Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for real estate agents is important because you must utilize the keywords that homebuyers are searching for in order to ensure that your listings are seen. And, since a recent study showed that 90% of all homebuyers use the internet when searching for a home, it becomes even more important. Point2Homes recently performed a study
to find out what most popular keywords are being used in order to sell homes most efficiently. The study was performed using 300,000 property listings in the United States. The most popular buzzwords for descriptions included words like "spacious," "beautiful," "stainless steel appliances" and "hardwood floors."
Keywords seem to vary depending on the price of the home. For instance, "beautiful" is the top-ranking keyword for homes listed under $1 million. Homes that are listed between $1-5 million saw better exposure from keywords such as "stainless steel appliances," "pool," and "hardwood floors." Homes listed above $5 million saw top keywords such as "private," "guest house" and "wall of windows."
Keywords varied by region as well. Homebuyers on the East Coast searched for homes using keywords such as "move-in ready" and "renovated." Homebuyers on the West Coast were more swayed by words such as "mountain view," "ocean view" and "beautiful."
In NYC, homebuyers searched for "city view," "sunny," soaking tub," "closet space," "oversized windows" and "open kitchen." By utilizing keywords related to amenities that are hard to find in NYC, such as space, light and city view, real estate agents were able to sell homes much faster than the 180 day average that most homes are on the market for.
Mentioning top brand names also had a favorable effect as many homebuyers looking to buy upper-end homes are concerned about the quality of appliances and fixtures. Here, names such as Viking, Sub Zero and Miele gained favorable reactions from wealthy homebuyers.
Your real estate website can be the lifeblood of your business as most potential buyers use the internet when searching for a home
. You need a website that will reach out and connect with relevant people that could turn into clients and hopefully will lead to a transaction. In this article we will examine the benefits of a real estate website and how to best utilize it for more efficient real estate business.
This may seem basic, but be sure to have contact information where it is plainly visible on all website pages. Be sure to include your name, phone and email address, as well as any links to your social media accounts such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+.
You should absolutely have an "About" page that describes a brief summary of your business, how it's gotten to where it's at or your vision of where it's going if you're just starting out. You should add anything that sets you apart from other realtors in the area, what do you do different that should make homebuyers come to you?
Your home page should be simple and yet catchy, just enough to make the homebuyer want to see more. Keep a few of your best listings on the homepage, and have clearly labeled links so the homebuyer knows where to click to see more listings once the few listings on the home page have him interested. You can add other information such as interesting news, informative links and more to your home page, just don't overdo it. If it has a "spammy" look to it, homebuyers will more than likely go to a more professional page.
Be sure to include seller and buyer information. Let them both know exactly what you can do for them- go into detail about the list of services you will provide for them during the entire transaction.
Photos are one of the most important aspects of the marketing process. A listing with no photos stands very little chance of gaining interest. A listing with poor photos also won't fare too well. A listing with high-quality, close-up photos will garner much more interest and the more photos, the better. Prospective buyers want to see everything before they actually go "see" it in person and photos or even high-quality video are the perfect way to showcase a home. Slide-shows are a great way to save space on your page and show off multiple photos of the property.
Be sure to speak (and type) with confidence, make sure your client sees you as an expert in your field and very knowledgeable about the area and property you are trying to sell. Every time you sell a home, ask the buyer to give you a testimonial so your website will be full of raving reviews from previous buyers. Photos of your customers standing in front of their newly-purchased home just adds a bit more and if you can get in the photo with a smiling customer, even better.
Keep your site updated with fresh content. A blog is perfect for this, just keep updated content coming in and your site will rise through the search rankings. Be sure to check your site for expired/broken links and eliminate them. Don't pack your pages with too much information, keep it simple but keep enough information to keep people interested and wanting to see more.
As a real estate agent, you may have contemplated moving to the cloud. But uncertainties may have stopped you. Perhaps you are unsure of what to expect and you're just not sure how it will benefit you and your business. If you're unsure where and how to start your journey to the cloud, here is a little scenario of how it could happen.
The first problem: storage space. You have several options here. You can reclaim the file cabinet space by scanning all of your existing paper documents (or hire someone to do it for you), or you can keep your existing paper files and just don't add anymore. All of your documents can be stored in the cloud. If you need a paper copy of a document, it can be printed instantly, so there's no reason for big, bulky file cabinets to take up all of your office space.
