How can my wife start networking for real estate leads?
February 20, 2013 11:48 AM   Subscribe

My wife is a new RE agent in the L.A. area and is looking for ways to meet people who may be interested in buying/selling a home. Does the community have any ideas on how she can go out and meet this group of people, network with them, and start to generate leads? Thanks.
posted by mistermc to Work & Money (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Way back in time when we bought our first house, we found our agent when she gave a talk for first-time home buyers. Now, these days I probably wouldn't recommend someone find a real estate agent that way, but it probably does work to some extent. At least the audience there is already primed to be in the market. Without being an expert, my guess is that it will be easier to find buyer clients than seller clients at first.
posted by primethyme at 11:58 AM on February 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

A realtor who had sold a house in our old neighborhood left a leaflet in everyone else's mailbox: "I just sold XYZ house - call me if you're interested in selling." We did (a few months later) and she was awesome.

When we bought our home in TN, I went by word-of-mouth for a recommendation. After we closed on our place, we wound up on our TN realtor's mailing list. I don't think a month went by that we don't get some clever direct-mail-type tchotchke from her. Even our little kids recognized her name when the doodads showed up in the mailbox. Guess we who just called to list our place? It sounds cheezy and all that, but it's not like we're inundated with mailings from realtors. Just her. And it seems to work.
posted by jquinby at 12:14 PM on February 20, 2013

We're in the process of listing. We made a list of agents to interview... We had connections to a couple of agents through friends/coworkers (it's my understanding that most agents will offer a $100(ish) finders fee to referrers for clients that sign on). One agent sends out a "Neighborhood Report" every quarter that runs down average selling prices in our neighborhood, how many houses have sold in different ranges, etc. The last agent was one who we've seen have success listing homes in our neighborhood. The process for us is still ongoing, but that's how we're going about picking a listing agent.
posted by smitt at 12:35 PM on February 20, 2013

I get fliers from one of the local real estate agents wedged in my apartment's door talking about the houses she has for sale in the area or talking up mortgage rates or otherwise endorsing owning a house. I don't want a house but I'd probably give her a buzz if I did because of name recognition alone.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 12:37 PM on February 20, 2013

I would recommend really niche-ing down in terms of area(s) or demographics she wants to work with and network within those circles. It would be great if she actually likes the people she is networking with and hopefully getting referrals from. Some ideas that may or may not work:

-Women's Professional Groups. There are typically tons of these and they likely include women in high earning professions who may be looking to buy a place at some point.

-Any chance you guys are parents? I would think groups and activities that cater to new parents may be a good demographic for her.

-Is there a charity or philanthropic event that she cares about? This would be more of a long-term commitment but could be a great way to meet like minded people with the means to support these things. She would need to really care about the cause and contribute actively for this to potentially pay off in terms of referrals, but in the mean time she is meeting people and supporting something she cares about.

-Any other group in LA associated with property/asset ownership that she could get involved with? Luxury yacht owners? Race horse owners? Art buyers? If not does she have a friend who could take her to the events?

Just some ideas, they may not all work.
posted by the foreground at 12:45 PM on February 20, 2013

In my location (Berkeley/Oakland), one tactic is for an agent looking for new clients to host open houses for selling agents. So Agent A has a listing which has two open houses for the public. Agent A lets Agent B assist or run the events. Agent B chats up the serious buyers and the looky-lous and the neighbors who are checking to see how the listing compares to their house which they might someday sell. Business cards are exchanged. Contacts are made. Agent B might say they're holding the house open as a favor for Agent A, but the favor is just as much in the other direction.

To be sure, when I was househunting I found this tactic to be intrusive. Many people will already have an agent, or not want one, or not be ready to sign with one. Also it has the potential to be underhanded if it's not clear that people aren't talking to the listing agent. However you engage a client, you have a fiduciary responsibility to them. You can create conflict of interest if you aren't scrupulous about disclosing the agency relationships, or if you steer clients to buyers/sellers also represented by your agency. Even the appearance of conflict of interest can be enough to put people off.

Norms of real estate transactions vary widely by location, so check with local agents before you try this.
posted by expialidocious at 12:58 PM on February 20, 2013

Your wife needs to be widely known. This means working on civic projects, enlisting in professional associations, joining clubs, etc. If you have children, wife should be active in PTA.
In general, she needs to raise her profile. Then when people need an agent, they will know her.
posted by Cranberry at 1:09 PM on February 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'm part of a New In [Town] group on LinkedIn and there's a realtor that is very aggressive about posting in there. Her tactics are a little obnoxious, but I think there's a way to do it right. Posting helpful real estate tips or participating in non-real estate discussions and making recommendations will raise her profile--basically, being helpful rather than asking every person who introduces themselves to the group if they need an agent. Even just monitoring a group like that for people asking for realtor recommendations might be a low effort way to find people who are looking for an agent.

Same with Twitter--I know a lot of companies search for people tweeting things like "Anyone know a good real estate agent in LA?" With an active and professional Twitter account, she could reach out to these folks. But again, to do this right she must be contributing to the community aside from soliciting business.
posted by Colonel_Chappy at 1:45 PM on February 20, 2013

I will probably be looking for a buyer's agent in a year or two, and my CPA offered to make recommendations. Maybe it would be useful to network with other high-end service professionals (accountants, attorneys, etc.)?
posted by synchronia at 4:30 PM on February 20, 2013

Attend neighborhood meetings in areas she wants to specialize in.

See if there is a facebook group to join for neighborhoods she likes. If not, start one.

Don't put flyers in mailboxes, it's illegal and a friend of mine had all of his flyers removed by the mail carrier and they made him pay a fine. Companies will make personalized door hangers for you, though some people get irritated by them.

There are companies who will sell very detailed demographic mailing lists - you can get something like households with income over 100k in a certain area who rent and send them postcards about buying a house.
posted by Melsky at 3:41 AM on February 21, 2013

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