Long gone are the days when one great sale meant you were on easy street for the rest of the year…When joining the “million dollar” club was a rite of passage, and paying big bucks for fancy billboard advertisements meant you’d arrived. Only two years ago, all you had to do was list a property and two days later is was sold at list price or above.
These days listings are languishing on the market for three months, six months, and longer. Buyers are in the driver’s seat and many are opting for discount brokers that charge a flat fee instead of a six or seven percent commission. Is the real estate profession as we know it dead? No, but the days of easy money and quick profits are. Following are tips on how to make it as an agent in today’s market:
Focus on buyers.
For a long time the big money went to agents who maintained a lot of home listings. Now that those listings are sitting on the market and not selling, buyers are in control. By becoming a buyers’ agent, you can use your negotiating skills to help those looking for a home get the best deal possible. First time home buyers especially need assistance in climbing the slippery slope of home ownership. Remember, as a professional you know the market. Use that knowledge to help customers find the best property at the lowest price in the most desirable location.
Become a relocation specialist.
When buyers come from out of town, often they need to find property fast. Trying to navigate the real estate market in a new community can be daunting. You can use your knowledge of the area, the schools and the marketplace to guide them quickly and efficiently. Sure they can get a lot of information on the Internet, but someone who knows every detail about the school systems and has combed every street in the area for years commands a lot of credibility.
Preview homes first.
Now that every single home listing is on the Internet for buyers to see themselves, you need to provide more service than ever before. Get to know exactly what your customers are looking for and tour the homes you know they will like before you meet with them. That way you save time by answering specific questions about the house before they walk through the door.
Increase your advertising.
At a time when the office phones are barely ringing, get your message out any way you can. You don’t have to invest a lot of money in fancy billboards and sales flyers. A small direct-mail campaign to your target area and customer base will help. In your letter, emphasize your experience and ways you can help potential customers cut through the maze of paperwork and time-consuming aspects of a real estate sale.
Ask for referrals.
Don’t be afraid to approach friends, family members and former customers for referrals. Word-of-mouth is the best form of advertising. Spread the word and hand out those business cards everywhere you go. You never know where you will meet your next prospect.
Finally, don’t give up.
If you’ve been in the business for a while, you know the market fluctuates. If you can ride out this downturn, you’ll be way ahead of the other agents who gave up and got out of the business.