The National Association of REALTORS® Research Group recently came out with their annual Real Estate in a Digital Age 2019 Report. They examined the process that home buyers go through in their initial online search. They also looked at how REALTORS® are connecting with buyers and sellers in the current digital age, from the power of social media to messaging apps, they examined how REALTORS® stay connected with their clients. Below are some of the key takeaways from the NAR report and what is benefiting REALTORS® the most.
In 2018,buyers worked with an agent 87 percent of the time to find their home, so trust in a REALTOR® is still king.
– NAR 2019 Report
Initial Home Search Process
When it comes to the first steps taken in the home buying process 44% of home buyers started their search online, 17% contacted a real estate agent, 11% looked online for information about the home buying process, 7% contacted a bank or mortgage company, 6% talked to a friend/relative about the home buying process and 6% drove-by homes and neighborhoods. One key note is that 76% of all buyers found homes using a mobile device which means it’s more important than ever to make sure your real estate website is current and mobile responsive so it works not only on PC’s, but on iPads, smart phones and laptops. Agents can appeal to these different audiences by offering a robust website with an MLS search (IDX solution), detailed neighborhood profiles, helpful buyer and seller information, personal biography with testimonials, and bank or mortgage information.
The typical buyer used a mobile device to search for properties online. S/he looked at websites with photos, home listings, and information about the home buying process. S/he then contacted an agent and visited a median of 10 homes over 10 weeks again in 2019 before purchasing a home.
– NAR 2019 Report
The Home Buying Process by Generation
When it came to the different generations, searching online was still key in their home buying process with 98% of Older Millennials searching on online websites compared to 89% of Older Boomers and 72% of the Silent Generation.There really was a difference when you compare their first steps in the home buying process as 47% of Gen Xers looked online for properties for sale, 29% of the Silent Generation contacted a real estate agent first, and 26% of older and younger Millennials talked with a friend or relative.
Top Technology Tools that Yield the Best Leads
Social media was the tool cited as the best source for generating high-quality leads among REALTORS®, followed by having a website with a Multiple listing service (MLS search). This comes as no surprise, the two ideally work together. Social media attracts new leads to the website while the site helps to capture, maintain and nurture them along.
The top three main reasons REALTORS® used social media for business were to promote listings, build and maintain relationships, and because leads expect it in this day and age. Social media marketing is a great way to promote an agents brand and draw in leads. If an agent promotes a new listing through social media, they want that lead to click through to their website (not the broker site) and view ALL the property details. They can then search for other listings while on the website, sign up for new listing notifications, view helpful neighborhood information, access market reports and start using the site for ALL their real estate needs. The goal is to marry those new leads to the REALTORS® website.
Social media messaging apps have turned out to be one of the most popular tech tools for connecting with buyers and sellers. Agents can send personalized messages to their audience so they feel important, which they are! Facebook Messenger is the number one app with over 1.3 billion users – discover these other messaging apps that might work for you.
Most social media is still underutilized, like Instagram and YouTube. This gives a competitive advantage to REALTORS® who are actively using these platforms to gain new leads. One shocking statistic, 78% of REALTORS® don’t have a blog – they’re essentially leaving money on the table! Creating valuable relevant content that buyers and sellers are looking for increases an agent’s odds that their website and it’s individual articles are being found. The SEO benefits of a blog can open doors – each blog article is like casting a net out into the world wide web and, depending on the topic, this can “catch” a lot of new leads. To make a marketing impact REALTORS® should start including these social media avenues and invest in a personal real estate WordPress website that offers a blog. To further capitalize on their social media efforts, the website should be one that agents own, and that both grows and stays with them from one company to the next.
These are some of the key takeaways from the National Association of REALTORS® Research Group and their results from the Real Estate in a Digital Age 2019 Report. In summary, REALTORS® need to become more familiar with social media platforms, agents taking advantage of a blog on a website they own are embracing new technology and those who do so first will reap the benefits the most! Read the full report for more important information that sheds light on real estate in the digital age.
SOURCES: NAR Study for Realtors, Real Estate in a Digital Age 2019 Report
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