2015 is slated to have significant growth in the area of housing.
It is estimated that there will be 1.2 million home starts. That is over 200,000 more than the year prior. In addition to home starts, many states are experiencing labor-force migration from places like California and New York to more fiscally healthy markets like Utah and Texas, due to economic outlook and general business climate.
With this in mind, thousands of real estate agents are getting ready to tackle the spring-summer season as one that will define their success or failure for 2015.
The way consumers shop for homes has evolved radically in the last 10 years. Almost every shopper in the housing market will begin his or her research online, without the aid of an agent, and will only reach out to an agent once he or she has identified potential properties aligned with his or her budget and punch list. No longer are consumers separated from housing databases that previously were only available to realtors.
Therefore, excelling as a realtor is highly dependent on the realtor’s ability to effectively navigate a myriad of online-based environments, from databases like Realtor.com to popular review sites like Yelp.
If you are a real estate agent or if you lead the marketing efforts of a local agency, then we want to share with you a few tried and true steps that will help you set the stage for a highly successful sales season. We believe that in this new era of online-based engagement, your online business reputation will frame every interaction you have with potential homebuyers.
Your Online Profiles Speak to a Wider Audience with Inter-State Migration
For the last five years, many states impacted by economic decline have seen a diaspora of their residents to other states, with millions of Americans relocating due to work or quality-of-life reasons. The increase in work-triggered mobility has resulted in houses moving quicker, but it also has expanded the need for realtors to effectively connect with potential out-of-state house shoppers who don’t necessarily have local connections, and are looking for a real estate agent that can hold their hand through the whole process of relocation and introduce them to the best neighborhoods each community has to offer.
Making sure you are able to deliver the most persuasive first impression through your online profiles is essential in securing the trust and affinity of out-of-state potential homebuyers. With this in mind take time to make sure your contact information is correct across all review sites – here is why.
Diversifying Beyond Your Site Equips You for Interactivity with Potential Shoppers
Real estate is one of the hardest, most expensive niches to market online and offline. For many real estate agents, getting to the top of a search is price prohibitive, with sites such as Realtor.com, Zillow, and others dominating searches associated with the buying and selling of real estate. This level of competitiveness makes it indispensable for real estate professionals to look for ways to increase both presence and reach through profile diversification. Make sure you are engaging potential customers across a variety of sites by accepting referrals, encouraging reviews, and answering questions.
Be a Networker on Sites Like Yelp and Facebook
When someone is new to a community, connecting to goods and services with credibility is of uttermost importance. Invest time in Yelp, reviewing your favorite service providers in your town, and work toward befriending influencers.
Another great platform is Facebook: by having a strong or elite profile on Facebook, you stand an increased chance of securing the business of individuals from outside your community looking for a trusted and knowledgeable real estate agent that can point them to the best in their new town.
Go Beyond Review Management and Become a City Concierge
Many review sites offer forum-like settings, where individuals can ask questions about products and services to local business owners and local experts. Take time to freely give your advice as a means of networking with those searching for preliminary information about a town prior to a move.
Maintain the most updated data related to taxes, employment opportunities, and service providers such as plumbers, electricians, and other basic trades. Endorse your most trusted resources, and become the go-to person when it comes to learning about a new town. Sites like Realtor.com provide you with interfaces for potential customers to ask questions directly by using the “ask a question” button. You can also apply to be part of the “Ask a Realtor” panel, which provides expert knowledge to commonly asked questions.
Have Image-Rich Social Media and Third-Party Site Profiles
Real estate and great photography go hand in hand. Take time to curate the best of the best, displaying the interiors and exteriors of homes you currently have on the market and homes you have sold in the past.
The quality of your photos and virtual tools not only speaks to the demographics you serve, but it also gives shoppers insights as to what to expect from certain communities. While you may not be able to post every single house you have on the market, your profile should be media-rich to allow shoppers to get a good feel as to the kinds of houses you should be able to find for them. Make sure you include a variety of styles and price points to better convey your ability to serve customers, regardless of their budget.
Partner and Engage with Move-Relevant Businesses
Consider engaging with third-party review sites like Yelp or Google+ and having industry connections in lateral services associated with the purchase of a new home. In addition to staying in the loop as to the services available in your community, you will have many opportunities to engage contextually with homebuyers.
Build Power Profiles That Highlight Your Qualifications
Work on creating informative profiles that highlight your experience and provide home shoppers with a sense of confidence regarding your achievements and abilities. List relevant awards, and include testimonials when applicable. Your profile should instill enough confidence in the eyes of home shoppers to enable them to take the next step by contacting you.
Year-round efforts to maintain social and review site presence can set the stage for a highly successful, busy season. Begin managing your online reputation today.