As inventory continues to rise, nearly at the same rate that prices did for the last two years, more agents are having to adjust their seller’s expectations on the fly and have difficult conversations to keep deals together or listing agreements intact. This trend is likely to continue for a brief period until the market settles into a state of equilibrium and seller expectations adjust to the reality of the current market. So what can agents be doing to take more listings and serve their seller clients at a higher level to keep business booming in a time of change?
First and foremost, it’s important to understand what sellers are going to be looking for in a real estate fiduciary going forward. In an environment with higher inventory, sellers are going to be much more critical of the agent they choose to work with. And they should be, the truth is it’s just not that difficult to sell a home when everyone wants to buy and is willing to make offers over asking, even sight unseen. To sell a home when competition is high and inventory is abundant takes strategy, professionalism and sound advisement on behalf of the agent.
Four Factors That Affect a Listing
There really are only four things that affect a homes chances of selling. Price, condition, location and marketing. If the home is priced right then you’re more than halfway there. This is going to be the biggest hurdle to overcome in the short term for agents looking to take more listings. Many sellers still have expectations of pricing wherever they choose and still getting strong offers quickly. Agents absolutely must be able to have realistic conversations about pricing with their seller clients, explain the massive amount of price appreciation from which they’ve benefitted over the last few years and set expectation around a sound pricing strategy.
The good news for those looking to take more listings is that many agents have not been doing this as of late as expired listings are significantly up, creating an opportunity for agents to come in and pick up listings for seller whose, potentially unrealistic, expectations weren’t met.
Marketing Is More Important Than Ever
This is the plain and simple truth. For the past two years very few sellers have put an emphasis on the marketing aspect of the selling process. Homes were simply listed on the MLS and the offers rolled in. This is no longer the case and won’t be for a while, if ever again. Agents wanting to grow their listing inventory must have a dialed in, easily understood and comprehensive marketing plan that they can present sellers at the listing appointment. This not only sets seller expectations, it will win you business over other agents with less experience or effort put in to the marketing aspect of client service.
Client Service Is Key
As homes take longer to go under contract, it’s more important than ever that agents beef up their client service while the home is on the market. Sellers hate being in the dark and many agents have a tendency to let communication slip while the days on market tick up. This is a surefire way to lose a listing agreement or, at the very least, get poor reviews and referrals. If you’re looking to take more listings, commit to being in constant communication with your seller clients throughout the entire process. Build systems around your communication so your sellers can expect a consistent flow of valuable information about their listing, the marketing you’re doing and the market as a whole. What clients care about above all else in the experience they receive from the agent they trust.
By following these simple steps you can be sure to win more listings, serve your seller clients better than ever and maintain a high level of business even in shifting markets. Remember, it’s all about price, condition, location and marketing. Get those four things right and you’ll thrive in any market condition.