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Digital Trends in Real Estate: Internet Research, YouTube Video Listings and Social Media

June 04 2014

trends realtycommander1Over the past ten to fifteen years, technology has transformed the way in which consumers search for homes and connect with real estate agents. Being able to use the Internet to conduct extensive research into the market and search for homes for sale, as well as looking into the many different options for choosing an agent, gives consumers an advantage.

This new generation of home buyers is more informed and empowered. They know more about what's out there, and they have access to a much wider variety of options when it comes to selecting an agent.

Internet Research for Home Buyers

According to The Digital House Hunt, a joint study from the National Association of Realtors® and Google, it is estimated that 90 percent of home buyers use the internet as one of their primary research sources. Before even beginning to talk to a real estate agent, most potential buyers do their homework ahead of time.

This means that agents must anticipate a well-informed base of consumers and be prepared to field any question they might have. If consumers do their homework, then agents must go above and beyond and do extra credit. Real estate agents must use all available resources available in their network to gain as much knowledge as possible on the current market, a specific neighborhood or listing in order to remain an expert in their field.

YouTube Real Estate Listings

trends realtycommander2With 51 percent of home buyers flocking to YouTube to view video listings, YouTube is the number one research destination for home shoppers. In addition to YouTube, other sources of video listings include Google video, brokerage websites, and aggregator listing websites. It is estimated that 70 percent of home buyers watch video home tours.

Creating a professional video home tour can bring your listing to this demographic, giving them an inside look at the property before they see it in person. Video home tours build excitement, and using high-quality photography and effective staging will engage the potential home buyer through sight and sound, giving them a sense of what it might actually feel like to live in the home.

Social Media in Real Estate

Trends realtyCommander3Social media can be an extremely effective tool in building your brand awareness and recognition as a professional real estate agent. Every Twitter or Facebook connection is a potential lead and should be treated as such.

However, when using social media in your real estate business, it's important to remember that it is a reflection of your real-life persona. This means that you should only share things online that you would also share in the real world. This may require a bit of censoring at times.

In addition, although social media can be a wonderful source of free advertising, don't make it all about advertising. You wouldn't shamelessly promote yourself in person to a potential client, so don't do it online. Engage your followers with questions, home tips and relevant information. Then you can add in the occasional mix open houses and listings.

Social media is a great way to connect with clients and potential clients, so that means that you actually have to connect and not simply use the platform as a soap box. Check your social media outlets frequently, answer questions and return likes and shares. By keeping up with your social media platforms, you will further strengthen the notion that you are an agent that stays on top of things and consistently communicates with clients.

Bridging the Gap

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Although the Internet has opened up a world of opportunities for home buyers and agents alike in conducting research and connecting, real estate is still an industry that is based on personal interaction. The agent must be able to bridge the gap between what is seen online and what is out there in the real world. After all, the majority of home buyers still rely on personal recommendations from friends, neighbors and family members in finding the right agent.

Providing exceptional customer service is still vitally important for any agent. As amazing as you can make a property look in photos or videos online, nothing beats a great open house or showing with an agent that is committed to the needs of their clients.

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