We recently published an article “Out-of-state buyers: where do they come from?” and wanted to follow up with some tips on how to attract these buyers. Sourcing new leads can be very difficult and even harder when they are from out of state. However, this market is wide open. So what do you need to do in order to start attracting out of state clients?
1. Know Your Clients
Getting to know your client is essential in any transaction, but it becomes more important when the client lives outside your city. You need to know what they are looking for in a new home. Ask them if the purchase is an investment home, a primary home, or a vacation home? Do they want to live in the city, the suburbs, or do they want to own land? Get to know why they choose your area and what their expectations are. You are the expert in the neighborhood; show them why you are the agent for them. If the client is selling their home it might be worthwhile to call the selling agent for a short chat, just to gather a little more information about the client. The selling agent may have some insights about the client that might not come up in normal conversation. You could also research the amenities in the client’s current neighborhood to get a feel for what they might be expecting in the new neighborhood. Get to know as much about your client as possible.
Communicating with distant clients can be as difficult as working with a bank on a short sale. Find out how your client prefers to communicate. Always start with a phone call, but after that if they prefer email use it. The goal is to keep in touch with them every step of the way, that way when they fly in to see homes they are ready to sign a contract and move forward with the sale. Communication is the key in a long distance transaction. The occasional lunch meeting is out of the question.
According to NAR statistics 92% of home buyers are using the Internet in their home search. Your blog is the very best way to get your message out to potential clients. Use your blog to paint the picture of the neighborhoods and the lifestyle of your neighborhood. This is also a great place to talk about schools, local activities, events, or anything else interests your clients. Use pictures and videos to give a good feel of the area. The great thing about a blog is you can start to connect with the client at the very beginning of the process, maybe even while they are in the initial research phase. Become the expert of your neighborhood.
4. Social Media
According to NAR statistics, nearly 77% of real estate agents participate in using Facebook for building relationships and marketing. Like your blog, social media is a way to connect with out of state clients. Make sure to go beyond the standard sharing listing and add value to your clients. Similar to your blog add photos of the neighborhoods and links to local event. The goal is to create content that your network wants to share. Be yourself and have fun with it.
This is still the best way to get new clients. A word of mouth referral still goes a long way. Many out of state buyers travel in groups. As one family member moves the parents, the siblings, and even the friends may follow. So make sure you go above and beyond for your clients and when friends and family follow, you are the referred agent. Build your reputation to help out of state buyer and get the out of state referrals.
Out of state buyers can be a tricky lead source. Getting to know your client, communication, blogging, and social media will help you source these leads to grow your agency. Put a plan in place and take advantage of this wide open market.