Selling the Sellers
Real estate agents today are grappling with the realities of working in a strong and increasingly competitive market. Home prices are steadily rising: The median existing-home price in March was up 6.8 percent compared to March 2016, the 61st consecutive month of year-over-year increases, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).1 But balancing that figure are struggles with declining inventory. In March, the total housing inventory was 6.6 percent lower than in March 2016, a number that has declined year over year for the past 22 months.2 For many markets, there are just more buyers than there are homes for sale. As a result, real estate agents must not only work harder to find and sign new listings, they also have to work smarter.
For agents pursuing new listings, the first challenge to overcome is increasingly apprehensive potential sellers. Demand is greater than supply in many markets. This low inventory isn’t only a problem for first-time homebuyers and those looking to re-enter the housing market. Current homeowners are hesitant to sell their homes for fear of not being able to find a new home — whether they want to move up the property ladder or downsize. Although strong home prices often will entice homeowners who want capitalize on their investment to sell, the scarcity of properties is causing many homeowners to consider staying put.
To alieve these concerns and get these clients off the sidelines, real estate agents should be prepared to change their dialogue. Although many agents have their listing pitch pre-packaged and ready to go, it’s critical to put yourself in the seller’s shoes. Listen. You must listen to what sellers have to say, answer their questions and respond to concerns about the market. Ask questions. If they have any apprehensions about securing a new home, be prepared with solutions. Remind them they are in charge of the selling process, and there are options available to them. For instance, let them know they can make any sale contingent upon their finding a new property. Be prepared to talk about the market in your area and the inventory may be available to them.
Once you’ve calmed their fears about the market and finding their next home, win over potential clients with your marketing initiatives on their behalf. Many agents currently go into listing presentations prepared with a portfolio of marketing they’ve done for other sellers — just like every other agent the potential client meets. These agents are overlooking a simple way to make a big impression on a seller: Show the client their own listing. Agents should present the seller with marketing materials that are already tailored to the listing they hope to win. With a little homework and the help of technological tools, agents can take the initiative and demonstrate to potential clients they’re fully prepared to move ahead with marketing their home to buyers.
It requires some legwork beforehand, but it has the potential to make a big impact on sellers and will help you connect with them more quickly. Some brokerages offer online marketing stores to make creating these materials straightforward and easy, but you can also do this on your own with the help of some computer programs. Typically, it takes just a few simple steps:
- Upload photos. Drive by the potential listing and get some exterior shots. Or there may already be usable photos of the home online. Either way, make sure to showcase the actual home, so clients can connect with your materials.
- Write accompanying copy. Again, a little homework can go a long way here. Be sure to highlight the features of the home, as well as the surrounding neighborhood. Does the house have great landscaping? Are there unique features to the home? Also consider such local highlights as nearby parks, proximity to businesses and shopping. What school district is the home in? Know the home and the area you’re selling.
- Save the files as PDFs or print them. If you want to save money, save the files and have them ready to show on your tablet or laptop when you meet with potential clients. Or print them so the client will have tangible evidence of the work you’ve already done to win their business.
To get listings in today’s market, agents must do more to connect with potential clients during the initial presentation. Being prepared with marketing materials tailored to the client’s home can give agents the competitive advantage they need to earn the seller’s business.
Listing presentations are crucial to earning new business in this competitive market, so agents must be prepared to help anxious clients and put their best marketing forward. Agents must first persuade sellers that selling can work for them — and then they must show that they are ready to be the best listing agent for them, as well. It doesn’t take much time to make a big impression. With the help of technology and digital tools, agents can create marketing materials tailored to that specific home — before the client signs the listing agreement. Doing a little homework in advance demonstrates initiative to prospective sellers and illustrates what the actual marketing of their property will look like to potential buyers. In the process, agents show potential clients just what a winning listing agent looks like.
About the Contributor
Renee Deane serves as Executive Vice President for Carrington Real Estate Services, LLC, where she is directly responsible for the operations and growth of the brokerage in 23 states. In addition, she leads the strategic development and implementation of new revenue sources that directly benefit the income potential of Carrington agents. A 25-year industry veteran in the financial services sector, Renee’s experience brings a global perspective to developing innovative ideas and solutions for Carrington Real Estate Services’ local leadership teams, training, marketing and product development efforts.
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