NAR is turning 100 years old this year. Think where we have come in 100 years. Think how fast our business has changed since the mid 1990s with the introduction of the internet into the business sector. With this anniversary in our midst it is time to think about new standards of performance for our business. Why? Today's consumer is unlike any consumer we have ever known. This is because of the rapid acceleration of the internet and the rate at which people like to communicate. They expect and deserve new levels of professionalism from us . These new standards start with our communication with the consumer.
New Standards in our Industry need to be applied to our marketing, so take a moment and find out what the consumer wants . . . and then give it to them.
Every year NAR publishes its Profile of Today's Homebuyer and Seller and one section focuses on the "Most Valuable Features of Web Sites" – items consumers demand when they are on your website. Here is the breakdown:
NAR says that 96% of consumers start with a property search. If you don't have a search button predominantly displayed, allowing the consumer to drive the experience they will search somewhere else. A consumer will stay on your website for just a few seconds if they can't find what they are looking for.
When they find listings, do you have the featured items above? If not the consumer will eliminate properties from their home search. If they do a search and half of the listings only have one photo, those listings are eliminated immediately.
Do you have more than ten photos per listing? Even shoe websites like Zappos has ten photos of shoes. Shouldn't your listing client at least enjoy the same amount of photos that a pair of shoes does?
Staging is key with today's photos. Martha Webb author of "Dress your House for Success" says "With all the emphasis on staging, it's important to remember that preparing a home for market is a process that starts with the basics of cleaning and uncluttering. Clean, clutter-and-odor-free account for 35% of a buyer's first impression. This can be accomplished in a few hours and at almost no cost. Next, a coat of paint will create a clean, fresh feeling for minimal cost. These simple steps show buyers your house has been well cared for, and that translates into value!"
Just by uncluttering a listing will make your photos more appealing. You listings will have more staying power on the internet. Take time to revisit your listings and the photos. If your photos need help, consider hiring a professional. If you can, investigate a staging course like Certified Home Marketing Specialist and learn the dialog to help the consumer partner with you to make their home look the best it can in photos.
24% of homes sold last year were found directly on the internet. That means after filtering through home after home the internet consumer found the actual house they wanted to buy. They called or emailed you and you showed it to them, and SOLD it to them. The first showing for many buyers is happening on line.
New standards of performance are simple. Give the consumer what they want, photos, lots of them. Make sure they can reach you by email, phone or text messaging – in the time and way they require.
Technology can help streamline your communication process and your marketing efforts. Welcome to the new millennium.
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