Long term nurture is a crucial strategy in real estate because those who are “ready” to buy a new home are often ready to begin their search –meaning it will likely  be a while before they actually go through with their purchase. Studies suggest that 50% of people looking to buy a new home begin their formal search process anywhere between 6 and 12 months before actually purchasing their home.

That’s a long cycle to take advantage of as a real estate agent. However, it certainly gives you plenty of chances to reach out to these potential leads throughout the year. The problem here is many agents don’t use this statistic to their advantage. The industry average for lead response attempts is a lousy 1.3 attempts. This number is far too low–especially when considering you’re likely going to need to nurture that lead for 6 months, at the very least.

Taking all of this one step further, 72% of shoppers will do business with the first agent they speak with.

We maximize return USING a proper lead strategy when generating leads, you need to be the first agent someone speaks with and you also need to be contacting that person half a year before they are ready to sign on the dotted line. You must be building a relationship from start to finish. Top performing real estate teams are building long-term relationships. They are leveraging their network. What are their past clients up to? Keeping an eye on positive experiences of the past is a great way to help leverage future referral business. They understand that from start to finish, the lead process is a marathon that involves different strategies at different points in the process.

Building the relationship for long term nurture

The end goal though is to build a genuine relationship with these leads so that you can score them as a client. So how do you get to that point? The key is keeping in mind this is a long process. Remember that it won’t be productive to give these prospects the hard sell throughout the entire buying cycle, especially if they’re taking the longer 6 to 12 month journey. Let’s examine further the different stages within this year long journey.

Online Research (12 months before closing)

At this stage, home buyers are thinking: What can we afford in our area? What are the demographics, schools, etc. like in the area? Leads in this stage have started to browse listings, but not yet ready to buy. According to MarketLeader.com, 90% of home buyers searched online during the homebuying process. Of those people 85% of them visited the website of an agent and 75% of those visitors registered on the website to receive listing alerts. Plain and simple, if you are not making yourself visible, you are losing business. Make sure your website is up to date and communicates your brand and the unique value you offer. Once they’ve made contact with your site, send them relevant, helpful information to establish a connection, and start building trust.

Active Search (4 months before closing)

This juncture marks the moment when home buyers are ready to start touring homes with an agent. They’ are thinking:

  • How many homes have you sold this year?
  • Do you know the area of interest?
  • Will you help make this process easier?

Real estate leads in this stage are aware of what they want and can afford, and want specifics about the buying process. As an agent, you should make yourself available for showings and offer recommendations based on their criteria. Timely response in this stage is crucial, so be prompt in your communications.

Transaction (1 month before closing)

Here is a point in time where home buyers need an agent to negotiate contracts and guide them through the purchase process. They are thinking: How much should we offer for this home? What are the contingencies? Are we competing with other buyers? This is your chance to shine. Provide exceptional service and guidance, resources, and referrals. It takes on average 23 days to negotiate a home purchase, so be upfront about the timeline and logistics. By establishing trust, you are giving them a reason to work with you again and refer family and friends.

An effective real estate lead management and long term nurture plan for your brokerage and team should be thoroughly planned ahead. Engage in the customer journey, not just the transaction. Too often a lead is responded to and you never hear back. Generally, it is considered dead and a waste of time.

As we see above, however, hearing no response isn’t the whole story. Like any relationship that never fully developed–sometimes it’s due to poor timing…

What if you could have converted that lead and your lack of response allowed some other agent to swoop in a few months later and take what you saw first? Adaptive Top Teams, however, are well aware of this and have systems in place to counteract this issue.

Are you well enough equipped with a set of tools that can help you capture this opportunity? Make sure you have a long-term follow up process in place, or risk having your leads slip through the cracks.

Don’t be just another statistic that sees opportunities get snatched up by the real estate team down the street.

Raymon Lacy

Raymon Lacy

A San Francisco native and UC Berkeley grad, Raymon recently made the move to Sunny San Diego. When he's not being a Marketing Magician, you can find him exploring San Diego or nose-deep in anything that relates to tech, sports, video games, fantasy, music, beaches or craft beers. (And lists. He really likes lists)