Tuesday, March 26, 2019

The Ins & Outs of the Divorce Niche

Leaving her husband was the most gut-wrenching decision Louise would make in her adult life.

Or, so she thought.

What to do with the family’s home as they separated soon rivaled the decision to leave.

Images of the kids being ripped from their friends in the neighborhood, sleeping in strange bedrooms and trying to settle into a new school made her question whether divorce was the right answer.

Then, there was the house.

The one she and her husband shopped for, fought for, fixed up to meet their needs, loved, maintained and in which they built memories.

Man, giving that up is a hard concept to deal with.

With the help of her attorney and a dedicated, empathic real estate agent, Louise overcame the turmoil and was able to move on with her life.

Yes, divorce rates seem to be on the decline in the U.S. yet 40 to 50 percent of American marriages still end in divorce.

Furthermore, divorcing couples sell homes and, often, purchase another. Although it sounds a bit mercenary, the divorce niche in real estate can be quite lucrative. 

Someone needs to help couples going through this challenge.

At the risk of sounding like we’re objectifying living, breathing human beings (humans who are in emotional pain), you won’t find a more motivated home seller than someone going through a divorce.

Whether it’s because of a court order or simple logistics, most (but not all) divorcing couples choose to include the home when liquidating their assets.

You don’t necessarily need to have personal marital break-up experience to effectively pursue divorce leads, but agents who do are one-step ahead of you.

 What you need to know to work with divorcing couples

Working with divorced or divorcing couples isn’t easy. It isn’t for those who lack empathy, tact, diplomacy or patience.

It’s for the counselors among the agent ranks, the educators, those who truly want to help and aren’t in it for the quick commission.

Agent Scott Weeda, for instance, tells NPR’s Sara Lerner about just one of the strategies he’s found effective when working with divorcing couples:

“I never try to force them to communicate together, which means a lot of separate and duplicate communication, so that neither ever has the impression that I’m trying to force the agenda of one on the other,” he says.

This may mean coordinating separate meetings for everything from signing the listing agreement to acknowledging contingency releases, presenting offers and closing.

But that is one strategy in a process full of them.

How to generate divorce listing leads

You have several options when it comes to finding divorce leads. One of the easiest is, of course, to buy a list. Companies such as ReboGateway (started and run by former agents and brokers) offer lists that they obtain from mining court records.

We offer postcards that speak specifically to divorcing couples selling their home in our Life Event Postcard Series. These postcards integrate with ReboGateway. To learn more about how to export a divorced homeowners mailing list from Rebogateway into your ProspectsPLUS! account click here (from a desktop computer).

Or, consider mailing to quit claim deed filers. A real estate investor who specializes in divorce listings claims, in a thread at bigger pockets.com, that about 20 percent of responses to his quitclaim deed ads come from divorcing couples.

“Most of the time I am contacted from the person who decided to keep the house and now they understand they can no longer afford it,” he explains.

He also advertises in a local grade school’s parent newsletter. The ad directs the reader to a landing page he designed specifically for couples going through a divorce.

If you think that sending a divorce focused postcard is too direct send a postcard from our Get More Listings Series instead. This series is targeted at driving more listings. As long as you get your name in front of these couples you’re one step ahead of everyone else.

Get referrals

If you decide to make divorce real estate your sole niche, consider a program that teaches you how to work with the family law community to earn their referrals.

Laurel Starks, divorce agent and author of “The House Matters in Divorce” offers classes in how to get divorce leads and how to work with divorcing couples.

She is the founder of the Divorce Real Estate Institute and teaches agents about the “two paths to successfully serving divorcing clients.”

Since the 2019 real estate market remains up in the air right now, choosing the divorce niche may just mean the success of your business this year.

Send our Divorce: Curve Ball postcard from our Life Event Series to your list of divorced homeowners.
Remember to export your Rebogateway list of divorced homeowner into your ProspectsPLUS! account, click here to learn more (From a desktop computer).

