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Time is of the Essence for First-Time Home Buyers and Fresh Listings
Working with first-time buyers is rewarding and often very challenging, but as a real estate professional, you know how to guide them through every step of the process. First-time homebuyers want it all. Like seasoned buyers, they want to have a home suited to their lifestyle and needs, in the ideal location, and for the best price. But the question is, what are new homebuyers looking for when it comes to taking the plunge into today's real estate market? The vast majority of first-time homebuyers want a variety of features in their new home. High on the list of wants are garages, finished basements, yard, the ideal size of the home, and an open floor plan. It is your job to help the buyer navigate their maiden voyage and arrive at their "home sweet home" destination in the least amount of time. The shortlist Ideal floor plan Location Price and affordability Size – accurate square footage Who are first-time buyers? According to NAR, 31% of all buyers in 2020 were first-time buyers. More than 80% of buyers between the ages of 22-30 purchased a home for the first time. This demographic is followed closely by older millennials between the ages of 31-40, making up 48% of their age group. Twenty-two percent of buyers between 40-54 years of age were also buying their first residence. So how do you attract first-time homebuyers? Why buy a home? The reasons for purchasing a home range from the need for larger or smaller square footage to the desire to accommodate multi-generational family members under the same roof. Moving from a rental or moving out of the family home are also motivating factors. But the biggest reason first-time homebuyers are getting into the real estate market is the desire to own their home. Forty-two percent of those buyers want to live in their new home for at least five years subject to any unforeseen changes to their employment, family or geographic variations. What are new homebuyers looking for? Provide information. You will find that the majority of first-time homebuyers are familiar with scouring Realtor websites and MLS listings on the web. User-friendly sites with virtual tours are like eye magnets to the curious buyer. Your online listings fulfill the need for instant gratification when a buyer wants to know how the property fits and flows. A simple click here and there on the virtual tour provides a satisfying user experience as they engage and interact with a property. The buyer builds a strong connection while examining the details of a home. Reinforcing the buyer's memory after an in-person viewing is just one of the benefits of 3D tours and interactive floorplans. It is difficult for anyone to retain every bit of information about a property from a 15-30 minute showing. When there is no time to physically see the property, buying a home based on 3D tours is not a scary proposition for the first-time buyer. Their comfort level is heightened by the opportunity to examine a home's features multiple times through virtual tours then write an offer sight unseen. Buy them time – here today, gone tomorrow With record home sales still hitting year over year highs, the decision to buy a property has to be made quickly. Buyers have very little time to view, process, and make a decision before signing the purchase contract for one of the biggest acquisitions of their life. Often a new listing is sold within days and sometimes within hours of it hitting the market. How can you help? You can attract first-time homebuyers and buy them more time by providing floor plans and virtual tours with your listing information. The buyer can check off all their requirements and review the home multiple times online so when they arrive at an in-person showing, they'll be ready to have you write up the purchase contract on the spot. Regrets, they've had a few Buying a home for the first time can come with a few regrets. One of the main things that trigger buyer's remorse is the size of the home. Living with a house too small or too big for the desired lifestyle can really throw a curve into the buyer's journey. You can help minimize the anguish by providing floor plans and accurate measurements so your buyer can easily map out the property before the FOMO (fear of missing out) sets in and they buy the wrong home. Sure, they may have to compromise on a few things they want like solar panels or updated bathrooms and kitchen, but the size is something that needs to be taken seriously. Size matters and the best way to judge it is with a virtual tour and accurate square footage from a floor plan. As an added value, a floor plan will certainly come in handy when that compromised kitchen renovation becomes affordable. Any time someone does something new or outside of their comfort zone, they look to someone with experience who can offer advice and give insight. The same is true when buying a home. First-time homebuyers in 2021 are certainly more tech-savvy and computer literate than their home buying predecessors, but they still need the tools and guidance you can provide them like virtual tours and 3D tours. Remembering the entire layout of a potential new home is difficult, but saving time and reinforcing memory is the key to attraction. What are new homebuyers looking for? They want accurate, easy-to-follow information available day or night at the click of their mouse.
