WHILE THE WEATHER may still be chilly, it won’t be long before the sun shines on the traditional spring selling season in a couple of months. So the time to prepare is now! We asked Stuart Benson of Domain to share his thoughts on how to maximise your time now to maximise this important time of the year.
What will we see from the property market this spring?
Stuart says: There has been a lot of talk in the market around the ‘housing bubble’. While the debate continues about its existence, I doubt it will put any kind of damper on the spring selling season.
What we’re seeing now is that borrowing money has never been easier, and the money itself has never been cheaper in terms of the interest rates being offered. That’s always attractive to people who are entering the market, to change-up buyers, and it’s attractive to investors as well. The market at the moment is activated on all fronts. It’s not just favouring one buyer type, which means that competition is very strong for property at the moment. Homeowners who are considering selling really need to start that conversation now, if they’re going to hit the market in spring or even slightly before, when there are perhaps fewer properties to compete against.
The auction clearance numbers in Sydney and Melbourne are showing strength. We’re seeing other states raising their clearance rates too, as well as the volume of properties being taken to auction. Auctions are great around this time of year, because the auction method of sale is a structured time-line event. Announcing an auction date gives you a potential sale date. By offering auction, or by choosing to list by auction more often, you can put your vendor in with a very good opportunity to get a result in a 28-day program.
It really is an exciting time and it’s a great time to start thinking about that spring strategy and having those conversations with vendors.
What prospecting activities should we be doing now for good stock levels come September?
Stuart says: For a lot of agents, the key to maximum listings for this period is sitting right inside their databases – the logs, records and contact points that they’ve already had for the best part of this year. Your prospects are the people who have been coming to open for inspections, attending auctions, unsuccessfully bidding at auctions. These are all people who have made contact with you, given you their information and said ‘contact me’.
Raising your profile through current listings advertised in print and online, as well as through your online agent and agency profiles also prompts potential prospects to get in touch.
You really must be having the conversations now. It’s no good asking potential prospects ‘Are you considering selling?’ later on in the year. By September or October it’s too late, because you don’t have time to help them prepare for maximum value; issues such as finalising renovations, tidying up the property, new carpet or new paint. Have those conversations now. The conversations that we have 30, 60 or 90 days beforehand are the ones that turn into transactions later on down the line.
What are the best methods of having those conversations? I would recommend a mix of messages on multiple platforms. Some prospects prefer email, some prefer newsletters and some will look for you online and in the newspaper. Your online profile is extremely important, but don’t forget that letterbox drops, phone calls, call-backs, personalised emails and text messages are all important too.
What’s the latest in marketing that agents can offer to vendors?
Stuart says: There are statistics that show, without a doubt, that bigger is better. Newspaper ads and online advertising that can be viewed in a larger format and videos included in marketing campaigns are all the big things that will attract the largest number of potential buyers and generate the most enquiries. They generate more click-throughs on an online campaign..
For vendors, it really is a case of ‘If you are entering the market in the spring, you will be competing with a fair few other properties that are very comparable to yours’. In order to stand out, like anything else you do, you need to go to another level to get noticed. Domain has upgraded versions of products that ensure your property can be anchored to page one. We are seeing a huge uptake of video marketing as well. This really invites the consumer, domestic or international, into the front door of the property and allows the vendor to showcase their home 24/7 across any device that is around.
Any other tips?
Stuart says: As an agent, you have to have a plan. If you come into spring and you haven’t put any forethought into how you’re going to structure your day, your week and your month, you’ll not be just be running from A to B to C. You’ll be going from A to B to Q, back to C and this will get on top of you. This is the time of year when a lot of agents get burned out. You don’t want to appear sluggish; you don’t want to sound sluggish. You don’t want to be calling people back later than you said or promised you would, so structure is never more important than at the busiest time of the year; traditionally this is spring.
Then there is also that ‘healthy mind’ aspect as well. It can’t be overstated how important it is to be physically healthy and to be switched on yourself. Healthier eating and exercising will release endorphins through the body. I know it sounds a bit left field, but the reality is that if you are going to get through this season and you are going to do it at peak performance, there is no reason why you shouldn’t take the attitude of an athlete. Athletes understand that if they want the best results taking care of their bodies is vitally important.
I really do advocate that agents should be looking after themselves first and foremost so that there’s no burnout. And then make sure that you structure your months to come in terms of how many hours a day you will dedicate to call-backs and how many hours a day to structuring campaigns with your team.