Market To Market: Open The Door To Real Estate
While the pandemic rages on and unemployment soars, the residential real estate market has barely flinched. Redfin reports a 14-percent year-over-year increase in home prices, with the average home sale price in the United States hovering near a record-breaking $320,000.
Since July, home prices have increased 6.6 percent, with nearly half of homes (45.7 percent) that go under contract getting an accepted offer within the first two weeks on the market. Despite economic uncertainty, the housing market is hot.
Record-low mortgage rates have been a key driver in the market’s success, with the average rate on a 30-year home loan sinking to just 2.87 percent in October, according to Freddie Mac. Last year, at the same time, the rate averaged 3.64 percent.
Instead of hindering homebuyers, COVID-19 has inspired people to rethink what they want from their home—and to find what fits their lifestyle now rather than later. More than half of buyers (54 percent) think now is a good time to buy a home, according to Fannie Mae. Most first-time homebuyers (53 percent) say they would even buy a house without touring it in person first, according to a LendingTree survey.
Some homebuyers (about one in four) say they are moving sooner than planned due to the pandemic. Why the hurry? Mostly because they want more space for a designated home office and to get more outdoor or recreational space.
For millions of Americans, moving during the pandemic has been a necessity more than a desire to find a place to park their laptop or a backyard large enough for a garden. Pew Research reports that one in five Americans have either relocated due to COVID-19 or know someone who has. Among U.S. adults who moved, 28 percent say they wanted to reduce their risk of catching the virus, 20 percent say they wanted to be with family and 18 percent say they moved for financial reasons.
Like nearly every industry, the residential real estate market has had to pivot, with real estate agents offering virtual home tours and real estate brokers turning to tools such as 3-D mapping and drone surveys. In commercial real estate, developers continue to look for ways to reinvent shopping centers or retail spaces that have been shuttered because of the pandemic. While some businesses have shifted primarily online, others need more space to allow for safe social distancing.
With a decline in in-person tours and face-to-face conversations, real estate professionals must look for new ways to engage with clients and prospective buyers. Through promotional products, real estate agents can reach out with a personal touch, whether that means sending a gift to new homeowners or inspiring targeted leads with branded products.
Whether they are used to increase brand awareness, encourage referrals or thank clients, promotional items allow real estate professionals to promote themselves and their companies, and build a strong foundation in a booming residential market.
While residential real estate has remained stable amid the pandemic, the commercial real estate market took a hit with shutdowns, disruptions to the supply chain and the transition to remote work. A slower activity pace has meant delays to developers’ timelines and impacted cash flows. More than half of U.S construction firms reported halted or suspended projects, and more than two-thirds experienced delays due to a lack of materials or personal protective equipment, according to Deloitte.
While remote work left many companies rethinking their need for office space, the pandemic inspired other companies to take advantage of deeply discounted workspaces. For example, this fall IBM reported searching for 500,000 square feet of office space in New York City in a move to consolidate its workspaces, according to Business Insider.
With so many unknowns, companies in the commercial real estate industry can use promotional products to keep their employees, clients and prospects informed and safe with a range of promotional products.
If you want to work with some of the biggest names in real estate, look to the companies below. They rose to the top in 2019 in terms of annual sales volume.
- Realogy: $504.21 billion
- Keller Williams Realty: $336.59 billion
- RE/MAX: $269.93 billion
- HomeServices of America: $206.08 billion
- Compass: $91.27 billion
Source: T3 Sixty
The United States is home to more than two million real estate agents. Here’s a demographic breakdown:
- 53.7% are women
- 42.1% are men
- 61.4% are White
- 16.4% are Hispanic or Latino
- 11.5% are Black
- 6.6% are Asian
Some states are better than others for real estate agents. When it comes to annual salary, real estate pros earn the most in these states:
- New York: $110,800
- Massachusetts: $84,180
- Connecticut: $79,780
- Alaska: $79,360
- Colorado: $76,850
- Utah: $75,170
- California: $74,140
- Texas: $72,830
- Wyoming: $71,460
- Hawaii: $71,140
For many renters, the pandemic took a toll on their aspirations of home ownership. One in 10 said they were ready to buy a home, but COVID-19 forced 43 percent of them to delay their plans due to economic uncertainty or loss of income. A quarter of renters say they will never buy a home, according to a survey by RENTCafe. Real estate agents can establish relationships and educate this group through thoughtful promotional campaigns.
In 2020, most homebuyers (89 percent) purchased their home through a real estate agent. While 52 percent say they need help finding a home to purchase, buyers look to the pros for assistance with other types of information. By addressing the areas below in their marketing, real estate agents can demonstrate their value to homebuyers and establish long-lasting relationships—nine in 10 buyers say they would use their agent again.
