Home sales have been surging the last few years and as expected it has drawn a huge amount of interest in the real estate industry with agents trying to get more listings. In the last four years membership in the National Association of Realtors has increased from just over 1 million members to 1.4 million members a whopping 40% increase.
Before realtors get too excited they must first know that while the number of real estate agents is growing the actual housing supply is shrinking. The number of homes that sold in 2018 is 3% below the number that sold in 2017 marking the fourth year in a row where there has been a decline in sales. Combining the slim amount of homes to sell with the drastic increase in number of agents has caused some serious competition amongst realtors.
Only the strong can survive in today’s real estate market with the scary lack of potential clients out there. There are still huge opportunities in the real estate market but it takes creativity, hard work and persistence to find those home sellers. The only way to get that competitive edge is for real estate agents to start experimenting with some unconventional ways that could get more listings.
Unconventional Ways To Get More Listings
- Examine Property Taxes. The county clerk is responsible for maintaining a database of all the homes in the area that delinquent on their property taxes. This information can be a discovered gold mine since about 25% of all homes sold have some amount of property tax that is past due. It is clear that being behind on property taxes is a strong motivator to get homeowners to sell their home. Sending out mail to homeowners that are behind on property taxes are sure to get you some listings. Finding buyers that look to take advantage of this trend is actually quite easy:
- Marketing for Behind Tax Listings. Start SEO campaigns to rank for keywords related to selling homes because of taxes in the city or county. Use online paid advertisements for long-tail terms related to selling and taxes since there is a lot less competition and they are cheaper than the more common home selling keywords.
- Vacant Homes. There are about 137.5 million homes in the U.S. and 2% of them were vacant in the 1st quarter of 2018. By the end of the 2nd quarter only 1.1% of them were vacant and by the end of the 3rd quarter the number was back up to 1.6% vacant. That is a lot of buying and selling happening in the vacant home market and should be targeted. Using the county clerk’s data or other research methods to find vacant homes will provide a huge opportunity to get more listings.
- Find Divorcees. It is way too common for judges to mandate that divorced couples must sell their shared home. In fact one third of all couples will list their home within 6 months of filing for divorce. Just like the property tax angle this opportunity provides real estate agents with a buyer and a seller. Advertise online for both sellers going through a divorce and buyers that know the opportunity of getting a quick low-priced sale from divorcees.
- Inherited Homes. Each year there are millions of homes that change owners due to inheritance. Since these transactions are usually unplanned there is an extremely high chance that the new owner will end up selling the property. This is a creative and unconventional way a real estate agent could get a ton of listings that are sure to sell fast.
- Finding Inherited Homes. Simply searching the county clerk records with the word inheritance should provide some names of people involved in these type of court cases. It shouldn’t be hard to find the name of the previous homeowner of the property with this method. Now simply searching the previously homeowners name in the yellow pages will provide the address of the recently inherited property. Now the real estate agent has an address of a home that is very likely to hit the market in the near future.
One thing that is consistent with all of these techniques is to stay ahead of the competition. The type of homes listed are sure to hit the market eventually but the trick is to be the first one reaching out. Obviously these unconventional ways to get more listings can be time consuming but with hard work, creativity and persistence they will more than make up for it.