What do buyers want to see in your real estate listing marketing?

Agents could be missing out on sales because because of listings with mediocre photos and the absence of floor plans, virtual tours and other details that make the property stand out to buyers, according to a new report by real estate marketing firm BoxBrownie.com.

The report takes a closer look at what BoxBrownie Global Director of Sales Marketing and Revenue Peter Schravemade calls one of the most underrated sections of the National Association of Realtors’ Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends report.

He notes in the report that the NAR stats show that 89% of prospective homebuyers want to see listing photos, 67% want floor plans and 58% would like a virtual tour.

Professional photography a must

The report states that more than three quarters of agents (76%) hire professional photographers for their listings. High-end properties were more likely to have professional photos of the listing, according to the report, which noted that listing with sticker prices of $500,000 or more had an 85% or more chance of having professional photos, while 71% of properties under that amount included professional photos.

Schravemade adds in the report that brokerages have a duty to their agents to make sure quality photography is used in every listing — even if the pictures are shot by the agent.

“We do believe educational institutions and bodies should take greater responsibility in training listing agents as to how to go about marketing a home for sale or lease,” he wrote. “Part of that training should include sections on what constitutes professional photography.”

Virtual tours saved the industry?

Maybe not so much, according to the BoxBrownie report. Virtual tours are nothing new — they’ve been around for more than two decades, according to the report — but 360°, 3D and other virtual tours were touted during the pandemic as a major shift in the way homes are sold.

The report add that only 5.9% of homes on the market are offering virtual tours. That’s a far lower figure than those reported by the National Association of Realtors, which reported that 35% of listings are offering virtual tours.

The BoxBrownie report believes those figures are exaggerated by the area of the country surveyed, sample size and other factors. “Other research is simply looking at links provided within listings and assuming they are virtual tours rather than videos or slideshows,” Schravemade said in the report.

The conclusion: virtual tours could give agents an edge with their listings. “They are no longer difficult to shoot, cost-prohibitive, or time-intensive,” the report states. “Importantly, purchasers value them highly in decision making around the purchase of a home.”

Back to the drawing board

Just under 10% of listings of single-family homes offer floor plans, but more than two out of three homebuyers want access to them. “This is not a figure worth shouting from the mountaintops, but it certainly is an improvement on the previous number we had from a 2015 study, which said that only 5% of MLS listings included a floor plan,” Schravemade said in the report.

BoxBrownie suggests asking every seller if they have floor plans available. These might be available through the appraiser, as floor plans are often included with appraisal documents.

If they’re not available, retail outlets like Home Depot offer plan draws starting at about $100.

Getting Online Reviews: 3 Tips for Real Estate Agents

As a real estate agent, your online presence and social media reputation play a vital role in your business — perhaps more than you may recognize. Nearly every homebuyer these days will begin their search online and look for online reviews to check out what people are saying about you.

Many business owners only think of Yelp, but reviews are everywhere online. Not surprisingly, 89% of clients search for information about a real estate agent online before making the decision to contact them at all. 

That said, glowing online reviews can not only help to enhance and build your online profile — they are likely the deciding factor in a potential buyer or seller’s decision to contact you or use your services. In fact, the NAR Profile of Buyers and Sellers indicates that home sellers value the reputation of an agent (31%) more than any other factor when selecting an agent to sell their home. 

So, whether you’re trying to gain more reviews on your Yelp page, on your Facebook business page, or for your realtor.com or Zillow profile, let’s look at some must-remember tips for success:

#1. Let Clients Know About Your Online Profiles 

There’s a fine line between making your clients uncomfortable by aggressively and openly asking for reviews versus simply letting them know about your online profiles and their ability to leave a review if they’re comfortable. 

To ensure your clients know about their ability to leave a review, consider adding your social profiles to your website and email signature. If you have a Yelp page, for example, you can add a Yelp button to your email signature, which can immediately take them to your profile. If you’re a broker, you may also consider adding social media icons to your brokerage’s storefront. 

#2. Make Engagement a Priority 

Most seasoned real estate agents run drip email campaigns that keep their sphere of influence up-to-date on market conditions, new listings, or even community events. 

As part of your ongoing engagement and lead nurturing, consider adding your new testimonials to the footer of your email. Or, perhaps you ask your client if you can feature their review in your latest e-blast or blog. Ideally, you would ask only after they’ve provided a review on their own terms — without you instigating it. 

This not only helps your testimonials and reviews be seen by a wider audience, but it can also be a nice way of showing your clients you appreciate the time it took for them to review you … which leads us to our next point … 

#3. Show Your Thanks 

Always send a quick note or Thank You card to your client for their review. And, if the review was less than stellar, you should still reach out. This is a great opportunity to acknowledge the feedback and put steps into place to learn and grow from the experience. 

If you find yourself getting too emotional about negative reviews, you might also consider asking a trusted confidant or admin at your brokerage to help formulate responses. 

Grow Your Online Reputation 

The importance of online reviews and your social reputation grows with every click of a potential client’s mouse. To learn more about increasing your online presence, sign up for our AgentEDU® course Yelp for Your Real Estate Business today. 

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