With more buyers competing for fewer homes, it is more essential than ever for agents to find ways to stay relevant. And the best way to do that is to bring your customers inventory they didn’t even know existed. That is how.
There are about 140 million housing units in the U.S., according to 2019 data from the Census Bureau, and in a normal market, we see more than 6 million homes listed and sold per year (2020 saw the most houses sold in 14 years, with a total of 6.5 million).
In today’s market, the number of homes for sale has drastically decreased. In February, for example, there were less than 550,000 homes on the market. That was half of what was on the market during the winter.
Meanwhile, buyer demand has exploded. What was never a fish-rich ocean, considering more than 99 percent of homes in the US aren’t on the market, the current state of the US home inventory is more like a bed. Dry seascape with the remains of out-of-sale buyers who have flopped around hopelessly.
For every accepted offer, there is one number of other highly rated buyers not having the opportunity to spend your money and find your next home. We are all becoming very aware of these statistics as they have become part of the mainstream media stories, but in fact it is a crisis that must be resolved.
The challenge lies in how increase inventory when sellers seem reluctant to list their homes for sale. Why do sellers hesitate to sell? Are you waiting to see how hot this hot market is? Are you playing an equity appreciation game by watching your home estimate increase each month and figuring out when to pull the trigger? Or could it be the other obvious notion of “Where will I go once I sell?”
While all of those options probably ring true to some degree, there also seems to be a large percentage of homeowners who have built the figurative moat around their lives this past year. They are looking for ways to stay protected, but are still willing to pull the drawbridge to sell their home, for the right reason and at the right price.
Homeowners have spent the past 12 months figuring out how to live and work from home and have really come to know where they live more than ever. This has led some homeowners to realize that some old needs and some new wants are not being met with their current home and the thought of parting ways with finding a new home creeps in. This owner has also spent the last 12 months probably studying real estate as a hobby while in bed and they have become experts on their own.
The question has always been how to attract the attention of the owner so that you can measure their interest in selling, especially considering the level of interest, if you have a real buyer willing to pay a premium for your house to bet on the market and get what they really want.
There is a pent-up demand for upgrade from homeowners, but the requirement to list a home and the effort it takes on all parties, physically and emotionally, leaves homeowners still reluctant. The owners hope that the right deal will fall out of the blue, one that they didn’t have to take the time to prepare the house for and that allows them to sell privately and possibly for more money.
From an agent’s perspective, it’s more important than ever to stay relevant in the eyes of your buying clients. And the most powerful way to do this is to bring inventory that you didn’t know existed when you made your quick ingest from a market.
This element of sentiment, and indeed being, better educated distinguishes the customer from other buyers and is reciprocated by the agent who did the education with the buyer’s loyalty.
Agents are smart enough to know that they are not going anywhere anytime soon when it comes to engaging in a transaction, however what becomes clearer is what the agent’s roles will be in the new market.
Smart agents are now the “Indiana Jones” of the industry, digging into the past to unearth invisible inventory opportunities just below the surface of what most of the market is selecting.
Here are 10 ways to be an off-market professional and find the perfect home that will sell and make your clients love it.
1. Stay connected to your market
Always talk about real estate. Be on the lookout for any hints of someone planning to move or upgrade, and take mental notes. Better yet, take CRM notes.
2. Have your buyers ready to attack
Timing is key now more than ever. Make sure your buyers are pre-qualified
3. Don’t knock on the door
It’s tacky considering everyone’s reluctance to come into direct contact with people yet.
4. Don’t write love letters
As tempting as it is, or as much as your clients want you to, don’t write love letters. This places homeowners in a very difficult position with fair housing laws. Also, do not include photos of your clients.
5. Be a detective
Get as much information as possible about a particular home, including past sales data and information about the current owner. Use previous listings and tax records.
6. Get everyone to join in on the idea of contingencies.
May it be beneficial to all. Get the landlord to focus on getting what he wants. they really want and let them know that the buyer is willing to be patient.
7. Better yet, turn it into a mutual benefit
If the owner does not have an agent to use, there is a higher percentage of double completion of a deal. With the correct terms, many homeowners would probably be happy to use the same agent to speed up the deal. Just be aware of the limitations of your dual agency.
8. Look to the past
Expired listings and FSBOs are sellers hiding in plain sight.
9. Educate the owner
Let them know why it is advantageous to sell in the market: it is private and can make them more money.
10. Use technology
Apps like DropOffer and services like Vulcan7 offer agents great tools to take advantage of expired listings and the huge portion of homes that would be sold off the market.
There are still many sellers, but what is changing is how they want to sell. They want to sell on your terms. If buyer’s agents implement some or all of the points mentioned above, as well as a bit of shortsighted patience on the part of their clients, they can indeed find a home that suits their clients’ needs in this wild new market.