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Seasonality of the real estate market: How to make the best of it and convert leads into sales mandates

  • Best Practices & Trends
Published by Camille Charlier - 6 May 2021

Like many sectors, the real estate market is seasonal. But as a realtor or real estate agency, do you really make the most of these seasonal variations? Are you adapting your prospecting strategy and your marketing approach to the seasonal patterns of the real estate market? In this article, we suggest some ways to do this.

Before looking at each season in detail, let’s make a distinction between the increase in the number of ads published and the volume of actual transactions. It is also important to distinguish between the price listed in an advertisement and the actual sales price.

1. Winter: the real estate market slows down

Let’s start with the least eventful quarter of the year for the real estate market: the winter months. The lull between November and January/February can be explained by the cold weather and the end-of-year festivities. After all, who really wants to move house in the cold, and in between two family gatherings? Homeowners and homebuyers have other things on their minds, and usually put their projects on hold during this period.

A PriceHubble analysis of more than 700,000 property ads placed online in Switzerland over an eight-year period (2008–2016) shows that January is the least “active” month in terms of ads published: –6.5% compared with the annual average. It also shows that the number of ads published at the beginning of the year fluctuates much more from year to year than during the rest of the year.

Given the pandemic and crisis of recent months, it is obviously difficult to compare the situation in 2020 and 2021 with previous years. If you want to learn more about the current situation, read our article on the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the real estate market in Switzerland.

Image: Average number of ads published per month (Switzerland, 2008–2016). Source: PriceHubble

If you would like to test the effectiveness of Property Advisor, contact us now to start your free 14-day trial. You can use it to monitor real estate market trends and create accurate and comprehensive property valuation reports for your potential customers.

So how can you take advantage of this slow period?

Work on your marketing strategy

Does your website need a facelift? Have you been neglecting your LinkedIn and Facebook pages? Now is the time to do something about it. Especially since a marketing strategy is not built in a day. Many tasks require constant effort. Here are a few things you might want to consider:

  • Optimising your website for SEO.
  • Creating content. Why not take advantage of this slower period to launch or update your blog? Online content creation is your best weapon when it comes to generating leads and making your business more visible.
  • Preparing your real estate prospecting strategy. There is often work to be done before contacting potential sellers. Whether it is getting some new business cards or updating your database of leads – take advantage of winter to get a head start.

Tip: Follow our guide for real estate prospecting ideas

Advise your prospective customers on specific real estate niches

If your marketing strategy is already on point (congrats!) or you still want to focus on your business activities in winter, there are a few niches on which you can concentrate:

  • Secondary residences: In winter, buyers dream of getting away from it all, which can lead to plans to buy a second home. Use this opportunity to follow up on your prospective sellers with second homes.
  • Advise your seller leads on the value of their property: What improvements could they make to their property to increase its value? By giving your prospective customers this kind of advice, you create a relationship of trust.

But beware, spring, by far the busiest season, is fast approaching. From January/February onwards, the pace picks up. This is the time to pull out all the stops (and your brand new business cards).

2. Spring and early summer: the best time to sell

After the slow winter, the real estate market picks up again. With the return of the better weather conditions, homeowners and home buying families are eager to make their property plans a reality. The result? The publication of lots of new listings.

Advise your seller leads on the right price for their home sales

An increase in real estate activity also means a risk of overvaluing the selling price, as we shouldn’t forget that there is also an increase in competition. To avoid missing out on the opportunity of a spring sale, it is important to advise your seller leads on the right home prices to set for their properties. It is easy to fall into the high-season trap. Thinking that they are sure to sell in the coming weeks, potential sellers sometimes set higher prices... and end up missing out on the opportunity to sell during this favourable period. They will probably have to lower their asking price and sell in the off season.

In order to give your seller leads the best possible advice, you need the most accurate and up-to-date market data. Using a tool like Property Advisor makes you a market expert and trusted third party who can help your seller leads put their property on the market at a better price than in winter, but not at an inflated price.

Moving house during the summer?

You may be asking yourself the question: should you really be encouraging your leads to sell at this time of the year? Jean-François Buet, former President of the FNAIM (the leading professional organisation in the French property sector), comments: “This is mostly relevant for larger houses or flats, because owners of smaller properties are generally less affected by the start of the school year or house moves.” Therefore, focus particularly on prospective sellers with a property that is suitable for families. Potential buyers will likely want to buy in the spring so they can move into their new home during the school holidays.

The busy period usually continues until June, with the summer period often marking the beginning of a lull. A practical tip: the summer heat can make visit properties unpleasant, so consider visiting at the beginning or end of the day depending on the property’s orientation. This will allow you to take advantage of the best light, while avoiding the high temperatures.

3. End of the summer and autumn: the low season begins

In autumn, the lull seen at the end of the summer generally continues. However, some potential buyers who haven’t found the property of their dreams will still be looking. Autumn is an interesting season for buyers who are not affected by the holiday season and the start of the school year. It also allows buyers to find a property at the best price, for those looking for a property investment with no plans to move, for example.

Focus on other issues

A lull is a good time to focus on other issues. Why not working again on the marketing and prospecting projects you started last winter? For example, you could use the lull as an opportunity to:

  • Refine your follow-up strategy. There are many tools that allow you to automate follow-up e-mails. You could also tailor the content to the “readiness” of your prospects.
  • Collect testimonials from satisfied customers. Have you considered asking your recent customers for feedback? Some of them will be happy to write you a positive recommendation you can use on your website. There is no more powerful tool than positive reviews to win over your future customers.

The seasonality of the real estate market: an opportunity to improve your marketing, prospecting and sales strategy

Understanding the subtle differences between the seasons enables you to make the best use of your time and energy. Good opportunities arise throughout the year, and quieter periods allow you to focus on other aspects. For example: your marketing plan, your real estate prospecting strategy or maintaining relationships with your selling clients using our Property Tracker tool.

But the seasonality of the housing market is also an opportunity to use market data to your advantage. Your potential buyers need transparency. They want to know the best time of year to sell, and what price to ask.

Giving your prospective buyers personalised advice that takes into account the seasonal trends of the housing market is another opportunity for you to demonstrate your expertise and create a relationship of trust.

Contact us to find out more about how to best advise your prospects, increase conversion rates and secure more sales mandates.

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