By Peter Ricci
We’ll start the second part of our “Google real estate” series with an uncontroversial claim – the Internet and real estate are highly intertwined entities. Nine out of 10 home searches today start on the Web, and it seems that with the passing of every day, a new app or technology is released to further modernize the real estate trade.
Yet, as popular as the Internet and its various technologies may be, agents should not entirely discredit older forms of real estate marketing, a fact that was further supported by the joint study by Google and the National Association of Realtors on consumers’ Internet behavior in the home search process.
Internet Searches – Inspiring Diversity
The first part of our series looked at how Google searches often inspired greater action among prospective homebuyers, and the Google/NAR report found that using the Internet also inspired consumers to use multiple sources in their home search:
- For instance, among Internet users, 89 percent still used a real, living, breathing real estate agent.
- Similarly, 53 percent used yard signs and 46 percent used an open house when looking for a home.
- Even the two mediums that garnered the least attention – print newspaper advertisements and home books/magazines – attracted the attention of 28 and 19 percent of prospective homebuyers, respectively – or, nearly half of home shoppers.
‘Google Real Estate’ – a Broader Approach to Marketing
So, what does all this mean? That even among the most Web-savvy consumers, the traditional, physical components of the homebuying process (signs, open houses, ads, human beings!) still generate interest and sales.
Therefore, though you should embrace the Internet with open arms in your marketing efforts, it would be unwise to completely cut yourself off from those more traditional elements.
Jack Haymes, an agent with Register Real Estate Advisors in Spring, said that for his marketing efforts, his emphasis is always on the local consumer, and where they are most likely to look.
“I still do direct mail but it is only to a refined area; I blog, have an add in the local school sports program and maintain an Internet presence for my local target area,” Haymes said. “I also set up automatic searches in our local MLS from HAR to alert me to the ever-changing local area, so I can alert clients to these changes before they have to search themselves. This approach makes me look smarter, both with technology and customer service.”