Geographic farming is like real farming – it takes an investment of time, patience, and faith. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that it will take a long time for you to get your first listing. What it will take though is a very systematic, faithful, and methodical approach to yield the maximum harvest of listings and to receive a good return on your investment. If you are not committed to creating a plan, setting aside a budget, and working it like clockwork, then you might not be ready to get started with geographic farming. At least not yet anyway…
Selecting The Farm That’s Right for You
Because your farm is a major investment of time and money, take your time selecting it. Below are a few factors you will want to consider and questions you will want to answer as you weigh your options.
Is the area one that you feel comfortable with and is convenient for you to work? While I don’t feel that it is absolutely necessary that “the farm” be close to your office, it does make it easier to work it. Additionally, people in the farm area may ask you where your office is located. Keep in mind that they will likely view you as more of an area specialist if your office is nearby.
Should you farm your own neighborhood? Some agents do like to farm their own neighborhood. This approach may work very well for you because it makes it easy to work it and you may already be very well connected to the community and activities in the area. Also, other homeowners may be a bit friendlier when they realize you’re a neighbor.
What is the price range you want to be in? While a bread and butter price point will always turn, some farmers like to stretch to the upper end of the price range to increase their per-listing profit. Once again, it is important to be in an area you know well and feel comfortable in. If you decide to go to the upper end, you may want to go as high as you can while staying within a range that still has decent turnover.
Speaking of turnover, what has been the percentage of homes that have turned over in the last 2-3 years? I have been told over the years that a farm should have at least 4-5% turnover. There is now data analytics that will help you identify the top 20% of homeowners who fit the profile of “most likely to move” so that you can target them. While this is not a guarantee of hot listing leads, it is an interesting next-generation method of farming. These analytics will not, obviously, predict death, divorce, or other financial problems, but there are methods for finding those leads too.
Are there any major competitors in the area who are already established? It is important to know how much competition you have and whom you will be competing against. It is nearly impossible to find a farm where you’ll have zero competition, but some competitors are fiercer than others. If you do decide to take on a veteran, determine their weakness. Are they sporadic in their efforts? Do they have many expired listings? Do they only mail?
How big should the farm be? This is a common question and the answer really depends on your budget and your time commitment. Over the years, I have found that for most farms to generate a reasonable amount of return, there should be between 500-1000 homes. This is a common first farm size for many new farmers.
Who can help me choose my farm? We can, of course! If geographic farming is something you believe you want to do, I have coaches with vast expertise and personal experience in selecting, working, and dominating a geographic farm.
Now That You Have Chosen a Farm, It’s Time to Get to Work
To begin working on your farm, you will want to pull the data on the area and establish who the people are that live there. Determine who the absentee owners are, who the renters are, how old the homeowners are, how long they’ve lived there, etc. I often see money wasted by sending the wrong messages to the wrong audience.
Frequency is Key
I recommend that you hit the farm at least twice a month to really gain and maintain market share.
Another Method to Fast-Track Results in Your Farm
Be sure to pull old expired and cancelled listings, current expired and cancelled listings, and any “For Sale By Owners” listings also. They can be a great source of quick listings and your entry into the farm. A very high percentage of them will try again within a few months of their first attempt and you want to be front and center when they do.
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