Individuals looking for a home vary in the tools they use, however the vast majority of them use the internet for their searches. According to the 2010 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, the internet accounts for 74% of home searches and real estate agents account for another large share – 69%. Traditional advertising methods such as yard signs, print mediums such as newspapers and magazines and even open houses account for only 49% combined.
Yet another interesting statistic reported by NAR is that individuals who found homes online that interested them took the following actions:
- 45% of searchers walked through a home (in person) that they found online
- 29% contacted an agent to search for and buy a home
- 21% drove by the home they saw online
So all of this interesting data doesn’t do you a scrap of good if you aren’t taking full advantage of those tools which can help you sell more homes. Although a well crafted description of a home is fabulous, a picture, as they say, is worth a thousand words. The same NAR report determined that, “98% of home buyers who searched for a home on the internet found photos to be among the most useful features of Realtor websites.”
Just as photos are a fantastic way for buyers to learn more about your listings, a video is an even better tool, as it can help weed out the “tire kickers” from truly interested individuals.
One obvious benefit of providing video on your website is that home buyers can take a virtual walk-through of many different homes; narrowing down their choices. There are a couple of other ways, however, that realtors can take advantage of this medium for their websites.
- “Take a drive” through the neighborhood with your camcorder, pointing out all of the lovely shops, restaurants and quality schools along the way. Think “real life”. The feeling and/or image you want the viewer to come away with should be the focus of your filming. For example, to invoke an image of quiet urban living, target your filming towards something that will substantiate that idea, such as a number of interesting shops lined up alongside peaceful village sidewalks, or a pristine lake within a beautifully landscaped city park.
- Create a video of yourself. Be careful here, though – no hype. You don’t want to come off as a “sleazy car salesman” type of realtor, right? Be open, be honest – be yourself, but above all, remember that this video isn’t about you at all – not really. It’s about them – the home buyer who is searching for the “perfect” home and sellers who need someone in their corner to sell their home.
The last thing you want to do is to send out the wrong idea about you and/or your business. You need to determine if the “real you” – that hard to define quality – has been captured through your video and clearly conveyed with its message.
A very easy way to determine if you are sending out the message you have in mind is to ask a stranger. Seriously! Of course you will review your video, and probably have your friends, family and/or colleagues do the same, however if you want a completely unbiased opinion, ask someone who doesn’t know anything about you what their opinion is.
No tool, no matter how wonderful it may be can replace the human element in real estate. What everything boils down to is trust. Can you be trusted to do what you say – to be honest in your dealings? This is what people are looking for. If you are trustworthy, then not only should your business dealings show it, but every element of your website should clearly convey your sincerity. Your business depends upon it.