Up-to-the-Minute Marketing: Battling the Bubble Mentality

News you can actually use: Take today’s hot trends and turn them into sources of business.

July 1, 2003

Hard-pressed stockbrokers and analysts aren't taking the growing movement from equities into real estate lying down. One technique now being used by the stock market warriors is to frighten people away from real estate investing by warning them about the imminent bursting of a real estate “value bubble.”

This quote from a news release issued by the Zero Alpha Group, a network of investment advisory companies offers just one example:

“Many investors now contemplating a jump from stocks to a heavy investment in real estate will likely suffer major losses as a result of a lack of equity diversification and the fact that they bought in at the height of the late 1990s market. For these investors, the double-whammy of the ‘money pit syndrome’ would result if they were to suffer even deeper losses by buying into the top of a real estate ‘bubble’ prior to it bursting.”

Most knowledgeable real estate analysts agree that no artificial price inflation exists in most markets.

However, you can use this negative publicity as a reason for initiating contact with current and prospective investment clients.

Marketing mileage: Conduct a seminar on the bubble and use it as an educational opportunity to show investors how well real estate has performed against equities in the course of the last decade. Prepare special newsletters with substantive tips on starting and growing a successful real estate investment program, keyed to local factors. Include descriptions of selected investment properties currently available in your area. Offer the newsletter to prospective investors via local ads and on your Web site. Send sample copies to local investment clubs and offer to come and speak to them on the topic.

Expand Your Relo Services to Rentals

Despite the economic slowdown, many major corporations still need temporary housing for employees or consultants who are spending time at their offices, but won’t be at the location long enough to justify renting on a annual lease or purchasing a residence. In other cases, new employees who want a place to live until they can familiarize themselves with the new community and locate and purchase a home need temporary residences. Residents in these units usually stay for periods from one month to a year, according to The Capital Relocation Group. They also prefer residences located with close proximity to their corporate offices.

Marketing mileage: Help investors, sellers, and yourself by providing a service to match short-term executive renters with homes. Make extra income by managing these rentals for the owners. Short-term rentals may seem less desirable, but corporate renters are often willing to pay a higher rate for a high-quality, well-located property. Since top corporate executives want a home-away- from-home atmosphere, temporary rentals might be a good option for the higher-end homes that have been slow to sell in many markets recently. Corporate rentals are also a good option for investors who own high-end condominiums.

Obtain a list of companies from your local Chamber of Commerce, and identify large national corporations in your marketing area. Then call their human resources departments to learn about current and projected executive housing needs. If you have several investment properties that are offered for executive rental, consider developing a brochure with pictures of each home and give copies to corporate HR departments for distribution to relocating executives and others who need short-term housing.

Help Condo Owners Move Up

During the first quarter of 2003, the national average value of condos increased by 12.5 percent over the same quarter last year, according a recent survey conducted by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® Research Department. During the same period, the value of single-family homes rose only 7 percent. The volume of condo sales is also growing.

Traditionally, condo buyers are typically young first-time homebuyers. With condo prices outpacing those of homes and mortgage rates at historic lows, the climate is perfect for many condo owners to move up to a single-family home.

Marketing mileage: Place a higher priority on listing condos in your marketing area. Target condo owners who have held their properties for several years and built up some equity. Develop analyses to show these owners that with a small difference in their monthly payments, they could move up to the median-priced home in your market.

To sell your new condo listings, target recent college grads. Another option--if you’re near a university--is to target the parents of current students. Parents often find it less expensive to buy housing than to pay four years of dorm fees.

Jim Woodard writes a nationally syndicated newspaper column on real estate news and trends, titled “Open House.” For many years he has also operated a PR/marketing agency – The Woodard Agency, Communications – specializing in real estate-related accounts

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