Nearly everywhere you turn, you hear news of the rebounding housing market. Not only is it bouncing back, but it’s also making a huge comeback with new owners and investors getting into the market.
There are several factors that have played a role in this resurgence, each of which will contribute to the way real estate agents market to the public. Here are the top 10 trends you can expect to see in 2016.
1. Pushing great deals
With more quality inventory available, 2016 will continue to be a buyer’s market. This means that agents will be getting creative with how they pitch the best deals.
The rise in single-family home median sales has been on a rising trend since mid-2012 and is expected to continue well into 2016. Couple this with a decreasing trend in the number of distressed sales, and what we will have is a large, high-quality inventory full of great deals for new or experienced buyers.
For agents to be successful in 2016, they’ll need to understand the buyers they’re working with. When it comes to great deals, one size might not always fit all.
By knowing a client’s full financial picture, goals and intentions, real estate agents will be pre-filtering the best deals to make sure that they align with these needs.
By showing only the homes that best fit their client’s financial picture, their time per sale will decrease, and they’ll be able to sell more homes than ever before.
2. Attracting younger buyers
Say what you will about the younger generation, but they’re proving to be more financially savvy than previously anticipated. According to a report from realtor.org, “Gen Y comprises the largest share of home buyers at 32 percent, which is larger than all baby boomers combined.”
Also, “Gen Y has the largest share of first-time buyers at 68 percent,” and “Gen Y buyers primarily purchased a home just for the desire to own a home of their own.”
Local Realtors agree with the national consensus that young millennials are part of the boom, and more millennials are acting on the advice of “don’t spend money on something you can’t make money on.”
In 2016, attracting these younger buyers will be critical to every agent’s success. Because this is also the generation that grew up with the Internet, Realtors will need to rely heavily upon popular real estate apps, such as Zillow, Sitegeist and Vert.
3. Doubling down on brokers
Many agencies are adding mortgage brokers to their in-house teams. Why? Because rates are trending to stay low throughout the coming year.
“Interest rates are going to stay low because of geopolitical unrest, and that will keep inflation in check, along with lower oil prices. That will translate into more buyers,” said Mark Livingstone of Washington, D.C.’s Cornerstone First Financial.
This activity is causing many agents to increase their staff with more mortgage brokers to ensure that deals close faster and clients get the best rates.
4. Creative gifting
Post-sale interaction with the new homeowners will be critical in securing referrals and second-home purchases in the future. With many agents sticking with traditional gifts, such as baskets, magnets and calendars, the best agents will venture onto new creative items.
Making a huge comeback in 2016 are hand-made address stamps, featuring your client’s new home address. Agents giving these as gifts often find a boost in social media exposure because of its uniqueness and the owner’s desire to talk about their new home online. Whatever the gift might be, creative thinking will be key in 2016.
5. Getting back to downtown
Many cities nationwide have undergone a cultural renaissance of sorts. City planners and business owners have transformed urban spaces into 18- and 24-hour locales that attract the younger buyers mentioned earlier into the cities.
No longer is it acceptable that only the great coastal cities can be alive around the clock and on weekends. The 18-hour city is emerging across the country, and the urban core is competing again.
Downtown areas in Greenville and Charleston have become diverse and follow the 24-hour model.
According to a report from the Urban Land Institute, “They are alive in the evenings.” Agents recognizing this trend will make their way from the suburbs and back to the city when showing potential homes to buyers.
6. Easy does it
Most economists and real estate analysts are predicting that home prices will level off as we enter 2016. Agents need to focus on consistent selling throughout the year instead of sporadic big deals.
Agents focusing on the needs of the client over big commissions will be the ones with the highest earnings by the end of the year.
Further, with comparative shopping, demographics and other data about a potential neighborhood just a click away, agents need to put honesty first because any false data can be discovered easily with just a few clicks of a mouse or taps of a finger.
7. High-tech stalking
If you have been to a mall or large shopping center recently, you might have received a message as you approached a particular store.
Beacon technology makes this possible, by detecting your phone and sending you a message via an app. A boosted form of this system hits the phones of buyers driving through neighborhoods and sends them detailed information about available listings on a particular street.
Once in a home (say during an open house), the beacon can provide detailsabout newly finished floors, recent upgrades and more.
Through forward thinking and implementing devices such as these, agents will experience a greater chance of closing the deal with less one-on-one customer contact.
8. Credit counselor
Though not in the official job description, many agents regularly find that they need to guide their clients where credit is concerned. Often knowing which items to pay off and get removed from a credit report is key.
Agents have also found that most consumers only have a slim idea of how credit works. For instance, when it comes to closing old accounts, Michael Mack, consumer lawyer and founder of the Bankruptcy Credit Foundation said, “Closing accounts hurts your score; instead pay off the balance and leave the account open.”
By knowing the nuances that might affect a loan application, agents can quickly become the guiding light many first-time homebuyers desperately need.
9. Weird wins
When choosing which homes to invest their time into selling, savvy agents look at outlying data points which can often mean big business.
For instance, have you heard of the Starbucks effect? Studies have shown that homes near a Starbucks coffee shop not only sell for more than an identical home not near a Starbucks, but they also average a 30 percent larger increase in value over a 15-year period.
Another weird fact is that homes on named streets tend to be 2 percent more valuable nationwide than numbered ones. Conversely, homes with “777” as their address sell for about 2 percent less than their estimated value.
Knowing these odd little tips will steer agents in one particular direction over another when showing properties in 2016.
10. A friend of a friend of a friend
While 75 percent of a Realtor’s business comes from referrals and word-of-mouth, agents still waste thousands of dollars each year on cultivating new leads.
Further, though 82 percent of Realtors have a website for their businesses, only 3 percent of their total annual leads come from their website.
More agents than ever are working the referral angle, cultivating leads via social media and content marketing to increase their sphere of influence.
With the strong rebound of the housing market and many young Americans buying their first homes, the stage is set for a banner year in real estate.
If you’re a savvy agent who gets creative and follows the tips outlined here, you’re sure to rake in record profits while helping people get the home of their dreams.
Andy Nauman is the VP of E-Commerce at Holmes Stamp & Sign. Follow them on Twitter or Instagram @HolmesStamp