Real estate marketing during the holidays can present many challenges. Potential clients are spending more time with family and friends and less time thinking about their real estate woes.
Many sellers wait until after the holidays to list so strangers won’t disrupt their holidays. This doesn’t mean a smart agent can’t be proactive during the holidays.
Here are some ideas to make the most out of the holidays as a marketing opportunity, rather than a hindrance.
Open House Holiday Party
Host an Open House Holiday Party at a home you’re listing.
Most homeowners don’t like opening their homes to strangers during the holidays, especially with so many family events going on. These parties are best hosted in vacant homes.
Stage the home to create a festive holiday environment. Provide holiday cookies, goodies and finger foods with non-alcoholic beverages, like eggnog and hot chocolate. Play tasteful holiday music softly in the background, allowing you to keep spirits high without having to strain your voice.
Many buyers are ready to take the plunge after the holidays. A home decorated for the holidays gives buyers a warm, fuzzy feeling that allows them to picture themselves living there.
Include a raffle offering up to $25 (maximum tax deduction per item) in prizes or gift cards. Holding a drawing also allows you to collect names and contact information for future leads.
Give out your books to attendees next to a plate of cookies, with a sign that says “Take one of each!”
People who want the cookies will feel obligated to take a copy of your book, and they aren’t likely to throw it away. Books hold inherent value, and even if people don’t read it right away, chances are, they’ll pick it up a few weeks or months later if it’s sitting around the house.
Perform Community Service. It is the “Season of Giving,” after all! Collect items for a community angel tree, start a toy and/or food drive for a local shelter, or simply volunteer your time at a local nursing home, hospital or soup kitchen.
Advertise community service events in your blog, newsletter, website, online forums, and social media. Contact local community newspapers to see if they’ll publish a story about your event.
Hire a photographer to take high-quality photos and videos from your event, which you can later share online.
Sponsored Holiday Events
Sponsoring a local holiday event puts you at the forefront of all the publicity it generates. You can sponsor a local holiday market event, where booths offer holiday goodies and gifts for sale, along with your real estate booth. Team up with a local school or church to offer a holiday fundraising bazaar with booths.
Holiday running or biking events are very popular. Find a local bike path or jogging trail in a park or private property. Then, coordinate with local running, biking, and sports groups to sponsor and obtain the required permits or owner permissions for the event.
Have participants dress in festive attire, and make it fun!
Booths at these events should offer bottled water, refreshments, and items of interest for bikers and runners, along with your real estate booth.
Send holiday cards or gifts to former clients and potential leads. Think of your holiday cards or gifts as subtle promotions disguised as thoughtful gestures.
Consider including a small handwritten note on any cards or gifts you send out, along with your book.
Cards to former clients should remind them you’re always available for referrals and to meet any of their future real estate leads.
Your holiday card can include an offer like a free home warranty plan for purchasing a home through you, or you can offer a free CMA.
Send out your books to past, current, and potential clients.
After the holidays, everyone is ready to go back to work. This is the best time to offer classes for home buyers and sellers.
Schedule classes in January after the holiday rush ends. Promote your upcoming class during the holidays, and offer gift cards to anyone who attends the class. Certificates make great holiday presents.
Types of classes to offer:
Set up a “Selling or Buying a Home” class, run by yourself and/or a local expert. Use your MyBooks as a class guide.
Team up with a tax lawyer or CPA to teach a class about “2019 Real Estate Tax Benefits.” Focus on tax benefits that come with buying or selling homes and investment properties in 2019. This is a great opportunity to pick up new listings and find new buyers!
Join forces with a 1031 Like-Kind Exchange Facilitator who will teach about capital gains tax deferment. You can show how you’ll help clients meet IRS deadlines for identifying and purchasing replacement properties after they sell their current ones.
Motivated Buyers and Sellers
The reason has to do with an emotional connection surrounding the holidays. “People tend to make life-altering decisions around the holidays. Sellers want to start the New Year knowing where they will move, making them willing to negotiate new terms.”
Entrepreneurs also claim that smart investors make time over the holidays to seek out real estate opportunities. Many real estate agents report increased showings in December.
And even if they don’t buy right at the holidays, according to the National Association of Realtors®, buyers who hold off until January or February pay 8.45% less on average than in the summer months. January had the lowest sale prices in 29 of the 50 metro areas, and February had the cheapest prices in 19 areas.
End-of-the-Year Tax Incentives
The end of the year provides last-minute tax incentives. December always offers taxpayers a last chance for savings before the tax year ends.
Capital gains exclusion or deferment, business or investment property depreciation, and deductions on new mortgage interest expenses are just a few end-of-the-year tax benefits.
Every December, tax professionals advertise end-of-the-year tax savings. This is everyone’s last chance to take advantage of old tax laws expiring.
Smart real estate agents promote year-end tax savings to potential clients. Tax loopholes come and go. If December offers homeowners and real estate investors a final opportunity to take advantage of a tax loophole — closing by the end of the month — why not promote it?
Plan for your website and blog posts to emphasize a winter theme. Some good topics include:
Tips on how to winterize a home or how to safeguard a home while people are away over the holidays
Favorite holiday recipes and home or office decorating ideas
A guide to local holiday and winter events, especially your own
How to save money shopping for gifts
These are just a few suggestions to take advantage of the winter and holiday seasons to promote your real estate business.
Above all, the holidays are a perfect opportunity to use your books to land listings. Any of the aforementioned strategies can be enhanced when you give potential clients a self-authored book.
Not a MyBooks member yet? Don’t worry! There’s still time to take advantage of this amazing holiday opportunity.
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Joe Nickelson is a real estate professional dedicated to helping home buyers and sellers achieve their real estate dreams, and helping real estate agents stop using the sometimes-vicious tactics that weigh on their consciences. He believes that the Smart Agents books will, quite literally, change people’s lives for the better. Check out his full bio here!