Friday, May 29, 2020

    Think back to the recession when short sales became a common occurrence. Seemingly overnight, every other real estate agent on the planet became a “short sale expert.”

    We now know how dangerous that was. Homeowners represented by agents who hadn’t a clue about the intricacies of the process littered the internet with their stories of failure.

    While calling yourself a “neighborhood expert” when you truly aren’t isn’t as potentially damaging to a client as pretending to be an expert in short sales, it’s still dishonest.

    And, if you are a member of NAR, you know that dishonesty is an ethics violation (Article 12).

    We think it’s rather impossible that the vast majority of agents are true neighborhood experts, yet they label themselves as such. So, how do you, the true expert, cut through their clutter and stand out?

    The Market Dominator front & back

    It takes more than a statement on your website or business card. Let’s consider some ways to prove to potential clients that you are what you say you are.

    1. Prove it in your marketing materials

    True neighborhood experts, by and large, market to farm areas. Whether that is a condo community, a specific zip code, or by subdivision, focusing on a smaller pool of homeowners is a brilliant way to become known as the expert in a community.

    The best way to reach these homeowners or tenants or whomever you are targeting is via direct mail. It’s quick, it’s inexpensive and it works.

    Neighborhood sales update marketing

    Here’s an idea of what to send to your chosen neighborhood: Neighborhood Update postcards that include current neighborhood home sale details – information homeowners value. It shows them that you know your stuff and are on top of what’s happening in their area.

    When sending neighborhood updates or CMA reports, ensure that your explanation is in plain English. Unless you explain the meaning, avoid insider jargon, such as:

    • “absorption rate”
    • “months’ supply of real estate inventory” (what does months’ supply and “inventory” mean?),
    • “the median price range” (explain median vs. average)
    • “time on market” or “days on market” (why is this important to the average homeowner thinking of selling?)
    We found lots of other examples online of what to avoid in your updates or CMA reports, such as:

    “In February, sales dollar volume increased year over year by 3% to $599,080,374. New listings rose 22% to 2,820, active listings increased 21% to 5,840 and pending sales increased 11% to 2,452. Monthly housing inventory increased by 0.4 months to 2.3 months.”

    “Sales dollar volume” is meaningless to a homeowner. We would reword the paragraph to read more like a narrative than a dry list of statistics:

    In February, 22 percent more homeowners put their homes on the market here in Any town than in January. As quickly as they’re listed, however, buyers snap them up. One indication of that is the increase in pending sales, which were up 11 percent more than pending sales in January.”

    The Call to Action Series

    Since potential home sellers are your primary audience when farming, leave out the increase in inventory unless it’s significant (0.4 months isn’t). And, if you must express inventory in “months,” do the readers a solid and explain what that means.

    Additional effective farming pieces include:

    2. Prove your neighborhood expertise on your website

    Your website provides the ideal platform to strut your neighborhood expertise. Start by ensuring it’s localized.

    So many agents pay the big bucks for a professional website and fail to remove or change the template text that comes with it.

    Add your market area everywhere possible, starting with the above-the-fold area on your home page. Don’t make visitors wonder where on earth you sell real estate.

    Create a neighborhoods section on your site and fill it with valuable, hyper-local content. In-depth neighborhood descriptions, quotes from folks who live in the neighborhood about why they love it, links to listings and lots of photos are the bare necessities for neighborhood pages.

    Finally, if you don’t have a blog, start one. It’s the ideal place to post local content and, if promoted across your social media platforms, it will help drive traffic back to your site.

    3. Prove it in person

    Get your face known around your chosen neighborhood(s). There are many ways to accomplish creating visibility. Here are a few:

    • Hold home seller seminars in the area.
    • Join the PTA.
    • Sponsor a community sports team and, in exchange, ask that your banner be displayed at games. And, do attend the games.
    • Join the neighborhood YMCA or gym.
    • Attend the HOA meetings.
    • Host a monthly coffee-and-pastry or happy hour event at the neighborhood café or watering hole.
    • Patronize neighborhood merchants and introduce yourself. Become a repeat customer.

    Your aim is for people to think that they see you everywhere they go. Talk to folks, hand out your business card.

