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As Pandemic Brings Greater Interest in Real Estate Careers, Agents Face More Competition

October 25 2020

hsnap pandemic more competitionReal estate may soon be getting more competitive.

According to a recent report in Housing Wire, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a record-breaking number of Americans looking to start a real estate career. While the individual reasons vary--some are enticed by a summer marked by an eye-popping volume of higher-priced home sales in the suburbs; others, laid off or furloughed, are looking to control their own income streams rather than be subjected to the whims of an at-will employer—the numbers are appreciable: Membership in the National Association of Realtors (NAR) is up 1.9% year-over-year, and brokerages like Keller Williams are reporting 3,000-3,500 newly licensed agents joining the firm per month, an unprecedented increase according to the company's Director of Growth, Matt Green.

The long-term impact of this influx remains to be seen. If the job market recovers quickly, new agents could conceivably exit the industry as quickly as they came. However, if the U.S. enters into a prolonged recession and shutdowns and restrictions continue throughout 2021, then we might see an industry teetering on oversaturation. Either way, with no end to the pandemic in sight, real estate will be more competitive for the foreseeable future, and it could remain that way indefinitely, especially if these rookie agents stay in their newfound profession long after things return to normal.

As a result, established agents should give serious consideration to their marketing now, while they have a leg up on their competition. They should leverage their experience to build a strong online presence before newer agents have an opportunity to grab an outsized chunk of their market share. You can bet that many of these newbies, not yet having the demands of clients and showings and the like, are using their downtime to build their business.

Besides, it's not as though investing in your marketing will do anything but help. Best case scenario, you're better positioned to stand out in an ever-more crowded industry. Worst case scenario, you have a strong online presence that bolsters your reputation and credibility and helps to generate more leads. Win, win.

Three quick tips for standing out now

1. Invest in a Google business profile

More consumers than ever are turning online to find real estate agents. Only, they're not searching for specific agents, but rather for more broad terms like "best real estate agent" or "top-rated agents near me." As a result, Google has to decide what results to display—it has to determine which businesses most accurately reflect the users' search parameters and are therefore most likely to satisfy the query.

With more agents in a given market, Google has a tougher decision to make. It must choose which agents are worthy of a recommendation, by way of ranking them higher in search results, and which are not.

Weighing heavily in Google's decision process is the Google business profile—for a few reasons. One, Google, a for-profit company, prefers when businesses use its products and gives users who do so preferential treatment on its search platform. And two, Google considers responsiveness—that is, the frequency in which an agent engages with Google—a key factor in determining whether a business is legitimate and active.

So, in short, creating, optimizing, and regularly maintaining a Google business profile gives agents the best opportunity to appear high on Google rankings for agents in their market. And when most consumers stick to the first few search results, that can mean all the difference between winning or losing a client.

2. Leverage your experience to get more reviews

No surprise here. Consumers trust reviews—even more so than word of mouth recommendations. A Bright Local survey found that the average consumer reads 10 reviews before they are comfortable enough to trust a business. And of any of the major review sites, consumers trust Google more than any other.

So, why not take the major advantage you have over newer agents—existing, satisfied clients—and leverage them to get more reviews? Doing so will not only instill greater confidence in your abilities as an agent over a competitor just starting out but, as a recent Homesnap study found, Google reviews can boost your appearance in search results by as much as 350%.

3. Consider the consumer-facing benefits of your website

Here's the thing about new agents: They don't typically have the resources to go beyond the marketing essentials. Case in point: the website. Even the most green of agents know that a website is obligatory to any successful real estate career, but will often settle for a basic, rudimentary one when first starting.

Your website, then, offers a tremendous differentiation opportunity. If you can create a site that not only gets your name out there, but provides real value to consumers—say, by way of free resources likes market reports, evaluations, and access to home search portals—you're that much more likely to win more business. After all, why would any prospect opt for nothing in return instead of something when giving out their personal information?

Homesnap Pro+ can help you gain the edge over the competition. Learn more here.

To view the original article, visit the Homesnap blog.