Spring is closer than we think. The forecast might still include some snow and cold temperatures, but the calendar is moving forward. Many sellers feel that the spring market is the best time to place their home on the market, as buyer demand traditionally increases in the springtime. And with interest rates projected to be a full percentage point higher by the end of 2015, buyers are going to be anxious to get under contract as soon as the weather breaks.
You can start getting yourself ready for that busy season right now by following these simple steps:
1. Get your database in order … now.
When was the last time you contacted to your past clients and your A, B or C leads? How about your business development contacts? Reaching out to them right now and churning up new business could lead you to a big spring season. Talking to them about life changes or just sending them something to let them know that you’re breathing can help you get more business.
Send them something useful such as a newsletter, a personal note, a small gift or even an appreciation party invitation. As long as it’s something beneficial and genuine, then it won’t be tossed in the junk mail bin at the post office.
2. Put together homebuyer education seminars.
Are you already doing homebuyer education seminars? One of the greatest ways to get more business is to ask for it. Advertising a homebuyer’s seminar on a Saturday or Sunday is a smart way to get more business and grow your leads database.
These don’t have to be just focused on first-time homebuyers. They can work for “boomerang” buyers who experienced a short sale or foreclosure and are now eligible to buy again — or anyone who has not bought since the big housing crash and needs to know what to expect.
The topics to discuss at these seminars are endless, but here are some of my favorites:
- Credit scoring do’s and don’ts.
- What to expect during the loan process.
- Loan programs out there that your buyers might not know about.
3. Where are you advertising?
Many of the top agents are already on Zillow, Trulia and realtor.com, but not too many are taking advantage of Facebook advertising. Make no mistake: Facebook is out to make money, and it wants yours, too. That is why organic search results for business pages are so low. By promoting your seminar, open house or community fundraising event, you get a ton of exposure (and, of course, more business).
Just make sure you are collecting leads with an excellent landing page. I have personally seen more than 8,000 views in a single week’s worth of promotion, and I think Facebook ads are certainly worth the investment.
I have also seen successful oversized mailers, but it’s hard to measure the results you are getting from direct mail as opposed to online advertising.
4. Do you know whether your buyers are truly prepared to buy when they find the right house?
When a house is new to the market and priced well, you should know what’s coming because you’ve seen this show before, right? The house will go for more than the asking price, and it will go quickly. This means buyers need to have their lenders lined up, their documents ready to go and their checkbooks in hand. If your buyers like a property, then they need to move fast — or someone else will.
Sometimes having your lender make a phone call to the listing agent about why your buyer is a strong candidate can mean the difference between getting the house or finishing second.
But if your buyers aren’t ready to jump through the hoops, then it might be time to figure out whether they’re really ready to buy … or whether they’re experiencing any doubts.