Developing and Engaging Your Sphere of Influence

A realtor’s SOI is referring to their sphere of influence, this is definitely something that every salesperson needs to know about and Realtors are no different. Your sphere of influence is people that you know professionally and socially.

What is the first step your Realtors take in leveraging their sphere of influence in real estate?

The First Step that you need to take is you need to identify who your sphere of influence is, so we create a list. At that point we’re thinking about family, we’re thinking about friends, we’re thinking about vendors that we work with, the person who does your dry cleaning, the person who cleans your car, your attorney, your doctor, you know all of these people are people that should be incorporated into your sphere of influence. It should be a very large and healthy list.

Once you develop that list we need to catalog that somewhere. We’re going to put that into our CRM database so that you can plan further followups. That’s ultimately the way that you create the list in the first place.

Why is developing your sphere of influence so important?

It is crucial to your success. Think about it, these folks that are in your sphere of influence they’re kind of like your warm leads. You already have a connection with these folks. A lot of the business that you’re going to be developing as a realtor might be with folks that you have no connection with, so you’re going to be trying to figure out a way to endear yourself to them so that you can have a business relationship.

However, the ones that are in your sphere of influence, these really for most Realtors tend to be their first sales because they do have that connection already. Ultimately it should be an easier conversion to be able to work with your sphere of influence, and that’s why it’s so important.

After a Realtor creates their SOI list, what is the next step?

Engage. You’ve got to engage that list, so you’re picking up the phone and you’re calling each one of these contacts in your sphere of influence, letting them know what you do, letting them know that you’re you’re open for business. Engagement of that sphere of influence list is absolutely the next step.

What should a Realtor say when they reach out for the first time?

Keep it simple, always keep everything simple. You’re making this casual telephone call and you’re asking for their help. You’re saying that this is what I do for business, and I want to grow my business and I’m looking for your help in order to do that. Here’s how I can serve you, here’s how I can serve people that you know, help me develop my business. It’s a very casual conversation.

Once the initial contact is made should the Realtor continue to reach out?

Absolutely they need to continue to reach out, and the great thing is that there’s a lot of different formats that we can use in order to reach out. We made that first casual phone call, the next might be a text message followup, it might be an email followup. We love using newsletters and we send out a monthly newsletter to let our clients know that this is what we’re doing today. It reminds them the business that we’re in. Don’t forget to leverage social media as a great way to stay in front of your clients and let them know what you do as profession.

MY is a suite of real estate businesses designed to serve our clients through all of their real estate endeavors. From first time home buyers to investors to real estate developers, we have a service group tailored to provide you with results. Let us know what you’re looking for.

Roundtable Meetings

In this video we’re going to talk about our Roundtable meetings. These are bi-weekly meetings that we have every other Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. All of the offices get together for this meeting, it’s been great for the group. We’ve been doing this for over 10 years and the meeting has been a huge success.

​What is the goal of the Roundtable meeting?

The Roundtable meeting is to provide continued education for every realtor that works in the firm. We’re in an industry that moves very quickly we need to be able to report on what’s going on and hopefully make some predictions on what will be happening in the future.

​What is the meeting format?

Well as the name roundtable meeting would suggest, this is an open format where every realtor from our firm that is at this meeting is part of the dialogue, so we’re really going around the room to hear from everyone. You know, when you’re trying to understand all the changes that we might have in the real estate industry and housing market you need everybody’s input and specifically when you’re trying to determine where the industry might be heading, what is the next big thing, you definitely want to hear from everybody you have in the office. So having all of our heads together and having an open discussion is something that’s been critical to our success.

​Are these meetings held at one of your offices?

They are sometimes, but I would say that it is rare. 90% of the time we’re going offsite to learn more about a new product or project, generally these are new construction projects or they’re a listing that somebody might have in the office. We want to take the meeting opportunity as also an opportunity to learn more about a new townhome, house, or a new community, so offsite is generally what we do for the roundtable meetings.

Is there a benefit to having it offsite versus in an office setting?

