Aside from the inability to find a home in the current market, a huge swath of America’s homebuyer pool claims that the most difficult steps in buying a home are understanding the process and the paperwork (NAR 2022 Generational Trends).
Getting an understanding of the purchase process is so important to buyers that an agent’s knowledge of it is the number two most important quality that buyers seek in an agent (honesty is number one).
Ensuring that your prospects and clients have a complete understanding of the buying or selling process comes with bonuses:
- They know what to expect every step of the way so they are more relaxed.
- Since they’re more relaxed, the most common “freak outs” are avoided.
- Educating them is the type of customer service that they’ll remember – which is good for your lead gen.
So, how can you help these folks to learn more about buying and selling? Let’s take a look at some of the more tried and true real estate client education methods that agents use.
Seller/Buyer workshops for real estate client education
Some agents call these events “seminars,” others refer to them as “workshops.” Whatever you choose to call them, they not only work to ensure that your prospects are educated, they’re another way to generate leads and to convert prospects to clients.
Check out ways to get listing leads with seminars here on Easy Agent Pro.
The first step to workshop success is to figure out if you’ll be doing it virtual or live. Both methods have their drawbacks and benefits, especially now with the ongoing pandemic.
If your market has reopened completely and people feel confident attending events, a live workshop (preferably with refreshments or a meal served) may be your best bet.
If you opt for the virtual route, check out this Keller Williams article.
Next, decide on who you’ll be targeting with your real estate client education plan. If you’re going after buyers, consider the following:
- First timers
- Golf course properties (they’re gaining popularity again)
- Vacation homes
- Senior homebuyers
- Ranch/farm properties
- Condo buyers
- Luxury homebuyers
Some of the same categories can be used for determining who to target for a seller seminar. First-time sellers are particularly in need of knowledge.
Then, determine the topics you’ll cover. Budgeting, credit scores, how to prepare for the buying/selling process, down payment assistance programs, appraisals, inspections and VA/FHA loan information are just a few.
A member benefit of the NAR’s REBAC is a step-by-step walk-through of seminar setup and execution (“Home Buyer’s Seminar Guide”). Log in to find it, here.
Use a mix of old school and digital marketing methods to lure attendees. Develop a landing page where they can sign up and then direct mail a postcard or deliver a door hanger that lists the landing page’s URL.
Don’t forget to market the workshop via your social media platforms as well.
Believe it or not, people still read
Although the pandemic is the biggest battle we are fighting, there’s another being waged to save small newspapers.
“The U.S. has lost roughly 2,400 newspapers in the last 15 years, about a quarter of the total,” according to Patrik Jonnson at csmonitor.com.
An additional 70 have since closed, “… under the weight of the coronavirus …” claims pointer.org’s Kristen Hare.
Yet, some remain. The local paper, if you’re lucky enough to work in a market with a daily or weekly, is the perfect place to educate your prospects and clients. Oh—and to generate real estate leads.
If the paper is lacking a local real estate column, call the editor immediately. Yes, we get that you’re a real estate agent, a small business owner, and may not be a writer as well.
Hire someone. Freelance writers are available online, and often for very reasonable rates. Check out the writers at upwork.com or fiverr.com. Search for “real estate writer,” “journalist,” or just plain “writer.”
If you fancy yourself a pretty good writer, consider writing an eBook that dives deep into the buying or selling process. Use old blog posts as the skeleton, then flesh them out with additional detail.
Then, there’s the ever-popular real estate newsletter.
Again, you’ll find proofreaders, editors and even book formatters on the aforementioned freelancer sites.
Host a real estate radio show
Many markets have real estate radio shows, primarily on the weekends, hosted by mortgage brokers and real estate agents. Known in the broadcast industry as “ask-the-expert shows,” they’re the ideal format for educating prospects.
In turn, you receive massive market exposure, establish yourself as an expert and achieve brand recognition for your real estate client education efforts.
The cost may be prohibitive for new or struggling agents, but how much a station charges varies across markets, according to:
- Size of the market (major, medium or small)
- The time slot you desire
- The station’s ratings
- Whether or not you bring your own sponsors (lenders, home inspectors, home stagers, etc.)
Air time is far less expensive on the weekends and stations in need of weekend content may give you a break.
Can’t round up sponsors? Ask the talk stations in your market if they offer brokered programming time slots.
Brokered programming is, “… time slots sold by a station to independent producers who create their own programming; the party who buys the time and produces the program to air; for example, a foreign language program on a mostly English language radio station,” according to the experts at mediatracks.com.
“For $75 to $300 an hour, theoretically anyone can play DJ, or give financial, medical or moral advice to listeners,” according to David Altaner at sun-sentinel.com.
Some stations actively seek out shows and will even train the hosts on the use of the studio equipment and more. Check out KRFC in Fort Collins, Colorado and KGPC in Oakland, California.
As for your content? Determine your audience – New buyers and sellers will have very different questions than experienced clients.
More time than money? Focus on blogging for real estate client education
There’s a lot more to blogging than writing. You need to promote your posts to drive traffic to your blog. So, although it’s a low-cost or even free way to educate consumers, it is time consuming. And, it requires dedicated consistency.
Real estate client education blog topics that folks may be interested in include:
- The mortgage process – first-time buyers especially will appreciate a walk-through of the mortgage process, from start to finish, in plain English. A list of down payment assistance programs and how to buy a home when selling (which comes first?) are examples of additional topics that most buyers and sellers will find valuable.
- Do a series of posts—a glossary of sorts—of the most common real estate terms they’ll be hearing when they buy or sell. Examples include contingencies, seasoned funds, due diligence, fixtures.
- The closing process – After the financing process, closing is a mystery to most of the prospects you’ll meet. Explain who will be there, what happens and outline the paperwork they’ll encounter.
- Answer common, pertinent questions, such as “Will there be another housing market crash?” “Will mortgage rates rise significantly this year?”
There are lots of ways to educate prospects and clients. Focus on avoiding jargon and use language they understand.
Check out our tips for The Best Ways To Generate Real Estate Leads