Need help targeting the perfect niche of buyers or sellers? Use our mailing 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 4 free ways we can help you have an INVINCIBLE 2019!

1. 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 


2. 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


3. 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, Listing Inventory, Geographic Farming, and Sphere of Influence – Click Here


4. 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

Also…check out these game-changing tools!

 Three Click Postcards – Just snap a home photo & create a postcard all from your mobile phone

MLSmailings.com – Automated Just Listed, Just Sold Postcards

Market Dominator System – Become a neighborhood brand & achieve 20% market share

Want to Refer a friend or colleague? Refer them, Here. THEY get a Free $25 Gift Card and YOU become their hero. BTW, you also get a $25 Gift Card too (now that’s what I’m talking about)!

Our business flourishes from recommendations just like yours and we truly appreciate your review of our products and services – Review us here 

Why You Want to Start Attracting Them Now

Twenty-six million. That’s the number of homes owned by U.S. baby boomers, according to the Bipartisan Policy Center. To put that figure into perspective, consider this: They hold more than half of all owner-occupied homes in the country.

And, in some cities, that number is even higher.

The invisible goldmine

The Baby Boom segment of the population is one that is almost completely ignored by the real estate industry. Yet their combined take-home pay is $2 trillion dollars a year and they can take credit for half of all discretionary spending. That’s not all:

  • They control 70 percent of all wealth in this country
  • Boomers represent half of all credit card use.
  • They own almost 80 percent of all financial assets.
  • They purchase 50 percent of all luxury cars and 73 percent of all hybrid cars sold in the U.S.

Baby boomers are a generation whose birth spanned the years between 1946 and 1964, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Currently, boomers range in age from 54 to 72 years old.

The new and improved baby boomer

The baby boomer generation has turned everything we used to think about the senior housing market upside down. Gone are the days when the real estate agent that specialized in the niche sold two types of homes: those of the deceased or those of the frail elderly moving into long-term care or other facilities.

Members of the previous generation, the so-called Silent Generation, are now beyond retirement age and represent those we use to think of when we considered the senior real estate niche.

Boomers, on the other hand, represent a mixed bag of folks: some are still raising families, many are still working and the older members of the generation, who should be in the early stages of retirement, have, for the most part, decided to postpone retirement and continue working.

Even more intriguing for the real estate industry, however, is that 41 percent of leading-edge boomers – a group with over $500 billion in spending power, according to Brent Green, author of Marketing to Leading-Edge Baby Boomers – say they will definitely purchase another home.

Agents considering working with boomers as they buy and sell real estate into their retirement and beyond should understand this segment of the population and what they seek in their new home.

What do boomers want?

If you want to work with boomers, and you don’t count yourself among them, the first thing to understand is that most of them are not frail and they don’t consider themselves elderly.

In fact, boomers are far healthier than their predecessors and don’t take kindly to being talked down to and “they will not tolerate typecasting, stereotypes, pandering or ageism,” says Green.

Assumptions – we all know what they are, right? So, step number one is to throw out all the assumptions you might have about older Americans.

And if you don’t think the real estate industry has assumptions about this generation, read some posts at ActiveRain: “Baby boomers are still grabbing real estate guides in the grocery store while everyone else is looking online first, researching second and then picking up the phone,” posted an agent old enough to know better.

Let’s take a sledgehammer to what is arguably the most common myth about this “older” generation: Boomers are tech-averse.

What these agents and others fail to realize is that “tech” didn’t drop from the sky the day they turned old enough to use it. In fact, we can thank baby boomers for the invention of the PC, mobile phones, and the World Wide Web.

  • It was boomers who invented the Apple II in the 70s, which ushered in the home computing revolution.
  • Today, 53 percent of boomers are on Facebook, according to a recent Nielsen survey: “Introducing Boomers, Marketing’s Most Valuable Generation.”
  • They are five times as likely as the general population to own an iPad or other tablet.
  • Boomers spend more money on technology than members of Gen X and Gen Y, according to Forrester Research.