All we have to sell in this business is our time, so what I’m always trying to do with every meeting is make the most out of it for everybody who is in attendance. We talked about the benefit of being offsite, being educational of a new product, so we’ve really found a way to create a meeting where we’ve got this open forum discussion on what’s happening in the industry and they’re learning about a new product at the same time, so that seemed to be a dual benefit that we couldn’t pass over.

These meetings are an immense benefit for all involved, and I’m looking forward to our next discussion about real estate marketing.

MY is a suite of real estate businesses designed to serve our clients through all of their real estate endeavors. From first time home buyers to investors to real estate developers, we have a service group tailored to provide you with results. Let us know what you’re looking for.

Lead Conversion Training

In our last video we covered the Mastermind Group, which is one of our training opportunities for our new and veteran agents. The objectives for those meetings include closing out action items, creating new action items and tasks and of course talking about the customer relationships that we have so that we can each develop and grow.

​What is the next training opportunity you can share with us?

You’ve heard me talk about our CRM platform before and CINC is our abbreviation for that. The next training opportunity that we’re going to talk about is CINC training, which we hold for our agents every other Wednesday at 2 p.m.

​What is the CINC meeting format?

The format for this training is laser focused on the three most recent leads that have come into a Realtors pipeline. What we’re talking about is how did the lead come in, how did the agent handle the lead when it came in, and trying to figure out ways that we can better convert that client.

​What is the CINC meeting objective?

The objective is quite simply client conversion. It’s been really fascinating to have these meetings, with the idea being how can we take a lead that is not a sphere of influence lead, not a warm lead, how can we take effectively a cold lead that’s coming in and to endear that person to you and encourage them to go on with the next meeting. Conversion is absolutely the objective of the CINC meeting training.

​Has this meeting been a success for your Realtors?

It has been and it’s very measured. By putting every one of these leads up on the whiteboard and coaching agents on how they can better convert, it works for everyone. What we find is that Realtors who participate in the CINC meeting training have a much higher conversion rate than agents that don’t.

​What will you share with us next?

Next we’re going to be talking about round table meetings. We’re going to stick with this theme of Realtor training. I’m very excited to be able to tell you about what the round table meeting is and how it’s benefited all of our Realtors.

MY is a suite of real estate businesses designed to serve our clients through all of their real estate endeavors. From first time home buyers to investors to real estate developers, we have a service group tailored to provide you with results. Let us know what you’re looking for.

Mastermind Sessions

Why is coaching so important?

Coaching is critical for everyone, I don’t care what industry you’re in. Whether it’s real estate or something else, everybody needs coaching. I’ve had a business coach myself and it had a huge impact on my career. We want to make sure that we can impart wisdom and give Realtors education in order to grow their business.

Mastermind Groups

The first resource that comes to mind for me is something that we call Mastermind group. This is something that’s held here at the office every Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. It involves getting a group together and going through a variety of different subjects. The meeting format for these is that we start with a completion of previous tasks. We close out each meeting with a task list, so we start each meeting with what did you accomplish from the previous task that you that you had self assigned?

After that we’re going to go into an overview of three of the most recent clients that you’ve had. What we want to do here is share with the group how the transaction has occurred, what was the origin, and were there any hurdles, successes, or failures? That’s hugely beneficial to the group to be able to share those around the room.

Then of course we’re going to close out again with those action items. We want to find something that we can be held accountable to, that we know will help promote our business and grow our business development.

What is the meeting objective?

The meeting objective is success. We want to make sure that our Realtors are prepared for more business success and that they can learn from potential mistakes and successes that other agents have made, so that they can adopt the best practices. This is all about promoting more business and having Realtors who are are trained for any environment.

As far as other training and resources from the My Realtors firm, in our next video what we’re going to talk about is CINC training. This has to do with our with our online lead management, so I’m excited to talk with you about about CINC training and how that really helps our agents.

MY is a suite of real estate businesses designed to serve our clients through all of their real estate endeavors. From first time home buyers to investors to real estate developers, we have a service group tailored to provide you with results. Let us know what you’re looking for.

Open House Lead Sources

In our previous video we discussed the importance of direct mail and online marketing. In this video we discuss the next lead source that I would recommend to Realtors, which is the open house. It is a phenomenal way for agents to meet face to face with customers.