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The Importance of Property Information When the Market Is Frantic
If the market is feeling a little nutty to you, you are not alone. We hate to use the word unprecedented yet again, but in many markets, the conditions are exactly that. According to the National Association of REALTORS, despite all the challenges, 2020 was a record year for US housing activity. Existing-home sales rose in December, with home sales in 2020 reaching their highest level since 2006. Existing-home sales totaled 5.64 million in 2020, up 5.6% from 2019 and the most since before the Great Recession. The median existing home sales price was $309,800, up 12.9% from one year previously, and housing inventory sank to 1.07 million and a 1.9-month supply – both historic lows. (source) As we are dealing with record low inventory, record low interest rates, rising COVID cases, and a looming spring market, it's clear there are no shortage of challenges for Realtors right now. On top of that, U.S. Realtors are seeing astronomical numbers of offers being placed sight unseen — over 60% buyers in 2020 say they made a bid on a home without seeing it in person first, according to Redfin. And December showing activity jumped 63.5% nationwide, year-over-year, the eighth consecutive month to see an increase over 2019, according to the ShowingTime Showing Index. It's clear that buyers are more likely now than ever before to do their research online prior to viewing a property. This means that virtual showing options are no longer a perk — they are a necessity. It also means that in times like this, accurate and complete property information becomes more important than ever. People are living differently Across the country, we are seeing people's habits change. Work from home and remote work is a trend that may shape our lives for years to come. As buyers consider new living spaces, they are taking this into account. Space planning has become not just about "Where will I put my furniture?" but also about how to incorporate living, working, and schooling spaces into a home. (We've even heard of buyers looking for "Zoom rooms" where they can take calls and conduct virtual meetings!) Accurate and interactive floor plans are becoming a critical marketing tool for forward-thinking Realtors. Accuracy matters It's simply not good enough anymore for a Realtor to list a home without accurate measurements and square footage. Gone are the days when an agent could simply note "to be verified by buyer" in the comments of a listing. Buyers are becoming savvy enough to demand virtual 3D tours, virtual showings, and accurate measurements in advance of a showing. These technology amenities can now mean the difference between a showing or a pass, even when inventory is low. One-stop shopping Google Analytics tell us that if someone doesn't find what they need on a website, they are unlikely to return to that site. The same is true on our listings. If a buyer is searching for a home and doesn't see great photos, a video or virtual tour, or an interactive experience, they are unlikely to ever click on that listing again. Having all of these marketing features built into a single platform on your listings ensures that buyers are going to spend more time there, and they are going to come back. Your reputation is on the line When a market is frantic, inventory is low, and buyers are plenty, some Realtors assume they can skip steps when it comes to property information. After all, the house will likely sell anyway, right? But great agents know that accuracy and marketing matters even in a seller's market. Creating an emotional pull for buyers always puts your sellers in a better position, and usually ends up in a better sale price. Not to mention that fact that you want those sellers to become a referral source for years to come. And let's face it – people talk. Your extra efforts will not go unnoticed. One thing is for sure – this is our new normal. Forecast reports from NAR suggest real estate activity will remain healthy through 2021, with prices either continuing to climb or remaining steady. There is no doubt that agents who pay attention to these trends and maximize their marketing will continue to see success.
