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Why Farming is Essential in Real Estate

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Why Farming is Essential in Real Estate

Do you have a farm? If you’re a Realtor®, you probably know that I’m not talking about acres of corn or hundreds of cattle.

A real estate farm is a specific geographic area where you develop your business. A neighborhood or group of neighborhoods become the place you focus your marketing efforts.

If I were to ask you right now, “Where’s your farm?” you’d probably be able to answer me. But what if I asked a few more questions?

When is the last time you sent postcards to your farm? How often do you reach out? What’s the newest development in your city that affects your farm area?

Do you know?

It’s Not a Farm if You Don’t Farm It

I’m not trying to be a jerk here, but one thing I’ve noticed is that many people have “farms” that they aren’t active in. I have a good friend who lives in the Midwest, and she points out that if you don’t farm your land, it quickly fills with weeds.

Weeds, in real estate, like competing Realtors®. Local groups that don’t know who you are. A complete lack of awareness of your name and brand.

You can’t let your farm go. If you do, someone else will show up, take over, and it won’t be yours anymore.

What Can a Farm Do For You?

So why bother? Maintaining a farm area takes a lot of time and effort. You have to be consistent and active in the community. People need to know who you are.

What are the benefits of having a real estate farm? 

Convenience of Location. When you cultivate a farm area, you save yourself from having to run all over the place to serve clients. While you’ll probably have some customers outside the farm, having a local area of focus allows you to list and build relationships more easily. You can get more done in less time when your focus is on a specific area!

Build Deeper Relationships. It’s no secret that relationships take time. If you spread your efforts all over your city, you may have a lot of relationships, but none of them will be deep. The more consistent you are with your contacts, the more loyal they will be. A farm makes that easy.

Become the Go-To Realtor®. This is the #1 reason most real estate agents have a farm. When you become top-of-mind to the point that you’re the go-to agent in an area, you can get incredible results just by maintaining your efforts. You don’t have to sweat so hard to get business! You’ll also become the first person the residents think of when friends or family ask for a Realtor®, so you’ll get great referrals too.

Be a Better Expert. A farm area is localized by definition, so you don’t have to have your finger on what’s happening everywhere in your city. You can know a few things around town, but be an absolute expert in your farm area. New store? Change in local government? Zoning questions? You’ll know it all because you only have to know everything about a small area.

Farming is Worth the Effort

I’m not going to pretend that real estate farming is easy. It takes time and effort, just like regular farming. This is especially true if you’re starting from scratch.

You put in a lot of work, including:

  • Farming postcards several times a year
  • Participation in committees or local charities
  • Door Knocking
  • Cooperative marketing with local businesses
  • Brochures
  • Sponsoring charity events
  • Sending a newsletter

But you get an incredible harvest. When you have a consistent stream of clients and referrals coming from a single area that you enjoy and can easily get to — nothing’s better!

Choose the right farm and then put in consistent marketing. Be patient. The fruit is worth the work!

Fall is a great time to reach out to your farm area. Send a farming postcard or seasonal postcard. Remember, it’s OK to use the same farming postcards multiple times!

 

How to Find a Farm Area That’s Right for You

Finding a Farm Area

Real estate farming involves making your presence known in a particular area. You choose a neighborhood and send regular postcards and fliers. You may target the area with Every Door Direct Mail, or go door-knocking there. You may drive through the neighborhood looking for FSBO signs and give them a call.

In short, you’re building your brand and your business in a particular geographic location. But how do you choose the right geographic area? Most real estate agents operate in cities with many, many available options. Here’s how to narrow it down.

Is it Close to Where You Live?

You may not want to farm a neighborhood next door to your own home, but you probably also don’t want to drive two hours to do an afternoon of door-to-door visiting. Finding someplace close enough that you are motivated to spend time there is essential.

You won’t be a successful agent in a neighborhood you never want to visit. Find a farm area that’s within a comfortable distance from where you already live.

Does Another Agent Already Dominate the Neighborhood?

Every neighborhood will have some kind of competition, but if there is another Realtor® who already dominates that market, you probably want to find a different area. Check the MLS and see who has sold the homes in that area in the last year. If 80% of them are the same agent, you’ve found a successful farm. It just isn’t your successful farm.

