Customer journeys are changing. Researching the multi-faceted property market online is more convenient than ever, and perhaps even more significantly, it’s completely free. Studies show that Real Estate related searches on Google.com rose by 253% over the past four years. 9 out of 10 house hunters searched online during the home buying process and 52% chose to search online as their first step in finding a home. Real estate agents must now more than ever meet their prospective clients online if they want to be in business. But where are realtors supposed to be on the internet? Let’s find out where home buyers go to search for a home.
1. Listing Websites
Property search sites such as Zillow.com, Realtor.com, and Trulia.com, are some of the most popular home listing sites that buyers use. This is because they can find available homes by their preferences. For example, buyers could be looking for an oceanfront home with a garage, pool, a good school district, and three bedrooms. When these specifications are put in the search terms, chances are the results will include homes that meet that criteria. Realtors should therefore list their homes and properties on these sites for possible sales and leads.
2. YouTube Videos
Buyers pay more attention to listings with videos that are mainly hosted on YouTube. Many realtors also use YouTube to shows specific home features and to show happy home buyers with testimonial videos. This is to give potential buyers confidence to contact the agent when they are ready to buy. YouTube has also become a source of information on the processes of buying a home, giving the buyer confidence to consider doing it without the help of a realtor.
3. To Find Professional Services
The internet has become a large resource of service providers that homebuyers can find at the click of a button. These service providers, realtors, mortgage lenders, title companies, home inspectors, and appraisers, should get listed in online directories like Homes.com and Zillow.com to increase the possibility of being found by home buyers.
4. Home Buyers Use Mobile Applications
Some popular real estate firms own mobile apps where homebuyers can access information on the available properties. Studies show that millennials use mobile apps like Homesnap to research and contact sellers. This mobile application provides accurate real-time MLS data and has enhanced property features that make it easy to search and share with others. It’s apps like these that meet the need for mobile searches by home buyers.
5. Home Buyers Use Social Media
The most ideal platforms for real estate are Facebook and Instagram because these platforms have millions of daily visitors. Buyers also research agents on their social media platforms and become attracted to beautiful images and videos of homes on sale. Real estate agents can use these platforms to target their potential buyers by age, income, and more so as to attract them as leads.
6. Google Ads and Search Results
When realtors use Google Ads to advertise, they attract potential home buyers by popping up as they browse the internet. Those looking for homes are always prospecting for good deals and are more likely to click on these Google Ads and banners to explore the offers. Google search results also expose buyers to opportunities that come up after a search query. Examples of such queries are, ‘Home’s for Sale in San Jose, Houston, Texas’ or the ‘Best communities to live in for young families in New Jersey, New York.’
7. Multiple Listing Service [MLS]
MLS is a private database usually managed by professional realtors that contain data about properties on sale. Homebuyers are increasingly choosing to consider this because it contains accurate and updated information on different homes on sale. These platforms offer time conscious buyers with a one-stop service for easier and faster home searches.
8. Home Buyers Use Amazon Portal
There is a partnership between Amazon and Realogy, America’s biggest residential real estate broker, which allows homebuyers to connect with a Realogy agent. When they buy, the homebuyer enjoys up to $5,000 worth of Amazon benefits such as smart home devices, furniture, and home appliances. Attractive offers like these make buyers want to get into these arrangements to enjoy the gifts and discounted offers.
9. Informative Blog Content
The internet has an endless supply of information on each step of the home buying process. Real estate professionals and brokerages are constantly posting new articles, videos, and infographics to help online consumers understand the steps involved. Buyers, therefore, learn much more about the buying process making the need to interact with agents very little to unnecessary.
10. Background Check Results
Homebuyers use the internet to do a search on the security background of a community and resident reviews. Using the internet to learn more about the areas buyers are looking to move to can help them narrow down the neighbourhoods that work best for their needs. Other helpful searches include neighbourhoods with homeowners associations who now post their bylaws, covenants, and restrictions online. These documents feature valuable information and even the fiscal health of the association. These background checks can be an effective tool for making final home purchase decisions.
Access to information is the main way in which the internet has changed the home-buying process. Its proliferation has made buyers more ‘savvy’; allowing them to do their homework on properties and areas they might be interested in, the market in general, and to access finance before they spend time and money negotiating with industry professionals. At its most basic level, it seems that technology puts buyers at a more advantaged position than they’ve ever been before. To bridge this divide, the real estate industry players must reinvent themselves to stay relevant to these changes.