Generating listings in inventory-starved markets is a challenging task. Major markets across Canada are currently experiencing a lack of inventory, driving home prices upward as interest rates remain depressed. Some homeowners are choosing to stay put throughout the pandemic, while others are deciding to put off downsizing given the new demand for detached homes. All of these factors add to the current challenge of generating listings. In times like these, it’s important to stay informed, try new strategies, and make marketing adjustments that could potentially put you in a better position to find listing inventory.
Here are a few ways that real estate agents can proactively generate listings in low inventory markets.
1. Focus on your existing clients
It isn’t a coincidence that this is the first item on our list. Client retention should be a top priority for all real estate agents, no matter what the market is doing. In general, it will be easier to find a listing from an existing client than to prospect for new clients, so keep your client base close and don’t let them forget how you can help.
Staying in touch with your clients is becoming easier with the rise of social media and other digital channels, so you have no excuse not to keep in touch with your clients using video and messaging platforms. Connect with your clients on LinkedIn as soon as possible, advertise to your email list using Facebook’s advertising platform, and create videos that answer common questions.
2. Let your clients know about changes in their neighbourhoods
Asking your existing clients whether or not they’d like to be informed about homes listed or sold within their immediate area is a great way to stay in touch and provide more value to your clients. You’re going to have a better response rate and leave your clients feeling appreciative if you do this sparingly, so try to focus on a tight radius to their home and include a personalized message when you send any information through. Highlight any similar features to their home, including square footage, total bedrooms, or the year it was built. Many agents also opt to let people know about price changes in their neighbourhoods with printed materials, conducting door drops when a home lists or sells within a specific area.
3. Pay attention to your past buyer leads
In many markets across Canada, an influx of buyers is helping push the market to new heights. Buyers are more often than not sellers as well, so go through your buyer leads from the past year and see if any potential buyers paused their search. Get face to face whenever possible, even if it’s through a video call, and see how you can help. They may not know just how much their home has increased in value since they called off their search, which could spring them into action. Take the time to reengage and see if you can generate any opportunities.
4. Spend some effort marketing to investors
Real estate investors can be a tricky target to reach, but landing a client who buys and sells regularly or owns multiple properties can be incredibly rewarding. Though you probably shouldn’t focus a large amount of your advertising and marketing budgets on this segment, placing a bit of emphasis on targeting investors can help you generate listings.
Try placing putting your efforts into ranking higher in search engines for investor-specific queries as a starting point. Create content for your website that highlights any real estate investors you’ve helped turn a profit, and write articles about why you’re the agent that investors should have on their side. If you select the right blog topics and learn the basics of search engine optimization, you’ll be on your way to generating more listings from professional real estate investors.
5. Start a business networking group
Business networking groups can be a great way to generate new leads, as they typically encourage referrals amongst their members. Some groups allow multiple members in the same industry, while others discourage this, choosing instead to have only one real estate agent in the group, as an example. Either way, networking groups can certainly help you generate more listings.
One of the negative aspects of some of the more established groups is their entry and monthly membership fees, which can discourage agents from joining. If you find yourself in this position, you can always consider starting a business networking group and establishing your own rules. Most real estate agents have a wide range of business professionals already within their network, so finding your first members shouldn’t be too difficult. With video conferencing services becoming more widely used, a once per month get-together on Zoom has never been easier to set up.
6. Watch your social media channels closely
Significant life changes are almost always a good indicator that someone will be listing their property soon, so watch your social media channels for major events. The goal here is to try to be a resource for anyone should they need a new housing opportunity, so be courteous and thoughtful in your exchanges with potential clients. Weddings, engagements, divorces, job changes, and new children are all signs that someone might be looking for a change of scenery in the not-so-distant future.
Social listening is just one of the many ways you can use social media to generate leads. Follow these social media tips for real estate agents for more ideas.
7. Invest where people search
You’re simply more likely to generate a listing if you’re advertising where people are searching for homes, reading the latest real estate news, or trying to find an agent. People visiting websites like REW are demonstrating interest in the real estate market, making it a great advertising tool for agents to leverage. Market Pro can increase views on your agent profile by 600%, helping you generate more listings in any kind of market - low inventory or otherwise.
Some individuals also start their home search directly on Google, so be sure your Google My Business profile and website are optimized for search engines. Setting yourself up in local directories and soliciting some reviews is an excellent place to start.
Generating listings in a low inventory market presents clear challenges, so spend some time being creative and testing out different strategies. Focus your efforts on the channels that provide you with the most results, and you’ll be on your way to taking more listings to market.