    Realtor marketing postcards for neighborhood updates
    The Neighborhood Update postcard

    If you are truly the neighborhood expert, you need to prove it. It’s a brilliant way to stand out among the pretenders.

    Send the Neighborhood Update postcard from the Neighborhood Update Series to an area where you want to brand yourself the expert.

    Need help targeting a specific niche of buyers or sellers? Use our prospect list tool to create the ideal list (it’s easy) or call our support team for assistance at 866.405.3638!

    PLUS: When you have time…here are some Free resources we’ve made available to support your success.

    1. The Free Real Estate Mailing List Guide

    The Real Estate Mailing List Guide outlines the top tools for generating targeted prospect lists including Baby Boomers, Empty Nesters, Investors, Lifestyle Interests, High-Income Renters, Move-Up Markets, and more. The Guide also defines done-for-you marketing campaigns to match these markets. –Click Here

    2. The 12 Month Done-For-You Strategic Marketing Plan

    The Real Estate Marketing Planner is a powerful 12-Month-Guide that strategically defines what marketing to do when. Four key market segments are included, Niche Marketing, Get More Listings, Geographic Farming, and Sphere of Influence. –Click Here

    3. The Free One-Page Real Estate Business Plan

    Treat your business like a business it is vital to long-term success in this industry. Some agents may put together elaborate business plans, yet there’s something powerful about keeping it simple. Check out our one page Online Real Estate Business Plan.  – Click Here

    4. Become a Listing Legend Free eBook 

    Ready to take a vertical leap in your real estate career? If you’re looking for inspiration…and the tools and methods to dominate a market and go to the top in real estate…you’ll find them in this free book. – Click Here

    5. The Free Online ROI Calculator

    Consistency and automation are the keys to success. Discover how effective direct mail marketing can dramatically increase your bottom line. Enter your statistics in our Free online ROI Calculator and click the ‘CALCULATE MY ROI’ button to see your results instantly! –Click Here

    6. The Real Estate Marketing Guide “CRUSH IT” 

    The “Crush It” Guide includes easy steps to launching an effective direct mail marketing campaign, how to create a targeted prospect list, the perfect way to layout marketing materials for success, seven opportunities available to target in your area right now. –Click Here 

    You might like to watch this video (below), “How to Generate More Leads With a Neighborhood Page”.

      As various states ease lockdown mandates and life starts to at least minimally resemble what it used to look like, the real estate market is on track to be far better than many had assumed.

      No, we probably won’t see the fiery spring real estate markets of yesteryear, but the housing market may just prove to be the bright spot in the economy.

      Things have changed, however, from buyer preferences to how homes are shown. Have you vegged out enough on Netflix over the past few months or are you ready for the new world of real estate? 

      We’ve found a couple of niches that we think will be especially worth your time and effort to pursue in a post-lockdown real estate market. One of these is landlords, aka “absentee owners.”

      Who are they?

      “There are about 8 million individual landlords in the U.S., those who typically own between one and 10 properties,” according to Diana Olick at CNBC.com.

      She goes on to state that these landlords “manage half the rental properties” in the U.S., with 48 million tenants.

      Many of these landlords bought their properties between 2012 and 2014. Sure, the big guns (institutional investors) bought then as well, but almost half of investment properties were purchased by the individual landlord – the “Mom and Pop” investor.

      Then, in 2018, the share of small investor activity in the housing market soared to 60%, according to Core Logic’s “Home Investor Report.”

      Most of the homes these smaller investors buy are starter homes, by the way – in huge demand in the current market, as you well know.

      These investors are prime targets, right now, for listing opportunities. Your audience, then, will be landlords who bought investment properties between 2012 and 2018.

      Absentee Owners Series
      Their pain points

      The COVID-19 pandemic created a perfect storm of unemployment, closed businesses offering zero jobs to replace those lost and a government financial rescue program that isn’t seeing cash flowing to landlords.

      Your audience of absentee owners doesn’t include the REITs with numerous rental properties and quite deep pockets.

      Again, they’re the small investors, many living paycheck-to-paycheck, just like the rest of us.

