Brandon Doyle

Geo-Farming to Build Your Business

Brandon Doyle

By Brandon Doyle

Establishing a geo-farm in a local neighborhood that you’re familiar with is a great way to gain additional listings. This is something that takes time and a commitment, but can be very rewarding.

The first thing you’ll want to do is pick an area to farm. It should be close enough to your home or office that you’re able to keep an eye on what is going on and provide the best level of service. Many agents will farm the neighborhood they live in, though some sellers will not want a neighbor knowing their personal info.

What I did for my geo-farm was search the MLS for an area where the average sales price is a reasonable amount and where there is a decent turn over. You don’t want to take on too large of an area since it costs time and money to market to them. Frequency is more important than reach. If you were to ask 10 people for business 10 times, you will have better results than asking 100 people just once. If a home owner isn’t considering selling at that time, they may just toss your marketing away. However, if you are contacting them multiple times with mailings, two things happen: First, the consumer will start to recognize your name, and you will develop a brand. Second, the more often you send out marketing, the more chances you have for success. The home owner may not be selling today, but they might three months from now. Don’t assume that people will hold on to your marketing, it may get lost in the shuffle or, heaven forbid, thrown away.

Now that you’ve established a geo-farm that you can hit at least once a month, you need to decide what to send them. There are all sorts of companies out there that will try to sell you marketing to use, including recipes, sports schedules, and seasonal/holiday related items. I like to give the consumer something of value, like market stats for the area or recent sold comps. They may find a value in the recipes, but hyper-local market stats are more relevant.

Remember that people are very visual, so try to keep your marketing consistent to develop a brand. An infographic is a great way to convey your message in a meaningful way. I’m a big advocate of just listed and just sold cards. I also like to personally invite neighbors to my open houses within my geo-farm. If there is another agent in your office with a listing in your geo-farm, ask them if it would be okay to hold an open house there.

Brandon Doyle, ABR, e-PRO, is a second generation real estate pro with Edina Realty in the Twin Cities. Learn more about Brandon at www.doylerealestateteam.com.

Comments
  1. Farming is important! Trying to work in an area you’re not familiar with is a bad idea! You need to know your farming and service area like a palm of your hand, don’t embarrass yourself in front of the client and other realtors by trying to work in the area you’re completely unfamiliar with!

  2. Shelley Wood

    I am farming my dad’s “empty nester” townhome community. Prices are slightly above the average for Denver. I started by delivering handpainted flower pots planted with annuals to the front stoop of each of the 80 units. They have the street number on them — about 40% are still on the front porch, being watered, 2 months later. The month after, I delivered a little flag to stick in the pot (or wherever) on the morning of July 4th. I always include a note and my card! This month, I delivered a report on 2014 sales in the complex along with a 100Grand candy bar. I will do this every month. Am hoping for results — no nibbles so far but I read in a book this is a 1-3 year prospecting tool. My budget is $50/month. Anybody else with great ideas?

  3. Hi Brandon,

    Your article is right on! I am a coach and trainer now, but I was a big Farmer when I was an agent. Here’s an idea that I think most agents don’t consider.
    When choosing a Farm Area, older neighborhoods have more equity. Equity is that little thing out of which we agents are paid. A farm area built in 1985 will have tons more equity, fewer folks upside down (unhappy), more mature sellers who will understand you earn what you charge, deserve what you are worth, and respect what you do. It really doesn’t matter how old the buyers are. It definitely matters how old the sellers are. Any seller who is thin on the equity will want to overprice the house and underpay you! Keep up the great Blog! – Bob

  4. Thanks for the article Brandon. About to start a new farming campaign and looking around for some tips. Thanks to Bob too, that’s great advice about looking for neighborhoods with potential equity. It’s so easy to focus on what neighborhoods are trending without thinking ahead about the built up, or lack thereof, equity.

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