4 Buyer and Seller Resolutions for 2014

At this time of year, New Year’s Resolutions are on the front burner in many minds, and for those who are planning to buy and sell a home in 2014, real estate resolutions rank right up there with the obligatory ‘lose 10 pounds,’ ‘take a trip to Paris’ and ‘call Mom once a week.’ But here’s the rub: the obvious overall resolutions to ‘buy a home’ or ‘sell this house’ don’t give us the details we need to be able to target our marketing to magnetically attract these Resolution setters. Rather, to market to 2014 buyers and sellers, we have to dive deep into their micro-resolutions, if you will: the baby step goals they are putting on their lists of wildly important goals (WIGs) for this coming year. Let’s explore 5 of the micro-WIGS that 2014 buyers and sellers are setting for themselves this very moment, and how you can use them to position yourself as their go-to local agent. Remember, the vast majority of sellers are moving on up, which means they’re planning to buy, too! For Buyers

1. Save/Find down payment money. Both buyers and sellers are concerned about making sure they have enough down payment money to seal the deal. And let’s face it, as we move from last year’s strong recovery into 2014, buying a home is just going to get more expensive in most markets. In fact, as Trulia’s Chief Economist Jed Kolko noted in his 2014 Housing Market Predictions, even though home-price increases should slow from this 2013 unsustainably fast pace, prices will still rise faster than both incomes and rents. And making matters even tougher, mortgage rates will be higher in 2014 than in 2013, thanks to the strengthening economy and the impending tapering by the Feb, which we’ve all heard so much about. But worsening housing affordability doesn’t have to mean grey skies for aspiring home buyers, and that’s where you–the real estate agent–comes in to help educate them through it! The truth is that despite rising home prices, buying throughout 2014 will remain cheaper than renting in most markets. As of September 2014, buying was, nationally on average, 35% percent cheaper than renting. What’s more, these higher prices will encourage home sellers who have been holding out to finally put their home on the market, meaning your buyers will have more properties to choose from. Plus, mortgages should be easier to get. Why? With the rising rates, there has been a significant decrease in the refinancing activity, which means that banks have begun to ramp up their purchase lending.

2. Pay down/off credit card debt. Financial goals like reducing or eliminating credit card debt generally fall into the top 10 resolutions set by Americans at large – and if we take an educated guess – that this goal is even more prevalent among buyers–to-be. If you send out a monthly client newsletter or your own resolution list includes starting a Trulia Voices blog, you can be sure to get the attention of 2014 buyers and sellers-in-the-making by posting content that supports their debt-reduction goals. Want a writing-light way to do this? How about curating and publishing your own list of credit-card debt-reducing blogs, websites, books or local resources, like non-profit credit counselors or support groups? Position yourself as the expert by adding your own strategic insights to make sure they don’t go overboard and make moves that can make it harder to qualify for a home loan, like closing out all their credit accounts or leaving everything with a zero balance.

3. Boost credit score. Remember, many of the buyers and sellers who will be looking to make a real estate move this year are coming out of the near-universal financial crises of the recession era. They might have had a past bankruptcy or foreclosure, or a job loss which interrrupted their income temporarily, causing them to make a few late payments which brought down their credit score. What can you do to market directly to those who are setting the baby step resolution to boost their credit score? Co-market a credit score clinic with local mortgage broker, actually running credit scores, putting individualized action plans in place and briefing buyers about what sorts of local homes they can get before and after they do the recommended work Place locally targeted ads in social or other media, positioning yourself as a specialist in helping those who need to boost their credit scores and get financially ready to buy a home. Create educational articles, blog and social media posts: Educating your local readers and followers on what their credit score really needs to be to qualify for a home loan – many will think the minimums are higher than they truly are. Encouraging them to begin pulling their own reports and giving them some basic, credit-boosting action steps to follow, plus the link to the free, government-mandated reports at AnnualCreditReport.com. Reaching out to your contact database and letting them know that you have resources for any of their friends and referrals who would like to buy but are worried about credit issues: you might be surprised at how many of your contacts will respond asking for help for themselves! For Sellers

