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One of the most significant issues agents now face is the reality that the internet enables buyers to be out looking at homes without agents on either side of the sale knowing.
More than ever, it’s critical that agents learn a thing or two from online dating. The world of online dating has enabled prospects, in this case, dating prospects, simply to glance at a photo and decide whether that person is a possible lifemate and then swipe left or right accordingly. (That sounds a lot like buyers skimming Zillow for a match, no?)
It’s a competitive and crazy world out there, and those seeking relationships on these apps have learned to master their online profile. By putting their best foot forward and maximizing their online presence, they can hopefully find their soulmate. (Or ideal buyer, when we apply this to our purposes.)
Whether you’re online dating or selling real estate, to find “the one,” you have to attract many. As the market cools, it’s critical that we learn to “follow the eyeballs,” too, with our listings to stay at the top of the heap.
Equally important is learning how to direct a potential buyer’s view where you want it to maximize a listing’s potential.
Following cues from the explosive growth of dating portals, listing agents have discovered that the following steps are now essential if they wish to maximize their listing and capture the highest number of online views:
Historically, new carpet and paint were all that was typically required to ready a home for the market and potential buyers’ expectations.
However, today’s buyers, fueled by preferences they honed watching HGTV, are looking for more. Agents have discovered that the better prepared a listing, the more views they will get, bettering their chances of getting top dollar.
Using the online dating analogy again, on average, a buyer will give a listing profile between 7-10 seconds before “swiping left” and moving on.
If buyers like what they see on a given property profile, they will stick around longer and dive deeper. Today’s property preparation has become more extensive, especially in higher-priced markets. The prep list now includes updated kitchens, baths, upscale flooring, new windows and more.
Not content with the standard still photos, buyers have made it clear they want more. Although video and drone footage have gained widespread acceptance, today’s buyers want even more interactive media.
3D tours, such as Matterport, have made it possible to tour homes virtually and have brought the viewing process to a new level.
COVID-19 made it impossible to hand out brochures in many markets, so some agents opted for virtual brochures instead from companies, such as Studeo.
With COVID restrictions lifting, rather than return to printed brochures, some agents are placing a QR code in the home that links visitors directly to the virtual brochure. This simple step is not only “green,” but it also provides a better client experience and enables anyone desiring more information to click through directly to the listing agent.
Maximized client experience
Like it or not, if you follow buyer eyeballs, they are gazing at significant web portals, such as Zillow or realtor.com. Although the industry has invested a lot of money in brokerage websites or apps, at the end of the day, the majority of buyers tend to go to the top few sites to begin the home-viewing process and get applicable data.
Coupled with the fact that buyers are accessing these sites on their mobile devices, listing agents should be optimizing their offerings to maximize a buyer’s experience while on those sites and set up effective clickthrough where possible.
Not only has the internet changed all things real estate, but evolving technology is also enhancing the buyer experience as agents are embracing the new platforms. Consequently, agents who do not learn to “follow the eyeballs” and adopt new technologies to stay in front of homeowner wannabes might find themselves unwittingly left behind as buyers start looking elsewhere.
Carl Medford is the CEO of The Medford Team.