As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt every industry, the real estate market is positioned for some of the biggest changes. Lakefront Living Realty, presents a uniquely well-positioned model for the changing landscape of the industry through a home-based business, “buyer’s first” strategy and an emphasis on digital offerings.
“We are fortunate that real estate is still considered an essential business during this pandemic, but that certainly does not mean that it is business as usual for most brokers,” said Scott Freerksen, CEO at Lakefront Living International, LLC. “When we first designed the franchise model that would become Lakefront Living, we had no idea we were setting ourselves up to survive a pandemic.”
A Home-Based Model And Buyer’s First Strategy
Lakefront Living’s home-based business model allows franchisees and clients to follow social distancing protocol without any change to their established process. “Our franchise partners, along with their specialty agents, were already set up to work 100 percent from their home offices,” said Freerksen. “There are no changes to our current systems or existing workflow, which, most importantly, means our client communications remain uninterrupted.”
When it comes to generating leads, Lakefront Living’s approach has always been unique in the industry. The concept’s “buyer’s first” strategy allows franchisees to work within a network of thousands of registered lakefront buyers. Plus, brokers have the ability to match existing lakefront buyer clients with new listings, whether it be through Lakefront Living or another agency, without ever leaving their desk.
“At the end of the day, our mission is to provide a specialized match-making service,” said Freerksen. “For example, in Massachusetts, we have just over 15,000 registered lake home buyers. There is always someone on that list that will be a match for a new listing, even during our uncertain times. In addition, franchisees have access to more double-sided-deals, which manages the experience of both the buyer and the seller and thus creates a competitive advantage in the marketplace by eliminating the dependence on third-party syndication sites such as Multiple Listing Services (MLS) and Zillow.”
A Niche Marketing Approach
Lakefront Living also appeals to the individual buyer by tapping into the power of niche marketing, in which a narrowed focus expands the broker’s appeal. The brand continues to find ways where niche strategies provide incredible benefits to the business model and allow brokers to dominate their lakefront market.
“Our niche marketing techniques help clients understand we are dedicated lakefront specialists,” said Freerksen. “Our brokers live and breathe lakefront property all day, every day. When clients see our dedication through multiple channels, they can be confident that we are the right choice long before having met us.”
During the coronavirus outbreak, brokers don’t have the ability to meet face-to-face, shake hands with potential clients and convince them in-person that they are the solution to their niche questions. Instead, clients need to be able to learn that Lakefront Living is the right choice on their own through online research and various niche marketing channels.
Exceptional Virtual Offerings
As the real estate industry transitions heavily into digital offerings, Lakefront Living’s powerful consumer-centric website continues to produce 95% of the brand’s business. In fact, Lakefront Living has seen a 48% increase in site visitors since the coronavirus pandemic began. “It makes sense—buyers have stay-at-home orders and have no choice but to search for homes online,” said Freerksen. “A true value-added website will solve a customer’s problem and move them through a validation cycle at the same time. While a strong consumer website is always essential, it has become even more important during times such as these.”
In a survey by Lakefront Living International, lakefront buyers disclosed that they spent an average of 3.2 hours searching for direct lakefront property online. Lakefront Living’s website offers a streamlined model in which that time is reduced to just 15 seconds. The website’s simple search function provides the essential elements to lakefront buyers, including location, price range and lake type.
A strong website isn’t the only virtual offering real estate brokers need at this time. Open houses are quickly becoming a thing of the past as electronic showings and virtual closing strategies grow in popularity. Sellers don’t want strangers in their homes, so they are seeking brokers who deploy alternative showing strategies. All Lakefront Living agents follow the CDC guidelines for real estate and are fully equipped with true virtual tours, live Facetime tours, aerial photographs and full lake descriptions to ensure every buyer sees a true picture of the lake home and neighborhood. That, combined with electronic signing and closing strategies ensures a safe working environment for all involved.
With a niche consumer offering, home-based business model and strong virtual footprint, Lakefront Living is the perfect example of how brokerages can survive in this post-COVID-19 real estate market.
Posted by Scott Freerksen “The Lake Guy”