What is one of the biggest problems facing realtors in this current market?
In the GTA, including York and Durham regions the answer is simple – not enough product. In this hotReal Estate Lawn sign market, properties are in great demand, bidding wars are the norm, so many hungry realtors are chasing the very few properties available to get the listings.
How are realtors typically addressing this problem? for the established neighbourhood realtors, usually they have acquired a good reputation and have become the ‘go to’ realtors for sellers. I am in the Durham area, a very hot market and never a week goes by without getting at least 3-4 real estate flyers in my mailbox, soliciting my listing. Each realtor with his or her pitch on why to choose their particular brand.
The hoopla is always the same:
  • De-luxe staging of your home (what else should a seller expect?)
  • Using our ‘cutting edge’ technology (whatever that might be)
  • Professional photography (who would list a property without it?)
  • Guaranteed print advertising (would love to see the numbers)
  • Using our ‘specialty’ buyer programme (?)
  • Connecting you up with properties that match the criteria of the home you’re looking for (what else would you do?)
  • Priority viewing – sending you property listings before they’re available on MLS or to any other broker. Usually this is a listing the broker will have coming up and is a thinly disguised sneaky way of one brokerage getting to handle both sides of a transaction.
  • And on and on …..ad nauseam.
All the same jargon, all the time.
Difficult to gauge the success of this kind of promotion, but my guess is the successful ones are those companies printing the flyers! From the many years I spent in the advertising/publishing business, statistically, the success of flyers delivered either by Canada Post or by independent carriers (e.g. as part of a newspaper package) is abysmal. Usually it takes 6-7 deliveries for the same advertiser to even get noticed, and typically, the direct marketer is deliriously happy achieving a .5- 1% return on investment!
House owners need a reason to give you their listing; they are inherently skeptical, difficult to please and mostly sick of the endless barrage of hype that lands on their doorstep several times a week. They  are also put off by the ‘door knockers’ – annoying realtors (or their trainees) sent to solicit your listing at the door. The pitch usually begins with the banal and totally insincere declarations:
“I have clients looking for a house just like yours…..” “I can get top dollar for your property”, “look at the properties I have just sold for 120% of the list price” Blah, Blah, Blah.
There is not one of these door knockers I would ever list with! Again another reason for the householder to be distrustful.
So why not approach the listings crisis from a different perspective.
Having taken a close look for the past year or so at the futile efforts of some realtors to improve their listings numbers, I believe that a more targeted approach and some research is needed. I have worked with a few realtors who understood this requirement and have been able to suggest ideas to enable them to expand their business beyond the futility (and annoyance by the recipients!) of shoving promotions into mailboxes.
Research takes a lot of  hard work, and patience and not being satisfied just going after ‘low-hanging fruit’. It involves looking at the demographic profile of neighbourhoods and using a little subtlety, innovation and creativity.
The subject is too extensive to cover in the space of one blog or newsletter, so I am not even going to try. I would like to work with just a few realtors (I am currently working with three professionals and in order to be as effective as possible, will not work with more than six in total, in well-separated areas) who can understand and appreciate some new ideas in the area of listings acquisition, and I would be very happy to discuss in greater detail some of my ideas on a ‘one-to-one’ basis. I would be pleased to hear from serious realtors who can reach me at:
Note: I am not making any promises or guarantees, nor am I expecting any kind of reimbursement, but would like to simply explore other ways of approaching the acquisition of new business.