Here’s what buyers most want from their real estate agent:
- 12% - Help negotiating the terms of sale
- 11% - Help with price negotiations
- 8% - Help with paperwork
- 6% - Help determining how comparable homes are priced
- 4% - Help determining budget
- 3% - Help finding and arranging financing
- 1% - Help learning more about the local area
Source: National Association of Realtors
Some homebuyers (39 percent) find their real estate agent through referrals—but most could use a little help finding a pro. By using promotional products, real estate agents can create brand awareness and stay top of mind among prospective homebuyers.
See below for how homebuyers most often find a real estate agent:
- 27% previously had used the agent
- 5% were personally contacted by the agent
- 4% found the agent online
- 3% visited an open house and met the agent
- 3% were referred by another agent or broker
- 2% saw contact information on a for-sale sign
- 2% were referred through a relocation company
- 1% received direct mail from an agent
- 1% walked into an office and the agent was on duty
Source: National Association of Realtors
LendingTree reports that 53 percent of homebuyers are likely to buy a home in the next year due to the pandemic. Here’s why they want to buy soon:
- 67% want to take advantage of low interest rates
- 32% have been able to save a larger down payment due to spending less
- 30% want to take advantage of lower home prices
- 28% want to move to a larger space
In an age of COVID-19, real estate agents are relying heavily on technology to connect with homebuyers. According to OJO Labs, 25 percent of homebuyers are taking more virtual tours now than before the pandemic. Nearly half (41 percent) are also communicating more with real estate agents via Zoom, Skype and FaceTime. Real estate pros can use branded items to promote not just their business, but their virtual offerings.
In 1981, the median age of first-time homebuyers was 31. Now, the median age is 33, with the median age of all buyers increasing to 47. Most non-homeowners (83 percent) say student loan debt has delayed their ability to buy a home. Real estate professionals can use promotional campaigns to educate new prospective homebuyers on their options and help more of them unlock their dream of owning a home.
Source: National Association of Realtors
Due to the pandemic, more than half (57 percent) of companies plan to allow their employees to work remotely at least part of the time, according to Visual Lease. About a third (37 percent) of companies plan to stick with their current leases while six percent plan to go fully remote.
Real estate firms can welcome new agents and keep their company name front and center with this 5x7 journal. Featuring a heavyweight cover and 100 lined sheets, this functional journal includes a foil-stamped logo in one standard color on the cover.
Drum-Line / PPAI 102565, S7 / www.drum-line.com
When real estate agents print their name and contact information on the Value SPF 15 Broad Spectrum Lip Balm and use it in place of business cards at open houses, closings and other client-facing events, there’s a much better chance recipients retain the agents’ information. Available in several flavors such as iced pear and vanilla mint, this American-made balm protects against UVA and UVB rays.
Raining Rose, Inc. / PPAI 232508, S7 / www.rainingrosepromos.com
On closing day, mortgage companies can congratulate homebuyers with the Foodie Bite Tray, a customized serving tray packaged in a gift box. Each acacia wood home entertaining tray features themed handles and coordinating food picks.
PICNIC PLUS / PPAI 240870, S4 / www.picnicpromo.com
Clad in a hand-knit sweater with an embroidered logo, Hugo The Plush Dog sends a warm message to homebuyers. Choose from a range of clothing options, including a machine-knit sweater or an imprinted t-shirt for a more cost-effective gift.
Soft Stuff Creations, Inc. / PPAI 413041, S2 / www.softstuffpromo.com
With a subtle logo in the corner and a retail-style burnout print, the Sculpture Print Ultra Plush Blanket makes a stylish appreciation gift from real estate agents to new homeowners. Choose gray or navy.
Leed’s / PPAI 112361, S13 / www.leedsworld.com
The Perka® Altair 17-ounce double-wall, stainless-steel water bottle features a bamboo base and lid and a braided cotton carry handle. Use it as an employee gift at lending companies, mortgage companies or real estate firms.
Logomark, Inc. / PPAI 110898, S12 / www.logomark.com
Keep clients covered in all conditions with The Spirit featuring an automatic-open shaft and generous 42-inch canopy with plenty of space for an imprint. The sporty two-tone styling combines a color-coordinated handle and wide-closure band. It folds to a compact 11 inches.
Storm Duds Raingear / PPAI 223406, S4 / www.stormduds.com
Audrey Sellers is a Dallas-Fort Worth based writer and former associate editor of PPB.