What drives sales in real estate?


28 Sep 2015 | by
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 What drives sales in real estate?

On several occasions I have been asked how I manage to sell off the projects that we are engaged in before ground breaking...............

On several occasions I have been asked how I manage to sell off the projects that we are engaged in before ground breaking. In the past, it has been a difficult question because according to me, I had been simply engaging in traditional marketing techniques. By that I mean our projects were being advertised on the various media be it on the agents’ websites, on print media and the many other platforms that exist. Little did I know that there are other factors that assist in the property purchase decision making. Having been asked this question several times, I took it upon myself to find an answer. This happened in the form of a survey. The results that came out however were most amazing and I will share them with you in a bit. People looking to buy homes or property already have a preconceived idea on what they really want. They will confirm their interest as soon as they set eye on property. There are certain facts however that assist them in making that decision.

1.       Traditional factors: These are factors that border on the traditional beliefs of the client. I once encountered a client who was interested in buying one of my units and the first question he asked me was which direction the sun sets. Of course that question was not anything close to what I had anticipated so I sought to find out why. “in my tradition, you are not supposed to sleep with your head facing the direction of the sunset”. I was taken aback though I tried as much as I could not to show it in my face. Lucky enough, we had taken into consideration the sunrise and sunset as far as the orientation of the house was concerned so as to avoid too much glare from the sun into the house. We engaged with the client and even though he did not buy, I learnt something new about my target market.

2.       Demographic factors: A vast majority of the Kenyan population happens to be the youth. It is in fact estimated that the youth comprise of over 60% of the Kenyan population. It therefore behooves any individual who seeks to make an impact in society, be it a politician or a businessman, to take into cognizance the fact that the youth form the largest single market segment. That explains why the social media grew exponentially. Due to this fact, I realized that the elderly clients seem to be more interested in bungalows as opposed to maisonettes, while the younger clients are keen on acquiring the latter. Of interest also is the truth that not all the young people in this category have similar income. We have those who are looking at renting a ‘crib’ which in most cases is a one bedroom apartment.

3.       Selling price: This is another crucial factor. The up market units costing $145,000 and above have really shrunk and so this market can only be suitable for a developer who has the holding power. By this I mean a developer who is not borrowing from a financier to put up the development. The vast majority that is in dire need for housing happens to be within an income range that can only support up to a ceiling lower than the $145,000 on mortgage. As a matter of fact, most of the market lies below $76,000. Knowing your target market will ensure you put up homes that will attract them.

4.       Marketing: I try as much as possible to be present during a sale. This is because most of the individuals who have bought units from me have eventually confirmed that they bought mainly because they had developed confidence in me as the proprietor. Selling property is not as simply as a take it or leave it approach. It is about making friendships which turn into lasting relationships. Being as dynamic as it is, some unscrupulous businessmen have taken advantage of the clients, some going to the extent of conning the clients. The character of the proprietor may help in building confidence in the client that he/she is in safe hands. Also have in place a team that is willing to listen to the clients’ needs. Company policies are of course important but our team has been trained to be able to handle clients on a one-on-one basis because each client has needs unique to him. Seek to make friends. Sales will be a byproduct.

5.       Design: I mentioned in an earlier article that the uniqueness of the design will draw more potential clients to you. The young generation likes being unique. They don’t like being seen with things that other people already have. For this reason, we focus so much on design matter. Even though we may want the external design, which is already unique, to remain uniform with the rest of the units in the court, there are several variations that can be made to the interior. This way, the client has the option of customizing their units, more so if they buy the units before ground breaking. The client can make changes as long as the variation does not overshoot the Bill of Quantities. If it does and the client feels strongly that the change should be made, we charge the top up to the client.

All having been said and done, the future of business in Kenya is as bright as we want it to be.  It is up to us to shun divisive and ethnocentric politics in order to boost confidence in investors not only as a country but also within the counties. Remember, your biggest investor may not necessarily be from the same ethnicity as you. 

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