Real Estate Farming and How it Captures More Leads

Chris Heller HeadshotChris Heller, Licensed AgentNovember 28, 2022

Residential,Neighborhood,Subdivision,Skyline,Aerial,ShotIf you’re in real estate, you want to capture as many qualified leads as possible. The more people with interest you reach out to, the more likely you are to close a deal.

Real estate farming is a lead generation strategy that’s known to bring in high quality leads in your target area. If done correctly, you can capture at least 30% of all sales within your scope setting you up for a lifetime of reliable income. The method involves providing consistent value to showcase your expertise in the local real estate market.

This article will explain the real estate farming strategy so you can determine how to use it to increase your client base.

Choose the Right Neighborhood

First you will want to choose a neighborhood to target. Ideally, your farm should include 500 homes or less. It should also have a good demand for housing and a solid turnover rate. It’s ideal if you opt for an area that you are familiar with and that you have worked with or lived in before.

rogers healy headshotBecoming the go-to agent in any particular neighborhood is all about putting yourself out there. I once read a book by Bob Beaudine called ‘The Power of Who’ which explained to me that creating business for yourself is all about who you get to know.

While direct and digital marketing works wonders, there is nothing that compares to knowing as many people as possible. Bob writes about how he used to show up to the mall food court with a stack of business cards and not leave until they had all been passed out.

While you don’t necessarily need to take it this far, it is crucial to get yourself out into and interacting within those respective communities. People will always use the person they know before the person they see advertised. (from Rogers Healy, Licensed agent for 22+ years)

Plan How and When to Deliver Value

Aerial,View,Of,Residential,Houses,At,Spring,(may).,American,Neighborhood,There are plenty of ways to deliver value to your farm area. These include social media posts and groups, blogs, newsletters, mailings, market updates and more.

But beyond determining the best methods to provide content, you will also want to focus on what information you will be including and when you will be releasing your posts and articles.

There are key times that may work better with your target audience which can be determined with a mix of research and trial and error. Once you discover when you are getting the best responses, you can create a calendar that keeps you on track in terms of sending out your content at the right time.

You may also want to use Parkbench to provide value to your farm. You can use the platform to create an online space to give community members the lowdown on local events, news, and real estate.

amy terry headshot

Actually spending time in your farm is my number one tip. Face to face interaction is by far the most valuable kind of marketing.  Ideally, you actually live in your farm so you’re there everyday interacting with neighbors, walking your dog, taking your kids to school, and frequenting local businesses.  While doing all that consciously make an effort to get to know people, ask questions, and exchange information.  I know it sounds old school, but it works.

Look at every listing that hits the market in your farm.  I try to set foot in every home so that when I go on a listing consult I can speak from personal experience what each comparable sale looked like, smelled like, why it sold so high or so low.  This is knowledge only a neighborhood expert can provide. With permission of the listing agent it’s also a great opportunity to post to social media what’s happening in your farm.  Give online tours and feedback on all these listings.

Truly become the go to agent for that area online. Create consistent hashtags that tie to your community and be sure to tag your location. Lastly, become a community asset, host local events. Again, face to face interaction cannot be beat and getting the community involved is a great way to do good and meet new people.  I’ve held coat drives, blood drives, pumpkin patches, Santa photos, movie nights, the list goes on and on. (from Amy Terry, Licensed broker for 17+ years)

Manage and Track Your Leads

View,Of,Modern,Residential,Houses,Neighborhood,Street,In,Bentonville,,NorthwestThe leads you make through farming will differ from the leads that come through your website landing page and other lead generating platforms. Instead of coming from online sources, they will be a result of your efforts to build relationships with the people in your area.

Once you have these leads, you will want to keep track of them and where they are on the funnel. You want to determine the best times to reach out for them via email, text message and other forms of communication. The best way to do this is to use a customer relationship management (CRM) tool which tracks your replies and ensures you follow up on communications.

Bill-Samuel HeadshotI believe the best platform to market your real estate is through your personal website. I would recommend using a third party website service provider such as carrot.com to set up your website. You’ll start out with a fully optimized platform to build from saving you massive amounts of time trying to figure everything out yourself from scratch.

From there it will be your job to customize the templates and content of the website to target customers in your local area and drive traffic to your website. Your content should focus on unique and specific challenges that exist for home buyers and sellers in your area. Once people have found you as a good resource online and your website is optimized for maximum conversion you’ll start benefiting from leads rolling in on a regular basis. (from Bill Samuel, Licensed Residential Developer for 9+ years)

Start Delivering Value

Once you’ve chosen your farm area, come up with a plan of when to deliver content and set up a CRM, it’s time to put your plan in motion. Your plan will be long term based on cultivating relationships so you can provide potential clients with a pitch when the need arises.

