Real Estate Insider: Getting fierce in the face of inventory challenges


With the current shortage of inventory across the nation, many real estate agents are facing a challenge they haven't dealt with in a long time. In today's shifting market it's no longer about getting buyers to buy, it's about getting houses on the market in the first place.

On a national scale, the median age of inventory was 78 days in March 2013, down more than 20% from February, and 12.34% from a year ago. Different markets are experiencing different circumstances. According to a recent report from the National Association of Realtors:

The Northeast was up 1.6% in existing home sales in April.

The Midwest fell 3.4% in April in existing homes sales in April.

The South rose 2.0% in existing home sales in April.

The West increased 1.7% in existing home sales in April.

Most of the country is seeing demand outweigh supply. With that being said, how do YOU attract sellers into the market?

I'm trying different approaches to reach those potential sellers. I know just showing sellers statistics isn't working for me, nor is saying "it's the right time to enter the market" or "how much is your home worth?" postcards. I've had to come up with some creative ways to get their attention.

I recently had a beautiful house in East Providence "sell" in 7 days. So, that's what I created my farming postcard on. "I SOLD 57 Allerton Ave in 7 days!" "Do you want to be next?" I received 2 phone calls from that mailing, and I've been hired to sell a condo.

The other mailing I sent out was a letter stating I have clients looking in this particular neighborhood or on this street for a home to grow their family in. Who do you know that is thinking of selling? I could potentially have their buyers already.

I'm asking my Facebook friends and followers to send me leads, and if it pans out then I'll send them a gift card as a thanks. I always post on Facebook when my properties sell. I want everyone to know what's going on in my business.

I'm also using Craigslist ads for sellers and buyers weekly. I get a lot of traffic to my website off of the ads, and in turn I get a whole new pool of leads I get to market to. I now have regulars signed up on my website who visit daily. They may not turn into sellers, but they could be buyers that I work with.

Lastly, I get all my past seller clients to recommend me to their friends, family and neighbors. They like what I've done for them in selling their property, but I like to add a little "kick". Every new seller I get that came from a past client (buyer or seller), that past client gets a very nice "Thank You For Referring Me" gift of their choice. It could be a gift card to their favorite restaurant, or a weekend getaway in Newport. (The more new clients I get from a past client the nicer the gift is!)

Since I've only been in real estate for 1.5 years now, I've learned a lot. I firmly believe that if you proactively search and market your business the clients will call. With the market shifting as it is, we need to go after those sellers who are afraid to dip their toes in the water.

Put on your fierce face, step up to the inventory challenges, and get those sellers!

That's how I'm getting fierce in the face of inventory challenges.

Heidi Kelley is a lifelong Rhode Islander who grow up in Riverside and graduated from EPHS. She became a realtor because she wanted to give clients the customer service and education every home buyer or seller deserves. She is affiliated with Keller Williams and can be reached at 401/633-4763.


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