Listing Fundamentals To Get More From Your Online Strategy

With talk of search, social media and mobile, real estate agencies are starting to invest in building an online presence. But whilst all of these strategies are important to any agency strategy, it is important to make sure you are getting the basics right. Our recent consumer research has confirmed our initial thoughts, and that is that agents need to focus on always providing the core information in a listing. By doing so agents will be able to attract more buyers to the properties they have listed on the market.

Content and information make the web go around, and it is detailed information that consumers are looking for when they are viewing property listings online. Consumers are using this information to make preliminary decisions about property from the comfort of their own home. The process of elimination starts here and it is your one opportunity to convert browsers to inspectors. So what do you need to provide in your listings to get people off the couch and at the inspection?

1) Floorplans; Equally as important as images, floor plans are one of the first elements consumers look for when viewing a listing. However some agents are still not providing what should be a core component of any property advertisement online.

2) Images; Making a property decision from your computer is a visual process. Consumers have a limited amount of time to go to open for inspections and as many overlap, your property may be making it onto the “no time to see list”. Images are the crucial factor swaying a users decision, and providing 2 or 3 images to look at is hardly going to entice buyers to the property. With property portals providing the capacity for up to showcase 26 images, agents need to make better use of this facility and increase the portfolio of photos for their properties.

3) Pricing; Many properties are still listed without a price guide associated with them. Whether a property sells for the price it is listed at on the day will of course depend on the market. However a price guide helps consumers to determine if a property possibly sits within their budget, and is worth a trip to the inspection.

4) A full valid address; When inputting data, it is important that agents ensure an accurate full address is provided. Without it, map functionality, on portals and your own site, are unable to accurately pinpoint the location of a property within a particular suburb. After understanding what the property looks like, consumers want to know where it is located and what it is close to, so make sure they don’t have to traipse around the web to find it. If you focus on getting these fundamentals right, and combine it with some investment in attracting users to your site through online channels such as search and social media you are well on the way to attracting more buyers for your listed properties.

Floor, Listings, Photography, Plans

SEO For Real Estate
Listing Leads
Agentpoint Real estate

About Petra Sprekos

Operating within the real estate industry since 2000, Petra

18 Responses to Listing Fundamentals To Get More From Your Online Strategy

  1. Craig February 15, 2010 at 3:45 pm #

    Ian, if your job is so easily replaced and you have to protect it by withholding information, how do you justify charging $10,000 for the service?

  2. David Ross February 15, 2010 at 11:00 am #

    Hi Petra,
    A really good post.
    Agents need to ensure they are providing the right balance of content, in terms of quality and quantity for their market. Whether photos, video, floor plans, copy or property information, give the consumer enough quality information to a) make them look at the listing in the first place, and b) contact the agent to take it to the next level of inquiry. Getting the balance wrong may mean missing out on both counts.
    If this basic formula is applied correctly then you have every chance of attracting the right kind of attention not only to that listing, but for your business, your brand and that next listing….
    David

  3. Nick February 15, 2010 at 11:12 am #

    I’d like to throw a ‘me too’ in to here.
    I see a massive amount of listings that agents make, and ugh some of them are awful.

    Point #4 is the most important I think.
    Without it the scenario is basically: “There is a fabulous house here and this is what it looks like” “Where is it?” “Sorry I cant tell you where it is. Would you like to buy it?”

    Ditto for price, but to a slightly lesser extent. Its like saying “Fabulous house – you should buy it” “How much is it?” “Oh sorry I cant tell you that.”
    It sounds completely ridiculous when its put that way. 😉

    Personally, the place where I am currently living was chosen solely because of the location. I had a very specific area in mind and there could have been 50 other places available but if they didnt have their address shown then I wouldnt have even seen them

  4. Greg Vincent February 15, 2010 at 12:01 pm #

    Petra, welcome to Business2. Great first up article. There are lots of agents who are ‘Losing Buyers At Hello’ by not providing the right mix of information & still adopting the old systems.

    There are 3 things agents should start understanding…

    1. Providing limited information can hurt your reputation
    2. Don

  5. Ian February 15, 2010 at 1:59 pm #

    Hi Petra,

    First of all I can see what your saying and the benefits to it all but I am just wondering I have just re-entered the industry after a 8 year break and came from the old school that if you gave out to much info, why does a buyer need to talk to you. Can’t they just knock on the door and buy direct. I know the comeback about controlled listing so they can’t, but 75% or more of the listings on the web portals are open listings. With the average commission in our area of $10,000 its worth a cold call from the buyer to go direct! Also other agents trolling the portals with buyers in tow. Agents have to be care full to not give out to much information as to make them redundant surely.

