Posts by Properties Online (page 88)

How Sellers Benefit from Web-Savvy Real Estate Agents

Real estate agents have traditionally relied on referrals and repeat customers to grow their business, but today clients are just as likely to come from the internet. The trend toward a digital real estate marketplace has been growing steadily, but the incredible popularity of smartphones and tablet computers, particularly in combination with the rocketing growth of mobile technology, has sent the use of internet realty sites soaring. According to the National Association of Realtors, between 90% and 95% of home buyers now use the internet to search for homes. It’s a trend that is expected to grow ever stronger as new real estate technology tools make it increasingly easy to buy and sell homes via the internet.

real estate technology

Selling a home today requires a strong web presence. Real estate agents that are plugged in to all the latest tech tools and who employ aggressive internet, social media and mobile marketing techniques offer home sellers significant advantages over other agents. If you are planning to put your house on the market this year, look for a web-savvy real estate agent who can offer the following services to market your home:

  • Your agent should maintain a constantly updated, search engine optimized  agent website and blog that attracts buyers with access to multiple listing services and search tools, as well as helpful information about buying a home and useful details about local communities. Ask the realtor about his website and blog traffic figures. Higher traffic translates into more buyers and faster house sales.
  • Your agent should provide an individual website for each of his listings, called a listing domain. For greatest effectiveness, listing domains should be marketed on multiple sites, and your agent should provide weekly traffic figures.
  • People spend more time on Facebook than anywhere else on the web which makes an agent Facebook page loaded with apps critical to fast real estate sales.
  • Agents that offer mobile websites and employ QR codes and Twitter maintain constant contact with potential buyers, decreasing the amount of time it takes to sell a home.

Why Buyers, Sellers Should Choose Web-Savvy Realtor

Nearly 90% of all home buyers and nearly 95% of buyers between the ages of 25 and 44, the age at which people are most likely to purchase a home, search for homes on the internet. With Americans spending an estimated 2 to 5 hours a day online, home buyers are most likely to discover the home they eventually purchase online, either on a real estate website, listing domain or Facebook page.  A real estate agent who does not make aggressive use of internet marketing tools puts his clients — both buyers and sellers — at a considerable disadvantage. When shopping for a real estate agent, home buyers and home sellers alike should look for a web-savvy Realtor who makes use of all the latest tech tools to harness the full power of the internet to market sellers’ homes and help buyers find the home of their dreams.

tech savvy agent

Web-savvy real estate agents offer a multitude of online real estate tools that attract home buyers to their listings, create a larger audience for homes for sale, and simplify the home sale process for both buyers and sellers. Buyers should look for agents that provide access to community information and school evaluations that allow them to pinpoint the neighborhoods to focus their housing search. Virtual video tours allow buyers to preview homes that attract their interest while minimizing the amount of time spent on walk-throughs and open houses. Mapping tools that allow buyers to zoom in on a home and zoom out to check out the neighborhood are valuable. Mortgage calculators, home buying and closing tips and checklists, market reports and links to additional information are among the many features that real estate agents are adding to their websites to enhance the home-buying process.

Real estate agents that regularly use social media and mobile technology to stay in touch with their clients can provide buyers’ with immediate answers to their questions, alert buyers to new listings the moment they become available, quickly transmit documents and more, making it easier and less stressful to buy a home.

Next time: How sellers benefit

Tech Tools Every Real Estate Agent Should Be Using

The personal touch is still an important component in attracting clients and closing real estate sales, but technology use is quickly replacing charisma as a Realtor’s most important attribute in attracting home selling and home buying clients. According to statistics compiled by the National Association of Realtors, in 2011 87% of home sellers and buyers searched for real estate agents on the internet. Equally important, 88% of all buyers and 94% of buyers in the 25 to 44 age range used the internet to search for a home. Today’s real estate customers are looking for Realtors that make aggressive use of the latest internet tools, mobile technology and social media platforms to market real estate listings.

