Chances are, if you're a real estate agent, you've been asked that question a million times. But do you have a standard answer? My favorite that I learned from real estate trainer and friend John Hamilton goes like this.
"It's challenging, but there are lots of opportunities. All I/we need right now are a few more ____________________"
The ___________________ can be filled in with whatever I might need right now. Listings in the entry level price point? Buyers in the mid $200K range? Builders for some new land I just acquired? I control the message of "how's the market?" now, not the media.
Just the Facts, Ma'am
I am a huge advocate of real estate agents being up to date on their current market at all times. I think it is critical that agents feel comfortable discussing market conditions and confidently being able to share current inventory levels, price points, days on market and any other standard points of interest.
How do you do that? By running daily hot sheets in your MLS system. You should be looking at the new listings that have hit the market, price changes, pending sales, homes that have been cancelled or expired and any other piece of information that jumps out at you.
Reach out to your Sellers and update them on what this means to them. How is the marketing position of their home affected if their neighbor just reduced their price by $5,000? What will happen to the Buyer traffic if three new listings hit the market in the neighboring subdivision?
You might identify a new listing in the same area where you just sold a home to a buyer. What a great reason for a call.
"Hey Mr. Jones, this is Sean Carpenter from Coldwell Banker. How are you? I promised when we worked together that I would keep you up to date on the happenings in and around your neighborhood so you can always be aware of your home values.
"There is a new listing that just came on the market one block over and it's priced at ___ and has ______. Of the people you know, who do you think might be the next person to move?"
Simple call, isn't it? I already have a relationship with Mr. Jones because I worked with him and his family to purchase the home he's in. I now have a "reason to call" that provides him with valuable information and it might lead to a referral opportunity.
You Can Be The Source of the Source
Information like you find on MLS Hot Sheets, at your local board of Realtors web sites (click here for a sample of what the Columbus Board of Realtors offers) or Local Market Reports from the National Association of Realtors becomes ideal material to distribute to your email data base, print out for local open houses, share on your social networking sites or even post to your blog.
The new reports from NAR are really neat and you can access them for 150 different markets so in addition to your local markets, you could leverage out of town relationships, referral opportunities and be more knowledgeable with those Buyers coming in from another area.
Check out the reports here and start finding ways to become the "neighborhood expert."