Quite often, new agents begin by working with buyers, but nearly everyone wants to have some listings as well, so how do you go about getting them?
Start developing your own geographic territory.
Choose a neighborhood you know and like, then do the research to learn whether the turnover there is enough to make it worth your time, effort, and expense to farm. Do be careful when choosing. Don’t fall into the trap of choosing the most expensive neighborhood unless it’s actually a good fit for you.
Once you think you know where you want to farm, go into MLS records and see how many homes have sold there in the past couple of years, then look at how many are for sale now.
If the turnover looks promising, learn everything you don’t already know about that neighborhood. For instance, learn all about the zoning districts, the utility fees, the school district boundaries, and the taxes. Learn about the availability of public transportation and the distance to shopping, medical care, and recreation. If yours is a neighborhood with a homeowner’s association, get a copy of their rules, bylaws, etc. and learn what they say. Know the HOA fees, as well.
In other words, really become the expert.
Then, start small. Choose a specific number of homes and begin mailing to the homeowners. Maybe you can only afford to mail to 100, or even fewer. But choose which ones and be consistent with that list.
You may be able to get names and addresses from your title company for free. If not, check out Cole Realty Resources. The information they can provide amazes me.
REMEMBER: You’ll get better results if you mail to 100 people 10 times than if you mail to 1,000 people just once.
This is because repetition leads to familiarity. By the time those homeowners have seen your name and your face several times, they’ll start to sense that you’re a friend. If they see you in their mailboxes just once, they’ll soon forget you.
If you’re not sure what to say when you write to those homeowners, use my Geographic Territory Prospecting Letters.
In addition to sending your marketing letters, write those homeowners when there’s news that affects them. Tell them about under-publicized elections, city council decisions, new businesses coming to the area, celebrations that are being planned, etc.
When you get your first listing, mail “Just Listed” cards to the neighbors. When it goes under contract, write “Under Contract” cards, and when it’s closed, send “Just Sold” cards. These show the homeowners that you’re doing good things.
If your budget is tight, begin by mailing to 20 of the closest neighbors. Once you begin getting results from your mailings, set aside dollars from every closing to expand your mailing territory. And again, be consistent.
You do have to be careful what you say in your mailings. “Just listed” and “Just sold” notices are pretty self-explanatory, but if you’re working to develop your own territory, you have to give those people a reason to read your message. “Here I am, hire me” just won’t do it. Remember that you have to give before you get.
If you write well and understand the psychology of marketing, write your own letters. If not, use mine. You’ll find my geographic territory prospecting letters here.
But don’t stop with mailing to those residents. Get out and meet them.
- Walk around the neighborhood – stop and talk to residents who are outdoors.
- Give them a copy of your personal brochure.
- Ask if they’d like you to send periodic market reports.
- Attend their yard sales.
- Attend their neighborhood or HOA meetings.
- Have coffee at the neighborhood coffee shop – and talk with people.
- Attend sports events at the schools.
What else can you do to promote your new business? Many things. I even wrote a small e-book about it: 107 Ways to Build Your Real Estate Career on a Tiny Budget. More than 90 of the ways I mention require no money at all – or only enough to fuel up your vehicle.
Since you’ve come this far, don’t stop. Give yourself the needed push to get over the hump and begin making money.