Tending the Farm

While many practitioners seek success on a wider plain, Ed Savard is happy cultivating his own fertile territory.

March 1, 2011

In the community of Fairway Estates, in Daytona Beach, Fla., residents know the name of Ed Savard well. In this golfing paradise with 649 residences, one out of three of the homes is either listed or sold by Savard.

"Too often, we’re distracted by the next big thing," says Savard, a sales associate with Keller Williams Realty Florida Partners in Port Orange, Fla. Success, he says, comes down to choosing a specific target—a neighborhood, a condo building, or a new construction project—and executing the basics well. Here’s his close-to-home approach:

Pick your target.

Savard relocated to Florida in 1994 after selling a brokerage in Canada. When he moved into the Fairway Estates subdivision 10 years ago from a neighboring community in Florida, he found no dominant practitioner serving that area. "I had an epiphany that there’s no better place to farm than my own backyard." For Savard, his own backyard was foreign territory, but he remedied that problem quickly, ­introducing himself to neighbors and sending flyers that promoted his services.

Become the expert.

Savard positions himself as a local expert by sending monthly e-newsletters and quarterly reports to his neighbors. He produces the content himself, using MLS statistics on what’s selling in Fairway Estates. "I reach my farm at least 50 to 60 times a year," he says. His Web site, www.myfairwayestatesnews.com, also keeps residents up to date on real estate conditions.

Make yourself visible.

"You must be front and center in your farm," says Savard, who wears a Keller Williams shirt during his nightly walks and always carries business cards. Savard’s face is on all his marketing materials, and he regularly hosts open houses and encourages curious neighbors to attend. He even cosponsors a monthly beautification award with his local Lowe’s. Each month, four residents are recognized.

Give it time.

"The key to farming is tending to it," says Savard, who recommends committing to your target and being consistent with it. The most important thing is to follow up with people—even buyers you didn’t represent but who purchased one of your listings.

After a decade of devotion to his farm, Savard says, he has become the go-to real estate person in the community. He says he has less competition and works less than when he started. Most important, he has increased his bottom line: In 2010—with most sales prices ranging from about $90,000 to $160,000—he closed $3 million in sales. For more information visit Learn2Farm.com.

Katherine Tarbox is a former senior editor with REALTOR® Magazine. Previously, she was editorial director for Washington Life. She is the author of the international bestselling book A Girl’s Life (Dutton, 2000) and has made hundreds of media appearances including The Today Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, and CNN.