      Their biggest pain point right now is how, without rental income, they’ll make their mortgage payments without begging for forbearance and facing a huge payment when it’s all over. That is, if they qualify for forbearance.

      In California alone, it’s estimated that 85% of tenants can’t pay their rent in May, according to SpectrumNews1.com.

      The news site also claims that “… banks don’t have an obligation to help landlords.”

      Even if they are granted forbearance, there are other expenses involved in owning rental property, such a maintenance.

      Frighteningly, nearly 60% of small landlords “…said they did not have access to any lines of credit that might help them in an emergency,” according to a March survey conducted by Avail, a rental platform software company.

      Direct Response Reports

      Ouch.

      Thankfully, you can help these people.

      What’s in it for you?

      I think it’s safe to say that those landlords who bought their property at the bottom of the market (after the Great Recession), and haven’t borrowed against it, are sitting on a ton of equity right now.

      And the facts bear that out.

      Alcynna Lloyd at HousingWire.com claims that the average real estate investors who bought their properties in 2012 “… have seen their home equity climb by 261%.”

      That pencils out to an average $141,000 in equity.

      Imagine being the one who delivers news like this to landlords who are going deeper and deeper into debt the longer the pandemic goes on.

      The best approach

      Other investors find the absentee owner niche quite lucrative. Because of this, there’s a very good chance that your prospects will have received at least one “yellow letter” from an investor/flipper.

      Absentee Owner Series

      The yellow letter is a direct mail piece that is either written by hand (or created to appear to be handwritten) on a sheet of that yellow, lined paper from what is often called a “legal pad.”

      This technique supposedly brings results for these investors, which is why so many of them use it.

      Direct mail is the best approach to potential clients in this niche and a letter is a perfectly acceptable marketing piece – at least for the first touch. Do yourself a favor, however, and don’t use yellow paper. Make your letter professional and valuable.

      The first step to take when approaching this niche, however, is to determine which area of town you’ll farm. Then, order an absentee owner list.

      If you decide you don’t want to use a letter to introduce yourself, there are several other approaches to consider:

      After you’ve decided on the medium for your introduction, all of the above are well-suited as follow-up material. Which brings us to the next step: Schedule a direct mail stay-in-touch campaign. It doesn’t matter if your “touches” are monthly or quarterly, as long as they are consistent. Don’t give up if you don’t hear back from these prospects after the first few mailings.

      Right now, many absentee owners are second-guessing their role as a landlord. Many are quite motivated to get out from under the financial burden.

      Their pain points are very real, very urgent and you offer the ideal analgesic: sell now.

      Absentee Owner Series
      Send the Renters Make You Crazy postcard from the Absentee Owner Series to a targeted prospect list of Absentee Owners.

      To learn how to create your list of Absentee Owners in your specific zipcode – Watch This Video (below) – Then click here from a desktop/laptop to create your own list.

      Need help targeting other niches of buyers or sellers? Use our prospect list tool to create the ideal list (it’s easy) or call our support team for assistance at 866.405.3638!

      PLUS: When you have time…here are some Free resources we’ve made available to support your success.

      1. The Free Real Estate Mailing List Guide

      The Real Estate Mailing List Guide outlines the top tools for generating targeted prospect lists including Baby Boomers, Empty Nesters, Investors, Lifestyle Interests, High-Income Renters, Move-Up Markets, and more. The Guide also defines done-for-you marketing campaigns to match these markets. –Click Here

      2. The 12 Month Done-For-You Strategic Marketing Plan

      The Real Estate Marketing Planner is a powerful 12-Month-Guide that strategically defines what marketing to do when. Four key market segments are included, Niche Marketing, Get More Listings, Geographic Farming, and Sphere of Influence. –Click Here

      3. The Free One-Page Real Estate Business Plan

      Treat your business like a business it is vital to long-term success in this industry. Some agents may put together elaborate business plans, yet there’s something powerful about keeping it simple. Check out our one page Online Real Estate Business Plan.  – Click Here

      4. Become a Listing Legend Free eBook 

      Ready to take a vertical leap in your real estate career? If you’re looking for inspiration…and the tools and methods to dominate a market and go to the top in real estate…you’ll find them in this free book. – Click Here

