Secrets To Securing The Right Neighborhood To Farm

If you’re thinking about a real estate marketing plan and could use some ideas, you’ve come to the right place! If you already have all the ideas and a great plan, please share, the rest of us want to know your “real estate marketing secrets!”
Real Estate Farming Secrets

One of the approaches many Realtors® take to establish themselves is to choose a neighborhood to farm and “get to it.”  If you’re in that space and trying to determine where best to begin your marketing campaign, have I got a secret for you!  I have a good friend who is looking for exactly this information as he tries to secure his spot in real estate industry as a “mover and a shaker.” I wanted to share with you the advice that I gave him, it’s pretty rock solid, if I may say so myself. I wish I would have thought of it when I was selling real estate!  Live and learn.

First and foremost, you must farm an area that you like and feel good about representing as a listing agent.  Farming a neighborhood that you don’t like will be a challenge as your heart definitely won’t be “in it.” It’s extremely difficult to sell something you don’t believe in, including homes and neighborhoods.  It creates a subconscious conflict and it just won’t work.  So, start by focusing in on a city you want to sell and then narrow it down to a neighborhood.

How do I narrow it down to a neighborhood, you may be asking…you guessed it, I’ve got this!

Get yourself on Zillow or and search the activity in the area/neighborhood you’re considering for the last year.   Check to see how many homes have sold over the year, how many are on the market currently and how many are pending.  Make sure you understand if the properties in the area are distressed too.

Selling distressed properties is something I feel you need to specialize in if you’re going to go after that marketplace.

Knowing about the activity for the last year will help you determine if there is anyone moving in and out of the target neighborhood.  If no one is moving and there is no turnover, then it may not be the best place to begin.  People need to want to move if you’re going to sell their home.

The other important factor to look at is how long properties are taking to sell.  If people are listing their homes, but no one is buying, could be a sign.   The longer a home stays on the market, the more it cost you to have it as a listing and market it.

How much are the homes selling for in the neighborhood?  If you added up the total home sales for the neighborhood for the last year and calculated a sales commission of 2.5% (being conservative), how much would you make in a year, if you sold every home in the neighborhood?  Back to reality….What if you sold 10% or 25% of those homes?  Write it all down so you can review it and make a good decision of where your marketing efforts are best invested.

What is the average SELLING price of each home.  Commissions aren’t paid on listing prices or properties that haven’t sold. What would your approximate commission check be if you were to sell just one home in the neighborhood?

Some neighborhoods have entry level homes that are less expensive and perfect for the first time home buyer.  Higher volume, but lower commission checks because of a higher turn over, which also means more opportunity.   In neighborhoods featuring more expensive homes that people tend to live in longer, the checks are more, but the opportunity for a home to come available less frequent.    It’s a toss up and both approaches have their advantage, you just have to decide which approach works best for you.

If it was me, I think I would start middle of the road so I’m not putting all my eggs in one basket and expand in to more expensive neighborhoods as my first time home buyers type clients are ready to move up.  It would be a nice progression, in my mind.

If you want an easy time of establishing yourself, it’s probably not a good idea to try playing in another Realtor’s sandbox.   When looking at the properties, pay attention to the real estate agents who have them listed.  If you keep seeing the same name over and over as the listing agent, you may want to try a different area.  It’s possible to establish yourself, over time, but why waste your energy if you can find another neighborhood that isn’t as established with one “go-to” Realtor® for the area.  I was once considering a neighborhood to farm close to my home and so I decided to research it to see if it would be a good use of my time and energy.  Not even close!  The neighborhood had about 25 sales that happened over the year and one agent had listed about 18 of them.  Why waste my time…thank goodness I did my homework before investing in an uphill battle for myself.  Next!

When I was selling real estate, there was nothing like Zillow or around to determine where it was best to start a farm.  The only way to get to this information was via the MLS and sorting through all kinds of reports and data to try and figure it out.  It’s so much more simple now with the websites available these days.  You can even get a visual of the sales and the neighborhood when you go to the map view.   It’s a brilliant tool that’s available to you on your iPad or tablet, you can even figure it out on your smart phone if finding the time is difficult.

I would also have to recommend a service like Cole Information Systems who provides much of the data I’ve mentioned above, along with the tools an agent needs to farm a neighborhood. Addresses, fresh names and addresses.  It’s a subscription based service, so you can pull up as much information as you want. If you get in touch with them, make sure you let them know we sent you, they give a nice discount to anyone who reads Real Estate Marketing Magazine.  It’s a big discount!

Let me know what you learn and figure out about your own farm or an area you’ve been thinking about.  I’d love to hear from you.  You can find me on Twitter at @REmarketingGuru