The highly competitive home sale market — fueled by a mixture of pent-up demand, low inventory, changing demographics and plummeting mortgage rates — is bound to cause consumers to miss out on would-be dream homes.
Craig Reger, the founder and principal broker of The Reger Group, affiliated with Keller Williams, said his brokerage has a buyer who has missed out on five straight homes. One of those homes was a $600,000 listing that sold for $80,000 over list in the Portland, Oregon, market.
“It’s insanity,” Reger said during a virtual roundtable discussion held Tuesday among a group real estate team and brokerage leaders hosted by Chris Heller, the chief real estate officer of OJO Labs.
Reger and his team aren’t alone. Across the country, buyers are facing strong headwinds due to COVID-19 and the accompanying economic uncertainty. It’s forced brokers and agents to come up with ways to make sure their clients remain positive.
Reger said he instructs his agents to constantly be asking buy-side clients, “why are you purchasing? What is it going to do for you? Why is it important to you? What is life going to look like when you get there?”
“If we can stick to that emotional side, it tends to get them re-energized,” Reger said.
His brokerage also sends out 15-20 “feel good” gifts, once a week. Those gifts include lottery tickets, or a bottle of wine, or maybe a fruit basket if it’s a family with young kids.
The gift also includes a note, with sayings like, “Hey I’m sorry you lost out on that property, but it’s an amazing market for a reason, stick with it and enjoy this wine tonight.”
Jennifer Young, a Washington D.C.-based team leader also affiliated with Keller Williams, encourages her agents to be upfront with their clients, shoot straight and be truthful every step of the way. She also tells them to maintain a positive attitude.
“We have to be such positive professionals and exude that positivity,” Young said. “I think it helps calm our clients down and not get emotional.”
She also said it’s a great opportunity to remind your client why they hired you. Show the client that you’re different by not just relying on the multiple listing service to show them listings, engage in circle prospecting, essentially targeted cold calls.
If you actually take the step to tell the buyer that you’re making the extra effort, and show them examples, it will give them more confidence, Young explained.
Christopher Dean, a who works alongside his wife Monica Foster, the team leader of a Texas-based eXp Realty team, said he’ll often show buyers properties in markets they hadn’t yet considered, to show them that there are nice properties out there, with less competition. He has buyers looking in Galveston, Texas, and will also show them properties in areas like Surfside Beach and Crystal Beach.
“They would never consider those markets when they come in because they really don’t know the area,” Dean said. “But once we took them to those, they found some really nice properties and the inventory was better there.”
It’s not just buyers facing the frustrating headwinds of the current market. Sellers are often dual-track consumers — meaning they are buying and selling at the same time — so the fear of not being able to buy a home is often holding them back from listing.
Foster, explained that agents need to set the right expectations for sellers — they will find something — and also look to more creative solutions, like alternative financing companies and bridge loans, to make the dual transaction more seamless.
Frustrated clients can often lead to frustrated agents, especially if your clients are consistently missing out on sales. David Hill, a real estate agent with eXp Realty and a longtime coach within the Keller Williams system, believes now is a time to try new things, rather than sticking to your old playbook.
“I think it’s time to get really creative and start doing things to get outside of your comfort zone,” Hill said.