If someone already seems to own a neighborhood, you’ll spend a lot of time and money going head-to-head with them. Instead, move into an area with a less clear go-to agent.

Is There Enough Activity at a Good Price Point?

For once, Zillow can work for you. Check the market conditions in the neighborhoods you are considering. How many homes are currently listed? What are they listed for? How many have sold in the last year, and at what price point?

There may be regions near you that have beautiful homes that you could sell for an excellent price, except that no one ever moves in or out of the area. Make sure you understand the volume of home sales, the prices, and the time on the market.

Do You LIKE the Neighborhood?

A friend made me laugh one day when she said, “If you hate your target market, you’re probably in the wrong business.” So, think about the area and who lives there. Are the residents folks you can relate to? Are they the type of people and homes you would enjoy working with?

If you hate working with first-time home sellers and buyers, you want to avoid an entry-level neighborhood. If elderly clients drive you crazy, keep that in mind when choosing a farm area. Every Realtor® has these types of preferences, even if you don’t ever voice them. Be sure to choose a farm you’ll be excited to go into.

When you select a farm, you’re making a long-term commitment. Do the research to make sure you’re happy with your choice. After you pick a neighborhood, make a marketing plan. It should include getting to know people, attending community events in that area, sending farming postcards, and more.

Are you ready to make your farming and marketing more consistent? We’re here to help. Check out our large selection of farming postcards today!

New! Fresh Real Estate Marketing Ideas

real estate marketing ideasAt PrinterBees, there’s a big shift happening in our real estate marketing business and its important for those in “distressed homeowner” markets to stop and take note, as we have. Change is coming we hope you are too! The market is shifting and you need to be prepared to shift with it, or get left behind. I don’t want to see you get left behind and this blog/magazine is all about success in real estate, so please STOP AND TAKE NOTE. Remember, those who don’t change as markets and “times” change, get stuck. Don’t get stuck! Change is headed your way.

In the last quarter of 2012, short sales made up for around 35-40% of the nations home-sales. In January it was only 25%.

THE REAL ESTATE MARKET IS SHIFTING

Back at the end of 2007, no one really predicted what was about to happen as the economy crumbled. I can’t lie, I saw certain things happening that caused me to stop and take note. There was no way I could have have ever imagined what was to come, but I did see things that caused me to pause and begin preparing for the financial roller coaster we’ve all been on for the last several years. Banks were freezing home equity lines because the real estate market was tanking and mortgage lending practically came to a screeching halt. I see what’s coming now I want you to be prepared to make the shift.

If short sale marketing has been keeping you busy and your pipeline full of business, it’s time to start slowly making a shift from short sale marketing to real estate farming. There will come a time in the near future when short sales are behind us and the traditional sale will again be normal. Home-owners forced to short sale their homes in the last few years are now re-entering the housing market and first-time home buyers are taking advantage of low interest rates making purchasing a home affordable.

Real estate farming ideas:
The lowest hanging fruit and the easiest clients to convert to real businesses are past clients and your sphere of influence. There are many great articles about why, this one is the best and has downloads to help you get back in touch. (Why Realtors® avoid their sphere of influence)…great read!

Get yourself a copy of the book by Gary Keller called “Shift”. It’s a great read and will help you understand more about why you must prepare for the shift or prepare to starve. READ THIS BOOK! It’s awesome. Shift: How Top Real Estate Agents Tackle Tough Times (Millionaire Real Estate)

When the neighborhoods you’ve been marketing to for short sales starts to shift, be the first to announce it! Spread the news toFarming Postcard Samples the areas you’ve been successful with your short sale marketing efforts. Ask people to contact you regarding the shift in the market because they may be able to do a traditional sale. Consider the emotional deposits you could be making with potential sellers breaking the news that they may have equity!!!

PrinterBees has added a complete new line of designs for recovering real estate markets. Spreading news of recovering real estate values will make you popular really quickly! We want you to succeed in your business as a REALTOR®, to succeed, you must be relevant and timely with what your marketing.

If you’re in an area where neighborhoods are on the cusp of becoming positive in equity, alternating between distressed homeowners and traditional real estate farming may be a good happy medium. PrinterBees has clients taking this approach with great success.