Content And Data

How New Brokers Will Use Content And Data to Compete Against Established Brokerages

You own a real estate brokerage firm in town that has been established for years. You have a full Rolodex of clients. Plenty of referrals. Brand name familiarity around town. Agents immersed in the community and working every networking group out there.

Life is good.

For a new brokerage or real estate agent to crack into your market, it will take some doing. They will have to wear out lots of shoe leather. Perhaps look for tiny niches. Find buyers and sellers on the periphery.

You think your market share is like a fortress.

That type of thinking might have been okay 20 years ago. But as anyone who has checked out their iPhone lately, things change very, very quickly today.

Sure running a big, expanded real estate operation is a good thing. But we know technology today is a game changer. Just look at how Amazon grows versus Sears, Netflix knocked out Blockbuster.

And that’s how your competition is going to gain inroads into your marketplace—with technology.

With the “Big Data” capabilities out there, new brokers and agents are going to equip themselves with the latest real estate data tools to penetrate a marketplace, generate leads and raise brand awareness. The mega-real estate sites like Trulia and Zillow do that now.

Today, there is an incredible amount of real estate content that is available to local brokers and agents that they can now host on their own websites.

Real estate content is a major weapon in the marketplace. No longer do people have to visit data-specific sites for home sale trends, school data or geographic data. They can find that valuable information right on a broker or agents site. These are decision-assisting tools that are super valuable in a world where consumers today are faced with so many choices.

Those tools are incredibly powerful for attracting buyers and sellers. It can be very effective for generating online leads and phone calls. Think of them like the catapults that were once used to conquer castles.

For example, an agent can run a post on Facebook about the latest uptick in home sales in a particular market. That post will certainly catch the attention of their followers. Many of those followers will share that post with their followers. Those followers will share it again…and so on and so on.

All of a sudden, this one post is running like a F-14 jet zooming all over Facebook. Prompting people to click on a link to the agent’s website for more information.

Oh, you might say, my competitors have small followings. Well, Facebook accepts ads as well. For just a few bucks an agent can boost a Facebook post. They can target that post to a certain geographic region and choose the age group, whether they want to target males or females (say men for golf courses) and if they want to appeal to people with certain interests (people who belong to golf groups).

All of a sudden, that one agent is all over your territory.

Here’s the kicker. Hyper-local data might be like the bullets that can go far, but the fact that the agent has this real estate content ON THEIR WEBSITE is the lasso that is going to rein in customers.

For example, home sales data shows consumers the direction of the market. Buyers will see that all of a sudden, they need to get off the fence. Sellers will be nudged to perhaps pick up that phone and finally check out whether they should be listing their property.

Today, a broker doesn’t have to refer a person to a website for this information. They can offer this real estate content right on their website, and they now have their own data to promote.

Posts can go viral very quickly. Check out the top posts on YouTube or the trending posts on Facebook. Some of the numbers of likes and shares are astronomical.

They don’t have to be astronomical in your marketplace. With the right real estate content, a competitor can pull away that small subset of buyers and sellers available at any given time in a neighborhood.

As the famous baseball player Satchel Page once said, “Don’t look back, somebody might be catching up to you.”

Believe it. With all the new digital advances taking place in business, you can be sure your competitors are looking for ways to wedge themselves into established markets.

The best thing you can do is embrace that same technology to reinforce the walls of your fortress. It’s not that difficult to do and real estate data companies such as Home Junction can help you out.

The worst thing you can do is sit back and smugly do nothing. In this rapid-changing hyper-fast digital world, that is no longer an option. Someone WILL be catching up to you. Store that hyper-local real estate content inside your fortress.


Mobile Website For Real Estate Agents

Do You Have a Mobile Website For Real Estate Agents

The Fiscal Times recently issued its “Real Estate Trends to Watch in 2017”, and it’s certain that a mobile-ready real estate website is one strategy to put on your to-do-list next year.

This is because 2017 will be a year to focus on the Millennial home buyer.

According to Fiscal Times, the scenario is coming to together to convince Millennials that now is the time for them to be homeowners instead of renters. Because they will be the primary driver of real estate sales.

Here’s why:

  1. Millennials are coming into money – this age group, people born in the 1980s, have now reached a point where they have advanced in their careers and are starting to earn a decent paycheck.
  2. Millennials are creating families – they are also reaching the point where they are marrying, though later than average, and are starting families.
  3. Mortgage rates are going up – Americans are used to record-low interest rates. But we all know those won’t last forever. Experts are predicting they won’t. Interest rates are already starting to rise and financial experts say they could reach 4.8% or 5% compared to the 3% range they’ve been in. Rising rates will be the catalyst that prompts many Millennials to make a move and buy a home.
  4. Mortgages are getting easier for first-time home buyers – banks and lenders are warming up to Millennials in regard to financing. It will be easier for them to acquire a home loan.
  5. Foreign buyers will be buying less – there was a nice rush of foreign investors fueling home sales for a while. But now that interest rates are rising, home prices are rising and the dollar has appreciated, you will see few homes purchases from this group. That’s even more of a reason to target the Millennial home buyer.
  6. Cash buyers will slow down.

Okay, so pundits like Fiscal Times and other experts say 2017 will be the year to focus on Millennials. Sounds easy right.

Not so fast. This is the group that was born with an iPhone in their hands.

For one, this is the mobile internet generation. Desktops – they hardly touch them. Laptops – sure, they have one but that is not their primary means of communication. Because the device of choice for Millennials is their smartphone. And that means your real estate website must be fully mobile ready.

Sure, you finally might have your website looking the way you want it to look on your desktop. But that’s not how Millennials will see your site. They will be looking at it from their phones, which as you can imagine has a whole different appearance than a large monitor.

That means images must resize and load correctly. That means text must reconfigure and be legible. That means it must be easy to determine navigation.

And all of this reformatting must happen quickly.

Every time all of these functions do not take place, you could be losing the buyer of a $500,000 townhome.

To be sure you have a real estate website that is mobile-ready, consider the best content management platform out there – WordPress.

WordPress developers know mobile is huge. So the site is fully-coded for mobile. On Apple iPhones, Samsung smartphones , IOS and Android.

Real estate website providers such as Home Junction, can create WordPress real estate websites that are mobile-ready and fully functional on a phone (or tablet).

They not only can do that, but they can also provide plug-ins that can integrate hyper-local data onto the website.

Millennials are sticklers about using their phones to gather information. They want the ability to get answers to their own questions before saying one word to a live real estate agent.

With the right data plug-ins, you can provide MLS listings, recent sales information, home values, etc. All current. All hyper-local down to the neighborhood. All integrated with MLS and a map.

If we’ve learned anything in 2017, it’s that things change. BIG time. If your real estate website has not changed recently, you will be behind the times.