But unlike other marketing campaigns, farming is not a set it and forget it strategy. You must also stay active in your communities by attending and spearheading local events and doing a lot of networking.

marie bromberg
I have been an agent for seven years, and during the entirety of that time, I have specialized in a neighborhood, and I became the neighborhood specialist (or one of them) by becoming a building specialist. I became the specialist of the building I lived in, which is often the case when agents become specialists. It provides a ready network, as hopefully the agent is already connected to people in the building, and as they grow, their listings increase their customer base, and word-of-mouth becomes especially powerful.
To become the building specialist I created content-heavy marketing materials that were specific to the building and surrounding area. I also used the fact that I lived in the building to my advantage by hosting get-togethers and events. While many agents go everywhere to make deals happen, I decided early in my career that I wanted to be a specialist, I wanted to have depth of knowledge, and I feel that this is what differentiates agents from StreetEasy / Zillow or Trulia. We know what it’s like to LIVE in the neighborhood, something that is impossible to quantify on a real estate site. (from Marie Bromberg, Licensed agent for 7+ years)

How Much Does It Cost to Get a Real Estate Farming Campaign Up and Running?

Just like any good marketing strategy, real estate farming requires you to put money in so you can get money out. Fortunately, the method is quite effective so you should start seeing an ROI pretty quickly. Here are some of the annual expenses you can expect to incur if you are targeting a farming community with 250 homes.

ItemCost
Regularly Scheduled Post Cards (250 x 8 per year)$1,260
Property Status Update Postcards (200 x 12 per year)$1,584
Quarterly Letters (250 x 4)$550
Door Hangers (250)$100
Neighborhood Website$3,500
Content for your WebsiteFree
One Sponsored Event$1,000
Total$7,994

That’s hefty. But let’s look at your potential for return.

If a typical home in your neighborhood sells for $400,000, you’ll get a 3% commission of $12,000. One transaction will cover your expenses with some left over. Three or four transactions a year can bring you a good amount of income.

Dan B

As a real estate professional, becoming the go-to agent in a particular area requires hard work and determination. You need to set yourself apart from the rest and develop your brand. You can do this in a variety of ways, but I started with coming up with a great design and slogan that stood out in my area.

The best way to achieve this is to become an expert in your area by building the right connections. Involve yourself in the community, get to know the neighborhood, and build professional relationships with people in the area. This is where a majority of my warm leads come. It’s well worth the time it takes to come up with a successful real estate farming plan in order to gain new prospects that you can eventually convert into clients.  (from Dan Belcher, Licensed Broker for 10+ years)

What Content and Materials Will I Need to Provide in My Real Estate Farming Campaign?

Here are some of the content and materials you will need to provide and how they can be used to make your real estate farming campaign a success.

Farm Specific Website Content: The content on your website should be specific to your farm community. It can be as short as a few sentences with a picture, or it can be a longer blog article. Post content relevant to the market, local happenings, news, new businesses, and other events. The aim here is to keep yourself in the public eye and establish yourself as an expert in the area’s real estate field.

Door Hangers for Door Knocking: Door knocking is not everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s a great way to make and maintain connections in your community. The nice thing is, if you’ve played your farming cards right, you probably know most homeowners you’ll be interacting with, so you’ll be less likely to have doors slammed in your face!

When going door to door, think of what you will say. Keep it short, sweet, and informative and vary it up a little so you don’t start sounding like a robot. The hangings will contain a summary of your message and you can give them to homeowners directly or leave them on the doors of people that aren’t home.

Postcards and Letters: As effective as digital marketing is, postcards and letters are still a great way to reach out to your client base. You can send these out with a market snapshot, you can use them to advertise a hot property you have on the market, or they can contain basic contact information to remind people you are available if you need them.

Materials for an Annual Sponsored Event: An annual sponsored event is a great way to give back to your community and raise awareness regarding your services. There are so many directions you can go with this. You can do a block party, a holiday party, or a fundraiser for a community organization. You can also sponsor real estate workshops for local homeowners and potential buyers.

The materials you need will vary depending on the type of event you’re hosting but if you budget around $1000 for expenses when planning your farming campaign, you should be able to finance everything you need.

Social Media: Social media is a great way to connect with your target audience. It goes without saying that you will want to create a business page advertising your services on the platforms where your target audience is most likely to be. Post regularly about updates in the market and properties you are selling.

