Knowing WHO and WHEN are just as important as knowing HOW

By
Real Estate Agent with Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.

Just a little food for thought:  FOLLOW THE MONEY!

 In a Seller's Market, listing is the name of the game.  In a Buyer's Market, selling is the name of the game.  It's as simple as that. 

A Buyer's Market, like we're experiencing today, is a good time for agents to target renters, investors, relocation...  for NON-CONTINGENT BUYERS!  They are money in your pocket (assuming you have an exclusive buyer-broker contract), because they control the market right now.   Send mailings to apartment complexes, to "residents" of homes owned by absentee owners you identify through public records, hold home-buyer seminars, and contact local real estate investors (check the tax records to identify individuals who own multiple properties in your market).  Focus your farm mailings on attracting buyers right now, rather than sellers.  (You might get both - a buyer wuth a home to sell.)  Buyers are the name of the game in a Buyer's Market! (That's why they call it a Buyer's Market.)

Of course some listings will sell, but...  A Buyer's Market is no time to invest your limited resources in FSBO's, expireds, and other listing efforts, just so you can invest more of your limited resources, i.e. time and money, trying to keep your angry and frustrated sellers happy - maybe for months on end - without a sale.  Now don't get me wrong - if a listing falls in your lap, take it!  I'm just talking about the highest and best use of your prospecting time.

You want to work smarter, not harder.  That's why knowing WHO and WHEN are just as important as knowing HOW.

Margaret Woda, Maryland Realtor

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Margaret Woda

Margaret Woda - Real Estate The Woda Way

 

As a licensed Associate Broker in the D.C. - Baltimore - Annapolis area, I specialize in Anne Arundel and nearby Prince George's Counties, Maryland, including Fort Meade, Joint Base Andrews, and the U.S. Naval Academy. If you enjoyed reading this post and want to learn more about Real Estate the Woda Way, please visit my website at Margaret Woda.com or contact me today.

 

Margaret Woda, Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. (410)451-6245|MWoda@mris.com

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Rainer
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David Fox
The Real Estate Tech Desk - Crofton, MD
Real Estate Technology Specialist
Another good post.... I do think there has to be a balance (like others are saying)   maybe a subject for another post for another day?
Aug 30, 2007 08:06 AM #6
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Margaret Woda
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. - Crofton, MD
Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation

Brian - Smart guy! You have to know how to work both, and you have to work both.  And you have to know where to focus when.

Lisa - If you only have so much time and money, bet on the winners!  Now that doesn't mean to stop your farming - but maybe you want to change your focus (for now) from "list with me" to encouraging people in your farm to take advantage of the market to buy their first real estate investment property.

Karen - Of course, opinions are like belly buttons...  Generally speaking, listings do attract buyers.  In this market, however, with such a glut of listings, it just makes sense to give an extra "push" for those non-contingent buyers.  Now that doesn't mean you don't also want well-priced listings in good condition as much as you ever did!   

Bill - I love a good dialogue!  Bring it on!  I know what they say... You gotta list to last.  In order for listings to sell, though, somebody has dig buyers out of their armchairs.

James - You're right, of course.  You gotta be consistent with marketing to your normal farm area.  But you might shake up the focus to reflect today's market.  'Bet people in your farm know folks who rent, so tell them about your listings or others in the area and ask for their buyer-referrals.  Or encourage them to buy a rental property. Potential listers will recognize that you are trying to sell homes, not just list them, and that might just inspire them to list with you instead of another agent who is still shouting "List with Me!"

David - This IS the balance!  You gotta know HOW to do it all.  The successful agent who will last in this business (speaking as one of those, after 40 years of watching agents come and go) also knows WHO and WHEN.

Aug 30, 2007 08:13 AM #7
Rainer
92,362
Bob Carney
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. - Mc Henry, MD
Licensed MD/PA Real Estate Agent
Marketing is a moving target in this industry!  You offer some great advice... It comes down to utilizing your time effectively.  Listings will bring buyers...so yes go get listing, but bad listing bring headaches.  This market you need to be selective in what you list.  FSBO and Expired are still a good source...they eventually get frustrated and see the light...but be selective..you don't want someone else's headache.  Even if you are new and don't have listings...you don't want overpriced, unrealistic listings. I am all about about working smarter, not harder!!!
Aug 30, 2007 08:55 AM #8
Rainer
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Debbie Johnson
REMERICA United Realty - Novi, MI
Novi, MI Real Estate Professional
I agree.  My focus has definitely changed to the buyers in this market.  The difficulty with working with buyers is that you only have so much time in the day.  Most buyers primarily are available in the evenings and on weekends.  Therefore, you are limited to how many buyers you can work with before you are put in a position of having to refer them to your buyers assistant or another agent in your office.
Aug 30, 2007 09:01 AM #9
Rainmaker
189,079
Herb Hamilton
RE/MAX Preferred Inc. Realtors - Portland, OR
Real Estate Broker ,CDPE, Downtown Portland

Margaret : Good post and I believe that it will produce a good dialogue. I do disagree with you though. Yes it is important to work where the money is. However if everyone gave up on listings there would be no listings to show your Buyer's. In addition to that you would encourage the FSBO market and validate those feelings by others that Realtor's (R) are just in it for the money.

