Ask Brian is a weekly column by Real Estate Expert Brian Kline. If you have questions on real estate investing, DIY, home buying/selling, or other housing inquiries please email your questions to [email protected].
Question from Lidia in UT: Hey Brian, I’m a relatively new agent with less than 2 years in the field. I frequently check out your column and many of the other articles on RealtyBizNews for up-to-date information and trends. I also spend time on other websites looking for insights. I’m thinking you guys also scour the internet regularly to stay on the cutting edge of the industry. I’m hoping you’ll be kind enough to share s few of the websites that you think agents can benefit from by visiting. Thanks in advance, Lidia.
Answer: Hello, Lidia. I’m happy to share a few recommendations with you and other agents. Because not everything I cover applies directly to real estate agents, there are probably other good resources that I don’t give as much attention but you may want to. For instance, some of the websites most visited by brokers and agents are for tips about building and maintaining their own local business website. I also believe they monitor mortgage-related sites more than I do.
That brings me to the website that brokers and agents should visit the most frequently - your own website. Lidia, can you easily explain to a client how to effectively navigate your website? It’s estimated that about 90% of agents are not proficient with the tools on their broker’s website. I suggest that you spend at least an hour every week for three months doing a deep-dive navigation of your website. You would be the exception if you don’t find several ways to make it a better experience for your clients. In a short time, you’ll also be able to fluently explain what and where clients can find the information they want. Of course, you should test any upgrades or changes that you decide to make. Even after three months, you should continue revisiting your website frequently. Among the many things that need regular attention are relevant data and broken links.
If you are part of a national or large brokerage (RE/MAX, Century 21, Keller Williams, etc.), they offer a deep collection of tools and resources for agents. These include an intranet for their agents to find training materials and marketing tools. Besides brochure templates and ad copy, there are often articles and current information that you can cut and paste into your newsletters and blogs. You will also find seasonal marketing tools, from spring selling messages to holiday greeting messages.
After your own website, the others that you want to spend time visiting depends mostly on what you want to get out of it. I have to suggest Realtor.org because it is the official membership site for the National Association of Realtors (NAR). This is a good place to find current market information such as sales and prices as well as forecasts of what might be happening in the near future. Professional economists develop much of the information.
Next, I think it’s important to stay current with what your clients are probably learning about the real estate market. The websites that come up in search engines most often are Zillow, Trulia, and Redfin. At the least, you want to learn what these websites are saying about your local market. These sites are also big influencers about what buyers and sellers should be looking for when selecting a local real estate agent. Additionally, they have sections on real estate news and for real estate professionals.
If you are looking for tips and insights from some of the industry leaders, two good resources are Inman News and The Wall Street Journal. These both have real estate staff monitoring the real estate market, mortgage market, general housing, and cover subjects all the way down to the cost of lumber. They do this in a balanced and authoritative manner.
There are also countless other websites available depending on you need at the moment. Everything from top ten lists for developing your website, to tip lists for developing more leads, to tips on recording better video tours. Lidia, whatever your topic of interest is related to real estate, there are more than half a billion websites to search through.
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Our weekly Ask Brian column welcomes questions from readers of all experience levels with residential real estate. Please email your questions or inquiries to [email protected].