The past year has been challenging for real estate agents, to say the least. With the housing market still struggling, many sales professionals are finding it difficult to find buyers, get listings of homes to sell, and in general, keep their businesses growing.
But a creative new program launched just three months ago by Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in the Sacramento-Tahoe region is already helping dozens of agents here turn lemons into lemonade – or, more specifically, prospects into new clients and sales.
Rather than wait for the market to turn around, the leading real estate services company in Northern California last fall decided to be proactive with an aggressive new agent marketing program called “Move-Up Marketers.” The idea was that there was a large segment of consumers with equity in their homes who could actually benefit from the real estate downturn.
While many homeowners’ existing properties may be worth less than at the peak of the housing market, more expensive homes were selling even greater price discounts. The net result is a significant savings for those looking to move up to a larger, more expensive home – perhaps one that they couldn’t afford before.
The Move-Up Marketer program was designed to help each agent get that word out to as many as 200 potential home sellers in their area with a sweeping marketing blitz that included online and direct mail documents, personal visits, informative flyers, housing market data, and other information consumers could use to make the decision to sell.
The result, according to company executives and agents, was better than they could have imagined. They estimate that participating agents have already received hundreds of strong leads and dozens of home listings and new clients as a result of the Move-Up Marketer program.
“We couldn’t be happier with the results we’re seeing in the market,” said Bob Bronswick, president of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in the Sacramento-Tahoe region. “I’ve been hearing success story after success story from our agents. They’re really jazzed about this. They are seeing their hard work and marketing efforts paying off in a big way.”
Bronswick added that participating agents are enjoying their jobs more these days. “They’re having fun again, getting out of the office more and meeting and networking with neighbors, friends and other people a lot more,” he said. “At the same time, consumers are benefiting, too, because they’re learning that there are opportunities for them to come out ahead in this challenging housing market. It’s a win-win.”
Although the program was initially aimed at homeowners looking to trade up to a bigger home, agents quickly discovered that many other consumers could benefit from this market. They ended up getting clients who were elderly or empty nesters who wanted to downsize. They found investors interested in buying a vacation home or a rental property. And they even discovered renters who became first-time buyers.
Kim Lane, an agent in the company’s Sacramento-Fair Oaks office, said she has been sending out 30 flyers a day and door knocking regularly as a result of the program. She already has picked up a buyer, wrote an offer for a property, and has a new listing – an elderly Sacramento resident who wants to move to a residential care facility.
Vacaville agent Marti Martinez said she has had success as a result of the new program. “I went out this morning, knocked on approximately 20 doors. I made four good solid contacts and a listing/buy prospect,” she said. “This is actually fun!”
The Move-Up Marketer program requires a strong commitment from participating agents. The agents receive specialized training in targeted marketing, and are given a variety of tools to help them, including specialized marketing materials. In exchange, they must devote more than half of each week to contacting potential clients in person and via phone and email. Each agent’s list of potential clients range from 50 to 200.
Vacaville agent Penny Vest said the marketing efforts got her out of her comfort zone. “I was a bit unnerved about going out and door knocking,” she recalled. “But once I did it a few times, I actually found that I really enjoyed it. It is encouraging and I feel like I’ve worked harder in the last two months than I have all year.”
Bronswick said a side benefit of the effort is that Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage is helping get the word out about buying opportunities to an important – but often overlooked – segment of the housing market, which has focused so much attention on first-time buyers recently.
Although home values have generally dropped in recent years, consumers who have lived in their homes for more than four or five years have likely built up significant equity that can be used to buy a larger home, Bronswick said. In addition, demand for entry level homes has been very strong, making it much easier to sell their existing property to move up.
To learn more about Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage’s Move-Up Home Buyer Program, please contact your local Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage office or call 925.275.3085.
About Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage is the largest residential real estate brokerage in Northern California, serving communities from the Monterey Bay to Lake Tahoe and nearly every market in between. The company has 61 offices and more than 3,600 sales associates throughout Northern California. Through its internationally renowned Coldwell Banker Previews® program, the company leads the luxury home market, selling more than one out of four properties priced above $3 million and one out of every three properties above $5 million. Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage is part of NRT LLC, the nation’s largest residential real estate brokerage company. NRT has more than 900 offices and 56,000 sales associates operating in more than 35 major metropolitan areas. A subsidiary of Realogy Corporation, NRT operates Realogy’s company-owned real estate brokerage offices. For more information please visit http://www.CaliforniaMoves.com or call 925.275.3085. DRE # 00313415.
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