But of course, this is a big if. Listings are difficult to come by when inventory is low, and the pressure on listing agents is intense.
“In a seller’s market, having listings is everything,” notes Sharona Alperin, a Real Estate Professional at Sotheby’s International Realty – Sunset Strip Brokerage. “And a housing shortage makes it much more difficult for agents to find and procure product. It becomes a very competitive time for buyers and agents alike.”
When listings are few and far between and buyers might be feeling discouraged due to multiple missed opportunities, here are four strategic ways agents can continue to keep their business not just viable, but vibrant.
“Even though inventory is low, you can still connect with your buyers at this time, always letting them know they are a priority—and just a house away from getting their dream home,” says Alperin.
As she notes, contingent sales don’t work in a low-inventory market—sellers don’t feel pressured to accept an offer if the buyer will make them wait.
“In cases where a buyer needs to sell first, you may suggest getting an equity line or another form of pulling money from their current property, so when the right house comes, they have the means to compete with other offers,” she advises.
2. Share insights—and wins—on social channels
It’s no secret that social media is an excellent way to stay connected not only with past and existing clients but prospective ones as well.
“I met a beautiful young lady from Kenya at a restaurant in San Diego a while back,” recounts Farella. “Several months later, she sent me a direct message on Instagram inquiring if I could help her find and purchase her first home. Hers is one of my favorite first-time homebuyer stories, as I watched her receiving her U.S. citizenship one day, and the very next, we closed escrow and I delivered the keys to her first home.”
Alperin notes that agents can get creative with how they leverage social media to support growth and outreach, and whenever they meet people who may be interested in buying or selling a home, to invite them to stay connected.
“Social media keeps your clients engaged and committed to your relationship,” she says. “Also, when you post your continuous sales, it confirms your strength and productivity in the industry.”
This is a tactic Farella employs as well, celebrating real estate success to help position herself as a market leader. “I promote my listings and closings, and share personal events and experiences while indirectly staying in front of my sphere of influence.”
3. Reconnect with your community of colleagues
“It’s also an important time to reach out to your fellow agents in and out of your company,” says Alperin. “These relationships are so important to maintain.”
To continue building their business, agents need to actively network and keep informed. “Agents need to always stay current with the inventory and view houses in every area they could be interested in. That keeps agents busy three or four days a week, and while going to these opens, they should be networking with the agent in the house,” she adds.
4. Sellers are out there—if you know where to look
Many people are still interested in relocating to areas where they can have the space or lifestyle they’ve always wanted. “If there was ever a time to call past clients or other REALTORS? to find out if they have anything in their pockets, this is it; as an agent, you must be very proactive,” says Alperin.
“I reach out to homeowners by mailing postcards and letters, letting them know we have buyers looking for homes in their neighborhood,” says Farella. “I have never mailed out as many postcards and letters as I did this year.”
Finally, agents can create new opportunities simply by being of service to the community. “Immerse yourself in what you love to do, connect with like-minded people, and build relationships,” says Farella. “Get involved, volunteer your time, and the universe will pay you back exponentially.”