Coldwell Banker Real Estate has revamped its website to bring its sellers into the marketing process in a way it says hasn’t been done before.
The new site’s back-end platform, available to all Coldwell Banker sellers as of today, allows sellers to upload videos, photos and text to their listing on Coldwell Banker’s site to tell the story of their home. Once approved by the sellers’ Coldwell Banker agent, those items show up on a home’s listing detail page on coldwellbanker.com.
In targeting sellers, “we saw a huge opportunity,” Sean Blankenship, senior vice president of marketing at Coldwell Banker Real Estate, told Inman News. Portals like Zillow, Trulia and realtor.com do a good job of serving buyers, but Coldwell Banker saw a void when it came to serving sellers, he said.
Other sites, in fact, have been looking for ways to target potential sellers. In February, Trulia rolled out “Seller Ads,” a product that allows agents to put their contact info on a free home value report that potential sellers request from Trulia. In April, Redfin began giving its sellers access to a dashboard that shows how their listings are performing on Redfin.
As far as design, Coldwell Banker’s new site is cleaner with much less clutter than the previous home page, focusing the visitor on home search, finding agents and offices. The simplified, image-dominated layout also resizes automatically to fit the size of the device screen that pulled it up. The previous site, which was last revamped four years ago, was not mobile-optimized.
The new site’s home page features actual Coldwell Banker Real Estate listings. If the site has access to location information of the person accessing it, it will automatically show listings from the visitor’s region. For example, users in California would see listings in the West region.
On Coldwell Banker’s site, the seller stories info will show up on listing detail pages just below the photo well and labeled “Homeowners’ notes.”
Actors William H. Macy and Felicity Huffman have listed their home with Coldwell Banker and are among the first to participate in the site’s new feature.
“We love this house and so do our two girls,” Macy wrote in the note that shows up with his listing on coldwellbanker.com. “We’ve had the best dinner parties and holiday feasts. Felicity and I love to hike up toward Sopris Mountain, right out the back door. We’ve spent hours on the back deck watching the fantastic color as the sun sets over the ranch. We put a secret door between the kids’ bedrooms which has been a huge hit, and of course my wood shop where I’ve made some lovely pieces of furniture.”
The new seller feature of Coldwell Banker’s site was designed to make the homebuying process a more human experience, Blankenship said.
Coldwell Banker video illustrating the seller storytelling feature of the brand’s new website.
Blankenship says sellers have been asking to participate in the marketing of their homes over the years, and with the trend toward transparency and the prevalence of social media, he said this new feature made sense for the brand.
In addition to being able to market to buyers by telling the story of their home and their relationship to it, sellers will also gain access to a dashboard that Coldwell Banker is rolling out in the next couple of months that will allow them to see how their listing is performing on the site.
Coldwell Banker agents will also have access to the dashboard where they can see feedback from potential buyers about the listing and collaborate with their sellers on how to tweak the way the home is marketed, Blankenship said.
The Realogy-owned brand has 87,000 agents in approximately 3,100 offices in 49 countries and territories. Approximately half of the brand’s offices are company-owned and operated by Realogy’s brokerage wing, NRT LLC; the other half are franchised. Between 90 and 95 percent of NRT’s offices are branded to Coldwell Banker, Blankenship said.
“Sellers are (Coldwell Banker’s) focus,” Blankenship said. Sellers represented a majority of the approximate 760,000 transaction sides Coldwell Banker did in 2013, he said.
Not only does this feature make sellers an integral part of marketing and selling their home, it also personalizes the homebuying experience for buyers, Blankenship said. The new site also allows buyers to create accounts where they can save favorite listings, see listings flagged for them by their agent, and other info.