Business practices take shape from the patterns formed by consumer demand. With an unprecedented pandemic, those demands — like increased reliance on technology — pivoted seemingly overnight. Businesses that anticipated a change were ready when the real estate industry, in turn, became even more consumer-centric than ever before.
It comes as no surprise that inventory in the U.S. remains low in most locales, and instead of a wintertime lull, the upcoming season is anticipated to be bustling. Rather than trying to keep up with the ever-changing homebuyer and seller tendencies, agents should stay proactive.
Here’s what agents can focus on in 2022 to better meet the evolving needs of the consumer.
Elevate your online presence
According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) 2021 Profile of Homebuyers and Sellers, 95% of potential homebuyers use the internet during their search for properties.
That’s not a shock. But in addition to the usual websites and portals, they’re also using social media platforms and online reviews as a way to find a compatible agent.
“Social media profiles are our modern business cards,” says Mike Opyd, President, Owner and Managing Broker of RE/MAX NEXT in Chicago. “If you’re not using social media, you’re missing out on the future of real estate.”
By now, you have likely created social media profiles. But are they optimized to maximize your marketing potential? Leverage social media platforms to build credibility, compile reviews, and demonstrate your skillset and level of professionalism.
“If they’re not doing it already, agents need to emphasize social media as a key way to market themselves. There’s no reason not to — it’s free,” Opyd says. “Today, we’re competing with the attention of everything around the world. I speak to my agents all the time about how important it is to make sure they’re not just on social media, but really engaging with it.”
Maintain effective communication
The Future of Real Estate Report by RE/MAX showed that 60% of consumers identified ease of contact and prompt responses from agents as factors that will become increasingly more important to them over the next two years.
In a day and age where homebuyers and sellers have abundant choices about who to work with, it’s important to be accessible by maintaining a rapid response time. Because his local market is experiencing low inventory, Opyd explains that in addition to providing quick communication, his agents also educate their clients along the way. This includes informing them of potential strategy tactics, like implementing escalation clauses.
For both buyers and sellers, modern communication in real estate goes beyond phone calls and in-person showings. The same RE/MAX report showed that 68% of North Americans would like to see virtual walk-through options for homes continue post-pandemic.
“There’s been a much heavier reliance on video tours and 3D walkthroughs for buyers to decide if it’s worth seeing a place in person,” Opyd says. “So there’s more power behind agents who are utilizing video.”
Word-of-mouth referrals come most often from consumers who find a source they deem trustworthy enough for their own transaction. The NAR 2021 Profile of Homebuyers and Sellers reports that 90% of homebuyers would use their real estate agent again or recommend their agent to others.
In addition to factors like boosting online credibility, affiliating with a trustworthy brand name can be a pivotal component in solidifying a reputation of dependability. According to American and Canadian shoppers, RE/MAX is the brand with the #1 Most Trusted Real Estate Agents in the U.S.* and Canada.**
With persistent market turbulence from a lingering pandemic, consumers — more than ever before — need to feel confident in trusting the person they’ve hired to facilitate what is likely the largest financial transaction of their lifetime.
*Voted most trusted Real Estate Agency brand by American shoppers based on the 2022 BrandSpark® American Trust Study.
**Voted Most Trusted Real Estate Agency brand by Canadian shoppers based on the 2022 BrandSpark® Canadian Trust Study.