4 Top Agent Tactics for Thriving in a Competitive Market

Housing markets are hot across the country, but few are hotter than Austin, Texas. With prices up 23.7% year-over-year in the first quarter of 2021 and listings down a whopping 78.3 percent, according to the Texas Association of REALTORS®, competition for available inventory is fierce.

At a recent Real Talk event in Austin, three top-producing agents shared their strategies for success in an incredibly fast-paced market.

Here’s what they had to share:

1. Know your numbers (and how to explain them) 

Chances are your clients don’t get exactly what is going on in the market. They know they keep getting outbid by all-cash buyers, but they don’t understand why. 

“It’s very important that, as professionals, we have those numbers at the tip of our tongue,” says Chris Kappmeyer, founder of All Hands Real Estate and Side partner. 

Being able to succinctly explain what a balanced market looks like in your area and describe what forces are causing it to heat up will help build trust with your clients.

2. Establish a clearly communicated process for handling multiple offers

In an environment where most listings spark bidding wars, you need a clearly defined process to sort through offers. Amber Montanio, founder of Black Label Real Estate and Side partner, reminds agents: “An offer isn’t better just because it’s higher. If it’s attached to a lender who can’t get the job done, you’re not really doing any good.”

She recommends qualifying the lender for each buyer who submits an offer as a key step when handling a bidding war. “The last thing you want to do is convince your seller they're making a good choice going with a certain buyer, and then it all falls apart,” she says. This is particularly true in a fast-paced market where, if a seller’s deal falls through, they may be forced to drop out of contract on a house they were waiting to purchase.

Key to Chris’s process is clearly communicating with each buyer’s agent submitting an offer — and doing so repeatedly. “I’ll let them know that we’re expecting more offers, but right now they are one of two,” says Chris. “I’ll ask them to bring their best offer by noon the next day and let them know that if we get any more offers, we will reset that time clock. Then if four more offers come in, I will go back to them and say: ‘Okay, now you’re one of five [agents making] offers.’ So the process builds on itself.”

3. Lean into the unconventional offer

David Brodsky, broker/owner of David Brodsky Properties, encourages agents operating in a hot market to think outside the box of cookie-cutter transactions. You need to understand the seller’s priorities to know what type of offer they will find most attractive. “You may find that a two-month leaseback is worth more than your buyer purchasing a title policy,” says David.

Amber agrees: “You have to be able to be competitive on more than just price point,” whether that’s having your buyer contribute to your seller’s closing costs or waiving certain contingencies. Amber will often prepare a net sheet and attach it to her buyer’s offer to contextualize it, in case the listing agent is inexperienced.

4. Prioritize connecting with other agents

The stronger your relationships with other agents, the easier time you’ll have closing deals — especially in a hot market. So if you come across an agent you don’t already know, take time to look them up. 

“I do my research on everyone who submits an offer on one of my properties,” says Amber, “so I know who I’m up against. Sometimes it can give [the other agent] an edge where I can say, ‘Okay, this agent knows their stuff. They’re not going to flake out.’”

David goes the extra mile to make sure he connects with agents individually, even when he doesn’t accept their offers. “I think that as busy as we are, it’s incumbent upon us to communicate with the other agents, to make the extra phone call instead of sending a blanket email that you lost the offer. That agent took a long time to pull that offer together, and a personal phone call where you reinstill the value of having received that offer and let them know why they didn’t get it — that to me is a number-one missed opportunity.”

A red-hot market certainly brings significant challenges. But if approached with the right strategies, like those listed above, it can also yield big rewards. Your success is in your hands.

Missed the Real Talk Austin event? You can catch the livestream here.

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