TORONTO – If you are a new real estate sales representative in the GTA who earned your license over the winter, there’s no question you have already heard the term “spring market.” In the real estate industry’s seasonally-fluctuating annual calendar, spring is the most active – and most fiercely competitive – sales season of them all.
Why so much real estate activity during the spring? The biggest reason has to do with two groups of suddenly active sellers: those who are returning their home to the sale block after de-listing it during the cold months of winter, and a whole new group of sellers listing their properties for the first time.
Now that we have emerged from one of Toronto’s longest and coldest winters in recent memory, we thought we’d go over some of our best advice for how young agents can achieve success in their first busy spring market.
“Curb appeal:” take it to the next level
It’s finally springtime and you’ve just landed the dream listing – a big detached home in a nice neighbourhood, with plenty of frontage. There’s no way around it, though – at this time of year the melting snow will uncover all kinds of debris, from leaves and twigs to trash deposited near the sidewalk or curb. You also don’t get the “curb appeal” benefit of lush foliage, or a brilliant green lawn.
Working together with your client, there are a few things you can do in order to get things show-ready around the exterior of the home:
- Consider hiring a gardening company to come in and neatly trim bushes, trees, etc. around the front and back yards. This has been a winter of frequently windy winter weather, so this may be well worth the investment for an eye-catching home.
- Have your client or a yard care professional clear up any debris that may be hidden in the grass. This is extremely important, as buyers may want to tour the yard and not just the inside!
- If your client has outdoor lighting installed, it’s worth a check to make sure all of the bulbs are working properly – some potential buyers may only be able to drop by in the evening.
Accessibility is everything
Spring is an exciting time for the market, but it also tends to be highly competitive – especially if you’re representing buyers and the offers are starting to roll in. What’s the best way to thrive and succeed, even when you’re in the busy spring market? Emphasise your off-hours availability. If your client knows that you’re willing to work late and – most importantly – on a weekend, that’s an important part of your working relationship. You may get offers on your listings at any time of the day – be ready to service your client!
To help stay on top of things, it’s helpful to provide a personal cell phone number to your clients, as well as any agents you might be working with on a potential real estate deal. This is a powerful alternative to simply providing your branch office number – it shows that you’ll be both reachable and committed when things come down to the wire.
Working with sellers? Go beyond the standard MLS listing
With the market thawing out and so many different properties competing for springtime attention, how do you make your property stand out from the dozens of others listed on MLS? There are a few simple things you can do to make any given property stand out.
- Take photos and invest in creating a virtual tour. With excellent cameras included on many modern cell phones, there’s no excuse for listing a property without great photos. If you really want to capture buyers’ attention, consider creating a walkthrough video – it’s easy to do with inexpensive programs such as iMovie – and uploading it to YouTube.
- During the spring, everybody will be doing open houses, so get a leg up on the competition by mixing in a delectable appetizer and some carefully paired non-alcoholic beverages. Our Open Kitchen series features some tasty and fuss-free recipes that will add a touch of sophistication (and maybe even some word-of-mouth guests!) to your open house event.
- Invest in an awesome two-sided feature sheet that agents and buyers can grab when they visit your property. Heavy glossy paper and colour printing may seem like an extravagance now, but attentive touches like these are what will make a strong impression on buyers and sellers.
Capitalize on natural light
This last tip is straightforward, but crucial. We have had an exceptionally long winter this year, and everybody in the GTA is relieved to see the sun shining brightly again! Take advantage of it by making sure that, prior to a daytime viewing or open house, all curtains and window coverings are pulled open in order to let in as much natural light as possible.
First Things First: Getting Established and Building a Client Base
If you are very new to the real estate industry, you might not have any clients yet, and you may not have made the decision of which brokerage to work with yet. Here’s the good news – that’s okay! A great brokerage can help you hit the ground running this spring by giving you the resources and guidance you need to start building your network of clients.
For more general advice or to inquire about working with a brokerage, feel free to contact a Living Realty branch manager today – they will be happy to provide insight and help you get started.