Farming (Being Top of Mind) in 2018
I've been around a long time in the real estate business and can remember quite vividly the days of walking and door knocking and flooding the neighborhoods with mailouts and door hangers. This method worked back before technology was the thing and it set me in a prime spot to be the agent to call when any seller was ready to sell. Now security and people's busy schedules have changed things.
I no longer feel safe walking neighborhoods or knocking on doors (not many will answer their doors). I don't like invading the privacy of homeowners. I don't like solicitations when I am in the safe space of my home after a long day's work and my unsolicited door hangers and junk mail go directly to the trash. I think I am very typical of the homeowner of today leading a busy life and staying on the go, wanting my space respected.
We are in a highly technical world and that is where people turn when they need information about selling or in need of a real estate agent. People search all 24 hours of the day and want instant answers and data. It is a race to be the provider and source and to stand out as the top of mind agent for a community or neighborhood.
My change in strategy began within the last 10 years. I recognized that I preferred working in certain subdivisions and neighborhoods more than others. Why not focus and become the expert to draw buyers in? I noticed people wanted to know about the HOAs, what was happening in the area and how prices were changing. They needed a resource person connected to the neighborhood and I studied up. I became that resource on the many selected communities that I chose to represent. I have dozens of subdivisions I track versus a neighborhood or two I farmed int he 1980's.
The process had several steps and the work continues..
- First, I evaluated which subdivisions had a higher likelihood of turnover and relocation. You need to know the average time the homeowners will be staying to see if there will be a product to sell.
- I became familiar with the builders in the neighborhood, their quality, the styles and floor plans that had been built. I can walk a buyer through a home over the phone.
- Did the subdivision have special amenities like a pool, playground or yard service? Was there an HOA and what did it include?
- Schools, parks, shopping and access to major thoroughfares are the types of things that relocating buyers want to know. They want commute times to major employers in the area. I found the answers.
- I regularly drive these areas and stay abreast of the values of the homes, take photos of the home styles and featured amenities of the neighborhood.
- This step was vital...I began building community pages on my website including valuable information that I knew sellers and buyers would want to know.
- To boost the traffic to these pages, I wrote blogs on market data, new listings and linked my blogs and MLS listings to make these pages as valuable as possible.
- As the areas grow and changes, my community pages are updated and changed.
- This is reinforced with mailouts into the neighborhood (postcards with valuable data that can be quickly read) with the kind of information sellers want to know such as prices per sq. ft., selling price ranges and any changes to tax base, school zones, assessments and the like.
- Buyers coming into the area research and find my pages and call, email and text me directly. They get the answers they need to make a decision about the subdivisions. I regularly have buyers that buy with confidence without ever coming to look.
The new way of doing business and farming is to provide information when needed and to carve out a niche being the expert in the neighborhood. I throw out the hooks and the customers and clients come to me. It establishes credibility. This really saves the soles of shoes and produces the best results.
This blog post was written as a submission to the ActiveRain Challenge - My Best Farming Technique (Sponsored by SmartZip). If you would like to share one of your favorite farming techniques (and earn up to 10K ActiveRain points as well as a chance to win a free ticket to a Ben Kinney Training event) head over to the blog post announcing the challenge.