      5. The Free Online ROI Calculator

      Consistency and automation are the keys to success. Discover how effective direct mail marketing can dramatically increase your bottom line. Enter your statistics in our Free online ROI Calculator and click the ‘CALCULATE MY ROI’ button to see your results instantly! –Click Here

      6. The Real Estate Marketing Guide “CRUSH IT” 

      The “Crush It” Guide includes easy steps to launching an effective direct mail marketing campaign, how to create a targeted prospect list, the perfect way to layout marketing materials for success, seven opportunities available to target in your area right now. –Click Here 

        Pre-pandemic housing news was enough to give a reader whiplash. While many prognosticators had a vision of a “strong housing market through the end of the year,” others were firmly in the opposing camp. “Housing market will probably slow,” blasted the headline of a popular housing market website.

        Nothing much has changed, despite social distancing mandates and the rest of the inconveniences and heartache brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

        The fact is, the housing market is doing just dandy in certain regions across the country. Utah’s real estate market, for instance, has remained “blistering,” according to a report at KSL.com.

        In March, Utah homes sold more than a week quicker than they did in March of 2019. The median sold price in March 2020 was $35,000 more than last year as well, according to the blog at UtahRealEstate.com.

        Regardless of whether your market is up, down or stagnant, folks still want to buy homes. Many renters who make in excess of $70,000 are waking up to the fact that their current home is inadequate and that those monthly rent checks they write enrich the landlord’s bottom line, not theirs.

        But they don’t understand that they have options.

        Renter/First Time Buyer Series postcard

        Why?

        With an unemployment rate just shy of 15 percent, it’s easy to become pessimistic about the real estate market. After all, requirement number one for getting a mortgage is that you need to prove you can make the monthly payments.

        Sadly, it’s those Americans least able to handle unemployment that lost most of the jobs. “Job losses were highest amongst the nation’s lowest-paid workers,” according to Matthew Speakman at Zillow.com.

        In April, for instance “62% of April’s loss in employment was felt by workers in industries paying below-average wages,” typically those in the hospitality and leisure industries, Speakman claims.

        It’s highly likely that many, if not most of these employees are renters. It’s equally unlikely that they’ll be able to qualify for a mortgage in the near future. This is not your target audience of renters.

        Your target should be renters who earn in excess of $70,000, especially the 1.35 million-plus American households who earn $150,000 per year or more and who “became renters between 2007 and 2017.” (US Census data)

        That wealthier Americans in the nation’s most expensive cities are choosing to rent should come as no surprise. In San Francisco, for instance, where the median starter home costs about $895,000, there are more high-income renters than homeowners, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

        As rents rise, however, they’re awakening to the fact that perhaps a fixed-rate mortgage payment is far better than the wildly accelerating rental rates of late.

        So, why are these people choosing to rent rather than buy a home?

        Many are cash poor and don’t understand that they don’t have to have a huge chunk of money for a down payment and closing costs. Others assume they can’t afford to purchase, despite having a decent income.

        To successfully pursue this real estate audience requires targeted marketing that dispels myths and speaks to their pain points.

        Renter/First Time Buyer Series postcard

        We’ve been seeing an uptick in agents who are purchasing prospect lists targeting renters earning in excess of $70k.

        Along with the list, they also typically choose one of our targeted marketing campaigns for Renters/First-Time Home Buyers.

        Here are some suggestions on additional topics you may want to use to attract these tenants.

        That up-front cost

        “I was a long-term renter because I wanted to wait to buy until I could afford to stay in my current neighborhood,” a new homeowner tells Jennifer Bradley Franklin at BankRate.com.

        So, why the long-term tenancy?

        “I didn’t realize that there were affordable options,” she told Franklin.

        One would think that with all the information at our fingertips, real estate consumers would be better informed about down payment assistance, closing cost help and the various low-down loans available.

        It’s the assumption that the up-front costs are higher when you buy than when you rent that keeps many of them out of the housing market.

        Dispelling this myth is a worthy goal in your marketing efforts.

