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Surviving the Real Estate Winter Slump

The big push is over, and things are slowing down for winter and the holidays as the weather turns colder and people, including real estate agents, take time off to be with family. Perhaps you’ve met your goals for the year, so you’re not sweating, but you shouldn’t be slacking either. There are a number of important things you can be doing with your newfound time to make your business even better in the coming year, and maybe even finish this one with a bang.

Don’t ignore the Year-end Buyers and Sellers

Just because the real estate market seems to have slowed down for the winter doesn’t mean it has ground to a halt. There are still people out there who want and even need to sell their homes, as well as those who want or need to buy them. In fact, it is not unusual for 20 percent of yearly real estate sales to happen during this so-called “winter slump.” This is because both buyers and sellers tend to be more serious and motivated at this time of year.

Perhaps a buyer has just been transferred to a new job, or maybe they are just taking advantage of the tax benefits of a year-end home purchase. And sellers will find they have less competition this time of year. A buyer may consider a neighborhood because of its festive holiday dress even though it’s not necessarily in their preferred area. It’s also a good time to sell a home that’s been difficult to sell due to some flaw or shortcoming, such as being the biggest home in the neighborhood.

Stay Visible in the Community

Not only can this tip help you with the year’s last vestiges of buyers and sellers, but it can also bring in new prospects for the year ahead. There are many ways to do this. Just keep in mind that you want to stay active, and above all, visible.

  • Get involved in local charities. Host activities and events whenever you can. Let your business be the collection point for canned foods, clothing and coat and toy donations to name a few. If you also provide seasonal refreshments, it may give you a chance to connect with community members who come to donate.
  • Sponsor your community’s holiday event. This not only gets your name out there; it also gives you another opportunity to help local charities. As a sponsor, you can include food, clothing and toy drives in the event.
  • Send out Holiday cards to your clients and prospects. Let your clients know that you appreciate them. After all, 32 percent of people who sell their homes through agents recommend those agents three or more times later on.
  • Offer a special deal, like a free home staging session to people wanting to sell their homes, thereby positioning yourself as an authority and engendering confidence within your community.
Market Yourself and Your Business with an Eye Toward the Coming Year

Since many sellers will use social media platforms to locate an agent, the slow season is the time to get in there with relevant, good quality content directed toward both your clients and prospects. Of course, there are many other more direct approaches to take as well. Here are a few tips for promoting yourself and your real estate business during the winter slow down.

  • Ask for business or a referral along with sending your holiday wishes.
  • Have a holiday contest. It could be anything from a photo contest with a prize for the best tree decorations to a contest for the post with the most compelling “dream kitchen” description. You could offer gift cards as prizes for photo contests, or even partner with a home improvement store to give away cool kitchen appliances for the dream kitchen contest.
  • Post seasonal pictures on Instagram that tell visual stories to help market your practice.
  • Have an open-house happy hour instead of a traditional walk-through for added fun during the slow season.
  • Update your blog and website. Provide seasonal tips on everything from winter home maintenance to holiday decorating. Content like this keeps your site relevant and visited not only by your followers, but by prospects as well. You can even write about why it’s a good idea to buy or sell a home at the end of the year as discussed earlier.
  • Nurture your contacts. Whatever else you do, make sure you keep the lines of communication open with your contacts. Not only do past and present clients help grow your business, but prospects may be gearing up to buy or sell in the New Year and you want to be foremost in their minds when they do so. And, make sure while you’re out making yourself visible that you do follow up with any new contacts that you make.
Spend your Down Time working on your Skills

Now that you have a little time on your hands, use it to further your education. There’s always more to learn in the real estate business.

  • Take that course you’ve always wanted to but have been putting off. The slow season is the perfect time to catch up.
  • Complete any continuing education courses you may need to renew your license.
  • Study real estate trends. Spend some time learning about what is going on in the real estate market and what is expected for the coming year. The more you know, the more prepared you will be and the more you can gear your efforts toward a successful New Year.
  • Make a marketing plan and budget for the New Year. Look at what you brought in this year, on an average, per transaction basis, and set your new marketing budget accordingly.

If you refuse to give in to the “winter slump,” a little effort and energy on your part can go a long way to setting you up for the New Year as well as to bring in those year-end buyers and sellers.

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