Buying and selling a home can be a confusing, intimidating process. From fine-tuning the initial listing to completing the mountains of paperwork needed for closing, homebuyers and sellers can find themselves juggling a wide range of issues. Real estate professionals can help by hosting educational workshops to help make the transaction easier. Here are 11 tips to make these workshops more effective.
1. Find your audience
Not every real estate transaction is the same because not all buyers and sellers are the same. Before you plan your workshop, consider who your target clients are. Do you specialize in helping first-time buyers and sellers, or are you leaning towards working with real estate investors? Maybe you are focusing on empty nesters looking to downsize or clients looking for vacation homes they want to rent out in the off-season.
Your audience will determine the focus of your workshop. It’s the first step to making your workshop a success, and also influences how you will market your event (more on that below).
2. Organize relevant topics
Your audience determines the topics you cover. Veteran investors don’t need a lecture on what to bring to the closing table, but first-time buyers do. First-time home sellers might be interested in learning how to prep their homes for sale, while rookie buyers might want a step-by-step outline of the entire process.
Start planning your event by making a list of the subjects that might be confusing or complicated, and plan your workshop itinerary from there.
3. Choose a venue
Don’t plan to fail by failing to plan, especially when it comes to things like parking, accessibility, and capacity. The venue you select needs to be comfortable and accommodating for everyone. Consider things such as:
- Parking (number of spaces and accessibility for those in wheelchairs)
- Seating at the venue (tables, chairs, etc.)
- Location (central to public transportation)
Some good workshop venue options include community centers, public libraries, and hotel conference rooms. If you’re hoping to reach clients who are relocating from out of state, consider hosting workshops online.
4. Market your event
You can plan a perfect event, but if your marketing strategy isn’t comprehensive, how will people know about it? Again, how you market will depend on your audience. Social media marketing is a great way to spread the word and can be coordinated so one post hits multiple platforms at a time.
Other ways to reach a wider audience include:
- Posting on community bulletin boards (in physical locations or online)
- Sending a note to your mailing list
- Asking former clients to spread the word
Another way to market is to ask influencers on social media to help promote the event. They may also be able to attend the event, bringing their audience with them.
5. Provide take-home resources
Real estate transactions can be complicated, and some attendees may be overwhelmed by the amount of information you present. Help them better understand and retain information by providing resources they can take home.
These handouts can include:
- Checklists for the buying and selling process
- Definitions of real estate terminology
- Outlines of how to prepare a home to sell
- A basic step-by-step guide to buying a home
- Lists of related real estate professionals (i.e., mortgage lenders, home inspectors, etc.)
Very few people can attend an hour-long lecture and remember everything they heard. For best results, present information in many different ways. Use short videos, slideshows, and small-group discussions and activities to deepen their understanding of the topic.
7. Highlight guest speakers
Guest speakers provide two primary benefits to your workshop. They bring specialized expertise. Real estate transactions involve a variety of professionals, each experts in their field. Inviting these experts to speak is a great way to help workshop attendees better understand each step of the process. For example, a mortgage lender can describe different types of mortgages and explain which might be best for the buyer or the type of transaction. Guest speakers can also offer a neutral third-party perspective on sensitive topics, like how to save money at closing.
They cross-promote the event. Guest speakers will promote the event on their social media platforms. This increases your potential audience and introduces you to more people you might not otherwise reach.
8. Make it interactive
Very few people enjoy sitting in a chair for hours being lectured to. Give participants a chance to engage with speakers and other attendees. You can do this by facilitating small group discussions, encouraging questions, and organizing breakout sessions on specific topics of interest.
9. Ask for feedback
Getting a real estate workshop right the first time is hard, so asking participants for feedback is key. This helps refine planning for future events and helps build relationships with attendees. Additionally, positive feedback can be used (with permission) as testimonials to promote future workshops.
10. Follow up with participants
Asking for feedback is just the first level of follow-up after the workshop. Send out thank-you notes or emails the day after the workshop. On day three post-workshop, reach out again with an invitation to engage. This might look like:
- Asking attendees if they have other questions
- Providing additional resources
- Sending listings based on interest
- Offering incentives for continued collaboration
This is not the time for a hard sell, but following up with attendees is an opportunity to develop positive relationships that might lead to more business opportunities in the future.
11. Keep the most important thing the most important thing
Homeownership remains a crucial part of what is commonly referred to as the American Dream. The primary goal of these workshops is to educate people on how they can be involved in the pursuit of homeownership. For homeowners looking to sell, your workshop can be critical in their path to building generational wealth.
The most important thing? Educating attendees and demonstrating your knowledge, professionalism, and trustworthiness. By doing this, you position yourself as a valuable resource in your community who genuinely cares about their clients and wants the best for them. Ultimately, that will build a solid foundation for professional relationships that continue to grow as your clients’ needs evolve.
Luke Babich is the co-founder of Clever Real Estate.