        While most down payment assistance programs are reserved for low-to-moderate-income earners, there are some for those who earn more.

        The “Most Renters Should Buy” Direct Response Report

        In fact, with more than 2,000 down payment/closing cost assistance programs nationwide, you are bound to find one for your higher-earning, home-buying prospects.

        Or, let them know that the FHA-backed mortgage has a down payment that can go as low as 3.5% and there are no income limits for borrowers. You would be shocked to know how few consumers are aware of this.

        Buying a home builds wealth, renting doesn’t

        Back in 2018, when household net worth in the U.S. hit a record $98.74 trillion, homeowners saw the most gain.

        In fact, “The average homeowner has a net worth of $195,400, 36 times that of the average renter’s net worth of $5,400,” according to Patrick Sisson at Curbed.com.

        This is something that many would-be homeowners don’t consider when they sign the lease agreement. From that moment until the lease expires, these renters are adding to the landlord’s net worth, at the expense of their own.

        Address this in your marketing. Let them know that, as Sisson says, “Homeownership may be one of the most significant, and surefire, means of increasing net worth.”

        Renter/First Time Buyer Series postcard
        Send a postcard from the Renter/First Time Buyer Series to a targeted prospect list of renters who earn in excess of $70k.

        Need help targeting a specific niche of buyers or sellers? Use our prospect list tools to create the ideal list (it’s easy) or call our support team for assistance at 866.405.3638!

        PLUS: When you have time…here are some Free resources we’ve made available to support your success.

        1. The Free Real Estate Mailing List Guide

        This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Real-Estate-Mailing-List-Guide2-3-D-999x1024.jpg

        The Real Estate Mailing List Guide outlines the top tools for generating targeted prospecting lists including Baby Boomers, Empty Nesters, Investors, Lifestyle Interests, High-Income Renters, Move-Up Markets, and more. The Guide also defines done-for-you marketing campaigns to match these markets. –Click Here

        2. The 12 Month Done-For-You Strategic Marketing Plan

        This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 2020-Planner-3D-999x1024.jpg

        The Real Estate Marketing Planner is a powerful 12-Month-Guide that strategically defines what marketing to do when. Four key market segments are included, Niche Marketing, Get More Listings, Geographic Farming, and Sphere of Influence. –Click Here

        3. The Free One-Page Real Estate Business Plan

        This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Business-Plan-3D-Book-New1-270x300.png

        Treat your business like a business it is vital to long-term success in this industry. Some agents may put together elaborate business plans, yet there’s something powerful about keeping it simple. Check out our one page Online Real Estate Business Plan.  – Click Here

        4. Become a Listing Legend Free eBook 

        This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Become-A-Listing-Legend-3D-Book-White-274x300.jpg

        Ready to take a vertical leap in your real estate career? If you’re looking for inspiration…and the tools and methods to dominate a market and go to the top in real estate…you’ll find them in this free book. – Click Here

        5. The Free Online ROI Calculator

        This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is ROI-calculator-b-233x300.jpg

        Consistency and automation are the keys to success. Discover how effective direct mail marketing can dramatically increase your bottom line. Enter your statistics in our Free online ROI Calculator and click the ‘CALCULATE MY ROI’ button to see your results instantly! –Click Here

        6. The Real Estate Marketing Guide “CRUSH IT” 

        This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is CRUSH-IT-Guide-3-d-298x300.jpg

        The “Crush It” Guide includes easy steps to launching an effective direct mail marketing campaign, how to create a targeted prospect list, the perfect way to layout marketing materials for success, seven opportunities available to target in your area right now. –Click Here

          Objection Handling Brochures

          Don’t be surprised if, at least at the beginning of a new client relationship, you’re treated with skepticism and mistrust.

          This is specifically true during uncertain times.

          Building trust is a barrier that must be scaled for every agent when developing a new client relationship.

          And, even after you’ve won them over, there are plenty of new objections you may have to overcome.

          The following are two of the biggies you might encounter that prevent consumers from moving forward, specifically during a pandemic.

          The commission negotiator

          Agent commissions are the most common area of negotiation, specifically during a time when market stability is uncertain.

