Search homes for sale on the internet and it doesn’t take too long to notice that home buyers and sellers are literally bombarded with advertisements from real estate agents vying for their business. Agents jockey for space on sites like Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com to position their headshots along side the most popular neighborhood searches hoping that folks will click through and call. There are “banner ads”, “pay-per-click ads”, “featured agents”, “neighborhood experts”, “zip code specialists”, “exclusive agents for all four-bedroom red houses with black shutters and white fences near a park close to a school by a beach walking distance to downtown” – ok well maybe not that last one- but there is a seemingly unlimited number advertising opportunities popping up daily offering Realtors the promise of total market domination!
Sounds great, I mean everyone shops for homes on-line now right so it must work. And so there go thousands of honest hardworking real estate agents spending tons of money on these advertisements. But does it really work? The answer is yes, it works beautifully…. for the websites that cash in the advertising dollars!
Of course we all recognize the importance of technology in todays real estate market. Some of the most heavily trafficked websites on the internet are real estate websites. There are clearly an enormous number of people looking at homes for sale on websites. So naturally one would assume that most of these people are also finding their Realtors on the internet. In fact I have to admit that I also thought this was now the norm. Until I read an eye opening statistic about how home buyers really end up selecting their realtor of choice.
After all the websites are perused, the banner ads are paid for, the pay-per-click ads are spent, and the exclusive territories are snapped up, it turns out that it has nothing to do with technology. It doesn’t even require a computer, a tablet, a GPS, or a smart phone. It doesn’t have a Walkscore, a Zestimate, credentials, initials, or acronyms. And it doesn’t require advertising dollars. It is something so very basic to human nature that we all value more than any technology could ever deliver.
When it comes down to it, people still rely on referrals from people they trust to guide them in the selection of their Realtors- the person that will ultimately guide them in the biggest transaction of their lives. Here are the statistics.
How Home Buyers Find the Real Estate Agent they Use:
- Referred by (or is) a friend, neighbor, or relative 40%
- Used agent previously to buy or sell a home 13%
- Visited open house and met agent 7%
- Internet Site 7%
- Walked into or called real estate office and agent was on duty 4%
So this is great news for all the real estate agents out there, go ahead and cancel your advertisements, save a bunch of money and retire early! Well that’s probably a bit extreme. In fact a good on-line presence will only reinforce the decision that your new clients are about to make when they do some homework about you. But it does go to show that when you focus on your clients success it will always yield far more future returns than any internet advertisement could ever return. There is a place for technology in this industry but it will never replace the human connection that we make with our clients.