About one in four purchasers of an existing home plans to do some remodeling or upgrading to bring the property up to date and transform it into the home they really want. Even allowing for the fact that only one in five of these buyers is likely to hire an interior designer to help them with their project, with some five million homes a month trading hands, that’s still a lot of potential business. Are you getting your share?
Demand for existing homes, especially those in good neighborhoods, is high. Competition in some areas is fierce, and desirable homes do not stay on the market for long before eager buyers willing to pay well over the asking price snatch them up. If you’re looking to market your services to these buyers, you need to have an inside track to the market. You want to be well connected with local real estate agents.
It’s not enough to distribute your business card and marketing materials to local agents and hope for the best. You need to build strong relationships with them, and that takes time and effort. Begin with an invitation to lunch, breakfast or coffee. The purpose of this first encounter is to introduce yourself and to learn more about the agent’s business and clients. You are not trying to sell the agent on your services, but let them know how you may be of potential service to them, such as notifying them when hear of a property that may be coming on the market shortly. Don’t harass them, but keep in contact regularly to share information and advise them of your availability. If you do get a referral, be sure to thank the agent and send an appropriate gift for their courtesy.
A referral for a real estate agent just after the major purchase of a house or condo could be extremely lucrative, but you need to have established trust and kept the lines of communication open and active. If their clients are happy with your services, that’s an added bonus for the agent, too, and will incentivize them to keep sending business your way.