the current zoning of the parcels? Are there any planned developments nearby?
- What is the estimated property value?
- Are there any existing liens against the property? Are any homes upside down on their mortgages?
- When is the last recorded sale date? How long has the owner lived in this home?
Order the contact information for this farm. Phone numbers and emails are ideal. It is important to gather as much information as possible.
Research the neighborhood to find any events, community council meetings or farmer’s markets in the area. When farming, being knowledgeable about community events is a quick and easy way to ensure you’re bringing value when you first engage.
So aim to come from a place of contribution when you introduce yourself to people you essentially want business from.
Once you’ve gathered vital information about your farm, use the following activities to build rapport:
1. Dial through your farm list to get the word out about an upcoming community event
Take the opportunity to introduce yourself as the neighborhood real estate agent. If the person on the line is chatty, take some time to verify the information you already have on file so your list is more accurate.
At the end of your call, ask for business or a referral. The main goal of this activity, however, is to introduce yourself and provide information to the community about the upcoming event. This is a soft-intro that leads into future activities.
2. Door-knock through your warm farm to distribute a flyer for the upcoming community event
This flyer should have your contact information on it, and some additional relevant information for your farm.
Be sure to take two sets of flyers: one for sellers (the owner-occupied homes) and one for buyers (for the tenants at your non-owner-occupied homes).
Above all, be friendly! Some people will remember your name from your phone call, and door-knocking allows them to put a face with a name. That’s the goal.
3. Tour all broker’s opens in your farm every week
Make friends with the listing agents in the farm you’re focused on. Ask questions to help build a relationship with the agent, and let him or her know you have buyers interested in moving into this neighborhood.
Take the agent’s card, and follow up to thank him or her for the hospitality; offer to sit the agent’s properties open, should he or she need another agent’s help in the future.
It’s essential that you bring value to the agents in your farm to avoid being blocked out.
4. Sit any — and all — available open houses near your farm
The Thursday before your open house, call the neighbors and invite them out to take a look! Two hours before your open house begins, door-knock the block, and tell the immediate neighbors to come check out an amazing feature of the property.
At every open house, be sure to gather and verify contact information for the neighbors who show up.
5. Purchase a Facebook targeted ad for your farm area
This ad should have your name and face clearly visible. Target the ad to Facebook users who live in your specific farm ZIP code, and set the age range to match the age demographic of your farm.
The ad should click through to a landing page that will collect contact information from the lead. This is crucial to remaining relevant to your farm.
6. Send a mailer to your farm
Try sending a mailer that looks like a recipe card with a delicious seasonal dish image on one side.
On the other side, include your contact information and your picture. It’s crucial that your farm continues to see your face and name.
Farming allows you to become a trusted expert. Structure your work schedule to be able to complete activities 1-4 every quarter. Activities 5 and 6 should be done at least once a week.
Remember, rapport isn’t built over night, but it brings sustaining business. Putting in time, continued effort and superior service is how anyone builds a successful real estate business.
Couple these laser farming activities with Facebook farming, and you’re well on your way to building a real estate business model that grows itself.
Sharron St. John is a real estate agent with the No. 1 team in the world, the Lucido Agency at Keller Williams. Sharron covers real estate, investments, and wealth building for Millennials. Connect with her on LinkedIn or Twitter.