While real estate markets are rebounding, the uncertainty surrounding it certainly hasn’t, at least not in the minds of most potential buyers.
“It used to be that the American dream was home ownership,” says realtor Scott DiGregorio of the Fort Myers-based Primary Residential Mortgage. “But now of course, everyone knows someone who says “the worst thing I ever did was buy a home,””.
“This has never happened before.”
More and more buyers in the market are saying to realtors they are “just looking around”, or else they downplay any interest, explains DiGregorio.
“Home buyers are trying to disguise themselves,” he says.
These days the vast majority of homebuyers, as much as 89%, search online when looking for properties to buy, says the Florida Association of Realtors. Prospective buyers read reports online, they browse through listings, and try to gather as much information as possible before approaching realtors. All of this calls for a change in agent’s tactics.
“Times have changed, and buyers have changed; they are a lot more educated now,” explains Tony Pollack of the Jones & Co. Realty firm. “Traditional sales methods just don’t work like they used to.”
DiGregorio is in full agreement, saying that “The market has changed, yet most realtors are still doing things the same way as they was 30 years ago, which is crazy.”
The result is that many real estate agents who have been drilled all about the importance of closing the deal are scaring people away. Instead, DiGregorio believes, they need to focus more on educating prospective clients without obligating anyone.
To do so, DiGregorio employs a range of modern-day tactics, including offering market reports on his website, using email campaigns and hosting real estate webinars, all of which is targeted at addressing the fears of buyers.
“You should never attempt to sell when you email clients,” says DiGregorio. “They are supposed to be about educating people.”
DiGregorio recommends sending out messages between once a week and once a month, and making it easy to opt out if people don’t want to receive them. He also employs social media to further educate possible clients.
“It’s all about winning trust,” DiGregario says. “Our job is to simply listen to clients and inform them about the things they need to know. Do it right, and when they are ready to buy, who are they going to come and see?”