Tech Tools

The real estate tech products that are attracting the greatest attention are:

  • Listing syndication expands multiple listing service feeds beyond the primary destination website to agent-designated websites. Listing syndication services like ListHub also provide customized tracking services that allow real estate agents to see where their leads are coming from and allocate marketing resources to the most productive real estate sites.
  • Virtual staging provides a time-efficient alternative to physical staging. Instead of physically clearing out the clutter, moving furniture and worrying about proper lighting, real estate agents can snap a series of digital photos and submit them with a floor plan of the home to a virtual staging company. After digital enhancement and photo shop-enabled virtual decorating, the photos are returned to the agent ready for uploading to listing domains, agent websites, eflyers, Virtuet videos, Facebook, etc.
  • Social media marketing on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus and other social networks puts real estate listings where potential buyers and sellers are spending the majority of their internet time. People spend more time on Facebook than on any other social network — 700 billion minutes each month! The recent launch of Facebook IDX now allows Facebook users to access and use multiple listing services to search for homes without leaving Facebook.
  • Mobile apps for smartphones allow on-the-go real estate agents to connect with equally busy customers and respond to customer queries immediately.

How Realtors Can Use Pinterest to Attract Website Traffic

It’s new; it’s fun; and it’s sizzling hot! Launched last March, it took Pinterest just 10 months to hit one million monthly visitors; achieving that mark of popularity faster than any stand-alone website in internet history. The web’s newest social media network, Pinterest is a visual bulletin board that allows users to “pin” captioned images and videos discovered while browsing the web to self-created thematic pinboards. If Pinterest followers see something they like on your board, they can post comments and/or “repin” it to their own pinboard, as well as Facebook and Twitter. Boards cover a wide variety of subjects, but fashion and decor dominate the primarily female site, making Pinterest a natural fit for real estate agents.

Pinterest

Pinterest boasts a higher rate of referral traffic than nearly any other social media site. Because each pinned item automatically links back to the original website, Pinterest is effective tool for both driving traffic to your real estate website and link building. The potential to spread product awareness and boost sales hasn’t been lost on marketing managers. Small business owners as well as major retailers like Whole Foods and Lowe’s have begun pinning their own products to boards to generate consumer interest.

To attract traffic and client leads, savvy Realtors are also creating pinboards that feature real estate, home design and home decor content. Well-staged, high-resolution photos are mostly likely draw comments and be repinned. (For photo tips, see our recent posts on taking real estate photos.) You can increase market penetration by tweeting new pinnings and posting them to your real estate Facebook page. The only drawback to Pinterest has been the limitation of text to photo captions. A new bookmark called Pin A Quote solves this problem by allowing you to highlight specially created text or text from your website and pin it to your board like a picture. Like Pinterest, Pin A Quote automatically links back to the source site. You can install browser buttons for both Pinterest and Pin A Quote that allow you to pin items to your board with a quick click.

Great Real Estate Photos Make Good First Impression on Buyers

Including a real estate video in listing domains is a selling point that attracts home sellers and buyers. Virtuet allows real estate agents to quickly and easily create professional-looking videos for each of their listings that can be embedded in real estate websites and blogs, uploaded to YouTube, posted on Facebook or tweeted to interested buyers.

Home

Before you can create a Virtuet video, you need to snap some great photos of the property. Use these tips to take professional-looking listing photos that will attract home buyers (see our previous post for additional tips):

  • Frame each shot to avoid showing telephone poles, overhead wires or other homes in exterior photos. Have the seller remove cars from the driveway and hide the garbage cans. Removing background distractions allows buyers to focus on the house.
  • Aerial photos of properties and the surrounding neighborhood are popular in many markets. If you want to give buyers a bird’s-eye view of the property or neighboring area without going to the considerable expense of hiring an aerial photographer, you can print aerial photos free from Live Maps. Live Maps shows real-time aerial views that can be zoomed in or out. Before including aerial photos in a property’s listing domain photo display or Virtuet video, they should be carefully scanned to ensure that their content will not detract from the property’s desirability.
  • Use a digital camera not your cell phone to take property photos. A camera with a wide-angle lens is an asset as it allows an entire room to be captured in a single photo. To obtain clear, high-quality photos set your camera to its highest resolution and use a tripod to hold the camera steady.
  • Careful editing can improve any listing photo. A basic photo-editing software or free photo editing websites like Snipshot and Pixenate allow you to adjust photo brightness and contrast and crop out unnecessary foreground and background to focus the photo on the features you want to emphasize.

To find out more about Virtuet and other real estate technology tools, visit Properties Online.