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Are There Too Many Listings?

January 06 2014

realtor serviceThe real estate industry is obsessed with the Internet and with technology. So much so, that I think there is a bias toward using technology too much. There are hundreds on online real estate publishers, and millions of real estate agent and broker websites. In fact, we have gone so far as to build websites for every property in America. Everything. All of it. It's on the Internet. It's absurd.

Every January, WAV Group gets inundated with contacts from agents asking questions about their online marketing. Thank goodness we developed RE Technology as a primer. We explain that technology does not sell real estate. Technology is a tool that automates communication between consumers and property represented by real estate agents.

The most destructive statistic that has ever been published about the Internet's role in real estate is that 98% of all consumers use the internet at some point in the transaction. Sure, it's a fact. Our research confirms it. Suffice it to say that if the consumer looked at anything real estate related in an email, on a website, or any other digital format, the Internet was somehow involved.

The average consumer looks at 10 properties before buying. Is the Internet really that necessary to identify 10 homes? I believe consumers are much happier when they call a REALTOR® to do the search for them. We did, and we found the right home. Our search criteria was:

  • Maximum 20-minute Commute to Office
  • Ocean View
  • Luxury Price Range

Good luck doing that search on most consumer websites today. Our agent pulled out a map (we did not know the area) and he circled the neighborhoods that were in the commute radius and had ocean views with prices in our budget. There were fewer than 20 listings in the county that fit the bill. We purchased the sixth one we looked at. No Internet, and I am a geek. Found my agent though referral. Did not interview any other agents. The home we put in an offer on had been on the market for a year. It was listed beyond our price range. We put in a low offer and it was accepted. I think the seller negotiated a pretty low commission rate as part of the agreement. As it turns out, they purchased the home after they won the California State Lottery and did not really care very much about the $200k price reduction.

Want to know where buyers get their real estate information?

National Association of REALTORS® data National Association of REALTORS® data shows that 90% do use the Internet to get information. 87% use a REALTOR®. 53% use yard signs. 45% use open houses. 27% use the newspaper. 18% use magazines.

If you want to build your real estate business today, focus on the good stuff.

Put up a yard sign! If you don't have a listing, borrow one from someone in the office. Hold an open house! Get consumers to call you and meet with you. Knock on their door. Sure, the Internet will help you communicate with the consumer, but that initial contact is always better if it is in person. Put your smartphone in your pocket and your iPad in the car. Go out and prospect!

If you must use technology (I know that some of you cannot resist), pick a neighborhood and study it using REALTORS® Property Resource™.

Use RPR to collect all of the market trends data you can on an area. Learn it! Then use individual property facts to figure out who in that neighborhood is likely to sell. Is it non-owner occupied? Did they just move in? What is the debt-to-equity ratio? Trust me, you will know the prospect when you look at the property facts.

Are you too shy to knock on doors? Go to garage sales. There is always a reason why people are looking to thin out their stuff, and it's often because they are planning a move. Another slick prospecting tool (although seemingly unsavory) is to watch for Notice of Divorce. In most cases, there is a property transaction in the future.

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