The National Association of REALTORS® and Google recently released a joint study, “The Digital House Hunt: Consumer and Market Trends in Real Estate.” The findings provide a bounty of useful information for salespeople, brokers, and others such as builders who are involved in residential real estate. A free copy of the research results is available at http://www.realtor.org/reports/digital-house-hunt and is well worth having in your library. In looking the study over, I found support data for many of the ideas I discuss regularly on this blog, as well as some new trends. Among other things, you can use this type of information to convert online shoppers into buyer prospects—take a look at how!
Converting a Home Shopper into a Home Buyer
1. Shoppers Buy Quickly. It’s estimated that 10% of digital shoppers plan to buy a home immediately, so treat every digital inquiry you get with that in mind. Internet shoppers shop a variety of sites, but 25% of shoppers contact an agent/company the day they start searching, so anyone who is handling a digital inquiry must offer services and information beyond what the buyer may expect. Items such as a list of new listings or a video about “How to Buy a Home in Wonderful, Virginia” may be the very thing that causes them to employ your services. Be assured that most agents will not offer that level of service, so the competition will pale in comparison.
2. Make An Excellent Digital Impression. Of course I’m talking about having a website that offers both information and services! 78% of online shoppers visit three sites prior to taking any action, so it’s important first to be found at all, and then have a website that’s easy to search, has lots of LISTINGS, and features an abundance of calculators and How To Buy information. An offer of a free “Home Buyers Guide to Buying a Home in Hometown, USA” would not cost much in time and money to provide but could add handsomely to the bottom line. “You only get one chance at a good first impression” is a critical guideline in the digital world, so offer more than anyone could expect.
3. Agents, Yard Signs, and Open Houses. 88% of shoppers use an agent to get more information during the shopping process, and they also use yard signs and Open Houses as a source of information. Mobile apps are used by 68% of these digital home shoppers, and the information they find on those apps is critical to being discovered by these shoppers. Having “Enhanced” Listings on realtor.com may be a tad more expensive, but it could also be the best money you spend. An “Enhanced” listing separates an agent from the herd and separates the property from the competition. How you present your listings has a big influence on ways YOU are presented to the shopper—ways that you may never see. You want to be visible to that 88% looking for an agent!
4. Videos are Hot. The study highlighted some startling information about video viewing:
- 86% of video viewers used videos to find out more about the community
- 70% used videos to tour the inside of a home
- 44% used videos to compare features among companies
Easy video technology has been around for a while, but few agents have created even one of their own videos. Those video-free days are quickly coming to an end: I regularly search real estate on YouTube, and it’s not uncommon to see a real estate video that had more than 1,000 views in a year. An excellent webcam costs less than $100, and you can create videos right at your desk without any help. The uses are unlimited but the results are remarkable. I’ve heard stories about community videos (see that 86% above) generating leads years after they were created and posted. Keep this in mind: having a video that gets 50 views a week is almost guaranteed, and running a print ad that gets 50 calls a week is almost unheard of.