If I don’t have listings already how am I going to get open houses?

The great thing is that we’ve got wonderful internal relationships here at at the My firm, so what happens with the Brokers here is that at each one of our company meetings we are holding open what opportunities we have for open houses. What this could look like is perhaps Jane has a listing and Jane tells Barbara that she can go ahead and hold that listing. So that’s one of the great ways we do it here.

If you’re working somewhere else and you don’t have that network set up you can certainly call other agents and see if they’re willing to let you hold an open house at their property. There’s always opportunities out there we just try to make it a little bit easier here by always promoting the idea that any agent in our firm can hold an open house at one of our properties.

How do you pick the best property to hold an open house at?

That’s a question that every agent should ask, not just you know can I identify the open house and where can I hold it, but which one’s going to get me the best return on investment? The first thing that I start with is, is it an area that you love you generally as a human being? As a salesperson you will perform better when it’s something you’re generally happy about and it’s an area that you like.

I would also look at what the traffic count is in that area, how many people do I think might be able to come by? That’s a key component. You might find that you’ve got an enormous traffic count if your property is right on the highway, but nobody can stop from 80 miles an hour so that probably is not going to be your best opportunity. You might find a community that’s very well received, but this listing is tucked way in the back of the community and that might not be a very easy one to bring people into. We want to find something that’s easy to access so you have the best opportunity to bring a lot of buyers into that listing and have more conversations and more face-to-face meetings.

How should you best prepare for an upcoming open house?

Preparation is key so you want to prepare for the open house by learning everything that there is to know about the product, and understand that the product expands beyond the home. Certainly you want to know about all the features, amenities, and benefits of that home but you also want to know about the community and all of the amenities that the community has to offer beyond that.

You also want to know where do things generally trade in this community, what are the prices in the community, how quickly do properties trade? Everything here is about your education on the product because you’ve got a prospect in front of you that you’re meeting with and now is your time to shine. In order to do that you need to have a proper education on what your product is beyond product knowledge.

What are some key components to a successful open house?

You’re geared up for the open house, you know everything that there is to know about that Community, but again it’s not going to do you a bit of good if nobody walks in that front door. So the next step on the agenda is going to be marketing for that community. There are a ton of ways that you could market an open house, but it certainly goes beyond just sticking a sign in the front yard.

When do I get my signs out, the first key is that you don’t put your signs out the minute that you start the open house. You should be arriving there hours early, and if the community will allow for signs to be out much earlier I would be putting that open house sign with time and date and your cell phone number out a day in advance, two days in advance.

This is also a great opportunity for you to leverage your CRM to reach out to everybody that is in your database and let them know that you’re holding this open house. Let them know that you are open for business, even if that consumer does not come by that open house you have now created a touch point showing them that you are out there in the field and that you are working.

We want to have anybody come by the open house who can, these are all relationships for you to nurture. I like to leverage the community itself with hand delivered door-to-door invitations to come to the open house, or if I have enough time in advance, a direct mail into the community inviting all of the neighbors to come by and to take a look at that property. If there are neighboring apartment complexes, direct mail to the neighboring apartment complex to bring them by to see it.

The more marketing that you do the more bodies will come in the more opportunities you will have in order to share all your wealth of knowledge on that Community

After generating great traffic, how do you turn prospects into customers?

Turning visitors at an open house into customers is obviously one of the most important things. So we’ve done all the right things, we picked the right open house, we marketed it extremely well, we have a lot of traffic that’s going by, but now here’s a problem that I find with a lot of new agents who have been in the business for a short time fall into. They’ll hold the open house and will come back very happy that they had 25 people stop by the open house. But when we really start to dig into the coaching, what I find is that there is no followup in place and that there is no meeting scheduled, and that’s a big no no.

You want to make sure that you do have the next meeting scheduled with each one of these individuals who stopped by. As you’re finding out more about what they’re looking for it should be creating an action item for you as an agent; “Great, I know that you’re looking for a three-bedroom two bath in this community, I have another listing that I’m going to send over to you and I’d like to show you that listing on Tuesday of next week”. With those appointments you ultimately will end up with a very very high rate of conversion of those visitors into clients.

