Drive around just about any neighborhood in your city and you won’t be able to go too many blocks before you’ll see a “for sale” sign in the front yard. The fact is, unlike prior generations, today’s generation moves around – a lot. Not just to a different neighborhood or a larger (or smaller) home, but to other cities – even other countries – as well.
According to Statista, after the huge drop in home sales during the “great recession” of 2008, homer sales quickly rebounded from 4.1 million existing homes sold in the US to 5.5 million in 2020, with projections of 5.7 million homes in 2021. In addition, there were 682,000 new homes sold in 2020. That’s a lot of homes, and with the average median price of $355,900 according to the US Census Bureau. It’s all great news for real estate agents!
Highly Competitive Field
It takes a lot of commitment, determination and fortitude to be a real estate agent, because it’s a highly competitive field. According to the National Association of Realtors, there were 1.3 million licensed agents in 2019 (the last year statistics were available. That’s a lot of competition, and sadly, many new agents who enter the field tend to fail. How many fail? According to recent statistics, almost 80% of new agents fail or quit in their first year. That’s a huge number.
The main reasons for failure include not knowing how to market their business, not spending enough time working on prospecting – as many enter the profession as part-time workers and not getting enough qualified leads. The key is “qualified” leads, because those are critical to success as an agent.
Build a Referral System
To begin with, a new agent has to build a referral system from their first day on the job. Here’s why: 41% of buyers and 63% of sellers chose an agent based on a referral from friends, colleagues or family members. So even if you don’t successfully sell a prospect a home, at least get some referrals to their base.
A second key is to use social media, as this is where people go to look for homes. Many successful agents are now using paid Facebook ads to generate leads. The problem is that when people respond to those ads, they often use fictitious names and email addresses. Some don’t want to be contacted, and some could even be the competition. Many agents use Nuwber to verify the identity of a respondent. Just by entering a phone number or email address, Nuwber will provide the accurate identity of each person, which will save a major amount of time chasing leads that are not qualified.
Build a Website
Having a website in this day and age is absolutely critical for real estate agents. Years ago you’d be driving around for hours with your clients looking at homes. Today, not at all. Everything is done online, starting at your website, with photos of your listings, comparables in the neighborhood, financing information and so much more. The easier you can make it for clients, the better. If you don’t know how to create a website, use online resources like Guru.com or Upwork.com to find freelancers. For a very reasonable rate, a freelancer can build a very usable website. Another option is to use online tools like Squarespace, Wix or WordPress. With a little patience and some time, you can create your own and constantly update it without spending any money.
If you do use a freelancer, be sure to have them build you landing pages as well. It should be part of your digital marketing strategy, and if you run Facebook ads, for example, you can direct people to land on a specific page that features the home you’re advertising. You can have many different types of landing pages, all created as part of lead generation.
Create a Podcast
To show people your real estate knowledge, create a podcast. Use social media to promote it, as well as ads on Facebook and other sites. If you market it to a specific audience, by neighborhoods, schools or price points, for example, you’ll get people to listen. Having a “general topic podcast” like “how to buy a home” or similar is a waste of your time and money. Get a podcast recording software like Ringr, Squadcast or Audacity to record your podcast. For podcast hosting, checkout Buzzsprout, Spreaker or PodBean. They’re reasonably priced and will handle the back-end of hosting your podcasts.
Create Virtual Tours
With the pandemic, many people refuse to go into stranger’s homes. So creating a virtual tour of the home using your smartphone, tablet or other device is the way to go. Even after the pandemic is under control, people are accustomed to watching videos online. That won’t change — in fact, it’s something more and more people prefer. You’ll need easy-to-use editing software to put your videos together, like Kuula, Fusion360 or My360.
Capture email addresses
Offer a “lead magnet,” like a free downloadable article on getting financed or finding out how much home a person can afford. To be able to download the free item, the person simply needs to provide their email address. Once you’ve verified that they are who they say they are using Nuwber, put the email into your database. Send out your own emails as a follow up, and unless they choose to unsubscribe, continue to communicate with these prospects.
The more you think out of the box, the better your chances of becoming a successful real estate agent. Stay committed, do the work and you’ll have a great career.