In a slow market, it’s more important than ever to market yourself and give yourself a strong presence in your area, so that more potential clients will be aware of the service and expertise you can offer, and award you their mandates instead of your competitors. Here are five expert ideas from top performing agents for making yourself more visible:
* Shorten the lines of communication. Publicise a telephone number (landline or cell) where calls will come directly to you or your assistant. Similarly, use a personalised email address. Clients and potential clients want to communicate directly and quickly with you, not via the office reception desk or a company email address.
*Don’t neglect your direct response marketing. You can’t rely on your for-sale ads to get known and attract new clients because the chances are very slim that potential sellers are going to look at them and say: “I must call this person to list my home”. You need to actively market your name and your service to homeowners in your area.
* Prospect for new business for at least 90 minutes of every day. But instead of cold-calling and door-knocking, try calling expired listings and private or DIY sellers who were or are obviously interested in selling their homes. Even if you don’t get a mandate this time, these people will get to know who you are and where to turn for help in future.
* Communicate, communicate. Send something useful – a market update, a newsletter, a bulletin about a house you’ve just sold – to your prospective sellers and buyers at least once a month. This will keep your name uppermost in their minds when they do decide to make a move.
More importantly, call every existing client that is under mandate or whose home is in transfer at least once a week and give them feedback about what you have done with regards to marketing their property and what response you have had, or how far their transfer has progressed. The very best publicity you can get will be from satisfied clients who you nutured all the way through the sale process.
* Support local good causes and become a local celebrity. If you’re going to pay for signage, why not use the local school billboard and let them have your money? Spearhead a local campaign to collect food and blankets for the homeless, sponsor a fun day for the children in an orphanage, hold property photo exhibitions at a church fete in return for a donation, support your local ratepayer’s association. You will be doing good – and raising your profile as the local “real estate expert” at the same time.
Well over 60% of home loans granted are currently going to people between the ages of 30 and 50, but there has been slight increase in the number granted to those between 30 and 40 and a decline in the number granted to those between 40 and 50 over the past six months (see graph).
The latest statistics from BetterBond, SA’s biggest mortgage originator, also show that there has been a steady decrease in the percentage of loans granted to people over the age of 50 for the past year, despite the fact that from this age on, an increasing number of people are inclined to sell up their family homes and downsize to smaller properties or retirement villages.
The implication, says BetterBond CEO Rudi Botha, is that a significant number are now either using the equity built up in their large properties to pay cash for smaller homes, or perhaps delaying the move from their family homes until home prices are more favourable.
“An encouraging development in the past 12 months, however, is that the percentage of loans being granted to buyers between the ages of 20 and 30 – who are typically first-time buyers – has gone up substantially, from about 16,5% to almost 21%,” he says.
“Taking into account that the total number of loan applications has increased by 45% in the past 12 months, this indicates that there is a healthy amount of ‘new blood’ coming into the market that will, in due course, result in an upward movement of prices.”
Meanwhile, the BetterBond stats also show which areas are most active in terms of bond grants, with 80% of grants currently pretty evenly divided between buyers in Greater Pretoria, the Northern and Western suburbs of Johannesburg, the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.
And according to these figures, the average loan amount currently being granted in Johannesburg North and West is now around R837 000 (compared to R840 000 a year ago) and the average in Greater Pretoria is R719 000 (R729 000), followed by the Western Cape at R700 000 (R656 000) and KZN at R645 000 (R659 000).
ISSUED BY BETTERBOND
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