In this advice column, Marketing Mastermind Christy Murdock Edgar answers three burning questions from the real estate industry at large. This time, we’ll look at a few distinct challenges presented this year and how to move forward.
In an Inman Town Hall last week, real estate leaders from across the country offered their insights and ideas about the challenges and opportunities provided by the current real estate market. How can you use their expertise to inform your business and your marketing — and to change course as needed?
How do you shift your marketing in a low-inventory environment?
One of the biggest challenges agents are facing across the country is the low inventory in many neighborhoods. According to Jorge Guerra Jr., CEO of Real Estate Sales Force in Coral Gables, Florida, the messaging required for seller engagement involves both technology and safety.
How can you reassure skittish sellers and convince them to list with you? Although you might have used tech platforms to facilitate socially distanced transactions, your marketing may not yet reflect this shift. If you’re still depending on paper listing presentations and documents, it’s time to move to video and online platforms. Don’t tell sellers how you will use technology; show them by using technology from Day 1 with potential seller leads.
If you haven’t already, develop a comprehensive plan for virtual showings and virtual open houses. Create content that convinces sellers to list with you by explaining to them all of the ways that you are planning to protect them and their space. Offer insights into the tech tools you use, and provide examples of some previous video tours.
Most of all, get over your camera shyness and engage sellers with video messages. When they see how you communicate with them virtually, they’ll feel more comfortable with your ability to sell their home the same way.
How do you keep buyers encouraged in a low inventory environment?
According to Kymber Menkiti, D.C.-area regional director for Keller Williams, education, communication and “shepherding” clients is the key to keeping them engaged and connected to you — and to their home search. She suggests creating visibility and purposeful communication with families in your sphere using Zoom to create family bingo nights or bedtime book readings.
How can you communicate in a way that keeps buyers from giving up on their home search after they’ve just lost out on their most recent multiple-offer negotiation?
- Be specific: Talk to buyers about concrete strategies for making their offer stronger. Maybe they need a higher earnest money deposit. Maybe they can ask for an information-only home inspection. Maybe they can craft a buyer love letter to accompany their next offer package. Figure out how to differentiate your buyers to increase their odds of success.
- Be strategic: Look for areas in the market where your buyer might find more to choose from. Condos and townhomes in some in-town areas are becoming available as folks flee to the suburbs. Fixer-uppers might be sitting on the market as buyers look for move-in ready homes. Talk to your buyers about expanding their vision beyond their current wishlist.
- Be connected: Get on the phone with agents in your brokerage and in your area, and work your network. Start looking for pre-listings and pocket listings to increase your buyers’ chances of success.
According to Angela Raab, branch manager for F. C. Tucker Company, one of the best ways to reassure both nervous buyers and sellers is to let them know that the current economic situation is not a repeat of the 2008 housing crash. This time, real estate is the stronger part of the economy according to most indicators (mostly attributed to the overall greater equity homeowners have this go-round), and the market overall is robust. Adapt your messaging accordingly.
How can you prepare for the future?
According to Guerra, preparing for the future means looking for trends and following them to their logical conclusions. He cites commercial real estate and investment properties, especially multifamily complexes, as particularly ripe for market disruption. This could mean investment opportunities for you and your clients as well as major shifts in your local market.
In addition to rethinking your market and niches, think about ways to integrate the new normal into your business for long-term success. After the pandemic has passed, will people really want to go back to in-person engagement for signing papers or initial consultations?
If you’ve cobbled together a few new tech platforms as a short-term solution, it’s time to get serious about a comprehensive system for virtual marketing and transaction management.
Stop making do with a piecemeal approach, and integrate effective technology solutions into every facet of your business, from the first contact through to the virtual closing.
Christy Murdock Edgar is a Realtor, freelance writer, coach and consultant with Writing Real Estate. She is also a Florida Realtors faculty member. Follow Writing Real Estate on Facebook, Twitter, Instagr