Technology plays a critical role in today’s real estate industry. Whether you’re trying to sell a single house or more houses, failure to keep up with the times is likely to result in failure to close.
Buyers now have access to almost any information they need, directly from their smartphones.
What the Stats Say
According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers:
“For 44 percent of recent buyers, the first step that they took in the home buying process was to look online at properties for sale, while 17 percent of buyers first contacted a real estate agent”
“Seventy-nine percent of recent buyers found their real estate agent to be a very useful information source. Online websites were seen as the most useful at 86 percent.”
“The typical buyer who did not use the internet during their home search spent only four weeks searching and visited four homes, compared to those who did use the internet and searched for 10 weeks and visited 10 homes.”
Basically, home buyers now turn to the Internet first. They consider information on the Web to be the most helpful. And they use this wealth of information to look at more homes and take more time making a decision.
As a seller, you simply must take advantage of this. With our help, you can and will.
Freedom of Information
If you sold a home 15 or 20 years ago, you might be saying to yourself, “What in the world happened?”
To put things simply:
The job of the real estate agent has shifted from information broker to marketing expert. There has always been a bit of “sales” involved in selling a house. But paper records and less efficient means of communication meant a lot more time shelling out information and taking responses. Today, MLS listings can be found online.
Multiple Listing Services
An MLS is a large database of homes for sale within a given area. This database is maintained by the members of a local real estate association. Listing a home through an MLS makes its information available to every member broker, their agents, and their buyers.
15 or 20 years ago, MLS listings were compiled in big books and syndicated to member brokerages every week. Now, they are publically available through various websites (including this one). This certainly makes the buying process more transparent. But it also puts the onus on the seller to market their property effectively.
What does that mean in the modern real estate market?
Digital Lead Gen 101
Getting your property listed in your area’s MLS is just the first step. And the truth is, it’s difficult to make it much further without a solid broker behind you. That’s because they already have web properties dedicated to getting homes sold.
Whether you’re a single home seller or a single agent, you’ll always be limited in your ability to drive leads to your offering. On the other hand, a broker that has embraced technology has multiple points of access to potential buyers at all times.
People often search “real estate agents my city” or “buy a home my city” as their first move when they are considering buying a new home.
If you manage to earn a place on the first page, you’re destined to get interested calls. But ranking in search engines is an entire industry onto itself, called search engine optimization (or SEO). There is serious money in SEO for the real estate industry.
Real estate agents have to compete with the Realtor.orgs and Zillow.coms of the world as well as their local Coldwell Banker chapter for a spot on the first page. Usually, this is a losing battle. Technologically up-to-date brokers have a lot better shot at competing than an individual agent. And there is virtually zero chance that an individual listing could make it into the search results.
Social media isn’t a very hospitable environment for one-off home sellers either.
Seriously. You aren’t going to sell your house to one of your Facebook friends. But your local team of real estate agents already has a Facebook Page dedicated to selling homes.
With this page, they can target people who are likely to buy a home. Plus, potential homebuyers are drawn to follow such pages as they go through the search process.
Everyone who studies a little bit of Internet marketing will tell you that consistency is key. By posting pictures and other info on their listings predictably over a period of time, they become a source for the information that people are looking for.
As a seller or a single agent, it is hard (or impossible) to achieve this level of consistently.
One of the oldest and truest strategies to sell anything online is with paid advertising. For real estate, though, it is best used to complement your SEO and social strategies.
On Google, people tend to avoid ads. But that doesn’t mean they don’t help. Real estate-related searches draw some the highest cost per click of any search phrase. If they didn’t work, no one would pay for them.
In addition, the presence of an ad can help to increase clicks on your “organic” results. After all, you want your name on the search results page as many times as you can get it.
When it comes to Facebook, you can choose to target your followers directly. You can target the followers of other local real estate companies or a variety of other demographics. And while Facebook ads aren’t likely to convert directly into a sale, they do increase exposure. However, the budget required disqualifies most single sellers and agents.
The Future Is Already Here
There really is no opportunity for those who stay stagnant in the real estate industry. A house is a high-ticket item. That means the marketing dollars will always be there. If you don’t have them to spend, someone else does. That’s why you’ll always see some of the most advanced marketing techniques in the world being used to sell real estate. As more and more people become addicted to getting answers from their smartphone, you’ll only see more technologically savvy techniques being used to sell houses.
Over the last few years, video has replaced photographs as the preferred means of previewing a home. Over the next few years, it may become the default.
Standard in home tours and drone tours are both already popular. And as more people learn about them, virtual reality tours are sure to make the home buying process even more virtually interactive.
At Equity, we've embraced virtual reality tours using services such as Matterport already. It’s hard to deny that such technologies are the future.
So What To Do?
You might have seen this coming, but…
Get a broker that knows what they are doing. If your real estate broker isn’t leveraging the latest technology to get your house sold, why would you trust them? Housing markets are too competitive to rely on outdated means of driving potential home buyers to your property. It’s that simple.
At Equity, we understand how important it is to stay on top of technological trends. We pass that understanding on to our agents, who are all well trained on the industry’s most modern best practices.