Recognizing Special Targets

Certain groups of home buyers have exceptional potential. The better you understand them, the better the possibility of doing business with them.

Incoming Job Transfers.

People moving to your area because of a company transfer will probably have sold homes elsewhere, have sizable amounts of money to put down, and be motivated buyers.

Identify the companies, businesses, federal and state agencies, hospitals, universities, and other schools that have large numbers of employees. Those that are expanding or have high turnover rates have the greatest potential for generating customers for you. If you live near a military installation, you have the ingredients for sustained activity, because the military rotates its personnel every few years as a matter of policy. Be aware when you sell to a military family, however, that they will, in all likelihood, be moving in three or four years. Make sure the home is one you think you can resell for the family later.

Some agents work exclusively in corporate or organizational relocation and do very well, once they have established their procedures and contacts. Check with your broker to see if there is a program in your agency. Chances are there will be some gaps. Identify those and determine the best way to fill them. If your broker is established within the community, he may be able to arrange a meeting with personnel directors, but don't depend upon this, and be prepared to do the legwork yourself.

You are interested in the names of people who are coming in for either jobs or job interviews. You would like to send them material, refer them to your home page on the Internet, contact them by telephone, and meet with them when they are in town. If you have prepared a professional-looking information packet that includes maps and information about real estate, weather, schools, shopping, medical facilities, transportation, churches, and recreation, there is a chance that the personnel director might be willing to work with you. Done properly, your efforts could save the company time and expense, for this is the kind of service they would normally provide.

Do not, however, discount the importance of informal contacts. Department heads, managers, and supervisors provide the kinds of grassroots sources that are generally built up over a period of time as a result of personal referrals.

The potential of working with a corporate program can be impressive. In our local community, for example, there is a division of an internationally successful electronics company. As a result of various programs and referrals, I sold homes to sixteen of their employees (mostly engineers). Without exception, they knew what they wanted, knew what they could afford, recognized it when they saw it, and acted decisively. If you can locate and cultivate a similar source, I can assure you that you will enjoy real estate sales.

Buyers Who Qualify for Specialized Programs.

Any agent who has worked with a veteran in processing a Veterans Administration (VA) loan knows that it takes both specialized knowledge and a general appreciation of how large bureaucracies work. There are a variety of federal and state programs; some have been around for years, while others come and go. All have precise eligibility requirements. If you become expert in who qualifies for what, you can develop a reputation that will attract potential participants to you. Some agents announce their expertise on their business cards, such as "Specialist in Veterans' Affairs."

Knowing the eligibility requirements, however, is only part of the equa-tion—and not the hardest part at that. You must appreciate how things are done in a bureaucracy (and at what pace) and what motivates program administrators and what does not.

First, there will be a series of specific steps that must be taken and an abundance of forms that must be filled out in an explicit manner. There is no point in fussing about the foolishness or redundancy of any task or any part of the paperwork. It is written in stone. Do the drudgework cheerfully and exactly the way that it's asked for.

Second, bureaucrats are not excited by the profit motive. They are paid the same amount whether your loan application is processed or not. The finest among them are dedicated public servants trying to do the best job they can with an often overwhelming workload. The worst defy rational analysis. Bad-tempered badgering will get you nowhere, except perhaps to have your loan application end up at the bottom of the pile. Make everyone's job as easy as possible by doing things the way they need to be done. (Not everyone is temperamentally able to follow this advice. One of my survey participants seemed thoroughly convinced that his local VA representative was an operative of an unfriendly government planted there to sabotage our capitalistic system.)

If you can master the intricacies of any specialized program and know how to work within the system, it will provide you with a valuable source of income. But you will earn every penny you make.

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