So with the clock ticking on the 2009 Home Buyer Tax Credit (which expires at midnight on November 30), how can you attract your unfair share of first time homebuyers? Here are a few ideas that can add a few closings to your list of things to be grateful for on Thanksgiving Day.
1. Create Urgency. In your marketing and prospecting, make sure potential buyers know there is still time and that they need to get moving today!
“Ms. Buyer, in this market, it can take 45 to 60 days to close on a home. So working backwards from the November 30 deadline, you’ll want to have an accepted offer no later than mid-October. That leaves only a handful of weekends to get you preapproved by a mortgage lender and identify the right first home for you. So you see we need to get started today to take advantage of this opportunity….”
Remember, they have 8,000 reasons to get moving.
2. Hold a First-Time Buyer Seminar. Work with other agents and your vendor network to make the presentation happen. The goal is to get face-to-face with potential buyers fast. You can host it anywhere—a library, community hall, school, place of worship or you can even turn an open house into a “First Time Homebuyer Tax Credit Info Center.”
3. Exchange E-books and Books for Appointments. Use a special e-newsletter to your sphere, a Facebook or Twitter post or a Craig’s List ad to offer free copy of our e-book “$8,000 Closer to Home” or the book Your First Home in exchange for a free, no obligation consultation.
4. Target Your Buyers. Take advantage of our First Time Homebuyer Surveys to target a select audience for your offers. For example, the KW survey indicates that 51% of those buying a first home with the tax credit are aged 25 to 30 and fully 46% are married. A quick look on Facebook tells me there are more than 31,000 Austinites between 25 and 30 years old who are engaged or married. How about a Facebook ad with the headline “There’s still time to claim your $8,000 Wedding Gift!” Offer the book as a hook for a free consultation.
It’s as easy as clicking on the advertising link on the bottom of your Facebook homepage and just follow the queues.
5. Trumpet the Opportunity. Average home prices have fallen back to Earth. Mortgage interest rates are at historic lows. Homes today are at their most affordable levels in terms of the monthly payments since the 1970s. Toss in the $8,000 tax credit and the door to home ownership has been kicked off its hinges. Does your sphere know this or have they been reading someone else’s headlines? Tell them. Our monthly This Month in Real Estate videos will back you up.
6. Know the Facts. Your potential buyers will have lots of questions. Share the First-Time Homebuyer Video and the one-page fact sheet to answer their questions and get them on the path to home ownership.
7. Create an Action Plan Today. To earn your unfair share of first-time home buyers before the deadline, put a plan of action in writing. It’s as simple as picking one or two strategies you can implement in the coming week and then blocking time on your calendar to make them happen.
My wife, Wendy, and I still own our first home, a small bungalow in Central Austin. About two weeks ago our renters contacted us and said they wanted to buy. Wendy guided them through the process and just this week they made an offer on a new construction short sale marked down about $60,000. In the end, they didn’t qualify for the tax credit but the deals to be had were too much to pass up!
So don’t let your buyers (or yourself) think it’s too late. It’s not. Act today and you can still have a full plate of closings come Thanksgiving weekend.