Archive for March, 2020

A Message Regarding COVID-19

Thursday, March 26th, 2020

Fellow Co-op Members and Industry Peers,

Considering recent developments surrounding the spread of COVID-19, it has become clear that the world is facing an unprecedented event. We understand the country will continue to have housing and land acquisition needs, but clearly it is not business as usual for any of us.  We believe that when this passes and normality returns it’s likely that we will see a surge in rural living that should result in new business.
 
Within the next two weeks the Co-op will be mailing out dividend checks to all Members with the Co-op Member Annual Report.  Although these checks will not be life changing, they are indicative of the reason the Co-op is such a powerful and critical organization. We are all stronger together in friendly competition.  Take some time to re-visit LandBrokerMLS.com.  As we begin work on the new 2.0 site, we would love to hear suggestions and ideas that should be included.  It’s also a good time to submit a request form and review the three options for health insurance that the Co-Op can offer to its Members – https://www.landbrokermls.com/insurance.php.

Now is the time to reassess your business from head to toe and be sure you are truthful with yourself about your business.  Bring a greater sense of clarity, priority, and focus to your work… evaluate the organizations you’re participating in and make the commitment to engage with those that can help you generate new business and affiliate with peers that share your vision.  

Just remember times of crisis are times of opportunity and now is a good time to add some new tools and relationships to your business model and remember that life is much more important than money.   Make sure you take care of yourself, family and friends and if you have an opportunity to help a senior (especially a senior land broker/agent) take the time to do so… they may have some ideas to help you with your business.

The following pages have a few ideas to think about during these days of “Social Distancing.”

Stay safe and healthy,

These can be the best of times or these can be the worst of times and you are the one that gets to choose.  None of what is written here is new and most of it has been taken and plagiarized from those that have passed before us and lived through similar troubling times.  When markets are changing, they always create great opportunities for those that pay attention and act decisively.  

The obvious advantage of meeting a client in farm and ranch real estate is the wide-open space, which is a huge positive.  Make sure your clients understand that you have a well thought out plan for keeping both you and them safe during showings.  Ask them to leave the kids at home. Think about taking separate vehicles to and from showings, keep some distance between you while showing property, transfer all documents, listing information and closing papers digitally, keep hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes readily available, have Kleenex, soap, and water available.  If the client is coughing or otherwise showing signs of illness, do not hesitate to reschedule the showing in three weeks.  Clean your vehicle daily with disinfectants when showing clients, make sure to clean high touch areas such as seat belts, door handles, dashboards, etc.  Business does not have to stop during these trying times, but you need to work smart and stay safe.
 
Now is the time to take a good hard look at your own business.  If you thought your database of clients was important before, during hard times it becomes absolutely invaluable.  Start mining your clients for institutional investors, folks who want to pick up a good deal, or people you think will have spare cash to invest in a down market.  Also, look through your database for people who have been highly leveraged over the past five years, these are potential sellers that could have a real need of your assistance.  As you ponder how you may help your clients and over-leveraged folks in your market, compile a mailing list of them and have the Co-op mail 250 copies of Land Broker magazine’s next issue to them “Compliments of you”.  This program helps remind them of you when they have a market need and that time may be now.

When it comes to buyers and sellers during times like these, sellers are frustrated and confused, while buyers are fearful and reluctant – master the art of seller pricing so your listings are always “in the market.” Show sellers the financial risks of being overpriced and missing the window of opportunity and chasing the market to the bottom. Talk to potential sellers about setting up a runway to launch a new listing, timed with the inevitable market upswing that will follow, by getting them signed up but delay the release of the listing as part of a bigger plan…

You need to help buyers overcome their reluctance and help them acquire a genuine sense of urgency. Become their local economist of choice, help them tap into their “why” and show them the hazards of trying to time the market. Narrow the field of available listings and provide “best buy” lists so they see the opportunities that exist in their market.
 
Make sure you understand financing in this marketplace and be ready to help your clients through creative financing solutions.  This could be the time that seller financing makes a transaction work, or that a short sale is a necessity.  Know your way around all types of financial instruments and be creative in combining different ways of financing today’s transactions.  Know all you can about foreclosure, REO and how the banks and lending institutions process them from beginning to end. If a portion of your friends are not bankers, lawyers, and accountants, then it is time to make some new friends.
 
Lastly, make sure your transactions are rock solid, do not leave anything to chance.  Take nothing for granted. Set seller and buyer expectations upfront, involve yourself in the selection and supervision of all vendors, lenders, be personally involved in inspections, repairs, and any final negotiations, and employ a step-by-step process to address buyer or seller “remorse.”  Do not assume that anyone in this market is going to do what they say they are going to do, the price of closing is vigilance, constant vigilance on your part.

We are all in this together and the Land Broker Co-op is here to help you lower your business costs and to bring you more business in the most affordable manner.  We’re here for you!