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6 Feet Under: Stop Killing Your Listings with Inaccurate Measurements
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Real Estate Porn and Floor Plans
What are buyers really looking for online these days, and where are they searching for it? These stats may surprise you. There are a whole lot of things to look at on the internet these days. Recently, GrowthBadger put the number of active blogs at somewhere around 600 million, with another 1.7 trillion websites indexed by Google. Of those, I'd wager that a hefty percentage are devoted to food. When Twitter and Instagram first became a thing, everyone used to joke that "No one wants to see what you had for breakfast." At last count, I follow 37 Instagrammers who only post pictures of food. So I'd argue that there are a lot of people who do, actually, want to see what's for breakfast. In fact, Brandwatch named food as one of the biggest online search trends of the last decade. But we are heading into 2021, and there is an even bigger trend than food. These days, it's all about real estate porn. Like almost every other adult I know, I am more than a little addicted to looking at other people's houses. Given the opportunity, I could easily burn a couple of hours dreaming about that NYC loft, that stone cottage, or that mid-mod houseboat, à la Sleepless in Seattle. I know I am not alone in this obsession, because look: Or A quick search will find you hundreds of similar messages. And those websites mentioned are just a few of the sites that offer a visual buffet of gorgeous kitchens, bedrooms, and gift wrapping rooms. Gift-wrapping rooms, y'all. Can you imagine? While I do love me a good real estate website, I also spend a considerable amount of time on that other amazing invention: Pinterest. Boasting over 322 million monthly users, Pinterest is as popular with Millennials as Instagram, according to Sprout Social. Not to mention, over 5% of all referral traffic to all websites comes from Pinterest. That's an insane stat. Not just for wedding planning or recipes, Pinterest also has a plethora of real estate related content. Best of all, there are floor plans. Floor plans are the holy grail of real estate porn. Not only can you drool over the photos, you can actually go so far as to mentally move in your furniture. Or, in my case, mentally ditch all your old furniture and buy new. I am not alone in my love of floor plans. Rightmove released a study that suggests that real estate buyers consider floor plans not just a nice extra, but essential. One in five said they would ignore a property without a floor plan. They also rated floor plans as more important than photos and the description of the property. On the flip side, when sellers consider hiring a real estate agent, Rightmove found that 42% wouldn't hire an agent who didn't offer a floor plan. And before you say, "Yeah, but that is the UK and maybe they are funny over there. After all, they like cricket!" check this out. In the NAR 2019 Home Buyers & Sellers Generational Trends Report, floor plans were ranked third in terms of buyer requests, ranking higher than virtual tours, sold properties, and even agent contact info. In fact, adding a floor plan to a real estate listing can increase click-throughs from buyers by 52%. That's twice as many eyeballs, folks. The problem is that most real estate agents aren't placing the value on floor plans that they should be. Common excuses for not offering floor plans include cost, hassle, and liability issues. The reality is that floor plans are not difficult to get and they aren't as expensive as you might think. Sources like iGUIDE make it super easy and economical to give buyers that mental move-in experience. In this day and age, it's not just about getting your customer's attention. It's about keeping it. Each and every second of attention spent on your marketing matters, whether you are using social media or a search portal. Want to drive more traffic to your listings? Go the extra mile and give us real estate porn stalkers what we want: floor plans. (And more gift-wrapping rooms.) To view the original article, visit the iGuide blog.
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Think Inside the Box: Visualizing Inside a Home with Floorplanner
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How to Draw a Floor Plan without a Laser Measure
Did you know that one in five buyers would ignore a property listing completely if it didn't include a floor plan? That means you could be missing out on 20% of your inquiries with potential buyers scrolling right past your listing. But don't panic! We're going to show you the easiest and fastest way to create a floor plan without using a measuring tape or laser measure.
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How 3D Tech Is Ensuring Accuracy and Transparency in the Transaction
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Is the Square Footage of Your Listing Fake News or Are You Selling Properties Using Accurate Square Footage?
Agents say they will do anything possible to represent the best interests of their sellers. However, some are missing one really important aspect of selling a house: the square footage. Many agents assume the square footage information from an old listing in the MLS or found in public tax records is accurate. But is it really? No, it is not. It is what we call unverified square footage. To successfully represent the best interest of their sellers, agents should always be using verified square footage of a property. Verified square footage comes in three different forms: appraisers or agents measure the home themselves (if they are knowledgeable of the local rules on what should be counted as square footage), or they use technology. Technology can be a powerful tool because there are several companies in the market that don't just measure the seller's home, they also provide ways of promoting the home. In just a couple of paragraphs, we have just scratched the surface as to what an agent needs to know to understand how verified square footage can improve their level of professionalism. Download the case study written by WAV Group to get a full understanding of improving your professionalism using square footage.
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Why Are Floor Plans Important?
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Understanding the Difficulty of Differing Residential Square Footage Standards in North America
If you're buying, selling, or listing a home, you want to know its square footage, but do you need to use a standard of measurement? When you bought your current home, who told you its total square footage? It's a critical question, as you likely based your offer on that figure. The problem is, if you're in North America, that figure may not be consistent with typical measurement practices in your area. Your home could be much smaller than you expect.
