The numbers are in, and signs are pointing to a real estate recovery. But as the market comes back, how are you working to capture market share? Read on as two top real estate professionals talk about what they’re doing today.
Connie Farmer Ray
Coldwell Banker Platinum Partners
Jim Nelson, Jr.
Mount Prospect, Ill.
What is the current status of your market given this recovering economy?
Connie Farmer Ray: It’s been pretty active. We’re finally finding in the last few months that there’s more than one offer coming in for a house at the same time. Our inventory is down and prices are starting to stabilize for the most part.
Jim Nelson: There is a group of people that have been sitting on the sidelines who have money to invest and were waiting for an improving market. Now that we can show them that the market is improving, those people are starting to move and put some money to work.
What kinds of buyers are you working with the most lately?
CR: We have lots of move-up buyers because they are finally at a point where they are ready to take advantage of today’s market. We also have a huge relocation department to serve buyers who have their homes on the market now.
JN: We’ve been hitting investors for a long time. We’re also focusing on getting our damaged buyers back into the market. They might have been a victim of a short sale or some of them might have foreclosed. These people had bought a home at or near the peak. If they had sold a short sale two or three years ago, they are able to buy and eligible to get another loan. These people didn’t realize they could, and also didn’t realize that a mortgage payment—based on prices and interest rates—is now lower than what they’re paying in rent. We’re focusing on the here and now benefit to them and getting them back to homeownership.
What strategies are you currently focusing on for building new business?
CR: We totally redid our website and mimicked Coldwell Banker’s site. We have all sorts of features from online chat to enhanced video, focusing on ease of use and information. We also use a lot of information we get from RISMedia, and pass it on to our agents so they can send it out to their consumers through their Web page that is attached to ours.
We do a lot of training in terms of how to utilize technology that agents have, including their mobile applications they have through us. We train them so they can not only use it themselves, but also show their clients and customers. We feel like we’re a little bit ahead of the marketplace in terms of our technology and that’s very important to us.
JN: We have many agents that have indicated that they want to hear from us more often than they have been. We love the newsletter that we are now putting out through RISMedia’s Real Estate Information Network® (RREIN) for that purpose. We are using the customized space to write articles about topics we want them to know about instead of just sending out an email.
We also have company-wide breakfast meetings where we have our top agents share what is working in their business. Some share how they are cultivating Web leads, some talk about new technology they are using, and other agents love to hear what is working and not working out in the business.
How does social media help your efforts in this unique market?
CR: Some of our agents are utilizing social media, but mostly from the younger group. Some of the agents are engaged and some are not going there. It’s a love/hate relationship. We’re looking at ways to encourage them. We do have several agents that do very well with social media by either posting information about listed homes or publishing a news article they think might be relevant for someone.
JN: Our social media efforts have admittedly been very weak. However, I have believed in the past that social media is a great way to keep in touch with your past customers, clients, friends and family. It is also a great way to make sure everyone knows how busy you are and what professional functions you are attending. I am unaware of any huge success stories with marketing yourself to potential new buyers and sellers via social media. However, I don’t think social media can be overstated in terms of the ability to keep in touch with business associates, friends, family, customers and clients with that frequency or intimacy.