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The market has undergone a serious shift in the last year.
Not long ago, homebuyers were willing to offer hundreds of thousands of dollars over asking to win out properties from several other buyers.
But with the economy off-kilter and interest rates doubling what they were a few months ago, homebuyers are less excited to get into the market, and some homesellers and their agents are having to stoop to do something that was once unthinkable — drop their prices.
“Now we must have a different discussion and pivot our business for success in 2023,” Marki Lemons-Ryhal of Exit Strategy Realty said during an Inman Connect panel “How to Prepare Yourself for a Successful 2023 Using Tactical Marketing Strategies.”
Lemons-Ryhal, who is also a social media coach, speaker and foreclosure expert, offered seven key tips for agents to up their marketing games now that homes aren’t just selling themselves.
Leverage live video
“Go back and leverage live video on every single platform,” Lemons-Ryhal advised.
She noted the majority of content consumed is done in a handheld device and through video format. Agents would do well to get their listings displayed through video on every platform they actively use.
Identify lenders who will talk about buydowns and alt loans
A few extra interest rate percentages can make a big difference in a buyer’s monthly mortgage payment — and can be a big deterrent to purchasing a home. That’s why it’s important to work with lenders willing to discuss alternative options with buyers for financing home purchases to make them more feasible for their particular situations.
Lenders who can work with buyers on interest rate buydowns can ultimately make payments more affordable, and Lemons-Ryhal said agents and their buyers shouldn’t be afraid to ask sellers to contribute to rate buydowns as well.
Similarly, Lemons-Ryhal said agents should educate buyers on FHA 203K loans, which allow buyers to finance the cost of the homes and any renovation expenses that will come with properties that need significant work.
Identify downpayment assistance programs
Homebuyers who are unaware of downpayment assistance programs available to them through their county, city or state are also missing out on opportunities to make buying homes seem less daunting in today’s market of high prices and interest rates.
Agents who educate themselves and their clients on these programs will show themselves as an asset and potentially get more buyers into the market who thought they couldn’t afford homeownership, Lemons-Ryhal said.
Become certified in foreclosures and short sales
A lot of agents may not think that many foreclosures are on the horizon, because home prices have appreciated so drastically in the last couple of years, Lemons-Ryhal said. But many Americans are still suffering because of inflation, and foreclosures will always be a reality in the housing market.
Wise agents should take this opportunity to learn how to handle foreclosures to add another skill to their toolboxes. Lemons-Ryhal, who is well-connected with home rehab aficionados like herself, said that due to rising trends in poor craftsmanship in the last couple of years, short sales may also see a rise in the coming year for distressed sellers with no other option but to sell a property as-is and in need of repairs.
Once agents get certified in these types of sales, Lemons-Ryhal also recommended they pitch themselves to local media so that distressed sellers become more aware of their options. She noted that direct mail campaigns to homeowners in default are also very effective when done to the same sellers during successive months.
Agents should also consider hosting foreclosure buyer boot camps to educate homebuyers on what it means to purchase a foreclosed home and advertise with fliers and postcards, Lemons-Ryhal advised.
Start a podcast
A great way for agents to spread the word about themselves and their brands is to create a podcast, Lemons-Ryhal said. Pick a unifying theme, invite guests and get started.
All kinds of recording equipment are available and relatively affordable, and Lemons-Ryhal noted that Yeti microphones were her recommendation when it comes to audio quality.
Create a group blog
Like a podcast, a blog helps spread brand awareness and can also help agents establish themselves as experts in their marketplaces or their niches.
Lemons-Ryhal also recommended recruiting other team members or trusted colleagues to contribute so the burden of creating content consistently doesn’t fall all on one person, because the output of content must remain consistent.
For creating good, easy websites, she recommends Canva.
Refresh your LinkedIn profile
Agents who keep an up-to-date, clean, professional LinkedIn profile can leverage it to create connections with bank employees who help handle REO sales, Lemons-Ryhal advised.
One way agents can position themselves to clinch master listing agreements with banks on their REO properties, for instance, is to first update that LinkedIn profile and then search for vice presidents and other executives in business development departments at banks, she said.
Lemons-Ryhal has used this method to create a network for getting REO listings. First, she connects with bank business development executives on LinkedIn, then she puts their contact information into her CRM to make sure they receive her emails and ultimately she sets up face-to-face meetings to create that personal relationship.