Holding onto Clients When Homes Are in Short Supply
I recently read that Starbucks will be bringing out their Pumpkin Spice Latte early this year. When the national coffee chain first introduced this now infamous drink it wasn’t available until late October — just in time for Halloween. Last year, the rollout was moved up to late September. Now, the pumpkin-spiced treat is expected to be in shops by Labor Day. Clearly customer feedback has driven this trend, but if this particular drink is so popular, why doesn’t Starbucks sell it year-round?
Because the scarcity of the product creates greater demand.
The Power of Anticipation in Real Estate
Generating anticipation is a great marketing tool. That’s why Apple introduces the newest iPhones in September, and then doesn’t ship until weeks later. The excitement of anticipation keeps customers focused on a product or service even when it’s not readily available.
Of course, there’s a big difference between taking an afternoon latte break and buying a new home. Anticipation, though, is one way to keep clients engaged when there’s a shortage of inventory.
While you’re busy looking for their new home, your clients may become discouraged. They’re seeing rates rise (slowly) and home prices increase faster than any of us would like. What can you do to keep clients engaged?
Keeping in touch assures your client that you’re still working hard for them. Check in on a regular basis and let them know what you’re hearing or about any listings that may be on the horizon. See what research they’re doing. If they’re not actively looking, give them a short list of websites they may want to follow.
Explore alternative options
While most clients have a pretty good idea of what they’re looking for, when nothing is currently available to meet those requirements it’s time to explore other options. Would your client be interested in new construction? What about a fixer-upper? Would they be interested in renovating a USDA or 203K property where their loan would cover the cost of home improvements? Multi-family units and condos are both good starting places for first-time homebuyers when single family homes in their price range are in short supply.
Pull out all the stops
Get creative. Approach “For Sale by Owner” sellers to see if they’d be willing to work with you if you’re able to bring them a guaranteed sale. Research listings that were pulled from the market. Why did the owner withdraw their listing? Are they still interested in selling? Would they be willing to entertain an offer if it were the right price? Canvass neighborhoods that your client has expressed interest in. Would homeowners be interested in selling for the right price? Network with other agents. While you’re all competing for the same inventory, tipping off a colleague to a property you may have a client for could result in them returning the favor. Reach out through social media and ask followers to alert you if they’re aware of any friends or family who have been or are currently considering a move.
The important thing here is to strike a balance between the reality of the current market and the real possibility that the right home could pop up at any moment. Point out that this waiting period allows your potential buyer to save more toward their down payment, ultimately lowering the cost of those future monthly payments.
Consider asking your client to meet for a brainstorming session at Starbucks over a Pumpkin Spice Latte.