We might be in for a buyers’ market over the next year, which means the time is now to start coming up with a game plan so you aren’t scrambling to catch up when the market turns. I’ve already covered some marketing ideas and ways to entice sellers in my previous articles, but now I have some more specific ideas with how to use hard numbers when working with clients. These will take more time and effort, but they are tools you can use again and again.
Find The Right Percentages
Agents already know one tactic during a buyers’ market is to go the extra mile to highlight the features of a home that will appeal to the widest variety of people. Now is the time to attach data to the best features. Let's use the example of driveways.
If it is a neighborhood you specialize in (or plan to) then do a manual count of the number of houses that have a driveway and come up with a percentage that you can share with buyers—e.g. only 20% of homes in this neighborhood have a driveway—so you can demonstrate to your buyers exactly how rare that feature is and show them how lucky they would be to get such a home.
Rely On Price History
Another hurdle when there is a glut of homes for sale is that buyers will take their time because they think a better deal will come along—either the seller will lower the price on a house they’re interested in or an even better one will come on the market. In these situations, I’ve had success by pointing out that even though it seems like there is an abundance of choice, the best deals still move off the market very quickly.
The homes that will appreciate the most in value don’t hang around even during a buyers’ market (usually they are purchased by a developer who puts it in their rental portfolio while they bide their time until the market turns). Then I back that up with historical data by showing them the price and sales history of homes that are similar to what they are looking for but were bought and sold during the last time we were in a downturn. The buyers soon start to see
Measure Time, Not Distance
Since a home’s location is still the top priority most of the time, there is also neighborhood-specific data that can help sway buyers to choose a home. In these cases it isn’t a matter of percentages and price histories, but how many minutes it is to places such as a grocery store, subway stop or local farmer’s market.
It is already common practice to say something is ‘nearby’ or ‘just a few blocks away’ but when you’re competing for buyers it can help if you get very specific: e.g. ten-minute stroll to farmer’s market or 15 minutes drive to the nearest large grocery store (with easy parking). The more granular details buyers can learn about a home, the more likely they are to feel in control of their decision.
I’ve been through many buyer's markets and the good news is they always turn back around. The way to survive the next one is to start gathering data—very specific data—so you have more selling tools in your toolbox. Give buyers numbers to remember and you will make your listings more memorable.
REAL Trends has been The Trusted Source of news, analysis, and information on the residential brokerage industry since 1987. We are a privately-held publishing, consulting and communications company based in Castle Rock, Colorado.
Accessibility: We are making efforts to be ADA Compliant. Should you have any challenges or questions please contact us at (303) 741-1000.