How people buy homes in 2018
Almost every major player in the real estate market capitalizes off the fact that the bulk of real estate agents and brokers do not truly use the technology available to them. The real estate market has, for the most part, not caught up with the rest of the world. Agents still believe that buyers are content with getting in a car to look at properties and that seller’s still just pop open their rolodexes and contact friends they already know to list their homes.
Technology has changed both of these processes to a large degree.
How a seller turns into a lead for your competitor
It’s 2018. If a homeowner is thinking of selling their home, the first thing they’ll do is check the property value online. While larger online real estate data aggregators like Trulia provide this information for free, a small number of lead generation companies have started to ask for contact information or provide complimentary appraisals in exchange for the listing contract.
In other words, some clever marketing companies are offering valuable information in exchange for getting the first shot at listing contracts. These agreements are usually made before the seller has officially decided to list, which means they haven’t even taken the first step towards getting a real estate agent.
Why your buyer isn’t really YOUR buyer
Here’s what a potential buyer typically does before speaking to an agent or broker:
- They Google broad keywords like “Miami real estate”.
- They do searches on specialty websites like Trulia, Zillow, and Realtor.com.
- They Google more specific searches like “Miami Beach ocean front property for sale”.
- They Google lifestyle-focused searches like “best schools in Miami Beach”.
- They drive around neighborhoods and Google the addresses of properties they’re considering on their cell phones.
- They review you and your competition by going through realtor rating searches. This almost always happens when a prospective client sees your sign on a house in their target neighborhood.
Lead generation companies are making their revenue off all of these steps. How? They capture a name, number, and email address somewhere in the process I outlined above, far before you even know your potential client is looking to buy or sell a home… and then they sell you, the late-comer to the party, that information.
So how does a boutique real estate brokerage or motivated agent insert themselves into the online buying and selling process?
- By specializing. Meaning you pick geo-specific targets or specialties. Here is a short list of examples:
- Properties in certain cities — i.e. Hollywood Hills
- Properties in certain communities — i.e. Mount Olympus in Hollywood Hills
- Properties in particular developments — i.e. Residences at the Ritz Carlton LA
- Properties in particular condominium buildings — i.e. Trump Towers (Sunny Isles Beach)
- Properties that can only be purchased by a certain transaction — i.e. REO’s in Austin
- Specialty real estate with a particular geo-specific target — i.e. ranches in Pinetop, AZ.
- Certain types of buyers mixed with a geo-specific target — i.e. first time home buyers looking to buy in the Denver Highlands area.
There are a tremendous amount of examples that we are not listing, as the number of ways you can specialize in are is endless. So here is all you need to know about Google and how to go about “focusing” your real estate efforts:
- Google wants their users to receive valuable, specific information
- Wide searches like “Beverly Hills real estate” have been trending downwards for years while specific searches like “historic homes in Beverly Hills” have been trending upwards.
- Google has actually made SEO much easier for the average consumer and much harder for agencies. If you are an expert in a specific topic (like historic homes in Beverly Hills), if you do your SEO right you actually have a better chance of doing well on Google than companies like Trulia.
What does this all mean? It means it’s time to be an expert. With potential buyers turning to Google before an agent, the best place for you to be is in the first ten search results. If you specialize in a certain topic or area and play your SEO cards right, it will be easier to achieve this high ranking—even displacing companies like Trulia from the number one spot, making sure that potential buyers and potential sellers see you first. You can teach yourself how to do this. I’ve created a blog post on Real Estate SEO that will teach you how to do this. Or you can schedule a meeting with me and I can discuss how InboundREM Inc. can do this for you. (fill out the form below)