When I started to sell real estate in 1988 the average days on the market was 211 days. I was a listing agent first and carried about 35 listings. My average market time was 90 days with no expireds. I did it by doing what I am supposed to do. I priced them right and marketed them hard. I also sold 66% of my own listings.

 

Aug 30, 2007 09:04 AM #10
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Nestor & Katerina Gasset
International Properties and Investments LLC - Wellington, FL
Realtors, Wellington Florida Homes For Sale

Margaret- I must agree with Bill. For new agents this is great advice because they are not on solid ground. My very first mentor years ago when it was a buyers market told me " The power is in the listings, for no matter the market, if you have listings priced right the buyers will come." And then you have buyers to work with. The buyers we get to work with are those that come to our listings and do not buy that listing and therefore buy another listing through us. But it is still the listing that brought them to us. In our market, it is neither a buyer or a seller market, it is actually a market being controlled by the lenders at this point. We have lots of buyers who CAN not BUY. 

We work the expired market because it is the best market to work with right now, all the overpriced homes are expiring, the sellers are getting a clue, and we are listing their homes at the right price this time around. Now, we do not usually work with buyers but now we are. So therein you are on target that listing agents should not be turning down buyers right now if they need the money that the buyers will bring. But do not throw out what is working. Being strong listing agents has worked for me in all markets. Our market is like it was in 2001 and in 2001 we were top listers at the local ReMax office and that resulted in being top sellers because of our listings. 

Now this will not work if you only have one or two or three listings but we carry 20-40 listings in every market and thus the buyers will come. Thanks for giving us something to think about! I still love you! :) Katerina 

Aug 30, 2007 09:56 AM #11
Rainer
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David Slavin
RE/MAX Grand - Katy, TX
CDPE, ABR, SRES RE/MAX Grand
Perfect advice for the times!  Now is the time to be picky to beable to control expenses vs income.
Aug 30, 2007 12:15 PM #12
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Margaret Woda
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. - Crofton, MD
Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation

Bob, you are right on!  I just got a listing call (from consumers who found me on ActiveRain, no less) and I'm looking forward to meeting them.  If anyone can sell their home, I can.  But I didn't invest my limited financial resources to generate this lead.  I suspect those sellers may appreciate the fact that I'm actively working to generate buyers for them and other home sellers.  (What a novel listing approach!)

Deb, I agree.  Buyers can be very time-consuming.  But a non-contingent buyer is like money in the bank.  What seller wouldn't be grateful to have more real estate agents wking hard in this market to find more buyers?

Herb - I never meant to imply that anyone give up on listing!  But this is a business, after all.  Think of yourself as a retailer with lots of items on the shelves, nothing selling, and a storage room full of unpacked boxes of more inventory.  Do you invest your resources in acquiring more inventory, or do you invest them in selling the inventory you have available.  It's a business call that each of us has to make for ourselves. 

Katerina - You are the King and Queen of expireds!  No one would suggest you change  directions.  But marketing is a moving target, as Bob said, and there are a lot of struggling agents out there are more than willing to work hard, and just need a little well-founded guidance to help them chart a course towards the level of success you enjoy.  (I still love you, too!)

David - It really is a matter of allocating your resources.  Folks like Katerina and Nestor already have a plan and they're following it, but most other agents could benefit if they "follow the money."  As a manager and broker, I learned to help struggling agents find the fastest route to a closed transaction because nothing motivates more than a little success.  The market truly does determine what that fastest route is likely to be.

Aug 30, 2007 12:50 PM #13
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Patricia Kennedy
Evers & Company Real Estate, Inc. - Washington, DC
For Your Home in the Capital

OH GOSH!  A kindred spirit!  And it so goes against the grain of conventional wisdom.

Unfortunately, the last time the market changed, I was so into buyer mode that I had to do a massive gear shift.  So this time, I'm trying to keep a toe in the listing waters, but I'm being very selective - you know, no fleas, bad smells or Realtor eating dogs. 

