Op-Ed: Reap the Rewards of Repeat and Referral Business With a Concerted Effort to Stay in Touch

Given the myriad challenges that defined the 2023 real estate market, from low inventory to mortgage rates surging to a 23-year high—and everything in between—it’s not surprising that existing-home sales, measuring 4.09 million, sank to their lowest level in 30 years.

With a lack of inventory plaguing markets across the board, and homeowners holding onto their sub-3% mortgage rates for dear life, there were fewer buyers in the market. 

But homes still changed hands, and first-time buyers got in on the American Dream. New clients were added to an agent’s roster, while past clients were kept in touch with, keeping agents front and center—exactly where they needed to be in a challenging environment. 

And while things are looking up on the home front this year, with the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) predicting 4.71 million existing-home sales, a 13.5% jump from last year, there’s no denying that staying in touch with someone you helped along the journey to homeownership (whether it was purchasing their first, third or fifth property) is ever going out of style. 

With upwards of 80% of real estate transactions coming from referrals and repeat business—and the typical homeowner buying or selling a home every five to seven years—not paying attention to this portion of your sphere of influence can be the difference between hitting your sales goal this year…and not.

I must confess that while I enjoy the magnet with my agent’s picture and contact information hanging prominently on the fridge as well as the keychain complete with his branding (great for a spare set of keys)—are these items enough to fill the gap of a quiet few years?

As the competition continues to heat up and the spring buying season gets underway, it’s time to raise the bar even higher. And it’s time to get serious about connecting with those individuals you may have inadvertently let slip through the cracks when the market was hot and you had more clients than you knew what to do with. 

It’s also important to be cognizant of the fact that according to NAR, 90% of homeowners say they’ll use their agent again, but when push comes to shove, only 12% actually do.  

Take a moment and read that last sentence again. Then, think about the number of people that leaves in the market for a new home…with no agent top of mind to guide them through the process.  

As a real estate professional who only gets paid when the transaction is completed, the last thing you want is to fall on the wrong side of this statistic. So get out there and get moving, and double down on your efforts to stay in touch.  

Send those houseaversary cards (or emails) to congratulate clients on another year in their home and take advantage of the impending longer days and warmer temperatures by throwing a client appreciation party. The sky’s the limit if you’re truly interested in reconnecting.

Staying in touch doesn’t have to cost a fortune, but by putting in some time, effort (and yes, a little bit of money) now, you’ll be reaping the rewards for years to come.

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