If you’re still pouring money into mailers and print advertising, you’re missing half the population. A 2018 study found that 50% of home buyers find the right house via an online search. More than 90% of all homebuyers will search homes online at some point in the process. Real estate related searches have increased by 253% in the last four years, according to Google. Real estate technology is changing.
If you’re looking for a way to sell more homes as a real estate agent, it’s time to spend more time online.
Many real estate agents rely on antiquated methods to find first-time homebuyers. But today’s home buyers are younger and more tech-savvy. In fact, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports that the average age of a first-time home buyer is 32 years old. If you know anything about 30-somethings, it’s that this group researches just about everything online. Home buying is no different.
How Realtors Can Reach First-Time Homebuyers
To reach the younger demographic of home buyers, you have to go where they are – and that means establishing a substantial presence online. Only 28% of home buyers ultimately find a home through a Realtor. Moreover, only 7% from signage or open houses, and a mere 1% of all buyers find homes through newspaper ads. In a technology-driven world, most home buyers will find a property online.
There are three ways real estate agents can increase their online reach:
Not all websites are created equal. With the rise of search engine optimization (SEO), digital marketing has become increasingly competitive. It’s important for your site to look great; however, it has to perform great as well. You should create a real estate website that is visually appealing, easy to navigate, and equipped with built-in technology to help you reach more clients.
Even if you’ve never designed a website before, you can create a stunning website designed specifically for your real estate business. Tools like the Winning Agent theme and the Genesis Framework can give you a fully-functional professional website in no time.
It’s not enough to create a real estate website. You also need to have Realtor-specific software that helps home buyers navigate your site effortlessly and intuitively. When a potential client visits your site, they should be able to learn about you and understand why they should hire you over other Realtors. But they should also be able to conduct a home search from your website.
To help viewers find homes more easily, consider adding an Internet Data Exchange (IDX) feature to your site. An IDX system allows real estate agents to feature MLS listings on their individual websites, and it’s truly an indispensable tool for Realtors. There are multiple IDX services available, and we’ve tried them all. We have found IDX Broker to be the most reliable and effective service. By integrating the IDX Broker system into your website, clients can easily search available MLS listings directly from your site. Therefore, they are more likely to stay on your page and keep you as their agent.
More than 90% of all Realtors use social media for marketing their business. If you want to reach home buyers, make social media a daily habit. A 2018 NAR study asked real estate agents to identify the most valuable technology tools (besides smartphones and email) for their businesses. Twenty-eight percent of respondents reported social media as the most valuable piece of technology, finishing third behind MLS websites and apps (64%) and lockbox or smart key devices (39%).
Social media is unique, because it’s free (with optional paid advertising), it’s effective, and it allows you to personally connect with current, past, and future clients. Not sure where to begin? Check out this article to learn more about real estate social media marketing.
How Much Should Real Estate Agents Spend on Technology?
Because 90% of your potential clients will start their home search online, you must invest the time and money into technology development. The aforementioned NAR study found that most Realtors (39% of those surveyed) will spend somewhere between $251-$1,000 on technology to use on their independent real estate business. Sixteen percent report spending more than $3,000 in the past 12 months.
The bottom line? You have to spend money to make money. With so many clients online, technology expenses are absolutely essential if you want to be a successful real estate agent in our fast-paced online world.