  6. Ian February 15, 2010 at 8:11 pm #

    Craig, As I said I might be little rusty from the long break, but isn’t part of our service fee/commission that we are to qualify the buyer so not to waste the time of sellers and our own. Have you never had a buyer that enquired about a unit and bought a house? Are you suggesting that we leave the buyers to qualify themselves? If this is the case the job has got a whole easier since last time. On the matter of being easily replaced maybe we should ask a stockbroker for their input!

  7. Shane Dale February 15, 2010 at 8:36 pm #

    Its about efficiency – agents are sales people, not business analysts – so as I have provided advanced web media through http://www.surroundpix.com.au for over a decade now, and dealt with all types of agents – from boutique to franchise, in 5 states and watched successful and unsuccessful agencies try and solve their media issues – a few things stand out from observation in the field.

    Efficiency – agents using excellent media including floorplans, stills, and either video or virtual tours – and efficient price guides and location info where appropriate provide buyers with what they need get ahead. They remove the tyre kickers, get the real buyers into the mix faster, and get their properties on more buyer’s shortlists, than those who force buyers through a few hoops to get the basic info ( and who often then decide against that property anyhow – a true waste of everyone’s time)

    Its also a listing tool to show effective pro media, most sellers “get it” – of course you can always find some who like uber privacy – it takes all kinds.

    However what this yields is – there are many strategies to “work” real estate – and witholding info appeals to a minority of sellers and agents, but agents who use modern media wisely is a strategy that works for the majority.

    The agent can then, list more, sell faster and do it all with less work – thus they can efficiently handle and move MORE listings than a comparable agent who makes life difficult for buyers. Simple.

    However – it still also becomes apparent to me, that confidence and good personal communication style are the single biggest influencers on success for an agent – but media would be second after that ( and may in fact help to produce the confidence in your own abilities once the benefits accrue)

  8. Peter Ricci February 15, 2010 at 8:57 pm #

    Hi Petra and welcome, great first up article.

    Some good comments here.

    Ian, I think you will find that today’s buyers are in no mood for games being played, they expect enough information to make an informed decision to contact an agent.

    I have been seen many agents come and go over the years, the interesting thing for me is that old school agents are a dying breed, over the past few years the real estate companies I have seen fold are ones that have not adapted to change.

    I am of the opinion that all listings should require a minimum of data available to the public, and that includes a solid sales price for non Auction listings.

  9. Ian February 15, 2010 at 9:26 pm #

    Thanks Peter,

    That’s what I was trying to ascertain. I was wondering why there are so many new faces at the conferences. Thanks for the article Petra

  10. Peter D'Arcy February 16, 2010 at 12:59 am #

    Hi Petra – there is a lot of debate about what information is essential to Real Estate online browsers.

    You have nominated 4 issues – what in you opinion are the critical 2 that every web property presentation needs to satisfy a buyer – what are the 2 most important bits of information a buyer wants.

    Lastly if you have an opinion is that research based or your own gut feeling.

    Thank you
    Peter D’Arcy

  11. Shane Dale February 16, 2010 at 5:18 am #

    Ian – I think you make a decent point – what about a buyer who thinks they want one thing but end up buying another? A good agent assist them into the right property. Ahhh, the days of personal service and professionalism. Its a shame in some ways that agents no longer drive you around to show you whats on offer – nobody has the time, and the culture of real estate has changed dramatically. Buyers don’t like that process anymore I suspect because its time intensive and the agent ONLY shows their listings – logic pushes buyers to a wider selection from a portal.

    However as a competing strategy – old school versus new school, the new methods attract more buyers, which self qualify with less effort from you – but if you offer less info you clutter your day with answering basic info.

    Due to the nature of this new marketplace – agents feel under pressure to drop fees. It may be a reality if your competitors are more efficient than you. One way to uphold your income is to enlarge your sales inventory – and the way to do that effectively is give more info and cast a wider net, thus dealing more efficiently with the opportunities that DO exist to you today. And, given the self qualifying nature of the info – should give you more time to offer that service level which is often lacking today to the qualified buyers coming in – or you could do more prospecting – your call!

