For real estate professionals in states and cities with the worst housing shortages, the situation is challenging. But most real estate professionals aren’t throwing in the towel just yet. They’re employing a wide range of tactics and methods to try and secure more listings to meet buyer demand.
1. Staying in touch
Human contact remains top of the list. Connecting / reconnecting with existing contacts in your database, previous clients and referrals is a mainstream approach, and "working the sphere". According to our recent survey, 41% are reaching out to homeowners living in desirable neighborhoods.
COVID has clearly hampered much direct, face-to-face contacts, but agents are still trying this where possible. "I’m discussing options with friends that may sell in the future but not until COVID is under control," one agent explained. Others are waiting for vaccination programs to be rolled before resuming networking. One broker describes "'increasing touches’ to my database via regular marketing pieces, handwritten note cards, phone calls, emails, texts, and in-person visits where appropriate."
2. Using technology to identify prospective sellers
Going through a large database of contacts is time-consuming, but technology can lend a hand in sifting through prospects. Using AI and smart algorithms, agents can identify the best leads and focus on converting them.
In our survey, 24% of agents reported using technology to determine which sellers are most likely to sell. AI can also be used to anticipate an individual contact’s needs, enabling an agent to make more insightful calls.
3. Connecting with new housing developers
With hopes that new home building may pick up again as the pandemic eases, many agents are connecting with new housing developers. One in twenty of the brokers and agents we surveyed are directly in contact with new home builders.
Knowing about upcoming stock is also important for homeowners. Many homeowners want to move, upsize or downsize, but are anxious about being able to find replacement properties. One agent described how they are "reaching out to potential sellers in my database so they know their homes are worth more now than any other time in recent history, and that I have strategies to prevent them from being homeless if they're purchasing something else in the area". Another suggests that "this is the best time to sell, even if they need to rent short-term while they solidify a new purchase".
4. Targeting for-sale-by-owner listings
Agents are also promoting the message that prices are at historic highs, educating sellers that their homes are worth more now than they have ever been. Many FSBO sellers want to get the most money out of the sale of their home, and a real estate professional can often have a wider buyer network as well as other advantages. Around 1 in 50 agents polled say they’re approaching FSBO sellers.
Some agents admit the housing shortage is overwhelming, and they’re "not sure what to do". For those newer to the industry, who don’t have an existing database to draw from, it can be particularly hard. Certain markets, such as New York, also disallow cold-calling or contacting FSBO (For Sale By Owner) listings. "Like always, I’m keeping in touch with the current client base, seeking ways to let them know houses are a hot commodity. And if they are not selling now, maybe someone they know is thinking about it," one agent reported.