According to NAR’s 2014 Profile of Buyers and Sellers Report, 93 percent of buyers stated that a real estate website was the top resource used during their search for a new home. If there’s only one thing that you take away from this finding, let it be this: demand for a website that includes any and every tool buyers might need is at an all-time high.
Whether it’s determining travel time to their most frequent destinations or getting an idea for what they can expect to pay for a mortgage, everyone’s looking for something different out of a real estate website, and it’s up to you to make sure they have it. Here are the top 10 features that today’s buyers expect your website to have.
1. Quality Photos to Highlight the Property
Providing photos for each of your listings is something that simply cannot be overlooked. Your goal is to highlight what makes each of your properties unique. The quality of these photos also need to be of the highest standard. Luckily, most of today’s smartphones come equipped with cameras that are capable of capturing those unbelievable photos!
2. Detailed Explanations of What the Home Has to Offer
When it comes to listing information, the opportunities are in the details. Rather than stating that a home has “hardwood floors,” be more descriptive and say “beautiful original oak hardwood flooring that was just refinished two years ago.” If you can paint a vivid picture of your listings, then buyers will use their imagination to visualize it as a place to call home.
3. Interactive Maps to Get A Feel for the Area
How far would I have to drive to work? Are my children’s schools nearby? Buyers will want to know this information because the decision to purchase a home is about far more than just the property itself. Providing interactive tools for visitors to do this research on their own will not only keep them on your site longer, but it will position you as a resource that they can come back to throughout the duration of their home search.
4. Virtual Tours to Give A First Hand Experience
Bring your properties to life with virtual tours and it will give your visitors a first-hand account of what it’s like to take a stroll through their next home. Pictures are important without a doubt, but actually doing a walk-through of the property without having to leave their home takes convenience to the next level. Unlike random pictures, a true virtual tour should give potential buyers a sense of how the rooms flow together.
5. Neighborhood Information for Comparing Their Lifestyle
A major decision for any buyer is whether or not a new neighborhood will fit their lifestyle. Highlighting the quality of the local school system, crime levels (hopefully lack thereof) or even popular neighborhood events is a proactive approach for resolving any uncertainties about the local area that might prevent someone from contacting you.
6. Listing Status That’s Kept Up to Date
There’s almost nothing worse than performing days of research to narrow down the perfect property, only to find that it’s in escrow or has already been sold. This comes off as unreliable and could ultimately result in losing a lead altogether. Be sure that you continually update the status of all your listings exactly when a change occurs to avoid driving your visitors to another site and another agent.
7. A Simple Process for Connecting with You
Once a visitor has found the right property and has made the decision to contact you, it’s vital that you’ve made this process as simple as possible. Ensure that your lead forms are prominently placed and functioning properly, and that your contact information is up to date and can be located with ease. It would be a shame to lose out on any lead simply because it was difficult for a potential buyer to connect with you.
8. Proof That the Price is Right
Price is certainly one of the most important factors in any purchase decision. By including detailed information about properties that have recently sold in the same neighborhood, you’ll give them peace of mind that they will be paying a competitive price for their new home.
9. Open House Schedules to View A Property
Once a buyer has found a listing on your site that interests them, they’re going to want the opportunity to come check it out for themselves. Post the times you plan on hosting an open house for that property. If they see that there is one coming up soon, it will open the door for you to get a little face time with them.
10. Videos to Show Why They Should Call it Home
Listing videos are taking the real estate marketing world by storm, which comes to no surprise considering they are in such high demand by consumers. Use this as an opportunity to highlight the unique features of the property, the local area or even interview one of the neighbors about how great of a neighborhood it is to live in.
Does your website meet these buyer expectations? If not, you could potentially be losing out on business. Homes.com offers responsive IDX website solutions and a library of interactive tools that will give visitors to your site everything they want and more.
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