Years ago home buyers took their Sunday newspapers, circled the “home for sale” ads that most interested them, got out their Rand McNally maps, and drove around town looking at houses. Today 93% of home buyers use the internet. The number is 98% for the older millennial (29 – 38) crowd. In 2019, 79% were using mobile devices almost exclusively to search for homes. (National Association of Realtors Real Estate in a Digital Age 2019 Report)
For real estate agents to stay in the game today, a strong online presence isn’t just a good idea. It’s fundamental. Today’s focus is on inbound marketing and how you can best position yourself to beat the competition. Here are just a few reasons why you need your own website.
Build YOUR Personal Real Estate Brand.
Many agents are under the mistaken impression that their inclusion on a corporate website gives them the online presence they need (According to the NAR, 22% of commercial firms don’t even include agent profiles.) The problem when you opt for this solution is that you are just one of any number of agents with the same resources. Nothing makes you stand out from the crowd.
If you leave the brokerage to go out on your own or move to another firm, you start over electronically because you haven’t built your personal brand. Although 77% of agents use social media (97% of those use Facebook. 59% use LinkedIn. 39% use Instagram, and 33% use Twitter), it is no substitute for an aggressive website that reinforces your personal brand and raises you above the competition.
Generate High Quality Real Estate Leads.
When you have your own real estate website, all your leads are your own. You have complete control and don’t have to share leads with other agents in the firm or take whatever your broker decides to throw your way.
More than 62% of real estate agents spend a minimum of one hour a day prospecting, according to a recent survey. More than 25% spend several hours a day trying to generate real estate leads. That’s a huge chunk of time you could free up by having a website that does a lot of the work for you.
With the strategic use of inbound and content marketing, you will have qualified leads and improved sales. The more value you add for existing customers, the more likely you are to get repeat business and valuable referrals.
Take Advantage of Analytics Reports for Your Real Estate Website.
Analytics reports give you a load of information about visitors to your website. You can find out things like what properties and price ranges potential home buyers looked at, what keywords they used, whether they used a mobile device, and so much more.
When all you have is a profile page on a firm website, the amount of analytical information you get is out of your control. It is subject to company policy and probably shared with all the other agents.
Make Yourself an Invaluable Real Estate Resource.
The NAR 2019 Report on Real Estate found that photos, videos, and detailed information about properties are what the vast majority of home buyers find most helpful on a real estate website. With your own website, you can create video blogs that inform and show off your knowledge of the community and the local real estate market.
Use statistics from reliable sources to give prospects a real time picture of the neighborhoods in which properties are located. Instead of a vague bullet like “nice neighborhood”, tell visitors what the level of income, school ratings, and crime rates are (even if the information isn’t always positive).
Don’t be afraid to use your insider knowledge to give potential customers valuable tips like how to get the lowest rate mortgage, how to find a qualified home inspector, or how to negotiate the best price on a home. The more detailed information you have on your website, the more traffic you will have, and traffic will eventually lead to sales.
Grow Your Professional Network through Blogs.
The younger the agent, the more likely they are to have a real estate blog or plan to have one in the near future (25% of Realtors 30 – 39 according to the NAR). As of 2019, 78% of all Realtors reported not having a blog. This gives you a chance to get a real jump on your competition.
Just remember, readers don’t want a sales pitch from a blog. They want solid information presented in an approachable way. You can become the go-to authority for relevant information about the local real estate market, current trends in community job and population growth, even a source for information about upcoming community events.
Customers expect agents to have an online presence. According to the NAR, 68% of home buyers choose the first agent they contact. A dynamic online presence dramatically increases your chances of being that agent.