Even folks who aren’t thinking of buying or selling a home in the near future enjoy reading well-written real estate market reports.
If you aren’t using market reports in your marketing efforts, you’re missing out on a prime opportunity to show your area expertise. However, it’s not enough to slap up an MLS graph and call it a market report.
If you’ve ever scratched your head over a medical report from a doc, radiologist or other medical professionals, you know how your market report recipients feel when poring over all the stats.
It’s up to you to put them into a form that’s easily understandable to the layperson. Then, it’s up to you to let them know what it means for them.
We’ve seen some brilliant market reports but, unfortunately, we’ve also seen some pretty bad ones. Let’s start with what not to do when writing your report.
1. Don’t assume consumers understand real estate jargon
“The pending ratio indicates the supply & demand of the market.”
While this statement might be true, the author (a company that actually creates reports for agents) assumes that the average reader understands what she means by “pending.”
Pending what? Most consumers don’t understand MLS terminology so each and every report should clearly spell out the meaning behind what you assume are widely-used terms.
So, rewritten, it might look like this:
When a seller accepts an offer on a home, the listing agent changes its status in the MLS from “Active” to “Pending,” meaning the home has an offer, but it hasn’t closed yet.
Then go on to explain what the pending ratio means – in clear, easy-to-understand English.
Then, there’s “absorption rate.” One Las Vegas brokerage offers an email of a menu of local reports, including a “Monthly Absorption Report.” Sounds more like a soil report than what’s going on in the housing market. We don’t imagine they get many requests for that one.
“Inventory” is another term that’s tossed around as if everyone understands what the agent is talking about.
Consider appending the use of “inventory,” at least on the first usage, with an explanatory term. “Inventory of available homes” or “Inventory of homes for sale,” will get the meaning across.
We love Long & Foster’s description in its market reports. While their graph is titled “Inventory,” the accompanying text simply says:
“Versus last December, the total number of homes available this month was lower by 298 units or 26%.”
Then, there are all the acronyms so frequently used by agents that may be a complete mystery to your report recipients. Like “DOM” and “Y-o-Y.”
2. Don’t assume they understand the statistics’ implications
Many real estate consumers don’t have a clue as to how different aspects of the economy impact the housing market and why the local economy accounts for many of the differences between the local and national market.
We like the way Mountain Oak Properties in Asheville, North Carolina handles this:
“Looking deeper into what is driving this steady improvement nationally and locally, you will find that the Asheville area job growth is outperforming the nation and NC.”
The report then goes into a deeper dive of the statistics presented in the report, what job growth has to do with the real estate market and what the consumer might expect in the future.
We all know that we can’t predict the market’s future performance based on current numbers, and you should explain that. But, as the “local expert,” you can take a stab at it.
3. Don’t Be Too General With Your Information
Get as specific as you can. Lucky you if your MLS provides neighborhood-specific statistics. These allow you to go hyper-local.
Determine your target market and focus your reports accordingly. If you’re trying to achieve more listings, mention the neighborhoods with the highest price appreciation. Do the opposite if you’re hoping to lure buyers.
4. Don’t Just Offer Stats and Dry Copy
Once you have your report written, it’s time to get it into an easy-on-the-eyes format. Ideally, you’ll hire a graphic designer and outsource this part of the project. You can find inexpensive designers online at sites such as upwork.com or 99designs.com.
Prefer to DIY? Consider customizing one of the thousands of templates at Canva.com. It’s an easy-to-use graphics site and most of what you’ll find there is free.
Sure, you can take that nifty graph from your MLS and paste it into your report, but, again, it’ll be meaningless to the average real estate consumer.
The name of the game with market reports is “Reader-Friendly.” And, since 65 percent of us are visual learners, this means using lots of colors and big, bold graphics.
Brilliant market reports can help set you apart from the lazy agents. Do them right, and you’ll be one more step ahead.
Start generating interest in your market reports now!
Send the Free Comparative Market Analysis postcard from our Call to Action Series to at least 100 prospects in your farm or an area where you want more listings.
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