One of the areas you’ve selected to farm is a large apartment complex. This just has to be a great place to farm. After all, isn’t it just crawling with people looking to buy a home? The answer is an unequivocal – probably.
There are a couple types of people who rent. Some people seem to rent for the long term and never become buyers.
Many, however, are either currently looking for a house, saving up for their down payment, or, at least, planning to buy at some point in the future. Your job is to make yourself known to these potential buyers and, more importantly, to get them to contact you.
When farming these areas, your primary contact with the people who live there will almost certainly be through the written word. Speaking of which, this might be a good time to talk a little about what to keep in mind when writing these marketing materials.
The first thing you want to do when writing anything to potential clients is to decide exactly what you are trying to accomplish with the letter, flyer, whatever. Almost everything you write should have the goal of getting the reader to call you. Don’t make the mistake that you are trying to sell them a house. No one buys a house from an advertisement and you would be doing him or her a disservice to even try.
Whenever you begin to write to anyone, start with a single sentence describing the purpose of what you will write. Keep it right there with you while you work and don’t lose sight of it as you go. Look carefully at everything you put down to make sure it is really working towards the goal you’re trying to accomplish.
Writing a Letter to Renters to Buy a Home
Almost every sales letter consists of the same three elements:
The Introduction – Begin with a major attention getting benefit. You only have a couple seconds to get your readers interest before your letter gets thrown in the trash. A good way to start is often with a question. “Have you thought about how easy it may be for you to buy a house right now?” “Wouldn’t you like to get out of that apartment and into a home of your own?”
The Body – This part should continue to list other benefits for the potential buyers. You could talk here about tax advantages, building equity, or anything else you deem appropriate. The Call For Action – Here you need to ask the reader to do something and you want to be specific. “Give me a call today to discuss how I can help you become a home owner.” “Pick up the phone right now and call me at 555-555-5555.”
Remember, potential clients don’t care about those letters after your name or that you are “Number One” in the office, city, state, or country. They don’t care that you’ve sold millions of dollars of real estate. The only thing they do care about is what you can do for them.
Don’t get the wrong idea, it is important to let your potential clients know what you have done and how many years you’ve been at it. The only reason for this, however, is to show them they will be well represented by an accomplished professional that can and will look after their interests. Just don’t let your resume be your whole message.
Filter everything you write through the eyes of the persons who will be reading it. Tell them what you will do for them. Be as specific as you can. Tell them that you will take the time to listen to them. This is one of the biggest complaints people have with their agent.
Tell them you will understand their wants and desires and you will work with them to accomplish the common goal of finding their new home. You will use your training and knowledge on their behalf and they will benefit from the partnership you will form.
Another area you will need to concentrate on if you intend to work with renters is financing options and, often times, more modest homes. Many of the people you will be working with will be young and just starting out. There will be many new families or singles buying their first home. They will not have had the time to build up a strong credit rating, a large down payment, or both.
Also, many young people may have already made a mess of their credit history with the ease of getting credit cards and will need the services of a good broker who can advise them what they will need to do in order to secure financing.
You may be telling yourself that I sound like I’m trying to talk you out of working with these young people. In fact, it’s just the opposite. I think these potential clients may need your services the most. And don’t forget, if you are the agent responsible for getting them into their first home you will probably be the same person that puts them (and their friends) into their future homes.
Whenever you start marketing to a new farm you will first want to plan out what material you will send and how often you will send it. Remember to go in knowing it will take time before you see real results.
If you expect to see clients pouring in after a month or two you will almost certainly be disappointed. But, if instead, you write out a sound and realistic strategy to begin with and follow it, you will see results.
Now, I don’t know about every area of the country but it has been my experience that very few agents consistently farm apartment complexes. A few agents may send a letter or postcard a couple times a year but that’s about it. When they get no response, they tell themselves it was a waste of time and money and that ends it.
One plan that an agent might consider is to have a selection of letters and postcards and then alternately send one of each every month. If the complex you’ve decided to focus on permits, and also affords you access, you might want to hand deliver one or maybe both of these. Walking the area will allow you to meet many of the people you are trying to reach.
The letters and postcards you use can show available homes in the proper price range, talk about some of the advantages of buying versus renting, or point out other benefits of home ownership. If the laws in your state allow, you can give sample monthly mortgage payments for various loan amounts at current interest rates. Even though you need to be careful with this type of information, it can be one of the most effective ways to show someone they can afford a home.
Another common strategy is to counter anticipated objections or concerns the potential buyer might have, thus eliminating all the reasons they “can’t” buy. For example, many renters think they don’t currently pay property tax since they don’t own the property. Perhaps they just don’t think about the fact that the owners of the apartment they are renting, who do pay tax, pass this cost on in the form of higher rent. Try to think of any objections a person that is renting might have for not wanting to buy and look for ways to satisfy them.
Condominiums may be the answer for some of these renters since they offer some of the advantages to apartment living (no yard work for one), and many of the same advantages of traditional home ownership. I have never seen a market that didn’t have a number of reasonably priced condos.
The list of problems with renting an apartment goes on and on. Here are just a few. Noisy neighbors that sound like they’re coming through the wall, no washer and dryer or a common set at the end of the hall, first come first serve or unsafe, uncovered parking, the inability to make changes like paint or carpet colors, dogs barking, music blaring, and the 19 year olds that just moved in across the hall.
Many of these and more will be familiar to just about anyone that rents an apartment anywhere in the country. Convincing them they don’t want to rent isn’t usually a problem, showing them how they can buy doesn’t have to be either.
As I write this, most of the country is experiencing a record number of unsold homes on the market bringing home ownership within reach for many renters for the first time. There are challenges to overcome but renters in apartment complexes can be great sources from which to find potential buyers in need of your services.**Nothing on this website should be confused with financial or legal advice. If you need this, or any other type of advice, please seek the help of a competent professional. In addition, because real estate laws change all the time and differ from state to state, and even city to city in the same state, everything in these pages should be considered general marketing advice and ideas. Please see link to full Disclaimer at the bottom of this page.