Finally, and this one is important if you are considering boomers as a real estate niche: 82 percent of adults age 50 and over use the Internet to research real estate.

Their ideal home location

Again, throw all of your preconceived notions out the window. Despite what you might read online, boomers don’t really care how far away the nearest medical facility is and aren’t at all interested in being located on public transportation lines.

In fact, a full 60 percent of adults 55 years of age and older want a home in the suburbs, in close proximity to walking and jogging trails, according to a survey by the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB). Fifty-four percent want a park nearby and half find an outdoor pool attractive.

Golf communities have fallen out of favor with today’s older Americans but a community fitness center is a hot feature. 

In-demand home features

Older homebuyers overwhelmingly want a single-story home, and most of them are seeking to downsize, in an effort to save money on their ongoing homeownership costs, according to a 2017 study from Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Last fall’s Del Webb’s Baby Boomer Survey asked which must-have features boomers want in their next home and here are the top five responses:

  • Multi-car garage with storage
  • Open patio or deck
  • Open floor plan
  • Eat-in kitchen
  • Small and private yard

From Woodstock to inspiring the World Wide Web, baby boomers have left their mark on the world and will continue to do so. Ignore this huge segment of the population in favor of focusing on young, first-time buyers at your peril.

Ready to get the attention of some baby boomers? Send the Too Much House Postcard from the Life Event Series to at least 100 baby boomers.

Need help targeting the perfect list of baby boomers or another niche list? Use our mailing list tool to create the ideal list or call our support team for assistance at 866.405.3638!

PLUS: When you have time…here are 3 free ways we can help you CRUSH IT in 2018!

1. The Free 2018 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

2. 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

3. 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, Listing Inventory, Geographic Farming, and Sphere of Influence – Click Here  – Click Here

Also…check out these cool tools🙂

3 Click Postcards – Just snap a home photo & create a postcard all from your mobile phone

MLS Mailings – Automated Just Listed, Just Sold Postcards

Market Dominator System – Become a neighborhood brand

Tools You Can Use…

By Julie Escobar

Back in the DAY…(ever notice how people always say that about what they did ions ago?) I used to love working with First Time Home Buyers.  They were excited, eager,  a little nervous and usually very appreciative of an agent’s experience and help.  Today’s consumers (even the newbies) are a lot more savvy than they used to be but I still find this niche a great source of prospects (and referrals) for agents today!

One great way to attract First Time Home Buyers is by hosting Home Buying Workshops in your market.  Many agents find that holding them at the local libraries, schools (many PTAs or PTSAs would be happy to include a segment in one of their meetings for valuable information!)  In many areas, you’ll find clusters of higher end apartment complexes that you could easily target for first time home buyers.

You can even use our mailing list options to specifically search for high-end renters and create a marketing database to connect with this demographic.

Couple up with a mortgage lender and real estate attorney to help spread the word and bring more value to the table.  I’ve even known agents who invite local restaurants (especially start ups that are trying to market themselves as well) to bring in sample appetizers or refreshments in return for letting them share their contact information or coupons as well!  In today’s world, this kind of smart, intuitive shared networking is making a big difference for a lot of agents.

We’ve got a terrific free report just for agents that’s filled with lots of ‘goof-proof’ tips on how to host a
successful workshop!  We’ve even got ready made postcard invitations that you can send out in a matter of kissyourlandlordgoodbyestdthumminutes!

It’s easy to use and easy (and free) to get!  Click here to go to our Resource Page – scroll about half way down the page until you see “Free Consumer Workshops” – then just click download!  Easy, breezy!  While you’re there – also download “How to Save for a Down Payment” which is a great piece to share with those folks who WANT to buy but aren’t quite ready to just yet.  Having your mortgage lender there will be very beneficial as you can help folks sort out where they are NOW in relation to what they need to purchase a home.

