I’m often asked by new agents what can they do to get started or how can can I get my first sale?
I have a standard litany of responses which include calling or mailing your sphere of influence, starting a farm, holding open houses and so on. They all work to the extent that the agent will work them, a point that I strive to make with them.
Recently I was asked this question: If you had to start over today, with very limited funds, what would you do?
Great question and I had to pause for a moment and think about my answer. In due course I was able to answer her. In doing so, I realized that although the methods differ today from what I did nearly 30 years ago, the end result is the same – to get in front of someone who is likely to buy or sell real estate in the very near future, if not today.
Here is what I would do and what I told her. See if you can add to this or tell me why something I list here couldn’t be done.
- First of all, I’d need to decide what my skills are and how they would benefit a potential buyer or seller. Do I have marketing chops, do I have community connections, do I really know the area? Answers to questions like these would help me come up with the answer to the question that many potential clients ask (if even in their own heads) “Why should I work with you.” Having a ready answer to that question is crucial. If I can’t answer that in a smooth and fluid manner when asked, how can I expect to win the business?
- Once I have that prepared, I need to decide if I want buyers or sellers. This is an important distinction to make. The old school of thought held that it’s quicker get in to escrow with a buyer and you have less cash outlay in working with buyers. In our current market, it seems that most listings are getting multiple offers, so maybe I should concentrate on getting listings. So, that is what I would do. If you have a listing in today’s market, you are most likely going to get a sale and ultimately a check.
- Having decided on listings, where am I going to get a listing? Here are the ways that I would take:
- I would use the MLS to compile a list of EVERY expired listing for the past 2 years. I’d then cross reference that against the MLS list of closed transactions and Active listings. I do this to eliminate the sellers that have gone on to sales or current listings. The ones that are left are sellers that once wanted to sell but were unable to do so for whatever reason. I’d simply contact each of them and ask if they would consider coming back on the market now, especially since we have a dearth of inventory to sell.
- Another approach that I’d take is to visit every FSBO I see in my daily travels. Granted, there aren’t many of these, but if you see one you HAVE to stop and talk to them.
- These two sources are the BEST place to look for listings as they are the ones who have said or are saying “I want to sell my house”
- Another really great option, but one that will cost you about a $100.00 dollars a month is to run Facebook ads aimed at a likely population of sellers in the area that you want listings. A great target might be people who are in the baby boomer generation, especially if the hones are multi-story. As knees get older, going up and down stairs is not much fun!
- Yet another way to turn up a listing potential is to canvas the neighborhood around new listings that other agents bring to market. Very often when a sign goes up in a neighborhood, we’ll often see another sign going up soon after.
- Once I got a listing, I’d use Facebook ads to search for a potential buyer for the property. The same home that baby boomers are selling might be the perfect home for young families to buy!
Finally, I’d make sure that I sent out some Just Listed postcards around each new listing, and Just Sold postcards around each sale that I made.
One more thing, once I had some money coming in, I’d would invest in a good real estate database program so that I could make sure that I was staying in touch with everyone. There is nothing more heart breaking to an agent that is to trying to reach a past client only to find out that they have moved and used someone else to handle their sale!
So, there you have it, this is EXACTLY what I would do If I were starting over again today. What would you do?