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Tens of thousands of agents have left the real estate industry in recent months, and NAR predicts that many more will leave as we face an uncertain short-term future. I’d venture to say that many of those agents would have viable careers in the industry if they were taking a more active approach to their business.
You’ve heard me talk about this in some way, shape or form for years, but it’s something we’ve been heavily discussing and implementing at my brokerage.
As my colleague, Melissa Sofia, founder of The Avenue Home Collective, puts it:
What I’ve learned in the past three downturns is the only way to fail in real estate is to give up. It’s to stop putting in the work. The truth is, the agents who are leaving the market have stopped conducting income-producing activities.
Prospecting, lead follow-up appointments, and negotiation are our jobs. This is a time to be honest with yourself. If you’re not doing those things, you’re not actually working.
Today, let’s take a step backward and go back to the basics, not worrying about our downlines or the newest social media trend with Threads. Let’s take a step forward in ways that will actually help your career.
Active vs. passive service to buyers
The passive approach to helping buyers is one where you put in offer after offer on the few homes in inventory, wearing down the buyer clients’ patience and allowing them to opt for a life of endless renting.
For starters, I’d make sure that the buyer has a signed buyer-broker agreement with me. It’s all too easy for a buyer to jump ship if another agent has access to a listing they’re interested in, so it’s important to make sure that you’re committed to working together.
Next, make sure that your buyer has a strong preapproval from a lender with convincing proof of funds that are liquid and seasoned. If they’re financing, look into underwritten preapproval to ensure a streamlined purchase process.
You may have a long-term buyer lead that was not well-qualified when you originally put them up in their search in RealScout. Follow up with them and ask them if they’re ready to get in touch with their lender to see how they’re doing on their credit repair. Make sure that you’re regularly providing education to these types of buyers so that they can make progress over time.
Send your email list of buyers a letter or email (or both) suggesting that you schedule a call to see what’s working and what’s not working. If you’ve shown them a number of houses or sent a number of listings and they haven’t made any offers, find out what needs to be done to tailor the search more specifically to their requirements.
Here’s a sample letter you can use to communicate with buyer clients and help them refine their search:
Subject: Enhanced Homebuying Assistance: Notifications and Personal Consultation
Dear [Client’s Name],
I hope this email finds you well in your homebuying journey. I wanted to reach out and inform you about an exciting new feature I am implementing to further assist you in your search for the perfect home. In addition to our ongoing communication and property notifications, I will now be setting up an additional email notification system specifically designed to keep you updated on homes entering and closing escrow.
By providing you with this information, my goal is to give you a deeper insight into the local market, including property values and days on the market. Understanding the current trends and developments in your desired area can be invaluable when making informed decisions about your home purchase.
In the past, I have introduced this service to my clients, and it has been well received. Many found it to be a valuable resource that helped them stay informed and gain a competitive advantage in their homebuying process.
I would also like to extend an invitation to meet for a coffee or schedule a call this week. This would be a great opportunity for us to discuss any changes or adjustments you may wish to make to your current search criteria. I believe that by continuously refining and tailoring our approach, we can optimize your home search and increase the chances of finding the ideal property that meets your needs and preferences.
Please let me know your availability, and I will be more than happy to arrange a convenient time for us to connect. I genuinely value your input and believe that open communication and collaboration are key to achieving our shared objective of finding your dream home.
I look forward to our upcoming conversation and to continuing our successful partnership of find you a home.
[Your Contact Information]
Want to help your buyers? Find them a home
Next, when I talk about actively working for a buyer client, I’m not just putting them in an MLS on an automatic drip system. I’m actively out there trying to find the home that they’re looking for.
Yes, that might cost me a little bit of money, but so would having a listing right now. With a listing, I have to market, paying for professional photography and copywriting for a description. I’d send out postcards and targeted social media advertising.
Why is it that with a buyer, most people don’t actively work to help them find a property? If you find your buyer a pre-market or off-market home, you can probably get them into that property without a multiple-offer scenario.
Getting active in the search for sellers means reaching out to people who had a home for sale within the last couple of years that may have expired or been withdrawn. Communicate with them to see if they’d still be interested in selling their home.
Keep in mind, I’m not going to a homeowner and saying, “Hey, let me list your home.” I’m going to a homeowner and saying, “If you received an offer on your home, would you entertain selling it? I have a buyer who’s looking specifically in this neighborhood for a house like yours, and I think this will work for them.”
There are plenty of ways to identify a home that will work for your clients. Look in the community where they want to be, narrow down by size, then reach out to those homeowners with a letter, a postcard, door knocking or a phone call. A multi-tiered approach to making contact will immensely improve the odds for finding them a home.
Sometimes, actively searching on behalf of your buyers will result in a listing as well as the sale of the home to the buyer. People like to see that you’re out working for your clients.
Door knocking on a Saturday or Sunday — instead of hanging out at home or sitting in an office — puts you out there, fulfilling the promise that you made to your clients to help them find a home while also giving you the opportunity to meet new potential sellers.
Kenny Truong, founder of Fast Real Estate, puts it this way:
With the decreased number of transactions for the next few years, agents who hunt for business will prosper and those who don’t will dwindle in the winter. Agents need to leverage the buyers they have by reaching out to agents on brokers tours, social media and networking events for off-market listings.
Listing agents need to maximize their listings to create more opportunities by door-knocking neighborhoods both before going on market and after the sale, teaming up with agents and lenders for busier open houses to capture more leads, promoting their listing videos, and scheduling consultations at or immediately after open houses.
Knowledge is power, both for clients and agents. When agents have strategies that allow them to win — and clients have the information they need to make good decisions and find the home of their dreams — everyone benefits.