Hello and welcome, I’m Dave Williams, business development manager for HomeTeamOttawa.com a real estate team in Ottawa, Canada.
Over the last 4 years I’ve helped generate over 4,500 real estate leads online that have resulted in 91 home sales worth over $31.4M, $788,000 in commissions.
Recently a lot of real estate agents and teams have been asking me, how to use CREA’s DDF to increase their business, so I’ve put together this report: Making DDF work for you | A real estate teams guide to generating leads online.
We’ll start with a little Online Lead Generation 101
In the 2015 profile of online buyers nearly half of those surveyed reported that they began by looking at houses for sale online. Despite being some time away from the actual purchase of their next home the process of comparing houses allow them to see what they might like, what they don’t like, and to begin to form an idea of how features affect pricing.
If you are familiar with the four stages of competence this is the second stage, conscious incompetence, where they start to realize how much they don’t know. They began looking for information on how the real estate process worked building a picture of how the whole process wold work for them.
It comes as little surprise with the internet becoming a visual medium that the vast majority of home buyers are looking for PICTURES of the homes for sale, this is also the driving force behind professional photography in the real estate industry,
Professional photos allow them to construct the layout of the home in their minds, creating an image of what living in the home may be like.
They are also looking for detailed information about the home, room sizes, taxes, utility costs, features, and more.
Nearly half of the home buyers were also looking for virtual tour videos, interactive maps and neighbourhood information to help them frame their buying decisions.
HELP! 85% of buyers surveyed wanted help from a REALTOR®
Over half needed the help of REALTORS® in order to find the right home…these tech savvy buyers, who have viewed hundreds of homes online still reported they needed help finding the right home.
There is still and important place for real estate agents in the modern real estate transaction and that is their experience and expertise in navigating the complicated process.
Further more buyers reported they needed help with negotiating the terms of the contract, help determining the right price to offer, help making the offer and help finding the best mortgage.
To illustrate this point I’d like th share with you a personal story, a friend of my wife recently called me, she had been looking for a new home for herself and her two sons, she knew exactly the area she wanted to live in, she had seen most of the homes in the market, she had even tried to buy a FSBO a few months ago with the help of her parents who had bought and sold 6 homes themselves.
When she called me she had found THE house, the absolutely perfect home and she didn’t want to lose it. She had already visited the home twice…she just didn’t know how to buy it. I took the team buyers agent out to meet her at the property, with her parents and family firends in tow they showed up to see the home she had been dying to buy for two weeks. An hour and a half later, at her parents home two streets over our Home Tema Ottawa buyers agent had the paperwork complete and 3 hours later it was an accepted offer.
These experienced home buyers, with a tech savvy daughter could not manage to buy a property they wanted, 5 hours with a REALTOR® and the deal was done.
Buyers still need our help, they just interact with us in a different way.
Online buyers have been studied and found to take 27 months to buy a home.
For the first 16 months of their home buying journey they explore the market place online, keep an eye on homes to see what they eventually sell for, how long it takes, what features and locations make a difference in price.
Once they are comfortable with how the process of home sales go they really start digging in, researching how the buying process works, what homes they really like, what features they want to have or not and really start analyzing prices.
Reaching the stage of conscious competence they now feel comfortable with their knowledge of real estate and begin moving forward on their eventual purchase, with hours of interacting with REALTORS® at open houses and on the phone when researching they know how to handle sale people to complete the purchase of their new home on thier terms.
Simple Answer: Give them what they want!
Then stay in touch and stay helpful.
A lot of agents will tell you online leads are lukewarm at best, I challenge that they have just failed to really understand the new buying process and are approaching people the wrong way.
A buyer in Stage 1 of their process is not looking to be sold on a home they walk into or view online, it will be long sold by the time they are ready to buy. They are looking to collect useful information and ponder it for some time.
You win with your follow-up after simply proving them the information they want. On Home Team Ottawa the average time for an online lead to buy a home is 180 days from the first contact, the longest was 1079 days.
So how do you cultivate online leads in to business?
Start by offering unique information and perspectives on the real estate market that they can not find anywhere else. You may do this with a specialization in a type of home, geographic area, recreational focus or some combination.
Trade your information for their contact details, contact information is the currency of the internet. Better yet, GIVE THEM THE INFORMATION for free and allow them to sign-up for more information as it becomes available.
Thank them for trusting you with their information.
Stay in touch with relevant information. Help them move through the research stages.
Finally cultivate the lead with social proof, them more they see you helping others them more they’ll believe you can help them.
The DDF developed by CREA allows for the sharing of thousands listings on thousands of websites.
Throughout the buying process, buyers associate the ease of use of a REALTORS® website with how helpful that agent might be in person.
So by creating a property search portal on your website you can allow the buyers to 1)Look for properties online, 2)See those homes with lots of property photos and accurate information, and 3)A properly formated property search portal will help them find the right house.
So when they do find the right house, who do you think they will call?
I hope this has been helpful, if you’d like to see what an online marketing plan for the real estate industry looks like drop me a line.