By Peyman Aleagha
RISMEDIA, Dec. 4, 2008-We’ve all seen the statistics many times. More than 80% of those in the real estate market use the Internet to begin their property search. They want one thing when they visit a website-to locate listings, lots of them, and lots of information and images for those listings.
Guess what-they’re not typing in “john smith real estate for sale” either. And we’re not talking about your listings. There is indeed a place for them, and they have a definite reason for being on a site, but we’re talking about millions of daily searches for real estate listing information. And, they’re not looking for yours. They’re looking for everything-in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).
The best way to serve your Internet real estate prospect is to give them what they want, and to make it easy to locate and to use. Let’s get into their shoes for a little while and see if we can get a better idea of the critical nature of a good IDX solution. You’re a branch office employee of a large corporation in their Des Moines office. You’ve lived there for a long time. They are transferring you to the corporate headquarters in Dallas, TX. You’ve never even visited Dallas and now you need to locate a home. They are buying yours in Des Moines, but you want to handle your own home-finding in Dallas.
You have time, as the move will not happen for about three months. But, you need to get on the home location process, as you don’t want to be renting in Dallas. The company is helping with relocation by paying for movers, but only for one move. You want to make a trip out there soon and locate a home, getting a purchase moving along right away. What a dream prospect you are!
You have an immediate need to locate and buy a home. Dallas real estate agents want your business. And, there are hundreds of sites competing for your visit. What are you looking for on them, and what do you want to do on the sites?
– Learn about the areas of Dallas close to corporate headquarters
– What are the schools like in each area
– Is shopping close by, as gas prices are getting ridiculous
– Lots of information on lots of homes in your price range in the areas you’ve selected
You don’t want any pressure on you this early, so you don’t want to talk to anyone yet. You want to spend your time in locating possible homes, printing them out, going over them with your spouse, etc. And, you want to know that you’re not missing any home that’s listed on the MLS.
Now, let’s get back into our real estate roll. You have a great site, with information and links that give area information, shopping center locations, schools and their ratings, and more. And, you’ve got a page or links to your brokerage’s 100+ listings. You don’t have IDX, but they can call you for more information, right? Say bye-bye to this prospect. You may have helped them with your area information, and they may have loved your school statistics. But, they can get all of the listings on another site … and they will.
The real estate consumer is more educated in the way that we work than ever before. They know what IDX is, and they know that it will get them to all of the listings. If you don’t have IDX on your site, they’re gone, gone, gone. If you send them to your main brokerage site from your individual site to get to the IDX, they’re just as gone … for you anyway.
So, you’ve decided that losing this great 9- day purchase prospect is just not a good thing. You go after an IDX solution for your site. Now, you’re onboard, but are you on the right ship? Looking back at the types of information this hot prospect wants, is your IDX solution going to go all the way in providing it?
– Mapping, with home searches by map area
– Ability to geo-locate the areas near their employment
– Easy navigation from maps or property lists to full detail on each home
– Lots of high quality photos they can enlarge to view
– Search ability by school district, zip code, home characteristics, MLS number, address or interactive map
– Ability to go to home details without losing their search
– Print function for individual home brochure
– E-mail function to send to their spouse from work
There’s more, but this is the very basic functionality you simply must have to keep that hot prospect on your site until they are ready to talk to you. All of the search engine optimization and wonderful content you have worked so hard to produce is worthless unless they can look at all of those homes in a quality IDX solution.
If you don’t have an IDX home search on your website, check out RealtySoft.com’s Free IDX offering.
Peyman Aleagha is the founder and President of RealtySoft.com. RealtySoft provides Realtors with Real Estate Web Design (http://www.realtysoft.com), Real Estate Print Marketing and Free IDX (http://www.realtysoft.com/freeidx.php) solutions.
For more information, visit www.RealtySoft.com.