Now that we have covered our top three lead sources, in the next video what we’re going to cover is developing your sphere of influence and making sure that you have the right outreach to your sphere of influence to promote your business.

MY is a suite of real estate businesses designed to serve our clients through all of their real estate endeavors. From first time home buyers to investors to real estate developers, we have a service group tailored to provide you with results. Let us know what you’re looking for.

Direct Mail Lead Sources

In my last video we discussed the importance of online leads. The second lead source that I would recommend to Realtors right after online leads would be direct mail. It’s near and dear to my heart, I have done it for 20 plus years in the business and have found an enormous amount of success with it by becoming an expert in an area and continually farming that area.

What I look for when determining the best area or community to mail is, first, a community that I enjoy. I look for a place that I can see myself, an area that I know and that I that I love. You know you have an opportunity here because this is a very targeted and direct campaign, so with direct mail if I’m going to go to a specific community by all means I want to make sure it’s it’s an area that I enjoy working in. That’s going to be the first thing that I’m going to look for.

Now that I’ve started with loving the community in an area that I know and I want to work in, the next thing that I have to figure out is whether there will be a return on investment. That comes from the fact that I’m looking at this community as a listing opportunity. If people love this community so much that they never move and there are no transactions occurring in the community, unfortunately it might not be the right community to mail even though I love it. So I’m looking for a number of transactions that occur in the community to determine whether or not it will provide an ROI.

When it comes to what message are you sending in your direct mail marketing pieces, this is where you really want to be talking about about the community and not so much about yourself. It should be apparent in your mailer that you love the community and that you are a realtor expert in that community.

I always encourage realtors to give something of value in their mail. It could be as simple as a comparative market analysis on what’s traded over the last 6, 9, or 12 months within the community. It could be information on what’s going on around the community. Are there restaurants opening? Are there bars opening? Is there a new event area that it’s opening? Something that shows that you are really laser focused on that community, that you care about it, and you are in the know of what’s going on.

What you’re trying to do, again, is show yourself as the area expert long enough so that they will read below the fold and get to your information, keep your information, and be able to call on you when it’s time for them to sell their home.

My final recommendation is that you want to make sure you are ready for the phone to ring when you send this direct mail piece out. Remember you’ve gone to the expense of identifying the community, you’ve gone to the expense to print up the cards, to send those out by mail and to reach out to these owners. You’ve taken all the time to make sure that your message is such that the phone is going to ring. So be ready for that phone call, remember on the other end of that line is a person that is also an expert in the community – they’re a homeowner there. So you need to find some information that will be valuable to them and be ready for that call loaded with information about that that community so that you can make the most of that effort.

As a recap, we went through online leads and now we went into direct mail. My third lead source on the list I want to discuss is open houses. In the next video we’re going to talk about open houses and how to leverage them, how to promote the best open house, and how to really boost your business by using open houses.

MY is a suite of real estate businesses designed to serve our clients through all of their real estate endeavors. From first time home buyers to investors to real estate developers, we have a service group tailored to provide you with results. Let us know what you’re looking for.

Online Lead Sources

In my previous post I discussed the importance of developing a list of lead sources. In this post I would like to explain the first lead source that I recommend to our realtors.

First on our simple list from the previous post was online leads, and if you haven’t seen the post proceeding this one, that’s probably a better place to start so that you can make sure that you do have all your lead sources identified. Returning to our list, again, the first lead source mentioned was online leads. Everybody’s heard of these, and they come from sources like Zillow and You get them from Facebook and other social media channels. Google is also an area where you can get those leads, so their sources are ever developing.
So how do you start getting leads from these sources?

What we’ve tried to do here internally with my firm is not make this a barrier for entry where somebody has to figure out how to buy leads from someone else, or how to engage, Zillow, Trulia, or any one of these companies. We want to make sure that this is something that everybody has. We know it’s a crucial part of the business, so our realtors actually partner with us on that. We pay for the majority of the cost of the leads. We want to feed our agents with new business that’s coming in and focus on teaching them how to develop those leads.