Office space costs so much. Again, there are several options. You can move your office to a smaller venue since you no longer need all that storage space, or you can eliminate your office altogether and work from home and wherever you happen to be. The cloud is like having your office with you at all times. If you have a decent smartphone, tablet or laptop, you can work on the go. With Google Drive, you have access to the entire Google Docs suite so you can create, store and manage documents, spreadsheets and presentations even if you don't use Microsoft Office.
Once you create a document, it can be shared from Google Drive, Dropbox or whatever cloud service you are managing the document in. Let's say that you meet the client at the property they are considering buying or even at their home. With a tablet or smartphone, you can use an app like Docusign to legally sign documents right from the mobile device. So there is no reason for extra trips to an office (that you may not even have since you don't need one) and all the paperwork can be completed right on the spot. You don't even have to have the client physically there as documents can be emailed or shared with the client through cloud services, they can sign the document and send it back.
As with any confidential and important documents, security is a concern. The best option is to use a cloud backup service like cloudHQ
. The cloudHQ service replicates all of your data to a backup account in case something happens to any of your files or documents in your main cloud account. The replication is instantaneous so any changes you make to documents are updated in your backup account immediately. Data loss can be devastating but with a good, secure backup plan using a service like cloudHQ, you can rest assured that your data is safe.
Technology has changed the way many realtors perform their real estate business. Advances in mobile technology, cloud computing, communication methods and many other useful features have helped make real estate agents' work easier and much more efficient.
- Cloud computing helps real estate agents by cutting costs in many areas such as storage, hardware costs, office space, etc. With documents stored on cloud servers, there is no need for those big, clunky file cabinets that take up so much space. There is no need for a huge paper cost as many documents can be created and even legally signed on an electronic device such as a computer laptop, tablet or smartphone.
- Mobile technology has practically created real estate agents on the go. There is no longer even a need for an office, many agents work directly out of their homes. With devices such as smartphones and tablets, real estate agents can complete all aspects of a transaction wherever they may be. Documents can be created, edited, collaborated on, shared and legally signed directly from mobile devices. This eliminates time and travel costs of numerous trips to and from an office.
- Communication methods such as social networking has helped in real estate marketing and in spreading information. Facebook and Twitter have been proven to be effective methods for marketing real estate listings, as well as being a wealth of information and sources for real estate agents. The more views a listing receives, the bigger chance it has of garnering interest and being sold quickly.
As technology continues to improve, the real estate agent on the go is the agent in charge of his or her future. Less time spent on one transaction means more time spent on other transactions (for increased sales and revenue) and more time to spend with family and friends, as work no longer consumes every part of the day.
Cloud computing is being used by many top real estate brokers as its uses in the brokerage far outweigh the negatives. Whether it's for a small brokerage with a few agents or a large brokerage with many agents, the cloud can be used to manage all aspects of listings and transactions while cutting costs on many ends.
- Utilize the latest technology in order to more efficiently serve clients
- Cost reduction by using Bring Your own Device (BYOD) for agents to remotely operate
- Marketing enhancement, increase in leads and increased profitability
- Less dependence on an on-premise office staff
The migration to the cloud can seem like an extremely complicated and time-consuming task, but it's really only as complicated as you make it. Basically, all information that flows through the real estate brokerage will be sent to the cloud and must be directed to various locations. Access permissions must be set as some data may be fine for all agents and staff to access while other data may only need to be seen by certain workers or agents.
Faxes will be sent as emails or online PDF files. Online access for clients to access their documents should be available as well. Digital signatures can be obtained through a service such as Docusign. Communication with clients, realtors, vendors and other sources can be securely set up online along with the ability to collaborate with multiple users.
Agents and other office staff will need to be trained on the best ways to operate remotely. By utilizing BYOD, agents can operate from wherever they are without the need for a physical office or physical storage space for files.
Google Apps is a great place to start. Google offers an entire suite of useful apps that can be used for the brokerage to run more efficiently in the cloud. Some of the apps include Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Drive. Google Drive includes the entire Google Docs suite which is similar to Microsoft Office with powerful document creation and editing tools, spreadsheets, presentations, word processing and more. There is also a complete business suite called Google Apps for Business which is more aimed at businesses and corporations.
