The annual statistics by the National Association of Realtors are out with lots of great information. Just a couple of weeks ago John Sable posted a blog “Give them what they want…Photos” and talked about the high interest in property photos. Photos were also the Number 1 Valued Website Feature according to the NAR report. Second only to property photos was detailed information about properties for sale. Both of these highly valued features are not always met by listing agents. The proof is overwhelming that consumers will still rely on an agent to complete a real estate transaction-so don’t worry your job isn’t going anywhere. However, the way you handle online leads cannot be the same as the way you handle walk in customers and qualified leads who are ready to buy.
Online listings have a delicate balance. On the one hand listings must be presented in a fashion that will get the consumer to consider contacting the listing agent and start the buying process. On the other hand, listings must provide enough information for the information gatherers that you won’t discourage them from seriously considering you or your future listings. Most consumers use the Internet to begin the home search process because they can gather infinite amounts of information and remain relatively anonymous.
Here is why you should be listing lots of photos and as much information as possible: consumers online are in the information gathering stage.
The Top 5 Actions Taken as a Result of an Internet Home Search:
- Drove by or viewed a home: providing the essentials like the address is just the beginning. Consumers want to know about the neighborhood, the schools and local points of interest. With Active Website’s mapping solution consumers can search by points of interests like churches, coffee shops, schools, etc. Having these features available might interest an online lead enough to cruise around the neighborhood and consider your listing more seriously.
- Walked through a home viewed online: Get them to your open house by having a list of open houses. Include dates and times in the listing information. Making this information easily accessible will increase the likelihood of an Internet lead participating. Again remember the anonymity-and if they show, then they are ready to buy.
- Found the agent used to search for or buy a home: This is the ultimate goal. Check your digital footprint. Are you participating in social networking?
- Requested more information: This can come in many different forms and is the reason that a strong Internet lead management system is required. How do you determine who gets which leads or did they contact the agent directly?
- Pre-qualified for a mortgage online: These Internet leads are ready to buy and are not the anonymous leads discussed above. These leads are hopefully contacting you directly and are interested in one of your properties.
Listen to the consumer. If you list your properties based on what consumers say they want you could be getting people to contact you, attend your open houses and even close a deal. Think about what you are doing now and what you could be doing better.
John Gadeken recently stated in his blog ”Are you capturing your online leads?” that we need to be taking these leads a little more seriously. So review your current process and make the necessary changes to be successful.