Do Real Estate Agents Need a Website?

Do real estate agents really need a website? There is no question that the advent of the internet as an ecommerce hosting tool has transformed the real estate industry. The internet is a particularly well qualified platform for real estate presentation. Today’s large real estate websites will sort available properties by area and then present them with a combination of written information, photos and often video segments. Nationwide firms such as Coldwell Banker operate sites that act as national listing services.

A home buyer can now do his initial research seated in front of a computer terminal. The traditional approach of contacting an agent and having the agent arrange for home viewings that may or may not suit the client is no longer the first step. Today, the home buyer can select a range of houses suitable for viewing on the internet and then have a real estate agent arrange the home visits.

This new reality means that the agent is no longer the client’s first contact. For that reason, it is critical that active agents establish an internet presence. If a customer is clicking through homes and finds one of interest, it is important that the listing agent be “clickable” on the same page. Otherwise, the customer may call his friend, the realtor down the street and ask him to step in.

The predominant website host for non-commercial real property is Realtor.com, the site operated by the National Association of Realtors. Realtor.com carries over two million five hundred thousand listings and for many of them, the listing agent has an ad and a web address right along side. Their use of the web is an excellent example of ecommerce hosting: it is a well-formatted marketing and product presentation tool.

A realtor should have a personal website that is the next stop for the potential customer. An innovative realtor will often set up his page so that it provides additional pictures and information about the property. Contact information in the form of phone numbers and an email template are essential: the key is to make it easy for the customer who has found an interesting property to connect with the listing agent.

Nothing will accomplish this more effectively than an attractive, informative website that personalizes the realtor and connects him or her to the property in question. When choosing a hosting company, the realtor should select one that understands the technology behind “virtual tours” and will provide the bandwidth to include them in the website.

Videos of the various rooms in the home are an enormous enhancement of the property presentation. Real estate website hosting can be something of a specialty, so choosing one with the most advanced technology that allows a potential home buyer the chance to ‘view’ the home online will go a long way in supplementing the sales presentation.

It is important, also, that the realtor’s site provide views and information over and above that provided on any national real estate internet listings. The realtor’s personal site should be in-depth, personable, and offer the client as many options as possible.

Here, too, the realtor can work with his personal website host to design a site that will lead the potential customer to other listings in the area similar to the one that has been selected. These properties may be listings from other brokers; the idea is to maximize use of internet technology to bring that potential customer into the realtor’s fold, regardless of whose listing the customer ultimately chooses to purchase.

If your competitors have a Website and you do not, then you suffer from a competitive disadvantage. Let’s face it, people would rather surf the Web to get information than pick up a phone to call their local Realtor.

Information sources used in home search: *

  • Internet: 88%

  • Real estate agent: 87%

  • Yard sign: 55%

  • Open house: 45%

  • Newspaper ad: 30%

  • Home book or magazine: 19%

 

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