Once you setup an intranet and complete online office through Google Apps or another similar program, you can decide what other apps will be needed. Dropbox or Box can be used for additional online storage, collaboration and sharing while Basecamp can be used to cover all aspects of project management. Evernote is perfect for creating notes and documents, snagging web articles and photos, and creating audio files.
As much of the data that is used in the brokerage is important and sometimes confidential, it is imperative that a secure backup plan is in place to protect data from accidental deletion or other mishaps. The best solution is to use one of the top cloud backup services such as cloudHQ
. CloudHQ offers a continuous replication of all data to a backup cloud account which provides a secondary copy of all data. In case an agent or other staff member accidentally deletes or misplaces a file, it can be instantly restored from the backup account. The best part about cloudHQ is that it syncs data between a wide variety of cloud services including Google Apps, Dropbox, Evernote, SkyDrive, SugarSync, Box and more. Any changes to data is instantaneous so if a realtor working remotely edits a file, the changes are instantly replicated to all other devices that have that cloud account installed.
Visual marketing is an important aspect of real estate listings and a high quality camera is essential for creating extreme close-ups and HD video that can best display the properties in a favorable light to prospective buyers. The problem is that these photos and videos can take up a lot of space. These files must be backed up but additional storage drives can be expensive.
Cloud storage is the best option for storing and maintaining large files. There are a variety of cloud storage providers that offer storage at reasonable prices. And the best part- if you need additional storage, there is no need to buy expensive hardware to meet these demands as users can simply upgrade the account with the cloud storage provider for more storage.
is one of the most popular and most useful cloud storage providers. It easily integrates with Windows and utilizes a Windows-type file and folder structure system, making it feel like typical usage to normal Windows users. Other storage providers include Google Drive, Box, SkyDrive and more. These cloud providers all offer free plans with paid upgrades for users that need more storage space.
The best way to use cloud storage is in conjunction with a cloud backup service such as cloudHQ
. This ensures that you always have a secondary copy of your files in case the original files become corrupted, accidentally deleted or lost. The cloudHQ service works by providing a continuous backup of all files and data to a secondary backup account. Important documents such as transaction papers, contracts and more must be protected. Retaking photos and videos that get lost can be a time-consuming and inefficient task. But with cloudHQ, the files will all be securely backed up.
Google Maps has a variety of features that make it perfect for real estate agents. Although Google no longer officially supports Google Maps as a real estate tool, there are still many features and functions within Google Maps that makes it a useful tool for showing homes, neighborhoods, listings and more.
Street View allows prospective buyers to scope out the property and surrounding area from a unique view that has been taken from the street so users can check out the home as they would see it from the street.
The Google API allows users that visit your site to browse listings and perform searches by utilizing the Google Maps innovative search function directly from your website. This allows prospective clients to perform searches and check out maps for certain areas.
Agents can create custom maps for differing areas and for differing reasons. Color codes can be used to specify specific areas or functions. Multiple users can collaborate together to create maps that are more efficient for all users. Maps can be used to create itineraries to be used for showing homes while other custom maps can use input data from your clients to display listings that tailor more to the clients' interests.
Google Maps certainly has many useful functions for real estate agents and conjoined with other apps that perform a variety of other relevant functions to the real estate business can make your real estate business run more efficiently while bringing in new prospective clients.
A real estate agent must maintain a professional reputation online at all times. To be successful, a variety of online tools can be used to maintain this reputation and get the word out. A good website, frequent usage of social media and much more can be used to accomplish this. The competition is stiff in the online real estate market so agents must be prepared to be a little bit better, go a little bit farther and do a little bit more than the competitors. Hard work pays off but it can slip away if the reputation you build up is neglected and not consistently maintained.
Ask yourself questions to determine what you want your real estate business to be known for and what you can do better than your competitors, then start building your online reputation based on the results of those questions. This is the beginning of your online persona and this is what your reputation will be built on.
Create accounts on a variety of social media and networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn. You may want to use other services such as image services like Photobucket, Flickr and Picasa. For video, you can use YouTube or Vimeo. To create a blog, there is WordPress, Weebly, Blogger, Tumblr, etc. Make the most out of the online services that are available. While it's true that he more accounts you create, the more work it will be to maintain them, but the results will be worth it once you realize you can reach more people.
