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Sometimes, in order to move forward, we must look at what was successful in the past. In the following interview, Dan Elsea of Real Estate One in Michigan tells us what retired home-selling tricks his company has been revisiting—with successful results!

Elsea_Dan_fullDan Elsea
President, Brokerage
Real Estate One
2012 Transactions: 18,564
2012 Sales: $2,622,833,861

Source: RISMedia’s 2013 Power Broker Report

Paige Tepping: Please describe the current conditions in your market.
Dan Elsea: We are experiencing a very strong market, and like most of the country, we are seeing a significant shortage of inventory of homes for sale due to high buyer demand. Today’s market is probably one of the most active markets we’ve seen in the past 20 years. We’re seeing a wild ride, but we’re enjoying it.

PT: In terms of getting buyers off the fence and into homes, what steps has your company taken?
DE: We aren’t having a problem getting buyers off the fence because they are everywhere. Our challenge today is actually finding sellers, so we are dusting off some old tricks and giving them more of a sophisticated twist in order to find sellers. When it comes to finding sellers, our approach includes sending out good, old-fashioned mailings on behalf of our salespeople, describing the buyers we have for a particular neighborhood in addition to asking whether or not homeowners in particular neighborhoods know of anyone that’s interested in moving. The overall message that we’re trying to get out to sellers: Values have risen faster than you think, so you will be pleasantly surprised at what you can get for your home today. Sellers are responding to our efforts in this area, and we’re actually seeing about a 10 percent return on these mailings. We have a huge database of buyers that register on our website, so we are really working on taking a modern, big-data approach.

PT: What strategies do you have in place in terms of working with the rental market to bridge the gap?
DE: The rental market—single-family rentals especially—is very strong in our area, so we are using the same techniques when it comes to reaching out to this market. We don’t farm for rental markets as hard, however, since those transaction values are lower; it doesn’t pay to send mail, etc. We have found that if we put an ad on Craigslist—or anywhere online—for lease, we will typically get 4-5 offers within a week.

PT: How are you helping eligible homebuyers navigate the challenging home financing marketplace?
DE: We are the only broker in Michigan that has integrated title, mortgage and insurance services under one roof, so we are able to package everything together and offer clients a one-stop shopping experience. One of the specific tools that we have found to be the most useful is the FHA 203k program, which enables buyers to purchase a home and fix it up through the mortgage. In addition, we are the No. 1 MSHDA (Michigan State Housing Development Authority) lender in the state, as well as a top FHA lender. These products have been instrumental in helping us reach out to first-time homebuyers in order to expand the pie of who can own a home today.

PT: How are you working to keep buyers educated about the buying opportunities available today?
DE: Through good, old-fashioned mailings and the utilization of email and social media. We take the time to provide our agents with market information and monthly analysis reports so that they can then pass the information along to the public. Our agents are also taking advantage of tools such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest in order to get the word out.

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