Real Estate Marketing Advice
Not much more than a decade ago, anyone with the financial page of a newspaper and a handful of darts could be a genius in the stock market. It wasn’t hard to pick winners when the whole market was on a hot streak. But reality eventually set in, and it turned out that price-to-earnings ratios and other pasé fundamentals really did matter after all. The tech bubble burst and the broader market languished, still meandering back and forth through the same territory for years, like Moses lost in the desert.
Much of the 2000s saw a strong housing market hold the economy up on its broad shoulders. Everybody knew that, unlike speculative stocks, real estate values would always go up. But, whether it was Wall Street greed, subprime over-reaching, or government meddling, reality again proved that it always has a cold, blunt edge. The housing market crumbled and the irrational exuberance of a wild party turned into the stark bewilderment and headache of the morning-after hangover.
But in the process, something remarkable was revealed about human nature and the housing market. We have the gyroscopic ability to land on our feet, find sea level, and keep moving ahead. The natural resiliency of people and the innate wisdom of the marketplace have a certain invincibility that allows them to sort things out and find solutions.
The men were separated from the boys and the women from the girls. The strongest agents and brokers not only survived, but found ways to thrive under adverse conditions. It required some downsizing, austerity measures, a fresh approach and adjusting to a new normal, which was a lot like the old normal based on the fundamental principles we all grew up with. And now, after a few years of cocooning, the best brokerages are beginning to emerge as a newer, stronger, and better species.
The euphoric days of wine and roses have expired. And, while the honeymoon may be over, the long and rewarding upward climb is just beginning. It is no longer a time when all comers can succeed, and the real estate schools are no longer cranking out hundreds of hopeful opportunists every month. This is Realville, where ability, dedication, fundamentals, and tenacity win the day.
The measure of success is no longer plush offices in a prestigious location loaded with impressive perks and amenities. A dollar is a dollar, and every person with two front teeth and picture ID that walks in the door is not qualified to buy. Unlimited buyers and ever-increasing commissions are a relic of a by-gone era.
The paradise in which we could simply pick a plump commission from a seeming endless grove of money trees has succumbed to terminal drought and now we have to earn a living the old-fashioned way: by developing qualified leads and a solid portfolio of listings. Sometimes it takes old strategies to successfully tap into a new market.
Today’s buyers are tomorrow’s sellers. It takes time and patience to see one client through the whole cycle, but that is how empires are built. But finding and qualifying buyers and developing a steady stream of new listings is only part of the story. New revenue streams can be developed too.
The same foreclosures that created a log jam in the market and drove prices downward can also generate a steady revenue stream through the preparation of broker price opinions (BPOs) to accommodate lenders. New hungry agents will appreciate the $25 to $125 per report, while the broker can claim his share as well, as he also gets a foot in the door to become a bank’s listing agent.
Creativity is essential, but so is keeping up with the times. Nearly every home search begins online, so a an attractive, effective, and user-friendly website is an essential marketing tool for a competitive brokerage.
Selecting and grooming the best agents and arming them with beneficial “extras” for their buyers and sellers, like helpful brochures to handout and frequently-updated interest rates is essential. Pairing new agents with veteran mentors can also pay big dividends and greatly shorten the learning curve in an agent’s rise from new to great.