If you really want to look professional, create a landing page. This page can provide all the information about you, about your business and can have links to every online account you are a part of. You can create a landing page by utilizing the services of WordPress, about.me, dooid.me, flavors.me or you can have a copywriter create your page for extra zing. You should use a domain name, it can be anything you wish, such as joesrealestateblog.com, or any name you can come up with that relates to your site. Be as creative as possible.
Create links to your social media sites on your landing page and create links to your landing page on all your social media accounts. You should also create links on your business cards, flyers, brochures, etc. Be sure to keep your accounts updated with fresh content on a constant basis. This will keep people coming to your blog, your landing page and your website to check out your new content. More people to your site means more potential clients.
As noted above, frequent fresh content will keep people visiting your sites. Google Analytics can be used to keep up with how many people visit your site, where they are coming from, etc. Every so often you should search your name and your real estate name to check for comments or posts on social media sites or forums. If you see negative comments about you or your business it would be wise to respond and attempt to rectify the situation. You want to keep your online reputation as clean as possible.
With all the data that real estate brokers can pile up, you need somewhere to store it. Online cloud storage is the optimal solution but because of the risk of data loss, you simply must have a secure data backup plan. There are great cloud backup services out there such as cloudHQ
. The cloudHQ service provides a continuous replication of all data that you store on a cloud server. So if you use Evernote for creating, editing and storing real estate transaction documents, you can have all this data backed up securely to Dropbox, Box, etc. This way if data loss was to happen, you will still have a secure copy of all data on your backup account and this can be especially critical when dealing with confidential and sensitive transaction documents and information.
Today's real estate agent doesn't have much in common with the real estate agent of 10+ years ago. Once upon a time people had no choice but to call a real estate agent on the phone, tell them what kind of house they were looking for and leave it to the real estate agent to find them a suitable house. Now people have access to homes on a variety of websites, they can search by area, by price, number of bedrooms, etc. And the best part- they can see photos of the house before they ever leave the house and go driving around to look at homes.
Formerly, real estate agents had nice, big offices (and some still do) but many of them now work directly from their home. All aspects of a real estate transaction can be handled from a laptop or even a tablet such as the iPad. There are even apps such as Evernote
that provide all the tools to create documents, edit them, and even have them legally signed when used in conjunction with Docusign
. Basecamp is the ultimate project management tool and has an array of tools that can be used to complete a real estate transaction. Everything can be completed form the agent's home or even a nearby coffee shop with wireless internet.
With the freedom to go mobile and paperless comes more responsibility over the client's confidential data. There's no need to store all these files in bulky file cabinets when the cloud offers so much cheap, secure storage. But as secure as it is, when dealing with confidential data you must always have some kind of backup plan in case the unthinkable happens and data loss occurs. This is where a secure, cloud backup service like cloudHQ
comes into the picture. The cloudHQ service provides continuous replication and a secure backup of all data on a separate cloud account which ensures that you always have two copies of your data. If data loss were to occur, the other account will still hold all data and the real estate transaction can continue uninterrupted.
Technology has changed the way the game is played, but it's made it much more beneficial for real estate agents on the go.
The real estate industry has changed over the years and the majority of transactions are completed because people find what they are looking for online. Here are some of the best tips we could find to help you create eye-catching listings and how to market them to the right people.
Photography: This tip is the first because it is one of the most important. If a potential buyer can't see photos of the house when he is checking out your listing, there is a high probability that he will move on to the next listing. Plain photos can have the same effect. Photos should clearly show all interior rooms of the house, the exterior of the house and the yard. Photos of basements and attics can be skipped unless they appear to be aesthetically pleasing to potential buyers. Photos need to be of the highest quality possible and there are programs such as Adobe Photoshop that can really bring out vibrant colors and detail to help make your listing the standout listing you need.
Websites and Forums: there are many forums and websites where you can submit your listings. The more you submit your listings to, the better chance they will have of being seen. Make sure you use tags if possible, so potential buyers searching for homes in the area where the home is located will have a better chance of finding your listing.
USPS Every Door Direct Mail: Okay so this one doesn't pertain to online marketing, but I feel the need to throw it in here. By utilizing this service, listings can be mailed to every home within a specific area or zip code. This is a good way to get your listing out to everyone local to the area where the home is located.
Social Media: Facebook and Twitter are two of the premier social media marketing services. By building an online Facebook group, keeping up with real estate groups through Twitter, and sending your listing out to hundreds or thousands of potential buyers, social media can be one of the most powerful marketing tools in the world.