How will you meet the challenge to thrive in real estate in 2024?
There’s no question that the last many months have been tough. Higher interest rates combined with inflation have reduced spending power for millions.
Meanwhile, homeowners who are locked in to a nice 2 or 3 percent mortgage are not at all anxious to sell and start over with a higher interest rate. They aren’t even refinancing any more, so some lenders are offering homeowners with equity a chance to take out some cash and increase the size of their mortgages without increasing their interest rates.
New construction is helping ease the shortage of homes, but is it enough. And even scarier, will it be too much. A Redfin article stated that we may be going into a buyer’s market as supply begins to exceed demand.
Whew! What that all means is that you have your work cut out for you this year.
What can you do to thrive in real estate in 2024?
Develop an action plan including:
- Maintain your credibility and the trust people have in you.
- Keep nurturing your past clients and members of your sphere of influence.
- Stay in touch with every buyer and seller who has contacted you.
- At the same time, be alert for buyers who have cash in hand.
- Prospect in niches with people who need to sell.
- Stay abreast of all first-time buyer programs available in your area.
- Make sure that any buyers who need to work on their credit know what to do.
- Keep your potential buyers informed when mortgage interest rates change. They ARE expected to come down in the 2nd quarter, you know!
Maintain your credibility and the trust people have in you.
Credibility and trust hinge on things both large and small. And that means the details do count.
Real estate clients need to believe that details matter to you. After all, you’re the person filling in the blanks for them on a purchase agreement or counter-offer. If you omit a comma or misplace a decimal point, huge troubles can follow.
In the past few days I’ve come across two instances that made a marketer lose credibility with me.
The first was an email that said “Now that fall is in full swing…” Oops. No, this is winter, not fall.
Check the messages stored in your auto responder to make sure you aren’t sending messages that don’t fit the season. While you‘re there, make sure you’ve done away with any messages that say “With mortgage interest rates at historic lows…”
It’s easy to overlook details like that – and it’s important that you do NOT overlook them, because they’ll be telling clients that you cannot be trusted.
The second example doesn’t exactly apply to real estate – it simply applies to making honest claims.
I listened to a video about health – exercise, diet, etc. – knowing it would turn out to be an ad but thinking I might pick up some tidbit that made it worth my time. It didn’t happen that way, but I did gain something to blog about.
This presenter was going on about why a year’s membership in his program was worth so much more than he was charging. One example was the fact that members could join a roundtable discussion with expert health professionals twice each month via the Internet. You could send your questions in ahead of time or just join in during the hour.
Since those professionals charge $500 per hour for private consultations, that meant you were getting $1,000 per month in value – a full $12,000 per year! No, I don’t think that’s the same thing at all.
Take a look at your own marketing materials. Make sure you aren’t making any exaggerated claims. (And don’t assume that just because it came from the franchise, it’s OK. Make sure it’s OK with you and that you are comfortable putting your name to the claims.)
Nurturing past clients and members of your sphere of influence.
These people can be your personal gold mine as long as you never let them forget how much they appreciated you. Do call them or stop by now and then, but make sure that at least once a month you mail or email something. It could be:
- My event-themed staying in touch letters
- A newsletter you write yourself
- A market report you put together monthly or quarterly
- Just listed/pending/just sold cards
- Birthday and “house anniversary” cards
Staying in touch with every buyer and seller who has contacted you.
You can use some of the items in the “nurturing” list, but don’t stop there. Send buyer advice or seller advice and links to homes that are either like the one they’ll have for sale or fit the want list they’ve shared.
Be alert to buyers with cash on hand.
These should have their own list. Check their want/need requirements regularly so you can inform them of new listings right away.
Prospect in niches with homeowners who need to sell.
Sometimes people don’t have a choice, they need to sell the property they own, and in some cases they need to do so quickly. Choose a niche filled with people whose situations you can relate to, then prospect to them.
Stay abreast of first-time-buyer programs and down payment assistance.
Visit with local lenders on a regular basis, so they’ll be sure to inform you when new or better programs are available to your clients. This information will be valuable to clients who are struggling to put enough funds together to purchase a house. Be sure to let them know that you’re in the know!
Even if you don’t work with buyers, having this knowledge could come in handy. For instance, when the agent working with buyers who want your listing needs a little help. Or, when you want to be the agent people turn to when they have real estate questions.
Make sure that any buyers who need to work on their credit know what to do.
You don’t want to assume that someone is having credit difficulties, so include this information, and the first time buyer information, in your newsletter and/or your blog posts.
Keep your potential buyers informed when mortgage interest rates change.
The FED has said it will reduce interest rates in increments over the course of the year. From what I’ve read, that should begin happening in the 2nd quarter. So keep your buyers enthused and ready to buy when the time is right for them.
Redfin is also predicting that home prices will fall by 1%. Of course that’s a silly prediction. It is not possible to make a prediction for the whole country when there are variables affecting prices even from one side of a town to the other!
The condition of your local market is interesting, and possibly important, to your buyers and sellers.
Make sure you’re staying up to date and giving them that information.
Postal mail is effective
Studies have shown that postal mail – including prospecting by postal mail – is effective. People are inundated with email from morning to night, while postal mail is relatively scarce and therefore special. Even millennials (or especially millennials) love to receive, read, and share postal mail.
The drawback to postal mail is the price.
So try to use both postal mail and email. Then add blogging and social media to the mix – so “you” are everywhere.
Encourage past clients, those in your sphere, and prospects you’re been talking with to opt in to get your newsletter and/or market reports via email. Use both email and postal mail to invite them to your blog and let them know about new posts. Use your social media accounts both to impart information and to invite them to your website and blog.
Remember that marketing is cumulative.
Everything you do builds on everything else you do. The more places you’re seen, the better!
You can thrive in 2024 – so get moving!