Farming is a proven method of marketing your real estate business to a neighborhood in a way that raises awareness of your brand, captures leads, earns referrals and gains listings. When used effectively, farming provides an excellent opportunity to connect with potential sellers, as well as For Sale By Owners (FSBOs) whose listings might be dormant or struggling.
Here, RPR shares its five-point plan for creating and cultivating a solid neighborhood farming strategy. Learn how to target and calculate the marketability of a potential farm area, discover everything there is to know about properties in your zone, and use that data to build relationships with homeowners.
1. Create a customized farm area using RPR search tools and maps
RPR search and map tools provide a start-to-finish approach to identifying and then researching your farm area. No guesswork required; no need to pull from multiple sites to cross-populate your data. Beginning with RPR maps, you’ll use a ZIP code to map neighborhood boundaries or draw a customized target area based on market expertise and preferences. It’s up to you.
RPR’s heat maps will also reveal whether values in your farm area are increasing or decreasing over time, as well as the 12-month change in estimated values, list vs. sales price, and the density of distressed properties—which only scratches the surface of what you’ll garner from heat maps and your farming research.
2. Calculate the marketability of your target zone
You’ve chosen a potential farm area using RPR maps. Now, turn to the data within RPR to determine its turnover rate, a.k.a., how often homes are selling in your targeted area. According to the National Association of Home Builders, the average homeowner plans to move every 13 years, with younger first-time homebuyers relocating slightly more frequently. In general, you want to select a farm area with a turnover rate around 7 to 8 percent.
Check out this quick start guide, for instructions on where to find the RPR data you need to research a potential farm area, like identifying the number of homes in your targeted area vs. the number sold in the last 12 months, active listings, days on market, etc. The guide also includes an interactive worksheet that will auto-calculate your area’s turnover rate.
3. Converse with homeowners using RPR Mobile™
RPR Mobile™ serves as a great resource while walking your neighborhood. With your phone or tablet in hand, the app quickly reveals each home in your farm area and relevant facts you’ll need to take your interaction from introduction to conversation to, possibly, a commitment.
Tap into your app to locate the following data (among hundreds of other data sets):
- Owner’s name
- Home’s status
- Property’s details
- Estimated values and sold price
- Distressed information
- Mortgage history
The app is also a great icebreaker. Here’s a script from a fellow REALTOR® who has had great success getting to know homeowners while canvassing neighborhoods.
“Hi, my name is Susan. I’m a Realtor® who specializes in marketing homes in this area. I have some info about how the real estate market is doing in your neighborhood and can even run a comp analysis on your home, if you’d like. I also have access to the most reliable valuation model in the nation and can give you an estimate as we speak.”
As you connect with homeowners and learn more about each home in your farm area, having a good place to put those property-centric notes is very helpful. Here’s where you’ll use the app’s note taking feature to store text, photos and audio notes for any property. These notes are accessible only by you, and can be easily included on RPR reports.
Even if the homeowner isn’t ready to sell, keep the conversation going by offering to send monthly or quarterly RPR Market Activity Reports. Perhaps the neighborhood has a few distressed properties your new client is concerned about or they’re thinking of selling when values increase. Here’s your opportunity to get in on the ground floor.
4. Convey your value to For Sale By Owners
With more than 35 percent of FSBO sellers opting to use yard signs as their primary source of marketing, canvassing agents using RPR’s vast repository of public records can instantly pull up the data they need to spark a conversation with the homeowner:
- Homeowner contact information
- Mortgage and tax information
- Distressed data
- The property’s physical characteristics, and more
With the RPR app at hand, ask the homeowners how they arrived at their list price, and whether they’d like to compare that value with RPR’s Realtor Valuation Model® (RVM®), the only REALTOR®-owned, automated valuation product that goes beyond the traditional AVM by incorporating listing and sales data from the MLS into a property’s valuation.
Offer to send them an RPR Property Report, Neighborhood Report or a Market Activity Report right from your phone, letting them know you specialize in marketing homes in their neighborhood. Better yet, what FSBO would turn down a free RPR comparative market analysis?
Conveying the pure data about how a REALTOR®, on average, can earn the seller a higher list price and also utilize his/her unlimited resources to bring the property to close at a faster pace can be a turning point for your FSBO seller, especially when you share the data and reports found within RPR.
5. Cultivate brand awareness with reports that pique homeowner interest
Most homeowners you encounter while canvassing will want a takeaway, which is good news for agents who also don’t want to walk away without capturing the lead. Here, bring all of your farming efforts full circle by letting the homeowner know you have a full arsenal of RPR reports at your disposal.
Right there at the curb, offer to email or text him/her an RPR Property Report, complete with the RVM, or a Market Activity Report––a snapshot of all the changes in a local real estate market. The Market Activity Report includes a list of active, pending, sold, expired and distressed properties, including recent price changes.
RPR’s Neighborhood and School Reports are also popular among area homeowners. Others, keenly interested in selling, would be impressed by RPR’s Comparative Analysis and Seller’s Report. It’s also good to let the homeowner know that, through RPR, you have the ability to refine the value of their home based on improvements made. A good way to keep the conversation going.
For more tips on how to successfully leverage RPR Reports in your farming strategy, see 3 RPR Reports You Should Have While Farming.