Selling In the Internet AgeThe internet has dramatically changed the way buyers of real estate search for property.
No longer do buyers spend hours on a weekend attending multiple houses. Gone too are the days when buyers read the paperto findreal estate listings. Buyers no longer even rely upon real estate agents to send them listings. Instead, buyers now do the majority of their own legwork and they do that legwork almost exclusively online.
Buyers typically start their search at a well known website like Realtor.com. They enter their general search criteria. They then begin to weed out the listings based upon the content they find online. Buyers tend to be attracted towards listings with more online content. For instance a buyer is more likely to click on a listing if there is a link to a video tour because it helps give them a better sense of the property. In a similar vein, buyers are less likely to click on a listing if it has very little content such as only one exterior picture of the building.
Once the buyers narrow down their list to 2-5 properties based upon their internet search, they will call their real estate agent and tell their agent which listings they want to see. The agent schedules the showings and helps the buyers in analyzing the property, buthas little to do with the actual selection of listings.
Because of the changes in the search process, Sellers need to adapt their marketing efforts to distinguish their listing online. It is important that sellers try to provide as much online content as possible. For instance, sellers should not only have pictures posted online but if possible should also have a video tour produced that can be viewed online by buyers. Sellers should also consider creating a separate website for their property so that there is simply more interaction for a buyer to experience online.
At Flat Fee Real Estate, we have adapted our marketing efforts to the new reality of the property search process. Since our inception we have created separate websites for our clients to help their listings standout online. We have also had videos produced for most of our listings. We have anecdotal evidence that buyershave beenmore attracted to our clients' listings as a result of the content provided online.
In addition to changing the way buyers search, the internet has made real estate agents much more efficient. Buyers are doing most of their own searching so the total number of hours required of a buyer's agent has been greatly reduced. For listing agents, the information and online tools help greatly reduce the time it takes to perform a market analysis and communicate this information to prospective sellers.
Because the interent has reduced the overall time commitment of each transaction, it stands to reason that the fees charged for the service should be reduced. That is why we have been able to offer a service that has historicallybeen charged at a 6% commisionfor a flat fee of $3,500 per transaction.