Do you really need a unique real estate website? Yes, and it is more important in 2020 than even before.
Owning your own real estate website has been important ever since buyers and sellers began searching on line rather than picking up the phone or walking into a real estate office to make inquiries. Year by year it became more important as we watched as the number of buyers who began the search on line creep upward.
As of 2019 it was up to 93% for the overall population, and 98% for younger buyers. Those younger buyers, by the way, now make up a third or more of the buying population. Sellers are searching too, because they want to find an agent who will actually market their homes.
Your unique real estate website is an important marketing tool…
Back in January, I wrote about ways to put your website to work for you in 2020. In re-reading that post, I see that I should have spent more time on buyer and seller pages, so will try to correct that later in this article.
In January we didn’t know your business would be turned upside down by a pandemic. Now we can’t escape the fact that it is affecting how we live and work.
Fortunately, the real estate market is still strong.
In spite of the pandemic, people still want or need to buy and sell homes.
However, most people are cautious, and I believe that makes a unique real estate website even more important than it was in January. Prospects will learn all they can from the comfort of their homes before they go out to meet with anyone in person.
Meanwhile, most of your other client-gathering activities have been curtailed. You aren’t doing open houses, knocking on doors, participating in community events, etc. You can still pick up the phone, do mailings, and send email to your sphere and your past clients. However, they have only so many referrals and so much repeat business for you.
When filled with good information, your website can make you stand out from your competitors and become sought-after as the agent with the knowledge, skills, professionalism, and personality to serve your clients well.
A unique real estate website will help you stand out, because…
According to smallbizgenius.net, which cites real estate statistics, only 51% of the more than 2 million licensed agents in the U.S. have their own websites.
On top of that, if you browse through a hundred real estate websites, you’ll find very few that stand out. Many offer nothing but a home search function. There’s no reason for a prospective client to stick around, or to even remember the name of the agent.
QUOTES OF THE WEEK
A bad website is like a grumpy salesperson.
No one comes to your website to be entertained. They have questions they think you can answer. Content answers questions.
What will make your website unique?
I barely mentioned buyer and seller pages, and those are important too.
My advice is to create a base buyer and seller page outlining the service you provide. What do you consider most important about your service? Talk about it.
Then create more pages and blog posts that get down to the details. Index them from your primary buyer and seller pages, so the information can be easily found.
Begin with the paperwork.
According to surveys, about 20% of the people are confused and intimidated by the paperwork and the steps involved in real estate. Your buyer and seller pages can address that paperwork and those steps.
Instead of glossing it over, you can explain to both buyers and sellers. You can tell them why each line in a purchase and sale agreement is important, and what it means to them.
For instance, how many buyers and sellers realize that if the buyer specifies a VA or FHA loan, it means the house must meet certain standards? How many sellers without proper guidance will look at the offer price and not realize how many dollars the contingencies and concessions will deduct from their net proceeds?
Outline the steps in a typical real estate transaction.
Do all potential buyers understand why it is important to be pre-approved, not pre-qualified, for their home loan? Do they know the difference between those two terms?
Do they know that home inspectors are detail-oriented, and that everything they note on an inspection is not a major problem?
Thinking of home sellers…
Talk to them about the importance of having the house ready from the day the listing goes live. And tell them what “ready” means, and how to accomplish it. If you want a guide for writing these pages, feel free to use my “Listing soon” letter set. Add your personal comments and stories so each of your pages is unique for the search engines.
Make it clear that you market your listings well. While you might not want to give away your entire marketing plan to competitors, do give your potential sellers enough information to show that you will market aggressively. Do give them links to your current or past listings, so they can see the photos you publish and the narratives you write (or have written) for each of your listings. If you do virtual tours, give them links. Make it easy for visitors to view your work.
In other words – yes, show off!
Remember to update your agent bio.
Your agent bio gives prospects insight into who you are. It gives them a reason to like and trust you before you ever meet or even speak on the phone. It is important. So if you have no bio, or if yours is a boilerplate “Neighborhood expert who knows your home is your largest investment” profile, now is the time to fix it.
Visit my agent bio page to see why your bio is important and to follow links to some “better bios.”
One more important page – one that can only be found on your unique real estate website…
Your testimonials page should link from the menu and from your agent bio. This gives visitors the opportunity to see what past clients have to say about your service. One or more of those comments could be the turning point when a prospect is trying to choose between agents to contact.
If you don’t yet have a unique real estate website…
Give the idea some serious thought. Even people who are referred to you are likely to go online to learn more about you before they make contact. Make sure you provide them with reasons why you are the agent to choose.
If you have a boring cookie-cutter website, begin making improvements.
If you don’t have a website and think you can’t afford it, remember that it is no longer necessary to spend thousands of dollars. You don’t need something fancy, with moving parts and music. In fact, those sites annoy a lot of people. Instead, opt for a website that is clean, clear, and easy to navigate.
Talk with friends who use WordPress, then do a search for a web guru who can install search for you. If you don’t write well, you might want to have your primary pages professionally written, and I’d love to help you with that. But remember, as long as you control your website, you can start with the basics and keep adding.
Your blog should be mostly your own words. If you don’t write well, get editorial/proofreading help from a friend or family member, and keep practicing until you can do it well.