80-85% of homebuyers begin their real estate search online. Learn what they are looking for so you can attract new clients.
“Location, Location, Location” is the unofficial slogan of the real estate industry. This is as much true online as it is in real life when it comes to real estate. The current NAR® statistic states that 80–85% of homebuyers begin their real estate search online.
A buyer today is as diverse as the inventory of homes available. One can’t possibly predict every single possible outlet a buyer might choose to search. Agents will find the most effective combination of exposure to be: having your listings on your website, allowing buyers to search your MLS area through an IDX service, and listing submission services. A listing submission service like ListingLaunch™ automatically submits your listings to the most widely used searching sites. By taking the guesswork out of exposing your listing to the largest number of potential buyers, agents are able to focus on marketing.
Whether a buyer is searching Zillow, Trulia, Craigslist, or through a REALTOR’S® IDXPro® service, location is one of the most important factors for buyers wanting to move across country or across town. Homebuyers turn to the Internet to view listings based on three main location factors – proximity to work, quality of school districts, and lifestyle.
Cutting the Commute
It is often a fact of life in many areas of the country that you get more house for your dollar the further out you travel. With gas prices creeping higher and higher each day and millions of Americans’ efforts to be greener, commute times and access to public transportation are going to be ranked higher on the must haves for a new home. Highlight a home’s proximity to large organizations or areas of business, as well as commute times for driving and public transportation. Internet buyers are looking to make informed decisions, ensure that accurate information is provided.
The Kid’s School
Quality school districts are often a catalyst for local moves and a burden for families relocating from outside the area. Provide links to parent’s forums and websites like schoolmatters.com. Often times, once a buyer hones in on a school or school district they move the search out from that point. Remember to highlight or mention the proximity to specific schools in your postings. The key here is specifics. Referring to a property as “close to good schools” is totally useless to a buyer. When a buyer is searching for homes close to a particular school, they do not want to have to cross-reference.
Keeping Up with the Joneses
Lifestyle is still very important for families but can be one of the largest factors for buyers without school age children. There is a lack of valuable information about specific neighborhoods on the Internet, making it difficult for buyers to locate a home to match their lifestyle. Most web based real estate companies do not have the local knowledge of the best area for a newly married couple or recently retired divorcee that an agent does.
There are some forum-based resources such as city-data.com but an agent’s local and even hyper local knowledge will take the prize here and give the online researchers exactly what they are looking for.
Add a neighborhoods section to your real estate website where you can write about the neighborhoods character, charms, and typical residents. Mention the neighborhoods that your listings are in when adding the property description to the MLS or featuring the listing on your site. Add new web tools like WalkScore.com and StreetAdvisor to further emphasize the area’s offerings. With products like IDXPro, you can create specific map searches that relate to each neighborhood, making searching the MLS listings in a small specific area easy, and effective.
Online, A First Impression is All You Get
With the large amount of inventory online, agents must put a listing’s best foot forward. The homeowner must be willing to work with you in utilizing some useful inexpensive staging tips, considering minor home improvements that will increase value and desirability, and pricing the listing for the current market. A team effort with the seller will create an exponentially better first impression. Be thoughtful and strategic when choosing photos to post online. Follow the steps above to create a thoughtful market savvy listing description.
Buyers are looking to cut through the clutter; be clear, concise, and informative. Hone in on specific details and use your listing description to provide a window into specifically what the location offers. Listings that speak to the ideal buyer, not every buyer, are the most effective way to intrigue buyers to pick up the phone and call you. With all the information that is online, an uninformative listing with bad pictures (or worse, no picture) will get written off by 83% of homebuyers.