The largest city in North Carolina, and the second largest in the southeastern US behind Jacksonville, Charlotte is also rated a "gamma-plus" global city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network. Home to the Carolina Panthers NFL franchise and the Charlotte Hornets NBA team, the city is a vibrant mix of cosmopolitan modernity, and down home Carolina values. Once again, Realty Biz takes a look at the property broker's index for a city know for its banking and financial prowess.
As is usually the case for webpage placement for real estate companies in the US, Charlotte's Realtors have relied on Google Ads and the broader branding effect of corporate affiliations to do their digital marketing work for them. Like Cleveland, Dallas, and most other cities, Charlotte's online search possibility leaves home sellers and buyers will little real choice, marketing innovation is concerned. The first page of Google search is completely taken up by the aforementioned ads, Zillow and Trulia, Remax, and the typical cookie cutter suspects. Here is a rundown of resident Realtors actually doing the work of commerce online.
I will have to admit, Charlotte had me worried for a second before I found PURE on page two under a Mississippi agent named "Charlotte Smith", who somehow overtook all independent agents there. Having survey quite a number of US cities now, I half expected a big sign to pop up during my search to say "Use Zillow It's All We Have". PURE's owner and broker in charge, Ann Welchans has chosen Leads Online Marketing to build her rather ordinary property search site, a choice I'll admit leaves this digital searcher wondering why she did not simply join the crowd.
PURE's website is the epitomy of "Meh", but the agency does offer some promise in their Facebook effort. Twitter and other social media however, reflect the effortless "try" many real estate professionals exert. PURE is purely half hearted, in its overall engagement for clients online. There's no need to waste the reader's time or ours here. Here are PURE's numbers.
PURE has 5 Google + followers, 9 Pinterest followers, and a really nice Instagram they stopped using for some reason. I have to score the company low because of the aforementioned stalled effort to reach customers online. This agent gets a 2 on a scale of 10.
Back in February of this year John Costello's website was getting over 500 visits a month, then suddenly the traffic dropped to zero. A grade "A" site building effort somehow seems to have been left by the wayside here. The new site has a lot of potential, but given current efforts, this is about all I can say for the company's digital efforts. The company made a tiny bit of Facebook effort, but otherwise it seems Costello is relying on front yard signs for all we can see. Here's the numbers on this Charlotte agency:
Given John and his wife Natalie (Broker in Charge) seem to have started this agency only two years ago, one cannot expect their SEO and digital outreach to have reached epic proportions. I had to search for a bit just to find the brokers online, and this is not something a home buyer is inclined to do, which makes our point in doing these evaluations really. Based on the newness of Costello's digital endeavor, they score 5 out of 10.
In every niche, and in every city we look at there is that surprise moment when excellence is unexpectedly uncovered. Allen Tate is North Carolina's biggest real estate company, and the 7th largest in the US. I have to admit, I did not even know this. And based on finding their Web 1.0 website nestled two pages back in search, I'll wager not many home sellers or buyers don't know either. 1400 agents strong, in business since two years after I was born (1957) and their website gets visits by virtue of the brand name only? This is actually amazing, and a bit sad.
Allen Tate needs a killer website, an SEO expert, some integrated social media guru effort, in order to completely take over Charlotte, North Carolina property commerce. This is my short take on the company's effort. Somebody has rested on their laurels. How on Earth can any local real estate company get nearly 170 thousand website visits a month without even trying? Here is the low-down on what Pat Riley and Phyllis York's company is up to.
"Gob smacked", that's the term for when somebody wags their head back and forth like the cartoon dog Scooby Doo in amazement at something. Well, the Allen Tate digital footprint is just that curious for me. On this internet I have posted over 40,000 articles on various topics in the last 15 years. This is the first time I have witnessed a digital visibility miracle like this, a brand so strong simple social media engagement powers it. It's pretty amazing, I assure you. Allen Tate gets a score of 7 out of 10, but some Google ads and a little PR effort, a new website, and 10 of 10 is reachable for them. Charlotte could be owned by Allen Tate. For crying out loud, the company has 2,600 Pinterest followers.
The Allen Tate case above is a marker for the Charlotte real estate market online. The proliferation of Google ads by the various national chains, and the dependence by so many agencies on corporate brand affiliation brands this region with my "lazy" emblem. Realtors are notoriously frugal when it comes to spending commission money on PR, marketing, or anything without a direct ROI. And this is especially true in Charlotte. I actually had to modify my search criteria to get even 4 examples of true online engagement. Searching for "luxury Charlotte real estate" I also came up with half a dozen ads, and international luxury names. Eli Magids is a Keller Williams agent, but at least he's doing the work of experimenting independently too. Here are Luxury Charlotte Homes' numbers.
Magids' has made a really nice effort to massively engage a digital audience. If he were not surrounded by the ads of Terrata Homes, Zillow and the Luxury Portfolios of the search world, then people interested in buying or selling high end homes in Charlotte might connect with a real worker bee. Sorry agents, you guys are often so conservative as to border on unshakable. Zillow in a Luxury search? Ugh! I give Luxury Charlotte Homes a 7 out of 10 as well, with a lot of potential to rise higher.
Ordinarily I profile five companies in each city, but as I've suggested here, Charlotte is dominate like no town we have looked at by Zillow and the ad buyers. With the exceptions mentioned, it is really amazing to me there is not more competition here. This Charlotte Observer article from last week attests to the market growth in this region, as well as to the prowess of the aforementioned Allen Tate boss, Pat Riley, whom I quote here with regard to actual bidding wars taking place in between buyers in Charlotte:
“All over the country, buyers are being very creative. They have to be. They’re trying anything."
I know you catch it, buyers trying anything to win a home? Three years ago sellers were trying everything just to unload homes. So Riley's company coasts along getting media mentions and doing some social, while the rest of North Carolina plugs into Zillow or a cookie cutter profile with Redfin or Remax. Excuse my disdain for complacency and the "set it and let it" mentality, but in my business I have to work at it all day and night. If you want to sell my house, you had better be "at it" too, this is my view. My money is on the up and coming hard worker, who demonstrates a desire to do better. In the case of Charlotte, North Carolina, that would be Eli Magids. I'll check back on his progress in a month. Meanwhile, take note Charlotte, a boom market does not last forever.