  12. Nick February 16, 2010 at 5:43 am #

    Ian most people are lazy. 😛

    There are so many agents sharing lots of information that your fears seem to be unfounded.
    If people did cut the agent out then those agents would be going bankrupt, instead of being more successful at selling houses because they provide more info.

  13. Floorplans February 16, 2010 at 5:46 am #

    If floorplans are indeed so important why are they represented by a tiny little icon? They’re not even on the newly revamped results page.

    You’ve listed floorplans as more important than images. Give them the visual prominence they deserve.

  14. Peter Ricci February 16, 2010 at 5:53 am #

    Just wondering why someone would post a comment about floorplans under a fake name 🙂

  15. Petra Sprekos February 16, 2010 at 6:07 am #

    Hi All,

    Thank you very much for the comments to date. Just to touch on a few;

    Peter D’Arcy – your comments regarding top 2, it is really difficult as I think all are important and I believe it comes down to the individual browser as to what is key. For some location is the most important thing and therefore the accurate address is top of the list. Whilst for visual people the floor plan and imagery are essential, and for others that are completely price driven it is different again. Thus top 2 is really driven by the users needs.
    In response to your other question – yes this is based on some user research that we conducted in January. We did have some assumptions prior to this but the research really reinforced this for us.

    Floorplans – Yes you are right, it does need to be prominent and it is something we are addressing at present.

    Ian – I think you raise a valid point re information, however the internet has changed the way in which the real estate industry needs to operate. The web provides consumers with control and knowledge, which they never had a decade ago. As a result agents need to adapt and provide consumers with the information that they need to make a decision as they want to interact on their terms not the terms of the agent. This is however just my perspective on it, will be interested to hear other views.

    Cheers
    Petra
    Petra

  16. Petra Sprekos February 16, 2010 at 6:07 am #

    Hi All,

    Thank you very much for the comments to date. Just to touch on a few;

    Peter D’Arcy – your comments regarding top 2, it is really difficult as I think all are important and I believe it comes down to the individual browser as to what is key. For some location is the most important thing and therefore the accurate address is top of the list. Whilst for visual people the floor plan and imagery are essential, and for others that are completely price driven it is different again. Thus top 2 is really driven by the users needs.
    In response to your other question – yes this is based on some user research that we conducted in January. We did have some assumptions prior to this but the research really reinforced this for us.

    Floorplans – Yes you are right, it does need to be prominent and it is something we are addressing at present.

    Ian – I think you raise a valid point re information, however the internet has changed the way in which the real estate industry needs to operate. The web provides consumers with control and knowledge, which they never had a decade ago. As a result agents need to adapt and provide consumers with the information that they need to make a decision as they want to interact on their terms not the terms of the agent. This is however just my perspective on it, will be interested to hear other views.

    Cheers
    Petra

  17. my Home is For sale February 16, 2010 at 6:27 am #

    Ian I think he modern agent is more of a marketing professional than a sales person. With all the information that is now available to consumers the sale has often been made prior to the physical inspection. It is now rare to hear “the agent convinced me to inspect the property and convinced me of its value and that

  18. Charlie February 16, 2010 at 8:25 am #

    Great to see you posting on Business2 Petra. You’re right, people forget the basics in our rush for technology, but we gotta keep pushing.

    I remember having running battles with agents convincing them to be more open by putting more info on the web when we first started in 1999 (“but I want my phone to ring, that’s my measure of effectiveness” they would cry). Initially sceptical & fearful (“will I be disintermediated?”) they came to like the web, as it did sift out the time wasters, and qualify people. Transactions were faster, which was good for all.

    The essential point I think is that the internet viewer is coming to the web for information, that is why they are there. They want to get in, get the info and get out. Don’t give them the info, and you annoy them, and they may not come back. Worse, your brand is damaged. They are a different animal to the newspaper ad browsers, lazily turning the classified pages whilst sipping on their coffees on a Saturday morning. (OK, a favourite newspaper-bashing cliche’ of mine, but you get my point – it’s a different environment).

    Social media, and cool thinks like Foursquare, make information spread, available anywhere, and like it or not (and it’s best to like it and get on with it), it’s changing the way we all get our information. So, give the information.

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