Low Inventory, High Resolve: How Technology Keeps You and Your Client Ahead of the Contract

by Aaron Woodman

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If you had to describe the current state of the market to new buyers in just four words, how would you do it? My best guess – “here today, gone tomorrow.”

Agents are finally finding their buyers responding quickly to homes that fit their criteria. But the market’s rebound has come with a vexing and often frustrating new condition for agents – every other buyer is doing the same. With buyers suddenly shifting the leverage to sellers in certain segments of the market, agents are witnessing a frustration from their buy-side clients that they’ve only seen from sellers in recent years.

So how do you keep your buyers happy when inventory is so tight?

When the market is moving at a frenetic pace, technology should be used as the vehicle of your strategy – having an awareness of the technology at your disposal opens you up to the strategies at your hand. For example, I recently spoke to a broker with a buyer who was prepared to make an offer on a building in Lincoln Park. They went to see the single unit in the building on the market at that time, and ended up writing an offer. The seller received seven other offers and proceeded with a different offer than what this broker had presented. But now his buyer wanted a unit only in this building. Does he wait for something to come available or be proactive?

Understanding that many sellers sidelined by the declining prices of the past few years might otherwise be on the cusp of entering the market, the broker used MRED’s Realist Tax to identify the owners in the building and their corresponding units. Once he was able to use the tax database to identify the names of other owners in the building, he was able to coordinate a mailing campaign where he sent each resident a quick introduction and an invitation to reach out if they had any interest in connecting with his buyer for a potential purchase.

Another broker was working with a young couple looking for a single-family home with the price point and neighborhood narrowed down. It proved to be a popular combination, however, as the properties they were seeing were going under contract seemingly just as they were listed. To get over the low-inventory hurdle, she sat down with her buyers and used Google Maps and MRED’s previous sales history to look at homes they would consider if they were on the market. She wrote down their addresses and sent a letter and see if she could convince any owners on the fence to consider selling. In the end, the broker’s foresight brought her buyers the perfect pocket listing.

With pocket listings playing a greater role in the active market, @properties has received much attention for their mobile app designed to showcase pocket listings to other agents in the company. This gives them an advantage for agents working with buyers – rather than wait for an email announcing a pocket listing that might fit their buyer, they can browse through the database of upcoming inventory to find a match. It also gives them another tool in their marketing arsenal for potential sellers. At its core, this system was designed to facilitate a pillar of the industry – agent networking.

The truth is, few buyers will get through the process without one disappointment. There will be frustrations – unlucky timing, miscommunications, properties that are gone before showings can be scheduled, etc. The broker’s ability to strategize will ultimately prove how effective and successful they are at providing client services. Technology will be the facilitator, but the proven industry virtues of dedication to service, creativity and hard work are what will put you ahead as the market continues to rally.


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Aaron Woodman has sold more than $200 million in real estate assets and has managed a portfolio of more than 1,600 multifamily units, working for several large property management companies as well as for EXIT Realty and Keller Williams Realty. Recently, he has focused his efforts on using his breadth of experience to act as a consultant for a variety of real estate businesses, including individual residential brokers across the country, national property management firms and real estate technology start-ups. Find him on twitter.com/aaronwoodman and woodmanconsultinggroup.com.

  • Saul Klein says:

    Nice commentary Aaron.

  • Brian Fox says:

    Aaron, this is an accurate explanation of the market buyers are facing in most areas – well done. I was in Seattle, WA yesterday – it’s the same, CA – same and apparently it holds true in Chicago. In addition to just looking at tax rolls for owners with similar property.. It’s better to look for owners of similar property, with “life events” that would give them a higher probability of selling. What would those be? They would be homeowners that filed for divorce, or are in mortgage default, or in tax default. Match those life events with similar property, and there are less doors to knock, and a much higher success rate in acquiring listings and/or property for buyers to purchase. ReboGateway.com does this, and is currently launching in Cook County after successful roll outs in 11 other major U.S. metros. Look forward to connecting with you soon.

  • Rod says:

    Your style is unique in comparison to other people I have read stuff from. Many thanks for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I’ll just book mark this blog.