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VOLUME VIIHit or Miss: Are Real Estate Professionals Getting In Their Own Way?By Shamontiel L. VaughnImagine the likelihood of hiring a fashion consultant whose wardrobe decisions are unattractive. Picture hiring a gardener who only has pictures of lawns with brown grass and dying plants. Humor the idea of hiring a caterer who constantly burns the food. Consider hiring a web designer whose sites all go to dead links.
What is the likelihood of this happening? Slim to none. First impressions matter. People care about those who put their best foot forward and have a professional, efficient reputation.
Realtors need property owners. Property sellers need buyers. Brokers need agents. Landlords need tenants. All of these groups are connected in some way or another. And in this digitally savvy world, having a solid online presence matters for all involved.
Maintain An Active Individual SiteThe National Association of REALTORS (NAR) confirms that 51% of buyers found their homes via the Internet and 28% via real estate agents. Although 93% prefer to communicate via text messenger, being able to work with a real estate professional who has a professional and searchable website is important, too.
70% of broker/broker associations have a website.
69% of sales agents have a website.
81% of NAR members have their own listings on their websites.
69% of NAR members have information related to buying and selling property.
66% of NAR members have a link to their firm’s website.
In the case of landlords who want to list their own properties, there are plenty of websites that charge a small amount to list across multiple sites and some options are free. But without fleshing out the details with photographs, a well-written description that includes amenities and clear expectations for a landlord-tenant agreement, a landlord’s home can be quickly overlooked. Finding a digitally savvy Realtor or property manager who can also reach out on a landlord’s behalf helps, as well as advertising promos that link to an official website.
SSL Is Top Priority for Internet PrivacyWhile Google, Apple and Facebook are not always in alignment when it comes to personalized marketing versus Internet privacy, all online users should feel comfortable knowing that they’re entering their private contact information on an SSL certified site. Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is a security protocol that creates an encrypted link between a web server and a web browser.
Commonly found on e-commerce sites and used to safely enter private contact information, users will know they’re on a site with an SSL certificate because there will be a closed padlock image next to the browser link at the top of the page. SSL certified sites prevent hackers from reading or modifying information, and potentially redirecting it to other nonsecure locations.
Social Media Is Popular, But So Are WebsitesThere are a guesstimated 331.8 million people in the United States, according to the 2021 Census Bureau results. And Statista guesstimates that 302.2 million were Facebook users in 2021. So it may seem obvious to create a Facebook page to reach a social media savvy audience.
But what about users who are not on Facebook and also have the funds to purchase or rent a home? What if they prefer Twitter or Snapchat or Clubhouse or Instagram? What if they have accounts that are largely inactive? Instead of following the trends of social media, meet them where they are.
While 74% of NAR members use Facebook and 56% use LinkedIn for professional purposes, only 20% of all members get 1-5% of their business from social media and 10% get 6-10%. For sale by owner (FSBOs) groups only used social media to sell their homes 14% of the time but multiple listing service (MLS) websites 18% of the time.
While social media shouldn’t be disregarded, real estate professionals may want to keep social media and websites updated as opposed to relying on one or the other. The average online user clicks around to where they already feel comfortable—and don’t have to sign up in order to casually browse. Keep Contact Information UpdatedA whopping 68% of sellers who used a real estate agent found their agents via word of mouth from friends or family. But in order for potential buyers to be able to reach said Realtor or seller, contact information needed to be updated. Mailer daemon emails, expired domain names and non-working phone numbers put real estate professionals at risk of losing a sale before networking can even start.
All parties should make sure to keep website information (business phone numbers, business mailing and email addresses, business websites, social media channels) updated on every site where their information is listed.
If streaming videos are used and contact information consistently changes, keep the contact information as general as possible (i.e., official website address where other information can be updated as needed). Or, use options like Linktree, where multiple links can be updated inside of one primary link.
Remove Information As NeededFor Realtors who no longer work for a particular company, make sure to ask that organization to take contact information down. Otherwise, potential buyers may believe this person is unresponsive when it’s really a matter of online access. Not doing so can put a Realtor at risk of losing a client and sending new business elsewhere.
Avoid Bad (Amateur) PhotographsIn a world where social isolation was the norm for two years, buyers (and tenants) want to be able to see a place before they visit. Blurry photographs, ill-cropped pics or no photos at all don’t help with sales or rentals. While Realtors may still want to show off the place in person—and buyers and renters will still want to see it—no information at all on the location can too often make it appear either unimportant or not ready to be seen. And, according to Inc.com, 38% of users will stop engaging with a website if they find it unattractive.
Brag In the BioAs with any job, clients want to know that a real estate professional (be it landlord, Realtor or property manager) has knowledge of the industry. Make sure biographical information highlights the following:
Real estate experience
Past successful projects and closings
Amount of time working in the industry
Value that clients or tenants would get from working with this role
Affiliate rewards or affiliate events
Personal information that directly connects to prospective clients
In the case of all of the above, even if another real estate networking professional is already checking off the boxes on these lists, all involved should, too. If the Realtor has eye-catching images of the home, so should the landlord. If the property manager has a well-organized official site, the broker may want to take notes and apply. Just as homes don’t sell themselves without assistance, real estate professionals are their own best public relations representatives. Make the best first impression possible.