4. Paint/carpet/landscape/remodel. Most sellers will wait to work on the nitpicky staging projects until after they reach out to list their homes for sale. But many who have a 6-12 month time frame for sale are very well aware of some major projects they are assuming they’ll need to do to the property, and will move forward with them in advance of contacting agents for listing presentations. If you farm a particular neighborhood, why not offer a Pre-Listing Property Preparation Consult in your monthly newsletter, email or postcards? Include a data point about how your listings (or well-prepped/staged homes in general) sell faster and for more than average. Then offer to come in as much as a year in advance and give sellers resources and a personal consult for getting their home ready to sell, including advice about what investments they should not make and your own personal list of recommended, cost-effective vendors. Chances are good that the agent that meets with sellers and gives sound strategic advice months in advance will have a major leg-up when it’s time to sign a listing agreement. As real estate pros, it’s essential that we spend our spare time exploring what’s inside the mind of our prospective clients. How better to serve and satisfy their needs, as well as marketing to and for them? If you want to become a buyer or seller’s agent for life, understand their goals and Resolutions – at all times of year – and provide resources that assist them in realizing their aspirations. You’ll become a trusted advisor in multiple areas of their lives, as well as their undisputed go-to resource for all things real estate.At this time of year, New Year’s Resolutions are on the front burner in many minds, and for those who are planning to buy and sell a home in 2014, real estate resolutions rank right up there with the obligatory ‘lose 10 pounds,’ ‘take a trip to Paris’ and ‘call Mom once a week.’ But here’s the rub: the obvious overall resolutions to ‘buy a home’ or ‘sell this house’ don’t give us the details we need to be able to target our marketing to magnetically attract these Resolution setters. Rather, to market to 2014 buyers and sellers, we have to dive deep into their micro-resolutions, if you will: the baby step goals they are putting on their lists of wildly important goals (WIGs) for this coming year. Let’s explore 5 of the micro-WIGS that 2014 buyers and sellers are setting for themselves this very moment, and how you can use them to position yourself as their go-to local agent. Remember, the vast majority of sellers are moving on up, which means they’re planning to buy, too! For Buyers 1. Save/Find down payment money. Both buyers and sellers are concerned about making sure they have enough down payment money to seal the deal. And let’s face it, as we move from last year’s strong recovery into 2014, buying a home is just going to get more expensive in most markets. In fact, as Trulia’s Chief Economist Jed Kolko noted in his 2014 Housing Market Predictions, even though home-price increases should slow from this 2013 unsustainably fast pace, prices will still rise faster than both incomes and rents. And making matters even tougher, mortgage rates will be higher in 2014 than in 2013, thanks to the strengthening economy and the impending tapering by the Feb, which we’ve all heard so much about. But worsening housing affordability doesn’t have to mean grey skies for aspiring home buyers, and that’s where you–the real estate agent–comes in to help educate them through it! The truth is that despite rising home prices, buying throughout 2014 will remain cheaper than renting in most markets. As of September 2014, buying was, nationally on average, 35% percent cheaper than renting. What’s more, these higher prices will encourage home sellers who have been holding out to finally put their home on the market, meaning your buyers will have more properties to choose from. Plus, mortgages should be easier to get. Why? With the rising rates, there has been a significant decrease in the refinancing activity, which means that banks have begun to ramp up their purchase lending. 2. Pay down/off credit card debt. Financial goals like reducing or eliminating credit card debt generally fall into the top 10 resolutions set by Americans at large – and if we take an educated guess – that this goal is even more prevalent among buyers–to-be. If you send out a monthly client newsletter or your own resolution list includes starting a Trulia Voices blog, you can be sure to get the attention of 2014 buyers and sellers-in-the-making by posting content that supports their debt-reduction goals. Want a writing-light way to do this? How about curating and publishing your own list of credit-card debt-reducing blogs, websites, books or local resources, like non-profit credit counselors or support groups? Position yourself as the expert by adding your own strategic insights to make sure they don’t go overboard and make moves that can make it harder to qualify for a home loan, like closing out all their credit accounts or leaving everything with a zero balance. 3. Boost credit score. Remember, many of the buyers and sellers who will be looking to make a real estate move this year are coming out of the near-universal financial crises of the recession era. They might have had a past bankruptcy or foreclosure, or a job loss which interrrupted their income temporarily, causing them to make a few late payments which brought down their credit score. What can you do to market directly to those who are setting the baby step resolution to boost their credit score? Co-market a credit score clinic with local mortgage broker, actually running credit scores, putting individualized action plans in place and briefing buyers about what sorts of local homes they can get before and after they do the recommended work Place locally targeted ads in social or other media, positioning yourself as a specialist in helping those who need to boost their credit scores and get financially ready to buy a home. Create educational articles, blog and social media posts: Educating your local readers and followers on what their credit score really needs to be to qualify for a home loan – many will think the minimums are higher than they truly are. Encouraging them to begin pulling their own reports and giving them some basic, credit-boosting action steps to follow, plus the link to the free, government-mandated reports at AnnualCreditReport.com. Reaching out to your contact database and letting them know that you have resources for any of their friends and referrals who would like to buy but are worried about credit issues: you might be surprised at how many of your contacts will respond asking for help for themselves! For Sellers 4. Paint/carpet/landscape/remodel. Most sellers will wait to work on the nitpicky staging projects until after they reach out to list their homes for sale. But many who have a 6-12 month time frame for sale are very well aware of some major projects they are assuming they’ll need to do to the property, and will move forward with them in advance of contacting agents for listing presentations. If you farm a particular neighborhood, why not offer a Pre-Listing Property Preparation Consult in your monthly newsletter, email or postcards? Include a data point about how your listings (or well-prepped/staged homes in general) sell faster and for more than average. Then offer to come in as much as a year in advance and give sellers resources and a personal consult for getting their home ready to sell, including advice about what investments they should not make and your own personal list of recommended, cost-effective vendors. Chances are good that the agent that meets with sellers and gives sound strategic advice months in advance will have a major leg-up when it’s time to sign a listing agreement. As real estate pros, it’s essential that we spend our spare time exploring what’s inside the mind of our prospective clients. How better to serve and satisfy their needs, as well as marketing to and for them? If you want to become a buyer or seller’s agent for life, understand their goals ate.

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