Winter Is Coming: 10 Ways to Take Advantage of a Slow Real Estate Market
Things slow down in the winter.
Like, hours of daylight. And the real estate industry.
Experienced real estate agents know this. And yet, every year, even before the first snow falls, a feeling of dread often rolls in.
Will I sell anything? Will I sign any new clients? Will I have anything to do?
These fears are normal. But winter doesn’t have to be bad news.
In fact, there are plenty of things agents can do during the slow winter season to set themselves up for a hot spring and summer.
Here are 10 ways agents can take advantage of the slow winter real estate market.
#1 – Step it up for current clients
With fewer clients, agents have more time to dedicate to the clients they do have.
Take advantage of that extra time: go the extra mile for your current clients. Not because doing so would help pass the time, but because of what it will mean in returns for your business.
Going the extra mile could mean hosting a show-stopper open house. Hiring the best stager. Creating high-end marketing materials. And doing the little things that have a big impact; showing up to clear snow, helping clean, bringing over wine and cookies, and so on.
Stepping it up will, ideally, lead to a great result for your clients — and for you. You’ll guarantee yourself a sparkling testimonial and you might catch the eye of future prospective clients who couldn’t help but notice what a great agent you are.
#2 – Send handwritten holiday cards
Maybe you always send out personalized, handwritten holiday cards as a way to stay in touch with past and present real estate clients. But if you don’t, consider starting this year.
Personalized and handwritten are the operative words here. Anyone can send a generic, one-line holiday card; taking the time to write out a thoughtful, personalized message by hand is what helps you stand out.
It’s a nice gesture that keeps your name fresh in the minds of those in your network — which is exactly what you want when people start to think about listing in the coming months.
#3 – Give your online marketing efforts a seasonal makeover
Action may have slowed, but that doesn’t mean your online presence and marketing efforts should also go into hibernation.
Instead, change gears and make sure that what you’re doing reflects the season — take advantage of it.
If you’ve got summer-y photos plastered all over your real estate website, switch them to shots of cozy-looking homes dusted with snow.
Instead of waiting until spring to work on a new market report, put together some data that makes a convincing case for selling in the winter, and share it across social media.
#4 – Write new blog posts
Speaking of blog posts, a slow time is a great time to write new ones.
Writing and stockpiling posts when things aren’t so busy is the best way to prepare for when things do get busy again.
If you don’t have one in place yet, create a real estate blog content calendar for the next six months. Develop ideas for posts that target your ideal clients and that make sense based on the time of year.
#5 – Network, network, network
Now’s the time to lay the groundwork for what will hopefully be a very busy spring and summer in real estate.
Don’t forget that every party, event or class you attend is an opportunity to prospect. Every stranger you meet is a potential lead.
Keep business cards on you. Find a way to mention your business (without diving right into asking a new acquaintance whether they plan on selling in the next six months). And say yes to every offer of an introduction to someone new.
#6 – Take a course
We’re always pointing to a lack of time as our reason for not sharpening our skills (or acquiring a new one). If you’ve been thinking of upgrading your skill set or knowledge, winter is the perfect time to do it.
Like the idea but not sure what to study? Photography, videography, copywriting, and home staging are all areas in which a little extra knowledge could add major value to your real estate services.
#7 – Create a marketing plan for the year
When you’re overwhelmingly busy trying to run your business, it can feel incredibly daunting to sit down and try to plan your business. Not to mention it’s difficult to see the trees from the forest.
But planning is essential to growth and continued success. To get where you want to go, you need a roadmap.
Use this time and perspective to reflect on your business and where you want to take it. Then, use those insights to build your real estate marketing plan for next year.
#8 – Audit your real estate website
You don’t take your website offline when business slows down. Your online presence remains integral to your ability to land new clients — perhaps more than usual.
Give your real estate website the TLC it deserves by performing an audit. It’s something real estate agents should do annually anyways, so why not now?
To perform an audit, closely examine each and every webpage. You’re looking for broken links and images, spelling and grammar mistakes, outdated or incorrect information, and any areas that need to be refreshed or removed.
#9 – Go inspiration-hunting
If you’re not already, you should be looking for (and saving) sources of inspiration for your real estate branding, real estate postcard campaigns, real estate Instagram Stories and real estate videos.
Having a repository of awesome examples of images, social media posts, marketing copy, colour palettes and marketing tactics is incredibly useful when it comes to working on ideas for your real estate business.
Here’s a fun task for agents during the winter months: go hunting for inspiration for your real estate business. Look at other agents’ marketing efforts. Keep an eye out for funny, smart or well-designed social media posts. Take note of graphic design work that appeals to you.
To save your inspiration, use a combination of Pinterest, browser bookmarks and native tools on social media platforms (such as Instagram’s save option).
#10 – Take a break
Whether it’s a vacation or a staycation, use this window to take a proper break.
It can be hard for real estate agents to take vacations, making this opportunity a rare (and important) one.
Taking a break may feel indulgent when you’re concerned about a lull in your business, but doing so is vital to reducing stress, avoiding burnout and remaining engaged and excited about your career.
What do you do to help your real estate business during a slow period?