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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   May 2018

Time to Heat Up Your Business

Summer is a hot season for the mortgage industry

Noted American author Henry James once wrote: “Summer afternoon — summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” We don’t know what James liked so much about summer afternoons, but it’s obvious why mortgage professionals should like all of summer: It’s when they can make some serious money.

Take the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR’s) word on the subject. The NAR has conducted a study every year since 1999 and found that the seasons do, in fact, play an important role in the housing and mortgage markets.

In short, NAR says homebuying and home-selling activities swell during the spring and summer months of the year, and then trail off during the fall and winter. During pretty much the entire second quarter of each year, existing-home sales start a steady climb with an average month-over-month growth rate of 10 percent each month from April to June. As a result, May, June, July and August become the four heaviest home-selling months each year and end up accounting for 40 percent of an average year’s total home-selling volume.

NAR also found that home sales begin to drop in earnest in September. Existing-home sales fall by an average of 16 percent from August to September each year, and then fall by another 10 percent in November. The slowest period each year is from November to February. Those four months account for just 27 percent of an average year’s total home-selling volume.

NAR also determined that mortgage applications — not surprisingly — follow these seasonal trends as well, but slightly earlier. So the big months for mortgage applications are primarily April through July.

That means it’s time to get busy and capitalize on the upcoming summer. Here are some suggestions to help you make the most of this coming summer.

Hold a special event

Take advantage of the warm weather and hold a special event at a local park. This could be a picnic, a client-appreciation cookout, a summer staycation party, a cook-off or an ice cream social — anything fun. Toss in a freebie or two related to your business — maybe summer-related offerings like water bottles, beach towels, or sunscreen with your company’s logo — that you can hand out to potential clients or partners.

You also can research summertime events that you might piggyback on. Just about every city has some Memorial Day festivities, for example. Is there a festival that makes sense for you to partner with so you can get your name (or your company’s name) out there? Or are there some that are worth buying a booth at?

In general, think about where the crowds will be gathering this summer and be there, too. There are plenty of options during these months, such as local festivals, outdoor shopping areas, beaches and recreational areas. Find some that make sense and make an appearance.

Refresh your referrals and your look

To get your business really warmed up for the summer, ask your former clients for referrals. OutbondEngine, a marketing-automation company, found that 83 percent of clients are willing to provide a referral after they had a positive experience, but only 29 percent actually give referrals.

Why is that? The main problem seems to be that few past clients are ever asked to give referrals. Remember this three-letter word to change your life: ask. You should ask your happy clients for referrals, and perhaps ask them to jot down some positive comments about you on popular review websites like Yelp.

Spring and summer also are made for cleaning, and the same is true for your marketing materials — both hard copy and digital. If it’s been awhile since you’ve added anything to your campaigns, it’s likely time for a refresh.

Pull out all of your materials and give them a good looking over. Update your website and social media with new copy and images as well. This even might be a good year to hire a professional to help you stand out. At minimum, get another set of eyes to review your materials to make sure your look and feel — as well as your messaging — still have the spark that speaks to your target audience.

•  •  •

If you take some time to think through these items and really plan out your summer, you might find a few extra opportunities to increase your business. Go back and think about each of these points, and see how you can expand on them to make your summer a season to remember. Then, as you think about this summer, it will pay to ask yourself some questions about your preparation.

Do you feel you’ve given enough thought about how you might capitalize on market forces during the summer? Have you looked back at past summers to see what opportunities presented themselves that you may not have noticed? Have you considered specific activities you can do to increase your business during the summer months? You can even share your answers with a colleague or a friendly mortgage coach.


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