Karen Detwiler of Help-U-Sell Detwiler Realty in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, was in the top producers circle in November and December.
Karen says she is seeing several trends in the Carlisle-marketplace. “First, sellers are becoming more realistic about properly pricing their home at the beginning of the listing,” she says. “Second, first-time buyers are the largest pool of buyers in our marketplace; therefore, driving the sales of homes under $150,000. And, third, we are seeing more of our sellers going into the Multiple Listing Service than we did during the days of the strong Seller’s Market.”
Karen says the current market place in Carlisle consists primarily of resales and new homes. “We do have a fair number of short sales in our market, so our agents do work with sellers and their lenders in short sale situations.” The average days on the market is 149 and up to a year for land listings.
The business model that Karen’s office uses is that of independent contractors who both list and sell.
“I believe that in order to be a good listing agent, you need to understand the buyers who are currently in the market place. In my opinion, working with both buyers and sellers makes for a well-informed agent.”
Karen adds that it’s important to have both buyers and sellers to generate income. “Obviously with buyers, fewer commission dollars are used for overhead expenses as compared to seller-side commissions,” says Karen. “However, we find that by having a good inventory of listings we pick up more buyers. The key is having agents follow-up with feedback from the buyers who look at our listings directly with the owner or at Open Houses, and continue to work and stay in touch with those buyers.”
“We are using several different marketing tactics and have found that rotating them seems to work best,” explains Karen. “Currently, we are running an interactive radio ad with a local station. It’s a Q & A format. The ad runs for about 1-minute once a week. Each week, we focus on a different topic, such as buyers, sellers, financing, etc. We also mention our new listings each week.”
Newspapers and Home Magazines
In addition, Detwiler Realty places ads in the local newspapers, and in homes magazines for name awareness and branding.
“Our office has also sponsored area softball and soccer teams, provided promotional items at the high school football games, and sponsored walk-a-thons for various charitable organizations.”
“In March, we will begin a three-month billboard campaign. We did this several years ago and found it highly effective. However, when we continued it for an additional three months, the calls generated from the billboards dropped off.”
Board of Realtors
Karen says that “several of our agents have also become involved with our local Realtor Board. I think this helps promote us as professionals involved in our organization and the networking is a great benefit. In addition, we just finished a one year contract with Realtor.com having a banner ad offer services for buyers.”
Expireds and FSBOs
Among the most successful marketing tools Karen’s team uses on a regular basis is going after going after FSBO’s and expired listings. “We have two agents that will knock on doors and call expired listings. The other is referrals.” Karen says she intends to use testimonial advertising more in the next few weeks to benefit from their full potential.
Coaching and Training
Karen does encourage her office agents to participate in the weekly training calls offered by Help-U-Sell and is encouraging them to sit in on the Thursday sessions. She notes that “we are using the coaching offered by Help-U-Sell, as well as the experiences of the agents in the office and the input they have received from programs and seminars they have attended.”
Karen recalls wondering if her office would survive when it opened five years ago and is happy to say, “Five years has arrived and we’ve made our mark in our market. I attribute this to the Help-U-Sell System and that we’ve got agents who are focused on our clients. Every market is different and every agent has something to offer, but those who need our services, whether buyers or sellers, in my opinion, most importantly want someone professional to represent them, someone to listen and provide their expertise, and someone to be honest with them. You can have a great product, which Help-U-Sell is, but if you don’t back it up with service, you are doomed.”
Tips From A Pro!
Karen offers this sound advice: “In order to make more sales or get more listings, do open houses, get your name out there, network, get involved in your community, make your ads different – think outside the box!”