Once the leads are coming in, there are methods that I have found to help realtors convert leads into sales. Set the appointment as soon as you possibly can. Get out of your own way. This person has been online, they’ve identified a home, they’ve got something that they want to see. It’s simple. Show them that property, your time to shine is not necessarily on this initial phone call. This is not the time to ask them a million questions. This is to find out one simple thing: what do they want? Then figure out how you can provide it. In 99% of the cases what they want is to see a home. That is your opportunity to meet with them face-to-face while showing them that home and to work with them as a client and figure out if it’s a good relationship, if it’s one that you want, if it’s one that they want, and figure out how you can work together in order to do some business in the future.

So you’ve done all the right things. We’ve set this appointment with the prospect. We’ve met with them. Hopefully we’ve given a great education on everything that we know as a realtor. And let’s say that we’re working with a buyer in this case. There is one last step that I recommend taking to improve conversion. Don’t meet with a buyer, open up the house, tell them everything that you know, close the door, get back in your car, and go back to the office. What should happen at the end of this meeting is setting up our next meeting. Will our next meeting be going to go look at another house? Maybe that’s the case. You’ve listened to everything that they want, you’ve identified three more properties that they want to see, and next Tuesday at 2:00 PM you’ll meet at these properties. You want to leave the meeting that way. If in the course of that meeting they’ve decided this is exactly the right house for them, what’s your next meeting? You need to sit down and write a contract. So the meeting should always lead to a next meeting which leads to a close.

Now that we have discussed online leads, in the next post we will discuss direct mail leads. In that post I’m going to go into detail on how you can leverage direct mail in order to promote yourself in the real estate business.

MY is a suite of real estate businesses designed to serve our clients through all of their real estate endeavors. From first time home buyers to investors to real estate developers, we have a service group tailored to provide you with results. Let us know what you’re looking for.

The Top 3 Best Lead Sources

In the opening of this video series, I discussed the importance of CRM. CRM stands for customer relationship management. It’s the bedrock and the start of somebody’s career. We know that it is so important that we actually provide it for free to every one of the agents who work here in our office. I did a video prior to this that goes into a lot of details on CRM, I’d encourage you to watch it.

Once you have a CRM system in place, what is the next step? This is one of my favorite steps, and I love it when new and seasoned brokers alike come on and they’re working here at the firm. What I do with all new brokers is I have a whiteboard session. That entails sitting here in the conference room and identifying every source of business that we can possibly think of, and we’re throwing each one of those up on the whiteboard.

This tends to be an hour-long session where we’re coming up with every possible idea that we can, and then we’re going to go back later and we’re going to tailor that into something where we’re hitting the high points and the ones that will get us the best return on investment.

We’ve been doing this a long time, and one of the ways that we identify the best sources is the trial and error that we’ve had over the 20+ years that we’ve been in business. These things are always changing, you have to be adapting, but there are go-tos that are just tried and true that continue to work day in and day out. So we developed the short list of ones that we know will work if they are implemented properly, and that’s where we’re really going to start identifying the sources.

I love to keep things simple, so I’ll do the top three. One is online leads, which we’ve touched on before, that’s a huge element, because really it’s a guarantee. You’re putting in for a pay-per-click type ad, and you’re getting a name, a phone number, an email back from that client. Now you need to use your sales skills to be able to develop that relationship.

Number two is direct mail. I love direct mail, it has proven very, very successful for me in my career. I learn a community, I know everything that there is to know about it, and then as I’m the expert in that community, I start to routinely send out direct mail to each one of the residents and make sure that I can engage with those folks. So, that’s a great way to get listings and buyers alike.

Third on the list, is that anybody who’s getting into a sales profession like real estate is probably a people person. They love the idea of sales, they like meeting people. You need to be able to engage away from just an online presence and engage face-to-face, and opportunities at open houses are your way to do that. So, that’s a great networking opportunity and to show somebody what you can provide as a realtor.

Once you establish your short list of proven lead sources, we want to get really creative. Again, we’re throwing this up on the whiteboard, I’m talking with the agent in the coaching session and learning more and more about that agent. The more I know about you, the more I can help develop what those sources are, and we’re going to come up with those mutually together. One of the things that I love to focus on are what are your interests? What things do you like?

