by Jack Sternberg, Special to Realty/Builder Connection
The good news is that people are still buying houses and they always will. Hard work will be needed to get the job done. A savvy agent can compete in the current housing climate by locating buyers and focusing on giving them what they want.
Here are some advanced sales tips for generating a profitable year:
Conduct buyer seminars.
Offer to give informational (and free!) classes at your local civic or religious center, updating people on the current market conditions. You can teach them how to buy a house even if they've been turned down before, and give advice or referrals on how to repair credit. This will not only position you as an expert in the field, it also gives you access to a fertile, prequalified group of potential buyers.
Solicit apartment complexes and tenant-occupied properties.
While this may seem fairly obvious, it's important that you have appropriate marketing materials targeted to this audience (e.g., showing them how and what they can own for the same payments as their rent) and a strategic approach to contacting these potential home owners.
Buddy up with title companies.
Often they'll have deals that fell apart, and many of those deals were attempted without a real estate agent involved. Gaining access to that list will yield names of interested and motivated buyers and sellers.
FSBOs are very often newbies in the real estate game and aren't really sure what they need to provide potential buyers who come to look at their house. Offer FSBOs helpful documents, such as floor plans, sell sheets, etc., in return for prospects that didn't like the FSBO's house for whatever reason. And the FSBO may eventually call you to give you their listing, if they get frustrated by long sell times, as is prevalent in this market.
Talk to agents going out of business.
According to the National Association of Realtors, there are more than two million registered real estate agents. And the NAR also estimates that between 40-80 percent of new agents quit the business before their first anniversary, and 90 percent by year three. Despite their struggles, many of those have built a list of interested buyers that would be worth adding to your database.
Establish your own website.
Face it: it's the 21st century. Most people do some of their research on major purchases online, and a Web site that displays your personality, not to mention your listings, is a necessity. It's easy and inexpensive to get started and is simply a must.
Market your previous clients.
This is another seemingly obvious tip that all too many agents overlook. Your past clients are your most fertile ground for referrals (and repeat sales) but can only do that if they remember your name! Sending a regular newsletter updating past clients on your latest successes will remind them what a being an agent is all about and let them know you are still making your clients happy.
Partner with reputable mortgage brokers.
Mortgage brokers lately have had their requirements tightened by their lending partners, and probably have said "no" more times in the past few months than in the two or three prior years. Partnering with a reputable mortgage broker can offer a win-win situation. In return for access to the list of turn-downs, you offer to help them in a monitored credit repair situation, who then become buyers who may possibly qualify for a loan from that same mortgage broker.
— Jack Sternberg is a nationally recognized expert on real estate investment who's been in the business for more than 30 years. Sternberg is the creator of the "Buyers First" Program and his website is www.askjacksternberg.com