The Low-Inventory Challenge: Strategies for REALTORS®
The real estate market is currently grappling with low inventory. This means that there are more buyers than available homes.
In fact, the most recent report from NAR shows that there is a 3.4-month supply at the current sales pace. The market, once defined by a balance between supply and demand, has tipped in favor of the sellers.
As a realtor, the traditional playbook no longer guarantees success, and adaptation is the name of the game.
In this article, we will explore strategies to help realtors not just survive but thrive in this seller’s market, where the demand for homes consistently outpaces the supply. But first, let’s explore what it means to be in a low-inventory market.
What Does a Low Inventory Market Mean?
In a low-inventory market, the number of homes available for sale is significantly less than the number of potential buyers looking for properties.
It’s measured in “months of supply,” which is a metric that tells you how long it would take to sell all the current properties based on the current sales pace.
In a balanced market, it takes around six months — indicating a fair balance between supply and demand. If it’s higher, it’s a buyer’s market with more homes available than buyers. If it’s lower, it’s a seller’s market with high demand and fewer homes.
The basic economics of supply and demand applies in a low inventory market as well. With fewer homes on the market and many buyers competing for them, prices tend to rise.
That’s without even mentioning real estate investors, who join the markets with big guns, such as capital from banks, and perhaps even a foothold in a certain area. All of this combined makes low-investory markets particularly perilous for realtors. But let’s not lose hope yet.
Strategies to Win in a Low Inventory Market
Low inventory has changed how realtors approach the market. Instead of just passively observing the conditions, you should instead:
1. Leverage Technology to Attract Sellers
In such a hot market, technology is your ace in the hole for drawing in potential sellers.
To make the most of it, start by supercharging your online presence. Ensure your website and social media are engaging, informative, and easy to navigate.
You can also utilize advanced analytics to crunch numbers and trends to predict who might be ready to sell soon. It can help you find patterns and indicators, such as homeowners who have lived in their current homes for many years, as they might be more likely to consider selling.
If you’re working locally, make sure you focus on local SEO when filling out your website with content— this means city/neighborhood-based keywords, detailed service pages, and even testimonials from local residents whom you’ve helped find a new home.
Once you have this data, you can also use technology for targeted outreach. You can send personalized messages, providing information that speaks directly to their situation. This approach shows your expertise and commitment, making you a top choice when they decide to make a move.
2. Nurture Relationships for Future Listings
Building and maintaining strong client relationships is a cornerstone of success in the real estate industry, especially in a low-inventory market.
Current buyers can easily turn into the nest sellers.
One key strategy is staying in touch with past clients. After a successful transaction, it’s easy to move on to the next opportunity, but maintaining contact is crucial.
Hosting client appreciation events is a great way to show gratitude and keep in touch with your past and present clients. It could be a simple gathering, a fun event, or even a seminar where you provide valuable insights. Such events strengthen your bonds with clients.
Also, consider investing in a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. This tool helps you keep track of your clients, their preferences, and your interactions. It’s like having a personal assistant to manage your relationships.
3. Find Off-Market Deals
Off-market properties are those not publicly listed on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) or available to the general public. These hidden gems can offer unique opportunities and potentially lower competition, making them a sought-after prize for realtors.
One effective strategy for sourcing off-market deals is to tap into your professional network. Collaborate with other real estate agents and industry pros who may have exclusive insights into off-market properties.
Also, keep an eye on properties that were previously listed but didn’t sell (expired listings). These owners might still be interested in selling and could welcome your assistance. Additionally, For Sale by Owner (FSBO) properties are those listed by owners without a realtor’s involvement. Reach out to FSBO sellers to see if they might consider working with you.
Likewise, you might also want to consult with a tax attorney or an accountant on how you can get a tax deduction. In fact, the average tax return was $2,815 in 2023, but realtors have the luxury of writing off numerous business purchases, such as cameras, software, and anything related to spicing up their websites and SEO.
4. Pay Close Attention to Detail
To excel in a competitive seller’s market, the importance of meticulous attention to detail cannot be overstated.
For example, you need to ensure that your marketing materials and property listings are of the highest quality. This means taking top-notch photos, crafting detailed and captivating property descriptions, and delivering eye-catching presentations.
When it comes to images, for instance, every small detail matters. Start by capturing high-resolution, 1440p images of every aspect of the property. However, be careful not to use these images on your website without editing them.
This can overburden your website, which is bad for SEO. Before uploading them on the site, convert the images to JPG, compress them if necessary, and test how fast the page loads.
This might seem like it’s unnecessary, but it’s the little details like these that lead to solid relationships and recommendations.
5. Leverage Data Tools for Finding Potential Sellers
Data tools can be your best allies in the quest to find potential sellers. They provide valuable insights and help you target your efforts efficiently. For example, these tools can help you identify potential sellers based on various criteria, such as past behaviors, life events, and property data.
Analyzing this information can help you spot potential sellers who may not even be actively thinking about selling yet. You can also use data analytics tools to get real-time market data that can help you identify neighborhoods and properties that might be on the verge of coming onto the market. Plus, AI is only growing more powerful, so who knows what kind of tools we get to see in 2024.
Navigating the low inventory market is tricky. To succeed in such an environment, you need to be adaptable, innovative, and use a customer-centric approach.
By following the strategies we have recommended above, you will not only be able to attract buyers but also nurture connections that can lead to future listings.
Additionally, it’s essential to be realistic with clients, set clear expectations, and emphasize patience and persistence. These qualities are the bedrock of success in a competitive seller’s market. Remember to partner with a qualified Embrace Home Loan officer to give your potential clients the financial options they need to close a deal quickly.