Times are changing… as always

Outsiders tend to think of the real estate business as a “property” business, but we all know that it’s also a people business. It’s so vital for us to know everything about our clients, but also, our potential clients.

In today’s second story, we have some eye-opening data about the changing demographics of homeowners. We think this type of story shows just how important it is to track all market data. We live in a world that is constantly changing – especially in terms of how people work and live – and it’s this type of information that helps us not only stay up to speed, but ahead of the game.

On that note, we also have some good tips in our Foundation Plans section on how to avoid mistakes that we see some agents make far too often.

So, here we go with this edition of The Blueprint!

– James and David

Giant leap for pending home sales

Source: Redfin

Pending home sales rose 4.1% month over month in December, the biggest increase since September 2021, according to Redfin’s latest market update. On a year-over-year basis, pending home sales increased by 5.9%, the biggest annual gain since June 2021. Here are the other key takeaways from December:

  • The 30-year fixed mortgage rate fell to 6.82%, down from 7.44% in November

  • New listings rose 0.1% MOM, the highest seasonally adjusted level since September 2022

  • New listings rose 2.7% YOY, the largest increase since July 2021

  • Active listings rose 3.1 MOM, but fell 5.1% YOY

  • Nationwide home sale prices rose 4% YOY, the biggest annual increase since October 2022 (prices aren’t seasonally adjusted)

Our take

We truly don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, but so far, 2024 is bringing a lot of great news. In fact, Redfin agents are even reporting that, in some areas, bidding wars are becoming more frequent. Homes are getting up to 5 competing bids and buyers are even offering 3%-5% over ask.  We know this is tied to falling mortgage rates, and if the inflation and unemployment numbers aren’t what the bond markets are expecting, they can just as easily spike up. We don’t believe that’s likely to happen, but we want you to keep that in mind. Until then, there are deals to be made, so let’s get to work!

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Single women own more homes than single men

Source: Bespoke Real Estate http://tinyurl.com/44cmzmdj

In 47 of the 50 states, single women who live by themselves are more likely to own a home than single men who live by themselves. That’s the interesting new conclusion from LendingTree’s analysis of the latest U.S. Census Bureau data. Here’s what else LendingTree reports based on 2023 data:

  • 13% of the owner-occupied homes nationwide are owned by women, versus 10.2% among single men

  • 18% of all mortgage applicants were single women

  • 33% of women with partners bought alone because they were in a stronger financial position to do so

  • Delaware, Louisiana, and Mississippi have the highest shares of single women homeowners

  • Alaska, North Dakota, and South Dakota are the only states where single men own a larger share of homes compared to women

Our take

To be honest with you, we were taken aback by this report. These are astonishing facts. Just sixty years ago, women couldn't even get a credit card or a mortgage without a male cosigner. This is an amazing demographic change. We are not prepared to give you concrete advice on how to incorporate this change into your listing presentations, marketing materials, or other parts of your brokerage business just yet. However, all of us agents should take this into account going forward.

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Top real estate lead generation companies

AgentAdvice has recently released its list of the top real estate lead generation companies for 2024. This list is based on factors such as pricing, reviews, the features they offer, and the quantity, quality, and type of leads. Here is their list.

  1. Best Real Estate Lead Generation Company: Real Geeks

  2. 2nd Best Real Estate Lead Generation Company: CINC

  3. Best Overall Lead Gen System (Leads + Supporting Tools): CINC

  4. 2nd Best Overall Lead Gen System: Market Leader

  5. Best Real Estate Lead Generation for Brokers & Teams: CINC

  6. Best for Small Teams & Indy Brokers: Top Producer Social Connect

  7. Best Place to Buy Real Estate Leads: Real Geeks

  8. Best Lead Generation for Realtors: Ylopo

  9. Cheapest Leads: Boostable.media

  10. Best for Social Media Leads: Lighter Side of Real Estate

Our take

We know how hard it was to close a deal for so many agents last year. But 2024 isn’t like that. As we discussed up top, to our absolute pleasant surprise, the year is offering some unexpected opportunities. It’s our job as agents to take advantage of these opportunities while they last. Now is the time to really hit it hard. Use any tool you can to achieve that goal. As you know, we believe in organic lead generation through door-knocking, neighborhood farming, open houses, and the like. However, that doesn’t mean we’re opposed to using modern lead generation tools like the ones above.

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The news that just missed the cut

Foundation Plans

Advice from James and David to win the day

Today we’d like to offer you some practical advice on mistakes to avoid during your listing appointments. Whether you’re presenting to someone in your inner circle, a referral, or a cold lead, there are some universal missteps you should avoid if you want to win the listing.

Don’t be on time, be early – We’ve never forgotten the lesson we learned the hard way from our first managing director. “Early is on time, on time is late, and if you’re late, you’re gone.” Although clients have different tolerance levels for showing up late, err on the side of caution and always be early. If you arrive too early, use the time to explore the neighborhood, familiarize yourself with streets, amenities, parks, and other homes for sale. It's better than being late. Remember: you’re a professional. Act the part.

Park on the street, not the driveway – As much as you can, don’t be an imposition or a cause of stress on your potential client. If you park in their driveway, you’re either blocking someone in or taking someone’s spot. If their teenager has to drive to baseball practice and you’re blocking them from leaving, then your appointment groove will be messed up with an awkward interruption. Park in the street.

Your appointment is about the client, not you – Obviously, as part of your listing pitch you’ll want to talk about yourself and what you’re bringing to the table. But always make it all about the client–their needs, motivation, time frame, and priorities. Don’t discuss your busy schedule, ongoing deal negotiations, the challenges you’re facing with your other clients, or upcoming travel plans. Your client is not interested in all of that. Instead, focus on showcasing how you can address their real estate needs.

Make sure you literally ask for the business – If you’ve structured your pitch correctly, your close should naturally flow from your presentation, but don’t forget to say it and ask for the business. Don’t just assume the clients understand, and don’t leave the issue dangling. Make sure you seal the deal.

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Just in Case

Keep the latest industry data in your back pocket with today’s mortgage rates:

Source: Mortgage News Daily

“Develop into a lifelong self-learner through voracious reading; cultivate curiosity and strive to become a little wiser every day.” – Charlie Munger

Thanks for reading, and we’ll see you back here on Friday!

– James and David