Top producing buyer agents know that the secret sauce to a successful home shopping experience does not just include the physical home, but also its location and the lifestyle surrounding it.

  • Client education can be the lynchpin that holds your transactions together and garners referrals for your future pipeline.

Top-producing buyer’s agents know that the secret sauce to a successful home-shopping experience does not just include the physical home but also its location and the lifestyle surrounding it.

Consumers are sharp, and they are going to ask tough questions. They will be looking to professionals to verify research they are finding on top third-party search portals.

Sites such as Zillow, Trulia and realtor.com are offering more information to consumers to continue to add value for them.

Trulia’s “The house is only half of it” campaign launched earlier this spring with a heavy focus on community and safety.

“Finding a place to call home is so much more than the four walls you will live in — it’s about finding the home that fits your needs and the ideal neighbors, blocks and streets,” said Alissa Reiter, vice president of marketing at Trulia.

“We wanted to highlight the sense of elation and relief when you find your ideal home and neighborhood by having a little fun showcasing a few extreme examples of nightmare neighborhoods.”

To celebrate the new ad campaign, Trulia released the results of its recent survey conducted online by Harris Poll. According to the survey, 84 percent of Americans said the neighborhood would be equally important or more important than the house itself.

 

iphone consumer screenshot of crime mapping of neighborhoods via Trulia

Things to consider 

Agents on both sides of the transaction should have a good look at the mapping and overlay tools available on popular search sites. Why? Awareness.

It is incredibly difficult to maintain a high level of customer service and customer satisfaction for today’s consumers. If you throw being unaware of trends and tools that your clients are using into the equation, and it can spell disaster.

Managing brokers need to pay special attention and make sure that they have an up-to-date resource list for their agents to provide to consumers. Having a list of contacts on hand will build a solid foundation for helping your clients find the information they need to make a sound decision about possibly the largest purchase they have ever made.

“We have heard repeatedly from consumers how important it is to feel safe walking your dog at night, how local school ratings matter for their children and how walkability to restaurants and entertainment is the ultimate convenience. These are all dimensions that play a huge role in deciding on the right home,” Reiter said.

To ease these often difficult decisions, Trulia and its map overlays surface deep neighborhood insights on safety, schools, commutes and even surrounding dog parks and nightlife — helping homeshoppers make informed decisions on where to live.

What was even more interesting was what the participants of the survey were willing to give up in their home search in exchange for finding their ideal neighborhood.

  • A pool (72 percent)
  • A furnished basement (55 percent)
  • Square footage (33 percent)
  • Garage (21 percent)
  • Yard (19 percent)
  • A bathroom (13 percent)
  • A bedroom (12 percent)

Fast fact: More neighborhood and home research is completed online first. People who are relocating to cities and states often need to make a decision using only online information.

In fact, house hunting today is increasingly done online. Among Americans who have ever searched for a home, 78 percent have used the internet on either a computer or mobile device — up from 73 percent in 2012.

Trulia’s map overlays create transparency for consumers.

Final thoughts

In a seller’s market when inventory is low and housing offers are fast-paced, it is important to not let the due diligence of research fall behind.

Encourage your clients to research neighborhoods so that they are confident in their purchase, and do not associate your business with a hasty choice that they are now saddled with for the long term.

Make sure that homesellers are aware of these research tools, as it may impact pricing and days on market. Client education can be the lynchpin that holds your transactions together and garners referrals for your future pipeline.

Interested in more of what the survey had to say about the importance of neighborhoods to consumers? Click here for even more statistics and details.

By day, Rachael Hite helps agents develop their business. By night, she’s tweeting and blogging for listingdepot.com.

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