Real estate farming seems fairly straightforward at first. If you can stay on top of daily, weekly, and monthly outreach tasks then you’ll be successful – right? How hard can it be to regularly send postcards and call prospects?
The truth is a little more complicated. All of the tasks, project management, marketing know-how required to successfully farm a real estate territory can become overwhelming. Unfortunately, most realtors that fail will do so within the first year.
According to Investopedia, inadequate prospecting and failure to maintain contact relationships are two of the top reasons that agents fall short of their goals. Real estate farming is a critical sales and marketing approach that, if done properly, solves the problem of consistently developing and nurturing new prospects. Strategically, real estate farming is an approach that relies on focused, repeated outreach efforts within well-defined, high-opportunity geography.
If you’ve struggled to keep up with real estate farming efforts, don’t worry – you're not alone. In this article, we’ll cover the top 6 real estate farming challenges and offer practical solutions for successfully overcoming these issues.
Top 6 Real Estate Farming Challenges
1. Staying consistent.
Consistency is essential for long-term success in any sales role; particularly with real estate. Buying or selling a home is a big decision, and circumstances in your prospects’ lives can change overnight. People tend to recall realtors that most recently marketed to them. This is especially true with time-sensitive transactions. When prospects are ready to act, they’ll often reach out to the real estate agent that seems to be most interested in and knowledgeable about their situation.
While many people do continue to work with the same realtor over several years, first-time homebuyers are a large percentage of the overall market, and reaching them should be a key piece of your growth strategy.
2. Picking the wrong farm size.
Choosing the right farm size is equal parts art and science. Too large, and your farm will be too difficult or costly to effectively reach on a consistent basis. Too small, and you may not strike the right balance between healthy inventory, absorption and turnover rates. Experts recommend aiming for a farm size of between 300-500 total homes depending on the density in your geography. Remember that there are costs (e.g., resources and time) associated with saturating your target farm region, including:
- Taking time for personal emails, phone calls, and meetings with prospects.
- Monthly, quarterly, or annual direct mail outreach.
- Event hosting, workshops, or other educational efforts.
- Sponsorships for local schools, sports teams, and events.
- Much more!
3. Using only 1 or 2 marketing tactics.
Reaching a target audience through the right mix of marketing channels is essential for building brand recognition and eventually converting prospects. Agents need to use a variety of online (e.g., digital) and offline (e.g., traditional) methods of reaching prospects to stay top of mind when it matters most. If you’ve already defined your ideal geography, do some research to understand which marketing tactics are most likely to reach your prospects. Common examples include:
- Social media sites.
- Direct mail.
- Online ads.
4. Failing to understand the psychographics, demographics, and housing market in your real estate farm.
Even if you have identified a real estate farming territory that’s ripe with opportunity, it can still take months or years to develop a deep understanding of the homeowners, property types, community, growth, demographics, and other important regional features.
Without a complete knowledge of your farming territory, your sales efforts could completely fail to connect with the target audience or be perceived as disingenuous. Long term, this will hurt your brand perception.
5. Selecting a farming territory that’s oversaturated with the competition.
There’s no worse feeling than scouting your farming territory and seeing “For Sale” signs from one or more competing real estate agents. Excessive competition can significantly increase the effort required to establish your presence in the region, which means more marketing expenditure and time invested in face-to-face meetings. Plus, if prospects in your real estate farm territory already have a good relationship with a realtor, they are unlikely to switch unless they have a bad experience.
6. Farming an area with low inventory or absorption rates.
Some areas might seem promising at first due to high home values and low competition. But, there might be a good reason that competition is low. It’s crucial to understand the rate at which homes are bought and sold within a specific zip code of farming territory. These two measurements, known as the turnover rate and absorption rate, will help you accurately forecast the anticipated number of potential listings, and how quickly homes might sell.
Overcoming Real Estate Farming Challenges
Fixing your real estate farming challenges requires access to better tools for scheduling, outreach, and building the ideal geography.
SmartZip offers several tools that can help you increase your real estate farming results with better data, automated marketing solutions, and targeted outreach and advertising. Real estate agents who use these tools don’t need to worry about forgetting to send their quarterly direct mail campaign or return a call to an interested prospect.
Data drives every successful strategy, and our Smart Data solution is designed to help real estate agents define and research a precise real estate farming territory. Once your region has been defined, you can do a deep dive into demographic research and, most importantly, use AI-driven predictive analytics to discover exactly which homeowners are the most likely to list.
Easily target individual prospects in your farming territory with multi-channel marketing and sales efforts. Create, schedule, and send direct mail, online advertising, and other outreach campaigns in just a few clicks. You can forget about tying together multiple systems, hiring a marketing manager, or trying to figure out Facebook’s advertising platform – we make it easy.
Put the power of positive testimonials and referrals to work for your business. Reach 150 empowers realtors to quickly set up an SEO-friendly website that features testimonials and promotes them around the web through targeted advertising. Never be out of sight or out of reach for your prospects.
Request a demo today if you’re interested in seeing exactly how SmartZip can dramatically improve your real estate farming results, reduce time spent on routine marketing tasks, and help bring goals within reach.