Credit: SFIO CRACHO
The real estate industry is built on people and relationships, but new technology and a larger slice of home buyers using it to help them purchase a home has changed the game — and its not just millenials. If you’re not embracing these three innovations to help you market your services to prospective clients, and market your client’s home to potential buyers, you could be missing out on a huge opportunity.
Buyers and sellers can’t be everywhere at the same time. And, you can’t be either. Coordinating and attending open houses and showings account for a lot of an agent’s time — and time is money.
On top of 360-degree and drone videography, 3D virtual tours are now possible. With virtual reality (VR), a prospective buyer can sit in the living room of your client’s home whenever they want, without them — or you — having to be there in person. Rather than losing out on potential buyers who can’t schedule a showing, you’ll increase your buyer pool — including those in global markets unwilling to physically travel to view the property. You’ll also free up time to take on more clients and provide more marketing for their properties.
VR is also key for homes or properties still under development. While it may be hard for a client to imagine themselves in an unfurnished home with wall studs showing, VR allows you to craft a tour that gives them a more realistic view of the space when it’s finished. Virtual staging is another innovative technology in which your client may be able to present the look of a lived-in home without the hassle or expense of actually moving in staging couches or dining room tables.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is also a key efficiency tool for real estate professionals. Matching homes on the market to buyers via local MLS systems has been around for some time, but AI brings these efficiencies to the next level.
Within minutes of accepting a new listing, the details of that home can matched with great accuracy to a buyer statistically likely to purchase it. Also, rather than having to wade through mounds of paperwork, AI can help agents assess and analyze documentation. This leaves more time for you to focus on handling the transactions and delivering excellent service to your clients.
AI can also be used to scan photos in order to come up with an accurate estimate of a home’s value, discerning granite countertops from formica or wood floors from carpeted. AI is already being used by companies like Zillow, but it’s clear the technology will continue to impact the future of real estate and streamline the selling process for both home owners and agents.
Target SEO keywords
Search engine optimization (SEO) is using specific keywords to make your website and other content show up higher in search results. People generally click through to sites higher up in the list, so SEO is important, especially since organic search — or people searching for certain terms — accounts for 95% of all web traffic to most websites. The first position on Google has about a 35% clickthrough rate, so you want your website to appear there and not your competitors.
It’s important to include relevant keywords throughout your website or any online advertising, as this helps search engines drive traffic there and brings your website higher up on a Google results page.
According to a 2018 survey from the National Association of Realtors, for 44% of recent buyers, the ﬁrst step that they took in the home buying process was to look online at properties for sale. Among buyers who used the internet during their home search, 87% of buyers found photos and 85% found detailed information about properties for sale very useful.
Additionally, many use internet searches and reviews to find an agent with whom to work. SEO allows real estate agents to reach potential clients that may not contact them otherwise. Very few people will type in your exact website address — instead they’ll do a quick Google search to find you. Leads from SEO keywords may also be more likely to close the deal, since you can find out a great deal about a client by their specific home buying or selling search.
While real estate giants like Zillow have cornered the market on getting broad leads like someone searching for “buying a home in Atlanta,” individual agents can capitalize by hyper-focusing on specific neighborhoods or zip codes.
You can also pay for Google keywords as a way to appear higher in search results. You’ll be best served by drilling down to your specific expertise when paying for keyword leads — whether this be first time homebuyers, sellers trying to avoid foreclosure, or international clients looking for a summer home. By specializing, you’ll set yourself apart from others, especially when it comes to SEO keywords.