But what can be even more effective is creating groups that are specific to your area. Stay active in these groups by answering questions and offering advice that will establish you as a thought leader in the industry.

Tomas SatasCredibility is everything. You need to show prospective buyers that you are the top agent in the area.

There are a few ways to do this. First create a website and start working on Search Engine Optimization or SEO. Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing your online content so that a search engine likes to show it as a top result for searches of a certain keyword. So when somebody searches phrases or words such as realtor, real estate agent, top real estate agents, etc. you want your website to show up on the first page. This process is not easy and can take anywhere from 6-12 months. You need to think in the long term though because once you establish yourself on the internet the possibilities are endless.

While you are working on your website’s SEO you can set up a Pay Per Click or PPC Ad campaign. This will catapult your name on to the first page of a Google Search immediately and will help attract visitors to your website.

Another way to build up your credibility is to ask happy clients to leave you Google, Facebook, or Yelp reviews. If you have not set up a business profile on Google, Facebook, or Yelp then what are you waiting for? Most people these days will Google your name and having 5 star reviews online will give you the edge that you need.

Youtube videos could be a creative way to get your name out there. You can create your own channel and create a different episode once a week with tips, tricks, and improvements that can help a seller sell their home quickly.

Lastly, another quick way to become a superstar agent is by creating a Facebook marketing campaign. Facebook ads are a quick way to get your name out there but remember your main focus in the beginning needs to be building up your credibility! (from Tomas Satas, Licensed agent for 10+ years)

Real Estate Farming FAQ’s

After learning about real estate farming, it’s natural to have some questions. Here are some answers that may meet your concerns.

Why Should My Farming Area Be Limited to 500 Homes?

For this type of marketing, you’ll want to stick with a small community so you can deliver targeted messages that will relate to everyone in the area. If you try to hit a larger group, your messages will lose some of their focus.

How Should I Split Up My Content Topics?

Market conditions and statistics will be useful, but they can get boring after a while. Community happenings, on the other hand, keep coming up ensuring you always have new content. They also tend to be more engaging to write about. For a comfortable split, write about market conditions 30% of the time and make the rest about the fun stuff.

Will My Real Estate Farming Campaign Pay Off?

If your real estate farming campaign is well planned out and maintained, you should end up capturing between 20% and 30% of all transactions in your area.

How Long Will It Take for Me To Start Seeing a Return on My Investment?

Real estate farming is all about cultivating relationships. Therefore, you can’t expect overnight success. But results will come quickly, and you should start seeing a return in the first three months. Once word gets out about your services, your client base will keep building from there making for a snowball effect.

Real estate farming is a great way to bring in leads and grow your business. Now that you know what’s involved, you are ready to move forward with your strategy. Which techniques will you be integrating to ensure success?

Ibrahim Mawri - Headshot 300x300My tips are as follows:

1) Know the market. If you don’t know the market well, then it’s not going to be easy to get listings and sell homes. .

2) Make yourself available. People want to know that you’ll be around when they need you.

3) Listen more than you speak. You can learn a lot by listening to other agents’ experiences with clients.

4) Be flexible. Clients may change their minds about where they’re looking at several times before buying. So, make sure that you’re willing to work through those changes and still find them a home.

5) Have fun. When you enjoy working with clients, it makes everything else easier.

6) Network. Get to know as many people in your community as possible so you can refer potential buyers to them.

7) Keep up with technology. The internet has made finding properties much faster and easier. But if you don’t keep up with new developments, you could miss out on good opportunities

8) Don’t just rely on MLS data. It’s important to talk to people in person. Find out what they think of their neighbors and whether or not they would recommend them.

9) Enjoy every moment. This is one of the most important rules. If you’re stressed out, you won’t be able to help others.

10) Learn from mistakes. We’ve all been there. Remember that no matter how hard you try, you’ll never get it perfect. So, don’t beat yourself up over mistakes. Just learn from them and move forward.

11) Be confident. Your confidence will rub off on your clients. They’ll feel comfortable approaching you because they trust you. (from Ibrahim Mawri, Licensed agent for 10+ years)

Chris Heller Headshot

About the Author

Chris Heller brings 27 years of experience in real estate. Chris serves on the AgentAdvice Editorial Board and is the Chief Real Estate Officer at OJO Labs. Chris brings deep expertise having held influential industry positions including CEO of mellohome and former CEO of Keller Williams Realty International.

Last Updated: 11/28/2022

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