You might be into mountain biking, you might be into tennis, you might be into photography, you might have clubs and hobbies that you’re involved in. How can we identify some of those things that you already love to do and turn that into a source of business for you?

You might have an area that you love. I hope you do if you’re getting into real estate, that you’ve got an area that you’re truly passionate about. Let’s also look back at your past work history. Were you an attorney? Were you a general contractor? Were you a teacher?

We really want to get into you as a person, you as a broker, and focus on what the sources might be that would be best for you, for your education, for your past history, for your past jobs, and just truly what areas you love.

Once we’ve got our sources identified, we put everything up on the whiteboard. We’ve sort of developed it down into a business plan, and from here we’re going to keep it simple. We’re going to go to source number one, and what we talked about before is online leads would be source number one, so we’re going to go ahead and tackle that. That’s a big subject though, so on my next video we’ll cover online leads in more detail.

MY is a suite of real estate businesses designed to serve our clients through all of their real estate endeavors. From first time home buyers to investors to real estate developers, we have a service group tailored to provide you with results.

Introduction to CRM

When we’re coaching realtors at our firm, we often talk about CRM. For those unfamiliar with the term, one of their first questions is what is a CRM?

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management, a crucial concept in all sales, and certainly crucial in real estate sales. You’ve got long-term client relationships and you need to make sure you can manage those relationships over a long-term period of time. Everything starts with a good customer relationship management and it’s certainly what we teach here at My Townhome.

Our first recommendation to realtors when it comes to developing and maintaining relationships is making sure that you have a system that’s in place. If I go way back 20 plus years in my career, this started with a legal pad or a day planner, making sure that I wrote down each one of the clients that I had, new relationships that I had developed. It’s there to track follow-up, making sure that you’re calling somebody on a timely basis so that you can be there again to serve their needs. As technology grew, we wanted to be able to harness the power of that technology. we have an online web-based CRM platform that we use here at My Townhome which is something that enables folks to be able to log in real-time to add all those contacts in, making sure that no client is falling through the cracks. As you can imagine, as you start to get more and more clients in your database, you really do need a tool that’s easy to navigate so that you can manage those prospects. Now learning the tool, in its own right, that’s something that requires a lot of education and a lot of training and we do that here as well. We want to make sure that everybody knows how to use this tool at its maximum capacity and use every little tip and technology that we have embedded in the tool itself.

As with anything, there are some common mistakes we have seen over the years relating to customer relationship management. The biggest one is also from the beginning of my career. I had a lot of great opportunities through new construction and meeting a lot of people when I first started out in the real estate business. The biggest mistake that I saw was not developing a CRM system early enough in my career. It should be the first step that each realtor takes. We’ve talked about the fact that your whole goal is to get more customers, to have more people that are in your network. Which means it’s important that you stop and make sure that you learn how to navigate that kind of software, and learn to develop your own system so that you can have everyone accounted for and you know what the follow-up points are.

Going back and doing that retroactively is very difficult. Not to say it can’t happen, we’ve got veteran agents who come into the firm and that’s one of the things that we’re doing, we’re going back into their sphere of past clients and we’re putting them into the CRM system so that they can properly manage them from that point forward. But don’t skip that step. As salespeople, we want to go out and find every lead we possibly can, but we shouldn’t skip the step of slowing down and getting a sound foundation by developing that CRM system. It is so important to set up the customer relationship management system early on in the process because otherwise you’re losing opportunities. You’re losing the ability to effectively and efficiently manage your client database every day that passes that you don’t have that in place. Again, these are life lessons learned. If I could do it all over again, I would lay the foundation first and have the CRM tool in place and make sure that I was capturing all that information so that I could effectively work it.

Another thing that comes out of that is a learning experience. You can figure out what you’re doing well and what you’re not doing well because it becomes very apparent. When you have somebody in a CRM system you can say, “Gosh. I missed this lifecycle event that occurred and that led to us not working together, the client broker relationship.” Or, “Gosh. My follow-up on this was not where it needed to be.” Or, “I had a referral that came in and did I properly manage that? Did I reach out to that person when I should have?” I think all of that comes from not having that system in place and being able to follow step one, two, three, and make sure that you are doing everything that you need to in order to promote your own business and service your clients.

