Every week, we ask an Atlanta real estate professional for their thoughts on the top trends in Atlanta real estate.
This week, we talked with Christine Topham, the owner of Team Christine, Inc. in Cartersville and a Realtor with RE/MAX Highlands Realty. A real estate professional since 1995, Christine works with a myriad number of clients, from relocations, to move-ups, to down-sizers, to investors.
Atlanta Agent (AA): What are some marketing strategies that you’ve found to be effective for your business?
Christine Topham (CT): I send direct mail that prompts a call to action. The large postcards that I send include my latest sold listings on the front; on the back, I offer a link to my website, and for the consumer to receive a free valuation report of homes sold in their neighborhood. That link generates email leads. I also provide a CMA and add them to my email campaign.
I just started this campaign about six months ago, and I have generated several new listings and a continuous dialogue with sellers who are contemplating selling, but are not quite ready at this time. I’ve been successful with direct mail in the past, but directing it to my website gives me more value for the cost of the mailings, along with the ability to build a database, so I can direct email to prospective buyers and sellers.
Every two weeks, I send out an email that lists our current inventory and includes recent sales, along with info on the market. I want the consumer to see not just our listings, but that we are consistently selling inventory.
AA: We recently took a look at housing affordability, and we found that Atlanta, statistically at least, lost a big chunk of affordability; is that consistent with what you’ve been observing in your market?
CT: In our Northwest Corridor market, prices have increased, but I don’t think that they’ve increased dramatically enough – especially with interest rates staying stable – that we’ve lost a huge amount of affordability. In certain price points we have, but I don’t find that consistent. And still, compared to the rest of the country, we’re quite affordable.
AA: Our most recent Inside Edition cover story dealt with top producers; what would your main piece of advice be for someone looking to duplicate your success in real estate?
CT: Follow up and follow through every day. Implement systems, and if you can’t do it all yourself, hire help. Assess your strengths as an agent, and know your weaknesses. If you know what you want or love to do, and what you’re really good at, you can hire other team members to fill in your weak spots.
Survey your clients before and after the sale. We email a short survey about six weeks into the listing process to determine if the client is happy with our services, and if there are any concerns. That gives us an opportunity to address any issues up front and demonstrate to the client that we really do care about the service we deliver. Finally, “get out of judgment and into curiosity.” My dear friend, Howard Brinton, taught me that.
Always remember that real estate isn’t about houses or properties; it’s about people, first and foremost. Your client wants to tell their story and be heard. Going in with an open mind and taking the time to listen opens up a world of possibilities, and creates lifelong friendships and devoted clientele.