Every week, we ask a Houston real estate professional for their thoughts on the top three stories from the week before. This week, we spoke with Chris Childress, a Realtor with Register Real Estate Advisors.
Houston Agent (HA): In a recent survey we conducted in our Truth About Agents Inside Edition, we found that agents, by a wide margin, use email and their personal website as their preferred means of marketing. What marketing mediums do you prefer and why?
Chris Childress (CC): Of course, email and a personal website, like others, are good tools, but I think it’s a fading trend because I think it’s beco
me a bit too saturated. What my team and I have been moving towards is more social media. I’d say a good portion of my lead generation comes from my Facebook page, as well as out in public. I think the social approach really helps to humanize agents and helps to build the relationship and rapport you need with your clients.
We have a heavy presence and following on Facebook, as well as some other social media platforms. We have some specific strategies and have read a lot of studies on how to best utilize the medium, mixing a lot of personal messages with industry-specific stuff.
We also use a lot of video and interact with our clients on Pinterest.
HA: A new report found that Houston’s residential inventory has been declining, but demand in the city is still up. Has the dwindling inventory hurt your business in any way, and if so, how?
CC: I haven’t really seen it hurt the business, but it has, surprisingly, helped it a little bit. It increases the urgency when we’re working with buyers. It is more difficult to find everyone the right home – there are often multiple offers and you may have to go to two or three properties before you’re able to make a deal. Just a couple of years ago sellers were anxious. I think, to an extent, buyers still have a “buyer’s market” mentality – at least though who don’t keep up-to-date on the market – which makes them more reluctant to make an offer at market value, or close to market value.
It doesn’t really hurt the business, it’s just that we have to really sink our teeth in and educate our buyers on how the market is now. It’s helping now, though, because when they get an offer kicked backed to them and then they end up losing the property to some other buyer it pushes them off the fence a little bit and instills that urgency.
I’m not too worried about the inventory shrinking too much. Inventory climbed a little bit this past month, and we’ve got a lot of builders coming to the area. And, again, it’s becoming more of a seller’s market. Now that people know they can put their house on the market and sell it rather quickly, it’s convincing more and more to put their homes up for sell.
HA: One of our recent features touched on the importance of communicating with clients and other involved third parties throughout the buying and selling process. What do you do to make sure you keeping all relevant parties involved and in the loop?
CC: Communication is key. Any time you do any kind of customer satisfaction survey or after-the-sale conversations, one of the biggest comments or complaints you get is communication. When it’s good, it ‘s always because of over-communication, and when it’s bad, it’s always because you didn’t communicate enough.
What we do is utilize a system of reminders to help stay in communication with our clients. We’ll contact clients every few days, and any time there’s a change in the situation we always send an email and give a phone call – for the personal touch.