One of the toughest things to balance as an Austin Realtor is finding the right frequency and methods for staying in touch with our past clients. On the one hand, we have the National Association of Realtor (NAR) surveys of buyers and sellers showing that over 90% of real estate consumers never hear from their Realtor again after closing.
Wow! This, in an industry where repeat business and referrals are extremely important to succeeding, is amazing. Clearly most Realtors drop the ball on “after the sale” follow up.
At the other extreme are those Realtors who follow up too much. Consider the quote from this Inman article titled “Is your real estate client a friend?“:
“There are salespeople out there who have inserted themselves into my life with constant contact, and I don’t seem to be able to get rid of them. They put themselves into my online conversations and follow me everywhere. Once we get onto their mailing list we can never get off”.
As my teenage daughters would say, “Eww, creepy”. I know what the author means. I’ve met mortgage and insurance people at industry events such as “lunch and learns”, we exchange cards, and next thing you know I’m receiving regular automated email newsletters and junk mail, getting followed on Twitter and Friend Requested on Facebook and LinkedIn.
None of those “connections” makes me more likely to become a customer or referral source. And in these instances, I’m not even a client or past client. That said, I do receive follow-ups and “just touching base” calls and annual birthday and/or holiday communications from various vendors, and I do value those follow-ups. But the weekly email newsletters from the mortgage gal I met just once at a Realtor lunch? Not valuable or useful in an way.
Sylvia and I don’t generally seek out clients online and try to “Friend” them or otherwise get connected. Many “Social Networking for Realtors” workshop classes encourage this as a lead building strategy and as a way to stay in touch and “connected”. No thanks. Feels too creepy. They should title those classes “how to be super annoying and bother people”.
The exception is for the clients who actually do become real off-line friends as a result of the real estate transaction, or for those who initiate the connection with us themselves.
So, for an Austin Realtor, what is the right mix and balance of staying in touch with past clients without bugging them or becoming a creepy Social Networking Stalker?
The median sold price for houses in Austin was up 0.56% for April compared to April 2008. The average sold price was down 3.56%. Number of sales is down 21% from a year earlier for single family homes. In short, Austin remains a stubborn real estate market for those who were expecting some sort of major decline. I would characterize it still as a soft market, with pockets and price ranges that remain strong. This is the 4th month of the past 6 that average sold prices have remained below $240K, and it’s the first time that avg sold price has stayed below $240K two months in a row.
See the chart below for the past 14 months average and median sales by month. Monthly and YTD charts are further below.
The month of April compared to a year ago breaks down as follows:
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