2. Think, act and engage locally.
Buyers and sellers shouldn’t need to go to an aggregator to find out the value of their home, or to know what’s for sale in their area. Most would prefer to have a reliable local source of information. Local brokerages can, and should, do a better job of demonstrating and communicating their expertise in their local market by providing rich, relevant content. (Think: the new dog tax in their municipality, or targeted emails to past buyers about comparable properties that have closed in their neighborhood). Brokerages that have a strong content strategy and the best site out there for a local real estate market don’t need to worry about the large portals, since consumers want in-touch, local content.
“It’s not enough just to put up a website. It’s a commitment. If you’re going to compete with Zillow and Trulia, you have to take a long-term approach and do a better job of engaging with customers and being experts in their market,” says Jay Gaskill, CEO of Real Estate Digital. “And you have to sustain that effort.”
3. Follow up on leads as quickly as possible.
Online customers who inquire about a property expect a speedy response, otherwise they will simply move on to the next agent or property.
“We have found through trial and error that close to an instant response time is essential. If you wait more than nine minutes to respond to a consumer online, chances are they will move on and potentially connect with another REALTOR®,” says Dan Kruse, president of CENTURY 21 Affiliated.
4. Validate online information on behalf of consumers.
Because many portals receive their data from multiple sources, they sometimes have incomplete or inaccurate listing data, such as homes that are no longer on the market. This leads to frustration for consumers. Brokers can help by making sure to validate this information and weed out unreliable data.