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Are You Changing for Today’s Market?

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By David Sobel

RISMEDIA, Oct. 24, 2007-There are two types of real estate professionals in the field – those who change with the market and those who do not. Which one do you want to be?

In today’s market, the producing agent will embrace the shift and will find new, innovative ways to get business. Buyers are not knocking on your door anymore and these creative, outside-the-box ideas will help you get the business while restoring the reasons why you became an agent in the first place – independence, excitement, challenge and profit.

In today’s market, an agent should focus on finding the well qualified first-time buyer, the overlooked buyer, and the real estate investor.

The well-qualified first-time buyer may be a bit hard to locate but they are out there – you just need to know where to look. The Federal Reserve decided to lower the interest rate late September; this may help restore consumer confidence in the market. Where do you go to find the first-time buyer who has steady income and a decent credit score and how do you convince them that the time to buy is right now? How do you convince them that today, the balance of power lies within them and not the seller?

Build Relationships. The first thing you should do is to build strong relationships with local mortgage lenders and bankers. Many buyers will go straight to a mortgage lender or bank first, before starting their real estate search. And on the plus side, they are already pre-approved! First time home buyers are also great to build long lasting relationships with because they may give you more business as they work their way up the property ladder. Multiple sales and referral business could come out of your relationship with them.

College Grads. Another place to find the strong first-time buyer is to focus marketing efforts on the recent college graduate. Since the Generation Y home buyer now accounts for one quarter of the total US population, representing an enormous market potential; it makes sense to focus on them. New graduates may or may not have a job yet but again, establish that relationship with them now, and you’ll get the business in the future. You can find easily find college grads online. Make sure that your presence is there and that you establish yourself as the first-time buying expert. Job fairs and college newspapers are an excellent source to advertise yourself to this generation.

Host a Buyer Seminar. Focus your buyer seminar on a particular niche in the market, such as new graduates, apartment renters, families, etc. Place invitations to your seminar at local coffee shops, retail outlets or anywhere you know the 21-30 year olds frequently gather. Remember to use the Internet to your advantage as well. Post the seminar information on blogs, Craigslist and your Web site. Most sites are free and will attract them to your seminar.

Provide a cost analysis of the benefit of owning versus what they are paying in rent and what they will be paying in rent in the future. Have a mortgage lender host the seminar with you to offset part of the costs associated to throw the seminar. Have the lender explain the benefits from tax deductions of mortgage interest and property taxes and that they can keep up to $500,000 of the gains when they sell. First impressions are invaluable and your initial contact with them is your chance to create that trusting relationship. Have them fill out a form to pre-qualify them. This will help you decipher the hot leads versus those who do not want to buy right away. Download a few questions to pre-qualify the buyer here.

The Overlooked Buyer. Buyers who have been ignored by other agents or overlooked in the past few years are a great source of new business. For example, a potential buyer who had less than perfect credit a couple years ago, could have been working on increasing their credit score and they are now ready to make the move. You can find these overlooked buyers through mortgage lenders, banks, and online. Make sure that you are accessible through many online Web sites, especially local financial companies to establish yourself as an expert with this group.

The Real Estate Investor. Again, building that relationship is the key to multiple deals. When the market slows down and short sales or pre-foreclosures are at a rise, the investor will pick up the properties at a great price and re-sell. Many investors are easy to deal with because they know the ins and outs of the real estate process. It’s all about the numbers for them and if you are on the lookout for great deals, they will come to you. Your relationship with a few investors could lead you to multiple sales in one year. Often, you can find the investor through local established service contractors, lawn maintenance companies and other service firms that work for investors. For rent signs are good resources of real estate investors’ contact information as well.

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