          First, most consumers know that, by law, commissions are negotiable. What they don’t typically know is that you don’t pocket the entire commission. So your first objective is to educate them. Use numbers they can relate to in your example.

          “Joe, suppose I earned $20 in commission. Half of that, $10, right off the top goes to the broker whose agent brought in the buyer for your home. The other $10 goes to my broker who then pays me my share, $5.”

          If all else fails, fall back on a time-tested commission objection handling technique:

          “Sure, Joe, you may well find another agent who is willing to cut her commission right now. But, ask yourself: If she can’t negotiate with you over keeping her earnings, how can you expect her to negotiate with the buyer when it comes to you getting the highest price possible? If she can’t convince you she is worth her full commission, she can’t very well convince anyone of anything”

          The market challenged
          Objection Handling Brochures

          Then there are the consumers who have a misunderstanding of what’s happening in the market and how it might affect them. “We’d love to sell and buy another home, but prices are too unstable right now.” In the current housing market, you may be hearing this objection frequently. The alternative to this one is “We’ve decided to wait until the market gets better.”

          Either way, if the market truly is conducive to selling and/or buying, crunch the numbers for them.

          In the current market, most sellers will still get what they want for their home. It’s the buy-side they’re concerned about.

          What they’re often overlooking are two very important factors:

          • They have loads of equity right now
          • Mortgage rates are at all-time lows

          Combine the equity with the savings from low mortgage rates and you most likely have a situation where they can afford to buy a replacement home.

          The bottom line

          Objection handling requires a delicate balance – one that can be achieved through empathy. Dan Lok, entrepreneur, author, and founder of Closers.com, uses what he calls the “3 Fs,” Feel, Felt, Found.

          1. I understand how you feel
          2. Others felt the same way
          3. Here’s what I found

          An example of this is the following statement, “I understand that you’re frightened you won’t be able to afford a replacement home. Others feel the same way. But this is what I’ve found.”

          Objection Handling Brochures
          Download the What You Don’t Know Could Cost You “ brochure from the Objection Handling Brochure Series FOR FREE!

          Then print it out at home and include it in your listing presentations or provide it as hand-outs. Just use the promo code FREEBROCHURE at check out!

          Need help targeting a specific niche of buyers or sellers? Use our prospect list tool to create the ideal list (it’s easy) or call our support team for assistance at 866.405.3638!

          PLUS: When you have time…here are some Free resources we’ve made available to support your success.

          1. The Free Real Estate Mailing List Guide

          The Real Estate Mailing List Guide outlines the top tools for generating targeted prospect lists including Baby Boomers, Empty Nesters, Investors, Lifestyle Interests, High-Income Renters, Move-Up Markets, and more. The Guide also defines done-for-you marketing campaigns to match these markets. –Click Here

          2. The 12 Month Done-For-You Strategic Marketing Plan

          The Real Estate Marketing Planner is a powerful 12-Month-Guide that strategically defines what marketing to do when. Four key market segments are included, Niche Marketing, Get More Listings, Geographic Farming, and Sphere of Influence. –Click Here

          3. The Free One-Page Real Estate Business Plan

          Treat your business like a business it is vital to long-term success in this industry. Some agents may put together elaborate business plans, yet there’s something powerful about keeping it simple. Check out our one page Online Real Estate Business Plan.  – Click Here

          4. Become a Listing Legend Free eBook 

          Ready to take a vertical leap in your real estate career? If you’re looking for inspiration…and the tools and methods to dominate a market and go to the top in real estate…you’ll find them in this free book. – Click Here

          5. The Free Online ROI Calculator

          Consistency and automation are the keys to success. Discover how effective direct mail marketing can dramatically increase your bottom line. Enter your statistics in our Free online ROI Calculator and click the ‘CALCULATE MY ROI’ button to see your results instantly! –Click Here

          6. The Real Estate Marketing Guide “CRUSH IT” 

          The “Crush It” Guide includes easy steps to launching an effective direct mail marketing campaign, how to create a targeted prospect list, the perfect way to layout marketing materials for success, seven opportunities available to target in your area right now. –Click Here 

          You might like to watch this…