Four Proven Ways to Give the Spring Buying Season a Boost Now

March 1, 1996

When you mail consider-buying flyers to renters, include some kind of discount coupon or offer. I send a $500 discount on closing costs, which includes $100 off the settlement attorney's fee. Be sure to check if that's legal in your state and acceptable for your lender. I also arrange a free preapproval with a lender.
Melinda Estridge, Long & Foster, Bethesda/Hampden Square, Bethesda, Md.

Consider investing in a reverse telemarketing system---essentially a combination of caller ID and voice mail. Run a number in your ads and on listing signs that prospects can call for more information on the listings and area. When people call to listen, their phone numbers are identified and recorded. Once a week, the vendor I use sends me a list of those numbers so that I can follow up with those people. The voice mail systems range between $5,000 and $15,000.

My information line also includes advertisements from lenders, home inspectors, and other ancillary service providers. Those ads help pay for the system.
—Paul Riviere, ERA--Pacesetter Partners, Brentwood, Tenn.

Try this six-week letter-writing approach with FSBOs: Send a letter that includes color photos of the home they can use as postcards to publicize their house. The next week, send a letter that includes a booklet on real estate terms. Your third letter could include information on government forms and house inspections. The fourth week's letter should include a guest register they can use to keep track of those who view their house. In the fifth letter, I introduce the idea of home warranties and let them know that my company offers them. By the sixth week, I ask whether I can conduct a free market analysis for them or suggest they hire an appraiser to see why their home hasn't sold.

Each letter subtly shows FSBOs how many details there are to the selling process that they may not be aware of and that I can help with. I never ask for the listing outright. Of a group of six FSBOs I targeted, five listed with me at the end of six weeks, and four went to closing. The process is simple---just develop form letters. But remember to drive by FSBOs' homes to make sure they haven't sold in the middle of your letter-writing campaign.
—Janice Miller, ERA--First Advantage Realty, Newburgh, Ind.

The spring buying season coincides with the start of daylight-saving time, when many people change, or at least intend to change, the batteries in their smoke detectors. I suggest that my salespeople canvass their farms armed with bags of batteries and even a step stool, offering to change batteries for homeowners.
—Greg Garrett, Century 21--Greg Garrett Realty, Newport News, Va.

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