More consumers are going digital to look for their needs. Many real estate agents are aware of this, yet still continue to find clients by traditional means: referrals, agencies, classified advertisements and yard sale signs. These days, consumers no longer cruise potential neighborhoods on Sunday afternoons to leisurely stroll through open houses. 100% of customers cruise the listings online instead. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), 9 out of 10 home buyers use the internet as their primary resource. They perform an average of 11 searches before they even approach a realtor.
In 2011, real estate searches via Google grew over 22% — an experienced a 120% growth from 2011 to 2012. Coupled with the gains recovery the housing market is experiencing, this means that once potential home owners decide they want to buy they often go online first. Of the homebuyers who go online, 90% of these go online with their smart phones or tablets.
Realtors and agents looking to engage with potential buyers online before they even pick up the phone. This means their listings should show in search results, a focus in consumer-oriented marketing and mobile-friendly websites should be a priority. Nothing turns off a potential buyer more than a website without a mobile version. They are forced to navigate through slow loading pictures and tiny text. Invest in a small website revamp that allows for friendlier loading times, better pictures and better text.
BETTER PICTURES AND VIDEOS
Access to high speed Internet has also changed the way buyers browse websites. Terrible, badly-lit photographs do your listing more harm than good. Savvy consumers now look for good-quality photos and even videos that accompany standard listings. Many realtors take advantage of this awareness by uploading not just photos and video, but directions, maps and schedules for open house viewings. This means that your website does half the work, bringing customers to the agent. Customers that are already invested, interested and willing to buy.
USING PAID SEARCHES AND SEO
Tailoring your website for local and national search results can help your potential buyers find your listings without jumping through hoops. The NAR study shows that many buyers browse through local listings first. They use terms such as “Indiana two bedroom” when searching for new homes. They tend to include their specifics in the search terms i.e. “foreclosure”, “apartment”, “near CBD” to help aid searches. Later on, their searches become more specific as they slowly figure out what they want. This often includes adding amenities i.e. fireplaces. Determine the type of searches popular for your area and tailor your listings accordingly. Take advantage of large website directories that list your specialties.
Neglecting the mobile website is a mistake you don’t want to make. Your market is glued to their phones. Get your content across by tailoring to their needs, and watch your sales soar.