Today’s digital world has dramatically changed how we work and live. Real estate listings are no exception. In just a decade or two, searching for real estate has gone from driving around on a Sunday looking for signs and circling things in the newspaper to virtual tours and Skyping across the country or across the globe. The good news: technology has opened up all kinds of avenues to get your properties seen apart from traditional listings – which can make a big impact on your bottom line. You can now reach more potential clients that you might ever have otherwise!
It can seem a little daunting, but don’t let it prevent you from utilizing these new resources to your best advantage. Remember, it’s a new world for your clients as well – but as more and more people who were born with technology come of age, they’ve begun to search for a home through a wide variety of means. You need to be tapped into that.
While there are new apps and websites and social media outlets popping up each day and we all only have so much time, it’s worth investing a little of it to explore at least the most proven resources for you to market yourself and your properties.
In addition, your role as an agent or property manager is morphing a bit more into a manager of these sources as well as an advisor or guide to your clients. Learning to use various online tools will increase the value you offer to clients, which means great referrals and reviews!
Make Sure You’re Mobile-Friendly
Things might look great on your blog or website, but it can look very different when viewed on a phone. And more and more, people are using their phones to do a great deal of their searches and communications because of the flexibility and convenience it affords. Effective websites are built with mobile responsive design that optimizes for whatever size screen the viewer is using. What does that mean for your website? A good place to start is articles like these on Sitepoint.com and Entrepreneur.com.
Have an Active Social Media Profile
There are a dizzying array of social platforms. Most people have one of the big few: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. Facebook is one of the most dominant, serving as a central communication tool for many of today’s younger generations. Take your time setting them up to look as professional and inviting as possible, then commit to taking 15 minutes out of the day to be active on them. Remember, this is different than your personal time – this is a professional skill and should be shown the same diligence you apply to your listings and showings.
Don’t be afraid to get creative! Loren Dunsworth of LorenSellsHomes.net does a great job of this on her Facebook page. She has a great profile picture – it’s clear and crisp and colorful (as is her website). It pops when it’s seen on a phone as a tiny thumbnail. Yours should be too. Her posts are different — and effective. While she’s waiting for people to arrive at her Open Houses, she has been known to post videos highlighting the features of the house as she narrates, ending by encouraging people to come that day. Or she might be standing outside when the weather is beautiful talking about the block and what’s in the neighborhood around her listing. It’s immediate, and she gets results. These are mixed with posts of interest to potential clients and friends alike – like architectural design, school systems, etc… along with some personal posts. This way, people get to know Loren and sense her enthusiasm, warmth and sense of humor, as well as her expertise in the area. She reaches out and breaks the wall of the screen very well.
Manage the Business of Business
Technology also brings increased tools for the Real Estate professional that have emerged from the crowded field of options:
Vert can help you accurately calculate any kind of measurement – Square feet, size and placement of furniture and appliances, volume and weight (and currency) right on your phone.
PropertyWare: – A property management tool for single family homes” Offers a hosted site to generate leads, service your customers through online portals, create work orders, and process online payments.
Invoicera – Highly recommended to solve your many electronic invoicing needs. Track your time, invoice with your logo, and accept payments online.
Karls Calculator – Nothing builds confidence more in clients than helping them see that they really can buy a property. This tool provides both analysis of loans and investments and easy-to- understand graphics which illustrate what they can afford and how. There’s also MortgageCalculator.org.
Tools for Real Estate – A real estate specific newsletter service with ways to help you market to your clients professionally, with low fees which can be good if you have even a small contact list.
And Google provides several tools. Here are our two faves:
Google Maps – a way to combine your customer data with the date surrounding property. They provide ways to market better, and manage property better. This provides so much, you really have to click on it to see what if can do for your specific needs. And while we’re talking Google, check out Google SketchUp, which, when added to your listings, affords your clients the ability to search the home or the area in 3-D!
We want to know?
What tech tools have you found to be most helpful?
Rochelle Joseph is a Writer and Image and Marketing Consultant who has had experience marketing, renting, buying and selling her properties for over 20 years. She has written and edited for several publications, including the Boston Book Review, The Emerson Review, ZooBorns.com, WildLife Magazine, the Houston Zoo, The Wildlife Center of Texas, One Spirit Interfaith Seminary as well as AHRN.com. She currently writes at her great gifts blog at https://lookyhereu.blogspot.com and her animal blog at https://naturegirrrl.blogspot.com