Hold a Seminar: 4 Great Topics

Meet new prospects and establish yourself as a real estate expert by holding informational real estate seminars. These hot topics are sure to attract a crowd:

1. Is now the right time to buy?

Why? After years of rapid appreciation, followed by a slowdown in some markets, buyers may be worried about the timing of a real estate investment. Let buyers know that with more homes on the market, they have increased negotiating power.

Ideas: Prepare a presentation using statistics from your MLS to educate potential buyers on current market conditions. Explain how they can benefit from increased inventory (if that’s the case in your market), and why they should work with a real estate professional who can help structure the best deal. Get talking points from NAR’s recent “Buy Now” campaign. For example, mortgage rates are comparable to 40 year lows, the average home value increased 88 percent over the past decade.

2. Moving with pets

Why? People love their pets! An estimated 63 percent of all U.S. households have at least one pet, according to the 2005/2006 National Pet Owners Survey, released by the American Pet Product Manufacturers Association. That means the odds are good that pet owners are a sizable share of your prospects.

Ideas: Partner with the local humane society, a vet, or a pet shop owner to talk about handling a move with pets. Cover such topics as how to make your dog or cat less anxious on moving day, the importance of registering your pet under your new address, and finding animal-friendly hotels. As an extra draw, plan the seminar in a place that allows pets; that way, pets and their humans can mingle. Don’t forget to advertise that pets are welcome to attend.

3. What to know before buying a condo

Why? Twenty percent of all buyers purchased a condo or town house, according to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® 2006 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. The percentage is even higher 27 percent for first-time buyers.

Ideas: There are countless topics to discuss, starting with the basics: assessments, parking, home owners associations, and the conveniences and drawbacks of living in a multifamily building. Invite a real estate lawyer to speak about bylaws, and ask clients or acquaintances who’ve recently moved into a condo to share their experiences. Be prepared with handouts on mortgages and other home buying basics.

4. Boost your home’s appeal on a budget

Why? Home owners are fascinated with learning how to make their home look better and increase in value. Now that the real estate market has softened, sellers need help positioning their home and engaging serious buyers.

Ideas: Bring in a staging expert (check www.stagedhomes.com for a listing of staging professionals) to offer simple tips for preparing a home for sale. (Buyers might be interested in the decorating pointers, too.) Or, if you have ample experience, share your own tips. A slide show of before-and-after photos will liven up the presentation. Create a checklist for attendees to take home and encourage them to take the staging quiz at REALTOR® Magazine Online.