Be sure to get everyone’s contact information – then put them on a drip direct mail campaign every 30-45 days so stillrentingstdthumbthat when they are ready to purchase – they’ll know JUST who to call.  Our First Time Buyers Series is perfect for that.

They really speak to the questions that these folks already have in their heads and keep you top of mind.  I always like to use the alternative back on the postcard to write a little more information and create some calls and response by offering a free list of homes, list of foreclosures, additional home buying tips, local school information, etc.  All great reasons for them to stay connected with YOU!

If you are hosting an event in your market – be sure to share that information on your social media networks, and in the rental communities you are targeting.  And if this is the demographic you want to OWN in your market, consider setting up  a Facebook page so that you can really continuously share news people can use relating to buying a home and your market.  Don’t JUST talk business though!  Share information about your local economy, schools, community garage sales, tips about new restaurants or businesses in the area.  You can spotlight standout community leaders, kids who are making a difference, teachers, local heroes, specials you run across, testimonials from happy customers and more!

Need help getting started? Call our team at 866-405-3638 today.  They’re smart, knowledgeable, friendly and here to help you suceed!

Then Putting the Who, What, and When Together

By Julie Escobar

As we head into the final months of the year, a lot of agents are already wisely getting into planning mode. One sticking point that stumps a lot of real estate professionals is building the right marketing lists to fuel their pipeline of business.  Let’s take a look at some simple strategies to put into place:

Sphere, Farm, Niche – it’s the real estate agent’s version of lather, rinse, and repeat.  Success in this business stems from staying in touch, staying positioned, and top of mind for the folks in all three.  I’m often asked by agents, “Where do I start?” The obvious is ‘the sphere’, aka – your sphere of influence or book of business.

Now, if I had a dollar for every agent that said ‘no” when asked if they had ever taken the time to actually put their sphere (those people that already know you, like you, trust you, and would do business with you) into a database, I could buy a very large piece of property – like an island or something! So don’t let yourself fall into THAT category! Savvy agents understand that their best customers, are the ones they’ve built and nurtured relationships with consistently.  Who should be in in your sphere?  Family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, past clients – and all those folks whose lives you touch and touch yours back. businessbase

Sphere:  For a list of 250 people that SHOULD be in your book of business, download a pdf of our BusinessBASETM at no cost today.  Then make THIS the week you make putting YOUR sphere into a working, viable, referral-generating database.  Need help inputting all the data?  There are lots of college students home for the summer already that would be perfect for that kind of task.  Or hire a Virtual Assistant for the project.  Your highest and best use of time is prospecting, presenting, and closing – so gather up the data – and delegate it to someone to make it happen.

Four great marketing pieces for your sphere:

  1. Holiday postcards – there’s something every month that can be sent as a friendly hello.
  2. Recipe cards – many agents swear by these as customer ‘keepers’.
  3. Newsletters – these powerful tools are perfect for connecting with your sphere.
  4. Content cards – these are content-rich, consumer-friendly postcards filled to the brim with valuable information that people love.

Farm:  Pick an area – but not just ANY area.  I asked Coach Todd Robertson for a little how-to advice for map my mail dataagents on choosing the right farm area for them.  He shared, “I work with a lot of agents to help them really fine tune what area they want to market.  Even if you find a geographic farm that you think works for you location wise with commission-friendly price ranges, you still need to be mindful of two other factors:  The turn-over rate, and the competition.  Ideally, we want to help position you to receive a 20% market share in a geo farm. If you start in a farm where another agent already has that or higher, you’re going to work much harder and have to be at it longer to see the results you’re seeking.  Finding an area where any one agent has less than 10% market share is preferable, or if you see an area where a previously aggressive agent has slowed or stopped their marketing.  In terms of turnover rate, ideally you want a one that is at least 10-15%.  You can easily determine the turnover rate by dividing the number of homes in the farm by the number of homes which have sold.”  That’s a great starting point.  So take a snapshot of your market area – look at the neighborhoods that may fit that criteria close to you, then use our MapMyMailSM system to easily capture mailings lists from those areas.  You can choose a radial search by address, or choose to search by zip code or counties. Talk to your broker, look at your options – then map out your marketing list! Once you have that – then remember to stay CONSISTENTLY in touch with these folks – month after month.    For a great read and more tips from Todd – read The Smart Scoop on Geographic Farming.