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How Real Estate Agents and Homeowners Can Get Accurate Square Footage Measurements
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Food, Facts, and Floor Plans
What are buyers really looking for online these days, and where are they searching for it? These stats may surprise you. There are a whole lot of things to look at on the internet these days. Recently, Statista put the number of active blogs at somewhere around 28.3 million. That's not even counting the 30+ trillion websites currently indexed by Google. Of those, I'd wager that a hefty percentage are devoted to food. When Twitter and Instagram first became a thing, everyone used to joke that "no one wants to see what you had for breakfast." At last count, I follow 28 Instagrammers who only post pictures of food. So I'd argue that there are a lot of people who do, actually, want to see what's for breakfast. In fact, Brandwatch named food as one of the biggest online search trends of 2017. But that was 2017. And food is so two years ago. These days, I'll admit it. I am all about real estate porn. It's true. Like almost every other adult I know, I am more than a little addicted to looking at other people's houses. Given the opportunity, I could easily burn a couple of hours dreaming about that NYC loft, a stone cottage, or that mid-mod houseboat, a la Sleepless in Seattle. I know I am not alone in this obsession, because look: A quick search will find you hundreds of similar messages. And those websites mentioned are just a few of the sites that offer a visual buffet of gorgeous kitchens, bedrooms, and gift wrapping rooms. Gift wrapping rooms, y'all. Can you imagine? While I do love me a good real estate website, I also spend a considerable amount of time on that other amazing invention: Pinterest. Boasting over 175 million monthly users, Pinterest is as popular with millennials as Instagram, according to Omnicore. Not to mention, over 5 percent of all referral traffic to websites comes from Pinterest. That's an insane stat. Not just for wedding planning or recipes, Pinterest also has a plethora of real estate related content. Best of all, there are floor plans. Floor plans are the holy grail of real estate porn. Not only can you drool over the photos, you can actually go so far as to mentally move in your furniture. Or, in my case, mentally ditch all your old furniture and buy new. I am not alone in my love of floor plans. Rightmove released a study in 2013 that suggests that real estate buyers consider floor plans as not just a nice extra, but essential. One in five said they would ignore a property without a floor plan. They also rated floor plans as more important than photos and the description of the property. On the flip side, when sellers consider hiring a real estate agent, Rightmove found that 42 percent wouldn't hire an agent that didn't offer a floor plan. And before you say, "Yeah, but that is the UK and maybe they are funny over there. After all, they like cricket!" check this out. In the NAR 2017 Home Buyer & Seller Generational Trends Report, floor plans were ranked third in terms of buyer requests, ranking higher than virtual tours, sold properties and even agent contact info. And, adding a floor plan to a real estate listing can increase click-throughs from buyers by 52 percent. That's twice as many eyeballs, folks. The problem is that most real estate agents aren't placing the value on floor plans that they should. Common excuses for not offering floor plans include cost, hassle, and liability issues. The reality is that floor plans are not difficult to get and they aren't as expensive as you might think. In this day and age, it's not just about getting your customer's attention. It's about keeping it. Each and every second of attention spent on your marketing matters, whether you are using social media or a search portal. Want to drive more traffic to your listings? Go the extra mile and give us real estate porn stalkers what we want: floor plans. (And more gift wrapping rooms.) To view the original article, visit the iGuide blog.
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4 Visual Extras to Give Your Property Marketing Plan a Boost
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Stand Out in Your Market and Win Listings for Less with All-in-one Marketing
Real estate agents - are you looking for new ways to differentiate yourself in 2018 and win listings for less? Top agents from RE/MAX, Keller Williams, Coldwell Banker, Century21, and more are flocking to all-in-one marketing services like Matterport that provide both traditional and cutting-edge marketing at affordable rates. With Matterport, real estate agents can get HDR photos, teaser videos, floor plans, 3D walkthroughs, and virtual reality from one fast, easy 3D scan. By getting traditional and cutting-edge marketing assets from the same one-stop shop, they are able to reduce their per-listing marketing expenses and offer stand-out marketing like virtual reality for all of their clients (and not just a select few). This is helping them attract more home sellers and buyers alike. Learn how it all works in Matterport's most recent webinar. In fact, according to a new survey from Coldwell Banker, 62 percent of U.S. consumers would be more likely to choose an agent that offers virtual reality property tours over an agent that does not. What's more, virtual reality tours can save you and your clients time on unnecessary showings. The survey found that 84 percent of prospective buyers would like to see video footage of a home, and 77 percent would like to be able to take a virtual reality tour before visiting a listing.
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Using Floor Plans and Photography in Real Estate Ads
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