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Your Website: The Key to Real Estate Success

wolfnet website key to success 1The real estate company you work for has a great website, great social media channels, and other great communications tools for reaching and engaging with customers. After all, it's one of the reasons you're an agent there. However, you still need to market yourself separately; real estate is still a very personal business defined largely by the individual agent.

The most successful agents understand the need to continuously update and innovate their business so they can connect with new and existing clients. Today's agents have found that the best way to do that is to go where their customers spend their time—online. They are the ones who have learned how to seamlessly blend an online presence with an interpersonal connection.

Without your own website, potential clients will simply overlook you, and move on to the next agent. Here are some compelling reasons why you need your own website as an individual agent.

Homebuyers Are Online

wolfnet website key to success 2

Plain and simple—homebuyers start their search online. The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) has found that 44 percent of buyers search properties online as the first step in their home buying process.

While you still can't exactly purchase a house online as you would groceries or clothes, homebuyers are using the internet to search for homes and all the other things that come with buying a house: resources, neighborhood information, tips and advice and maybe most importantly, reviews. If your real estate business is online with a modern website, fresh content, beautiful photos, and easy-to-find contact information, you're already ahead of the game—and most of all, you are exactly where you need to be.

Educating the Client

As online home search tools have become the norm, your role as a real estate agent has changed—as has the role of your website. It's a unique selling tool that, over the years, has gone from being a place where customers can easily connect with you, to a central hub that meets all of their needs, from looking for properties to expanding their knowledge.

Nearly half of all potential buyers start searching online for homes before ever contacting an agent, says NAR. The organization also found that 95 percent of all buyers used the internet during their home buying process.

Beyond using your website to look for their next home, clients need and want education about the home buying process. You can really set yourself apart by adding valuable information on your website, like home buying (and selling) tips, neighborhood descriptions and recommended local business and home services. If your website is a one-stop shop, your clients won't even think twice about going anywhere else.

Branding Your Expertise

Inman says that 2018 is the year of the individual broker. Everyone from indie startup brokerages to the traditional powerhouses are clamoring for niche agents and agents who understand their customers to help them win market share. If you haven't been actively building your brand, now is the time to do so, and there's no better way than with a customized and optimized website to showcase yourself. Show your customers you're a seasoned, passionate agent with the expertise they need to close a deal.

Ask yourself this question: "Why am I worth my commission?" You know the answer. Now let everyone else know by publicizing it on your website. Perhaps you're the community go-to agent. Maybe you're known for specializing in waterfront homes, or you're the tech genius to whom everyone turns. Testimonies from customers that speak to your outstanding customer service, your ability to really hear and understand your clients' needs and your dedication to helping them succeed should be front and center on your website.

Homebuyers and sellers work with agents for two main reasons: industry expertise and extended network. Use your website to highlight your expertise and your partnerships with other businesses, like title companies, mortgage brokers and home services. Make clients think twice about shopping around.

Sharing Your Skills

An optimized website with updated content is more than just a great marketing tool. It's your digital resume; the first place buyers will look when they want to to vet and interact with you. NAR found that homebuyers of all ages said honesty and trustworthiness were the most important factors in choosing an agent. And, 53 percent of buyers say that an agent's skills with technology are very important.

A modern, well-designed website that clients can easily navigate shows them that you care about them. You're putting the information they want and need in a place they — and the entire world — can quickly access, and you're making it easy to find. A clearly defined contact page, with your phone number, email address and form, shows them that you're available 24/7, whether they're emailing you during the day or have a question in the middle of the night.

Responding to Reviews

People are reviewing you whether you're online or not, so make sure you're in on those conversations. Your website gives you an online voice and is an ideal place for your clients to say great things about you. Thank clients who give you good reviews, since those show prospects what they can expect. Less than favorable reviews can also help; they give you the chance to address concerns and show prospects that you value all relationships. A mix of good and bad online reviews is important, since 88 percent of consumers say they trust online reviews88 percent of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as word-of-mouth reviews.

Take the Next Step

More than half of your prospects are online, searching for homes and agents. They're reading and responding to online reviews — and making decisions on whether or not they want to work with you for their next home purchase or sale. With 88 percent of buyers still choosing real estate agents to help them through the process, you need a website that reflects you if you want to be the agent they pick.

To view the original article, visit the WolfNet blog.