With more than 1,000 Inman posts, Bernice Ross is a long-time contributor whose weekly column on real estate trends, luxury, marketing and other best practices publishes every Monday.
We’re only 11 weeks away from the end of 2018. For agents who are willing to keep working through the holiday season, it’s a time when clients are more motivated, and there’s less competition from other agents. The question is how to find these clients, and then, how to best market to and convert them.
Would you like to start 2019 off with more commission checks? Here are five creative ways you can capitalize on this normally slow time of year and get 2019 off to a rip-roaring start.
1. Spot first-time parents who are likely to move
If a couple is expecting a baby during the first quarter of 2019, they may opt to close their transaction just before the holidays so they have time to move and to set up their baby’s nursery.
An easy way to reach these individuals is to use REI Source (available through most title companies). REI Source charges 5 cents to 10 cents per name to create a customized list that fits the exact parameters of the buyers or sellers you want to reach. These parameters can include age, income, profession, number of children or almost any other requirement that you would like to use.
To illustrate how this works with first-time parents, order a list of renters in your geographic location who have recently subscribed to magazines such as BabyTalk, Parenting or American Baby and that also earn an income substantial enough to purchase a home.
You can use a similar approach on the social media as well targeting using Facebook ads. As Brad Inman once observed at Inman Connect San Francisco, his daughter found out she was pregnant based on the types of ads that Facebook was displaying on her timeline.
In terms of your advertising, reach them with postcards and/or Facebook ads that reference they’re growing family. For example:
Or if they’re currently renting:
2. Take advantage of the winter break opportunity
When families with school age children must move, most prefer to do so during the summer when the kids are out of school. This is especially true when they are relocating outside the area. What most people don’t consider, however, is that if families have to move before summer, many opt to move during winter break.
To capitalize on this fact, watch LinkedIn for notifications about people taking new positions, especially at this time of year. If the person is relocating outside the area, congratulate him or her on their new position, and then follow up by asking if they would like a referral to a qualified referral agent where they are moving. You can use your company’s relocation system, or if you don’t have one, use ReferralExchange.
If the person is a homeowner, an excellent way to raise the issue of listing their home is to offer to send them an equity checkup that includes a CMA, the free detailed property reports from NARRPR.com (a free service from NAR) as well as the report from Home Disclosure.
Once they find their new home, offer to send them an equity checkup for their new property as well.
3. Send out equity checkups to all past and current clients
One of the biggest sources of client attrition is the agent’s failure to stay in contact with past clients. According to the latest NAR Profile of Buyers and Sellers, 74 percent of all sellers only speak to only one agent before they list their home.
Because most states have tax payments due sometime around the first of the year, sending out an equity checkup in late October or early November is a great way to keep you top-of-mind with past clients. It also gives you a chance to get face-to-face and be the agent they will be most likely to hire because you have seen them recently.
If your CMA shows that their property has declined in value, you can also supply them with the forms to apply for a reduction in their property taxes.
4. Get a jump on the March-April peak selling months
According to a 2016 Zillow analysis of their listing and price data, there are substantial swings in the number of properties that sell over ask price versus below ask price depending upon the time of the year. While these numbers can vary dramatically on a regional basis, properties listed in March and April are more likely to sell above list price.
To take advantage of this data, examine the chart below (and if there is more recent data from Zillow for your local market, use that.)
For example, sellers in Miami are most likely to obtain an over-list-price offer in January, while in Denver, March is the best month to obtain an offer over the asking price.
If you have clients who may be thinking about selling next spring, it’s important that they get their house in shape before the spring rush begins. Even though there is more competition during this time of year, the data shows early spring is the best time to get an over-ask-price offer
5. Take advantage of the really big week for real estate apps
Do you know the week that has more people downloading apps than any other? Not surprisingly, it’s the week between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, according to the same Zillow study. The explanation is simple — all the tablets and phones that people received as holiday gifts. This peak lasts until about Jan. 16 and then picks up again from Feb. 16 through May 16.
People also have time off over the holidays and often share new apps that they like to share with family and friends. One app that most homeowners would appreciate is CentriQ.
You can private label this app for only $5 per year per client. One of the most useful functions is the quarterly notifications advising what home maintenance items need to be addressed as the seasons change.
CentriQ also allows them to quickly generate the owner’s manual including where to find parts merely snapping a photo of the serial number. It also sends out recall notifications as well.
While others may be cruising through the holidays, if you’re willing to get creative and stay focused over, you’ll reap the rewards of more commission checks in January and February.
Bernice Ross, President and CEO of BrokerageUP (brokerageup.com) and RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, author and trainer with over 1,000 published articles. Learn about her broker/manager training programs designed for women, by women, at BrokerageUp.com and her new agent sales training at RealEstateCoach.com/newagent.