Aug 30, 2007 01:11 PM #14
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Nestor & Katerina Gasset
International Properties and Investments LLC - Wellington, FL
Realtors, Wellington Florida Homes For Sale
Margaret- Yes, you are right. Many agents are thinking about quitting. And that is why I agree that if you are new or lack focus then work with buyers like you say in your post. I think most of the time agents have a lack of focus to begin with, no business plan, no goals, no objectives, no road map, no contingency plans, etc. Real Estate school only teaches us how to pass the state exam and not much about the real world. I do believe that in a market like this, it is time for pruning. There are many agents that should leave the business. In the end Real Estate is a business and needs to be run like a small business runs. You really need the entrepreneur personality to make it in this business, the employee mentality will not work in the long run. Katerina
Aug 30, 2007 03:32 PM #15
Anonymous
Anonymous

Margaret, what perfect timing on your post.  I just completed my first year and feel that it was a successful one.  I'm dedicated and very passionate about our profession.  The change in the market is allowing me to re-evaluate my business plan and goals that I set and look at my plans for 2008.  I've had a lot of "floating fish" recently, belly up and no revival.  Yes that's discouraging, but it's time to change what I've been doing and set myself up to accommodate the market.  My focus is on listings $250,000 and under, apartment complex leads, buyers, buyers, buyers and my SOI.  It has worked out so well with my condo listings especially.  The pricing and area are very prominent.  3-4 offers on each one.  From advertising on the internet, I've picked up a buyer from each listing as well.  So being that I'm not well seasoned in the business, I'm trying to make this all work and I'm not about to give up.  Thanks for your great information.

Also, would you be opposed to me asking how you marketed to apartment complexes?  Did you send out postcards, letters, or something else? 

 

Aug 31, 2007 02:57 AM #16
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Margaret Woda
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. - Crofton, MD
Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation

Patricia, 'sounds like you got it down!

Katerina, so true!

Julie, that's great - 'sounds like you have a great roadmap and you're prepared for the detours.  As to marketing to apartment complexes, I don't do that anymore because our apartments have such a high turnover rate.  If you want to talk about this, call or email me sometime, and we can brainstorm together.

Aug 31, 2007 01:39 PM #17
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Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman
Century 21 Liberty Homes - Mililani, HI
(RA) AHWD CRS ePRO OAHU HAWAII REAL ESTATE
Okay...I guess I missed the short one (that'll be the day I ever write one short...it's too darn hard not to get into detail) and again you have excellent advise. I represent both although the buyer's keep coming ...which of course I like. I like to work fast, hard and get it closed. And that's the way it was and is for me the past few months. Thanks again! (I wish I could write like this. I write too emotional I think. Oh, well)
Sep 01, 2007 11:51 PM #18
Rainmaker
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Paula Henry
Home to Indy Team @ Sycamore Group Realtors - Avon, IN
Realtor - Indianapolis Real Estate - 317-605-4174

Margaret, Before this year, i was predominantly a listing agent. Today, I actively seek buyers. I still love listings, but buyers rule right now and sellers are still a bit too optimistic about the value of their home.

Funny, though, my buyers have paid almost full price and a few did pay full price, when the property is priced well in the beginning.

Sep 02, 2007 12:44 AM #19
Rainmaker
58,979
Candy Henthorne
Results Realty - Spring, TX
Spring Texas Real Estate
Great tips for new agents and a refresher for us seasoned ones as well.  It is different times ahead.
Sep 02, 2007 02:29 AM #20
Rainer
18,634
Don Diltz
Coldwell Banker - Menlo Park, CA
DRE:01204965
What a different market most of the U.S. is facing than the one we have here on the SF Mid Peninsula.  We are still looking for listings here.  Wish us luck.
Sep 02, 2007 02:36 AM #21
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Margaret Woda
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. - Crofton, MD
Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation

Sally, your posts are wonderful!  Keep them coming and don't change a thing.

Paula, smart lady!

Candy, i don't think we've met before.  Thanks for commenting, and I'll check out your blogs today.

Don, Good luck!  List 'em AND sell 'em.

Sep 02, 2007 08:04 AM #22
Anonymous
Anonymous

I am a expired listing specialist and I have had great experiences and a decent flow of closings with them.

In my opinion I think that specializing in expired listings in this market is a great niche. I feel it all has to do with the marketing and pricing of the home!!

Sep 02, 2007 08:48 AM #23
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Margaret Woda
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. - Crofton, MD
Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation

Maureen - Expireds IS a great way to go.  Plenty of those out there now.  And expireds are usually willing to list to reason when it comes to following your recommendations.  I have never diligently focused on expireds, but I'm sure I oculd learn a lot from you and Katerina Gasset.  Thanks for the reminder.

Sep 03, 2007 07:31 AM #24
Rainmaker
357,978
Donna Yates Real Estate - serving
ReMax Town and Country - Blue Ridge, GA
North Georgia Metro & Mountains
Margaret:  You make great points and I haven't thought of it the way you've explained it.  Makes sense.  I've gotten a few listings from expireds but my experience so far is that a lot of the expireds are disgruntled because their house didn't sell the first or even second go 'round.  Thanks for another wonderful post.
Sep 04, 2007 01:42 PM #25
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