Home Economics: A Broker’s Perspective on the Value of Invisible Fence Brand
“The single most common thing we hear from buyers in Washington? ‘Is the back yard fenced in? We have dogs.’” Ryan Reynolds, Weichert Realtors
This is Ryan Reynolds. He’s an Olympia, Washington-based broker with Weichert Realtors® who recently did something a little out of the ordinary with his team of agents: he invited a Pet Consultant* from a local Invisible Fence® Brand dealer to come share the hidden advantages of electronic pet containment for real estate agents in today’s historically under-stocked housing market.
How he came to organize this event is an interesting story.
Reynolds was recently introduced to Invisible Fence Brand when he and his brother-in-law stood face-to-face with a containment problem of their own: “We had joined two neighboring properties into a six-acre lot, and quickly realized putting in a cedar fence would cost us the same or more than a top-of-the-line electronic containment system.” Pay more to obstruct my view? For Reynolds, this was a no-brainer even before he factored in the “perks” of the technology.
That firsthand experience with the utility of the e-fence provoked something of a paradigm shift for Reynolds - a shift in the way he sees the market he’s been serving for 12 years. If you’ve been keeping up with economic news, you know that market watchdogs have been howling about a new housing crisis for months. Housing demand is at historic highs and supply is lagging behind.
“Is the back yard fenced in? We have dogs.” To Reynolds, that’s not the first question of a desperate buyer with limited options. It’s the question of a buyer that’s seen one too many properties that “aren’t for me.” “I’m not so sure it’s an inventory problem we’re seeing,” Reynolds states. “Maybe the first thing we need to do is look at existing properties through a different lens. More and more, I feel like we don’t need a sea change. We need a minor shift, a new tool in our tool belt.”
Opportunity for Agents
Needless to say, Reynolds is no longer waiting around for new properties to get built. As a real estate broker, he now sees increased awareness of Invisible Fence Brand Solutions as a critical component of meeting his inventory goals. “When Lori [McCallister of Invisible Fence Brand of Seattle] came in and gave us that presentation, I told my agents flat out - there’s potential here for you to double your inventory.”
To working real estate agents this idea may seem far-fetched - hang on, a dog collar is going to double my inventory? - but when you account for the sheer number of pet-owning buyers out there, the business opportunity becomes more palpable. In the candidate pool for buyers in 2017 are not only the 80 million-some pet owners who currently own a home (65 percent of current homeowners), but also that youngest and largest of all homebuying groups the “pet-obsessed” millenials, who now compose 35 percent of recent buyers. Indeed, with a “minor shift” in pet compatibility market-wide, it seems pet-owning buyers stand to gain a world in real estate market options - from fence-prohibitive communities to larger, agricultural properties where traditional fencing is less feasible.
Opportunity for Developers
But for Reynolds, Invisible Fence Brand’s equity isn’t confined to the resale market. It extends to new construction as well. Thanks to his recent venture converting a six-acre farm, Reynolds sees the situation from a developer’s perspective, and he’s convinced that those who learn to think “beyond the fence” will find a boon to new property values. Consumer trends toward large properties with unobstructructed views suggest that there’s an argument to be made for including Invisible Fence Brand Solutions as a competitive feature in new construction listings: “There’s an opportunity here. Especially for developers dealing in large lots; we’re seeing closings on properties with 270° to 360° views of the surrounding hills. Landscaping is a big deal in our area.” And given the fact that most new developments are currently leaving the fencing question to the owners, developers who take the initiative may well be met with enthusiasm in the market.
Opportunity for Buyers and Sellers
Given his day job, Reynolds is especially keen on stoking awareness of Invisible Fence Brand on the professional side of the real estate business. But he still thinks buyers and sellers stand to gain the most from a shift in containment logic.
“Think about what a powerful tool this is in the hands of a seller,” Reynolds says. “If you have an interested buyer whose primary hang-up is containment - which happens a lot - the seller now has an affordable way to clinch that deal.”
It was Reynolds’s fresh perspective on military families, though, that really got us thinking. With a major Army-Navy base nearby, the military population in the Olympia area represents 20% to 30% of Weichert’s business. “These families are currently having to decide against keeping pets,” Reynolds said. “Every 2-5 years they get the call to pick up and move again. With a fence that can move with them, all of a sudden these military families don’t have to wait years and years before they can get a dog.”
Talking to Ryan Reynolds, you get the strong impression that he doesn’t think in terms of products and markets. He thinks in terms of people, problems and possible solutions. And as a company that presumes to sell “solutions” rather than products, we kind of like that.
Even if Reynolds is only fractionally right about his hunch about the e-fence in real estate, we might be justified in adding the housing market itself to the growing list of beneficiaries to the Invisible Way. Good for pets . . . and good for the economy, too.
*Special thanks to Ryan Reynolds and Lori McCallister of Invisible Fence Brand of Seattle.
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