By Amy Stockberger
I have spent my entire real estate career — my only career, mind you, so I don’t have anything to compare it against — advertising listings for sale because that is the rule book I was given.
I go to great lengths to make sure my listings — the product — are as shiny and desirable as can be online and on social media. I give my sellers free staging consults, magazine-quality photos, drone and dusk photos, 3D walk-through tours and spend copious amounts on pay-per-click advertising so my Google Geeks — my beautifully brained digital team — get the product in front of the right buyer at the right time for that specific home.
I have systemized the process to provide repeatable excellence for all my sellers, giving them the highest dollar in the shortest amount of time with the least amount of hassle. While creating and implementing new ideas for this process brings me immense enjoyment, I love the marketing and advertising piece of my business just as much.
Enter 2020. Those beautiful listings I love to get all dolled up for the big show are down over 36 percent. That is a lot of missing inventory. Couple that with an interest rate of less than 2.5 percent, and the buyer pool is flooded. They need those shiny homes, and they need them now.
A believer that there is almost always a way to find a solution to every problem, I turned the rule book upside down and decided to try to make this process a little different. The goal is to bring more homes into the market to meet our buyers’ overzealous appetites right now.
The problem at hand is low inventory. That could be for many reasons. I feel there are three big contenders at issue.
One: Current homeowners, while they want to jump into the market and take advantage of historically low interest rates, cannot find a home that suits their needs.
Two: Getting your home ready to go on the market often feels daunting and overwhelming. We as humans have lots of stuff, started projects, kids, work, school and less time then ever.
Third: Some people are still not overly comfortable with having a lot of people in their home because of COVID-19.
The timing seems right to introduce a buyer-targeted version of the Multiple Listings Service. The new products we are dolling up for the big show are buyers.
We are calling it the Buyer Match Service. It functions like an online dating site, where participants enter in the parameters of what they are looking for in a mate and then results are sent to them of possible matches that meet those parameters.
With this service, a homeowner goes to our website, buyermatchservice.com, fills out a form with the basic parameters of their home, and all buyers we have who meet their parameters are queried for them. The info can be basic: number of bedrooms, baths, garage stalls and area. Or it can be granular, including school districts, developments, etc.
We can set up a short listing period — even a one-day listing — show as many buyers as are able to look and hopefully match a buyer and seller quickly and happily. This will create more homes available, and the seller often won’t need to have the home in “show” condition because of the demand of buyers. That means less stress for the homeowner and potentially a lot fewer showings to reduce COVID-19 risks.
Matching buyers and sellers and navigating them to the closing table is just the beginning of our relationship with our clients. There are a lot of moving parts before, during and after the closing, and that is another area where Amy Stockberger Real Estate shines.
Our clients get free lifetime access to our VIP Club, which includes moving trucks, trailers and boxes. We have a party shed with banquet tables, bouncy houses and machines to make cotton candy, snow cone, popcorn or hot dogs as well as commercial grade food warmers and platters; really anything you may need for a party, we have it. They also get access to our tool shed, which is full of all the homeowner items clients often don’t want to pay to rent, buy or store at their home, like wheelbarrows, commercial grade paint sprayers, long tree branch trimmers and aerators.
We also have the only One Roof Solution in the nation, according to my research. In an effort to always look for ways to save our clients, time, stress and money, we designed our new building to have as many services and products as possible under one roof. We have an in-house lender, title insurance services — meaning we can have the closing right at our office — insurance, interior designer, property management, a builder and climate-controlled storage units. We also give our clients their first 30 days’ free of storage unit usage.
Amy Stockberger Real Estate also offers a Home Support Team full of vendors ranging from plumbers and electricians to window cleaners, contractors and restaurants. All of our HST partners not only give our clients legendary care like we do, but also they offer preferential treatment as well as great pricing.
The money saving doesn’t stop there because we offer a discount program to our clients that gets them up to 75 percent off over 100,000 national and local vendors. The discounts range from apparel and restaurants to free travel discounts and cash-back rewards.
While the final closing is the No. 1 goal for sellers, service and a lifetime relationship of support should be just as important. If you are even tossing around the idea of that next move, we would love to share our aggressive marketing and lifetime support model with you.
First responders: We’d love to treat you to coffee. Stop by our office anytime.