Three great tools for connecting with your farm:

  1. Neighborhood Update/Free Offer series: People want two things: to know the agent they work with can get results – and that they have the resources they need.  These cards present you as the agent with both!
  2. Listing Inventory Series: These postcards speak to the mindset of potential sellers with the right questions and direct response offers.
  3. The Market Dominator: For agents serious about dominating a geographic farm and earning a 20% market share.  This powerful, direct-response piece is 12×15 and attention grabbing.  It also takes advantage of Every Door Direct Mail, so the cost is even more affordable.

Niche:  Top agents don’t stop at just marketing to a sphere and farm. They specialize in a demographic that resonates with them.

Here are some ideas for working a niche:pp demographic search data

  • Investors: Use our MapMyMailSM – choose the demographic search option, then custom, then choose records with a household income of $150,000 or higher.  You can also look for REI or REIA websites to learn more about real estate investors.   Use our Investor Series postcards to reach out to these lists each month.
  • FSBOS & Expireds: There are great services such as LandVoice that offer data for FSBOs & Expireds in market areas all across North America.  Use our 7 Series for FSBOs or Expireds – send 3-7 postcards in rapid succession (every 3-5 days) as soon as you see a new prospect for these demographics, offer a free report such as 5 Factors That Cause a Property Not to Sell, and follow up after you’ve sent the postcards with a direct response offer.  Offer to perform a Merchandising Review to ensure that the home gets sold for the best possible price in the fastest possible time.
  • First Time Home Buyers: Use the MapMyMailSM system to find local renters.  Offer a variety of free reports such as How to Save for a Down Payment, or Top Ten Checklist for Choosing an Agent. Send our First time home buyer/renter series of postcards monthly with a fair trade offer to connect.
  • Seniors: You can use that same MapMyMailSM technology to find Baby Boomers and older.  Send our Senior series of postcards to these fine folks!
  • Get creative: From motorcycle enthusiasts, to local sports team members, to boaters, to farmers, and everything in between.  Finding the group of people that you really connect with and would love to serve and work with is a great way to get continuously better as an agent and build a powerful referral network.  You can edit our holiday, inspiration, recipe, content cards, or even image series to alter your message for each and every demographic.

We also have powerful Specialty Data Selects Using Nielsen’s PRIZM Codes available on the site to help you tap into incredibly detailed data segments to help make their marketing easier – and more effective. What is PRIZM segmentation? According to Nielsen, “Segmentation links your customer data with household-level and neighborhood-level demographics, syndicated survey and primary research data to reveal exactly what types of consumers are currently using your products or services. Any customer files, lists or survey data with complete addresses or at least a ZIP code can be coded with Nielsen’s segmentation systems. This allows you to identify your best prospect segments with the greatest efficiency for effective marketing strategies that align with marketplace demands.”

Smart, right? So what does that mean to YOU as a real estate professional? It means that marketing just got more interesting. See our Nielsen PRIZM options here.

For all three marketing avenues – your sphere, farm, and niche – be sure to connect every 28-45 days consistently to ensure that you maintain that top-of-mind awareness.  Armed with your database and marketing materials, and a reminder system to FOLLOW up with the folks in each will give you the competitive edge in your market that will allow you to develop and maintain a long and prosperous career.  Ready, set – GO!

Need help getting started? Contact our marketing professionals today at 866.405.3638.  They are an amazing resource – and they truly care about your success.  Happy Listing!