Real Estate Farming: Expanding Your Turf In 2016
With the new year underway, forward-thinking agents around the country are honing their real estate marketing plan for expanding their existing territories or moving into new ones. If you’re thinking of expanding your real estate farming in 2016, here are a few ideas to help you pick the most promising targets.
Real Estate Farming Is About Who You Know
Once you’ve narrowed down your new farm area options to a handful of choices, it’s time to take a look at the factors that will make each choice more or less promising for your business. First off: do you have contacts that can help you expand your network of relationships within the new territory? Make a list of those contacts and realistically assess how far you might be able to leverage each of them into new business. One well-connected “evangelist” for your business can mean all the difference!
There are tools you can use to get to know the people in your farm area. “Use Nextdoor as a tool to connect personally with your farm (if your farm is close to where you live),” says Jlyne Hanback, a realtor at Keller Williams Realty. “You can share your favorite vendors on the site with your neighborhood, and help neighbors where needed. I have picked up listings in my farm because the neighbors start seeing me as the neighborhood ‘information’ person.”
See And Be Seen
An important consideration in determining your new real estate farm area is how easy it will be for you to be physically present there for a significant part of your time. Areas that you can get to quickly and easily from your home or office are a big plus, because it’s critical for you to “see and be seen” regularly among your target audience. Some spots like gated communities and condo highrises present special challenges here, so make sure you have a strategy for accessing them when making your decision. If your contacts and physical access are limited, use tools like meetup.com to research what charitable or school organizations, athletic clubs, business networks and other social groups are popular within your territory that might help you gain a foothold.
Run The Numbers
Your real estate marketing plan for expansion should include a review the past 1-3 years of transactions as well as current inventory within the territory. Are they clustered among a very small number of agents, or distributed across many? Distribution across a number of agents can be good – this means the competition is fragmented. If a few top players are controlling most of the inventory your path may be harder. But don’t be too discouraged: long-established agents have been known get lazy with their marketing and rely too heavily on existing client networks instead of rigorous brand-building. These agents and their territories are ripe for attack.
Hit ‘Em Where They Ain’t
Look closely at the existing marketing being done by the competition. The amount and overall quality of local real estate advertising will determine how hard it might be to get a foothold in your new territory. Keep a close eye on your competitor’s postcard mailers, newspapers and magazine ads, outdoor advertising like billboards and benches, and local online ads through Facebook and Google. They are all strong indicators of how fierce (or mild) your competition will be. Are your competitors specifically targeting upscale and luxury real estate clientele with a strong value proposition? Are their branding and aesthetics polished and consistent? Gaps in these areas mean opportunities for you and your real estate marketing plan should factor them heavily.
If the competition is tough, don’t give up! “Be patient and stick with it,” says Evan Sollecito, a realtor at Balistreri Realty. “It takes a lot of flyers, mailers, phone calls, etc, to become the agent people think of when they decide to list their home.”