Once you’ve laid the foundation and have a CRM in place, that’s when the fun begins. Now we’re talking about lead development. We’re going to identify the sources where we can get each one of those leads, but we don’t have enough time to go into that now. In a follow-up post, I’m going to go through developing your lead sources and how we can really start to pack that CRM full of some great opportunities.


MY is a suite of real estate businesses designed to serve our clients through all of their real estate endeavors. From first time home buyers to investors to real estate developers, we have a service group tailored to provide you with results.

5 Home Buyer Tips for Navigating the Seller’s Real Estate Market in Charlotte NC

In the current real estate market we are tracking many trends, one major trend is the difficulty that some buyers and Realtors are facing in getting offers accepted. According to the National Association of Realtors, buyers are submitting 6 offers before they’re receiving their first acceptance. That’s a tough position for buyers to be in.  This article covers the current market climate and methods that will help buyers secure a home.

The five things that we’re seeing in the market right is that many offers are all cash without financing. Although many buyers may not be in a position to purchase without financing, we are certainly seeing a big uptick in all cash offers. Another thing that we are seeing is extremely high non-refundable deposits. Many offers are made on properties sight unseen. As you may have noticed on the internet there are properties that are in a “Coming Soon” status and some of those properties are under contract before they ever become “Active.” We’re seeing offers that are substantially higher than list price, so you need to know your market and be able to determine what you’re willing to pay for a property. In this market, everyone is acting fast. They’re getting into the properties quickly and they’re submitting written purchase agreements quickly.

The first item on our list is all cash offers. Again, not everyone is in a position to make an all cash offer. If you are not a cash buyer you may want to consult with your realtor and find out if there are any programs available to you that can convert your offer to all cash. This may be a deciding factor in an acceptance and give you a leg up on the competition. 

The second item is non-refundable deposits. This is called a “Due Diligence Fee” in North Carolina. We have seen these get up to staggering heights in the recent seller’s market. You need to be careful with this. You need to make sure that you do as much investigation as possible on that property before making the offer. And let’s face it, there’s not a lot of time. You do need to act fast. So, in order to do that, know your neighborhood, know it before you even tour the property. Once you’ve found the right property, then you must be in a position to put your best foot forward and put down as much due diligence as you feel comfortable with.

The third item is “sight unseen” offers. Again, these properties may be in coming soon status. You might see a property hit the internet only to find that before you even get an opportunity to see it yourself, the property is under contract. Sight unseen offers are not right for every buyer. There are many buyers who need to personally tour the interior of the home prior to making an offer. If you fall into this category, then I would not suggest a sight unseen offers.

Your offer price is the fourth item on our list, and it’s a tough one. The best way to determine what your offer price is would be to have your realtor pull the historical data on the subject community and find out what the list price to sales price is. See what other properties have been going in terms of over, under, or at list price. Many times, especially in multiple offer situations, we are seeing offer prices substantially over the list price of the home. When you’re shopping, keep this in mind. If you’re capped at $500,000, then you might not want to look at properties that are listed at $500,000 in a competitive market. You might instead leave some room and instead search form homes up to $450,000. Make sure that you’ve got some buffer in your price range in order to be competitive.

The last item on our list is speed. Act fast. Again, know your neighborhood inside and out.   Perform your research ahead of time. When a property hits the market, you need to make that appointment as soon as you possibly can. In many cases, there are no overlapping appointments, which means you might be locked out of a property for 24 to 48 hours. In the meantime, other buyers have an opportunity to make an offer on that home. The second way to act fast is be ready with your offer. Don’t find your dream home only to discover that you have work to do with your lender and with your Realtor in order to prepare an offer.

I wish you the best of success in your house hunting. If you have not already selected a realtor, please consider our office. We’d love to help you with your search!

By TJ Larsen Founder My Townhome & My Maison Realty

MY is a suite of real estate businesses designed to serve our clients through all of their real estate endeavors. From first time home buyers to investors to real estate developers, we have a service group tailored to provide you with results.