Every month I receive real estate market reports from a local real estate team. They aren’t anything fancy; they are, in fact, rather homely. There are no graphs (which I consider a blessing), there’s not a bit of color and they’re printed on cheap paper.
But, when they show up in my mailbox, it’s the first piece of mail I open. Every month. And, by the way, they’re the only real estate market reports I receive. No other agents in my area send these out and I live in a major metropolitan area.
I like to keep tabs on what’s happening to my home’s value, and I’m not alone. Want proof?
Think about the most common question you get from strangers when they find out what you do for a living:
“What’s the market like right now?”
It’s only natural to want to know how one’s largest investment is doing.
If you aren’t using direct mail to send real estate market reports to a farming area, you’re missing out on a cheap, easy way to develop seller leads by showing your neighborhood expertise and keeping your name consistently in front of homeowners.
It’s one piece of marketing mail that homeowners will open
If you ARE sending real estate market reports, but they’re ripped from your local MLS, it’s time to rethink your strategy.
When it comes to real estate market reports, lose the insider jargon
From investment bankers to physicians and lawyers, every profession has its own insider jargon.
For instance, what agents refer to as a “double-ended” deal, Warren Buffet calls an “elephant.” They both mean the same thing – landing a big deal – but only insiders know what either of them mean; the general public hasn’t a clue. And rather than be informative, they’ll probably just be annoying for your reader.
Focus on your use of terms that aren’t in mainstream consumer use and either don’t use them or take the time to explain them.
For example, one recent report we read offered up “SP/LP” and “Absorption Rate” with no explanation of the meaning of either of them.
Seriously? Mr. and Mrs. Smith over there on Elm Street have absolutely no idea what that means.
Even basic terms, such as “pending” (or even worse, “under contract”) and “inventory” can be confusing
But explaining them helps the reader understand and adds value to your report.
For example, “Pending Sales were up 8.2 percent to 13,243” could be reworded to read: “Pending sales (when a seller accepts an offer on a home) increased more than 8 percent.”
“DOM,” in the hands of Bill Gassett, one of the top RE/MAX Realtors in Massachusetts, becomes “The average market time for the homes that closed in December …”
Although we would change “closed” to “sold.”
Even an explanation of “SP/LP” can be smoothly worked into your narrative. Watch how Georgia mega-agent Anita Clark does it:
“The sales price to list price ratio (SP/LP) was excellent coming in at 98.60% last month,”
Or, make that statistic even more user-friendly by dumping the overly-technical “sales price to list price ratio” and telling readers that “homeowners received nearly 99 percent of their asking price.”
Finally, in a market report riddled with errors, we managed to find a perfect example of how to avoid, or at least explain “inventory.” Under the subheading “Inventory,” the agent began with an explanation of the term:
“This is the total number of homes available for purchase”
It’s a pity that the following section on median sales price begins with “Just what is median sales price? This is the average amount that homes in a particular area are selling for.”
Holy moly! That she tried to explain a mathematical term is admirable (it’s always a good idea to explain the difference between the average and median price), but that even a real estate agent doesn’t know the difference between the two is proof that real estate consumers don’t either.
Explain what the stats mean
Before you got into real estate, did you know how different aspects of the national and local economy affect the real estate market?
Neither do the readers of your real estate market reports.
Take job growth for instance. It’s not enough to throw out that “job growth in Anywheresville is strong.”
Sure, you know how job growth impacts the real estate market, and the concept is simple, but most Americans don’t keep up with economic news so have only a vague notion of what some of these terms mean.
Take the time to explain how important that is. Tell them that when jobs and wages grow, people have more money to invest in things like real estate. Plus, if there are a lot of jobs, the area becomes a magnet for new residents seeking those jobs.
Now, you could just swipe your text from someone else (which is illegal, unethical and most likely will be confusing to your readers) like this Keller Williams agent did:
“But the [city has been redacted] job growth was far below the 3.8 percent annualized growth in 2015, and it was the first time this region failed to top 3 percent growth in five years.”
This was lifted directly from a local newspaper and of absolutely zero value to the agent’s readers. If I’m Joe or Jill consumer, I’m thinking: “What the heck is annualized growth?”
If I continue to have to wrap my head around stuff like this, the market report is in the trash and I probably won’t open another when it lands in my mailbox.
Can you drill even deeper?
Kris Lindahl, broker/owner of Kris Lindahl Real Estate, is very well-served by the Minneapolis Area Association of REALTORS®. MAAR offers members a brilliantly deep set of monthly market statistics that includes neighborhood-specific numbers for the larger cities.
If yours is similar, go deeper in your market reports by targeting the areas you are most interested in working. Check out how Lindahl does it by reading one of his Minneapolis reports.
If you’re going to use economic news, localize it as well. The folks at Tampa’s Domain Homes know just how to put it into terms the average reader can digest:
“That increase in homes [sic] values is getting a boost from the job market. As housing affordability remains strong, the healthy job market in Tampa is attracting more newcomers to the area.”
Choose a format that is easy-on-the-eyes
Sure, you can take that nifty graph from your MLS and paste it into your report, but, again, it’ll be meaningless to the average real estate consumer.
There are a number of different ways to present your information to readers. If you choose to outsource the formatting work, you’ll find inexpensive graphic designers at 99designs.com, designcrowd.comand upwork.com.
Rather do it in-house? Consider these alternatives:
- If you’re thinking an infographic might suit your purposes, check out the templates at canva.com. Get inspiration from Colorado broker Andrew Fortune. His quick and easy-to-read recap of the information in the infographic is worth noting. Remember to keep the labels on your infographic, jargon-free.
- Canva also offers a ton of report templates that, once you get the hang of using Canva, are a snap to customize.
Not only can a carefully-worded market report generate home seller leads, but it puts you light-years ahead of the lazy agent.
And, if you also post it to your blog, it’s one less topic you will need to come up with every month.
Owner & Operator,
The Elite Group
Largest Home Inspection Company in North America
Best Selling Author “Secrets Of Top Producing Real Estate Agents: And How To Duplicate Their Success.”