In the future quality content will be the key differentiator for Real Estate Agents.
Soon Vendors will not be so much interested in the cost involved in advertising properties in newspaper guides. These are ridiculously expensive and with a very limited reach. I believe that this is only done by agents to get more vendors as it is all about branding and differentiating them from their competitors and will continue long into the future.
It costs less to advertise all of your vendor’s properties on a great website such as Domain.com.au for a whole year than it does to take a full page ad in a local real estate guide or newspaper for just one day!
So as Vendors appreciate and accept the Internet more and more (as they are doing) you will be competing with agents that pretty much do as you do (online I mean). One of the differences will be the quality of the content, both Sarah Lorden and McGrath in Sydney Australia do a fantastic job of providing quality information on their respective websites. This comes with both their text content and also their photography/VR Tours which in both companies sets them apart from their competitors.
Scanners not readers
You have to remember that web users scan for information on websites, they do not read everything. So keep the information simple and informative. Superlatives and great big long dialogues are useless and waste both your and your site users time.
So often I go to websites and the agent takes too many photos. Photos of toilets and washing machines (what is that?)
When doing a photo shoot think about what the user wants to see. Every property has features that the user will want to know information about and the best way to provide that information is through photography. The old saying a picture paints a thousand words!
Take at least three digital snaps of each photo (set your camera to 800 x 600 mode) and only use the best one for each feature.
As an example a property with 3 bedrooms, on suite, bathroom, big backyard, views and renovated kitchen should contain quality photos of all of these features.
If your sales people take photography invest in some basic training, it will make a huge difference. A one day course will cost a couple of hundred dollars and will be a sound investment. You can also save some money by getting training for all of your staff in one day and there are many companies that provide this type of training.
If possible try to get one type of camera for all of your staff, this makes sense because some will be better at it than others and as their experience grows they can show others how to maximise results. Make sure you get a good strong Camera like the Canon Digital IXUS. These take great photos and because they are so strong and compact they should last a long time.