Some things never change, but in the business of real estate much has evolved in the last decade. Even though the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) is still the primary directory for listings, this used to be a published book whereas today it is all online. There are many changes to note between the old way vs. new way of doing business in real estate. In this blog post we’ll explore some of the main categories in the business that have seen major changes.
Real estate agents are known for going door-to-door and knocking on doors to connect with homeowners in an effort to earn new business. Other ways of boosting business include cold calling and sending out postcards with current listings, recently closed properties and market insights. Although these are still popular practices in certain cities, the method of earning business has significantly progressed and there are more options available to agents looking for new clients. Many agents are reaching out to clients electronically with email campaigns that can be tracked and provide insights like open rates, click through rates and valuable information that could result in a hot lead. Thanks to many advancements in technology prospecting can now be done in many different ways and real estate agents have more time to dedicate to their clients and closing deals.
Social media has been an absolute game changer for real estate professionals. Back in the day an agent may have taken out an advertisement in a local paper or purchased a spot on a billboard or a bus bench. Even though some agents still swear by this type of marketing, social media provides an opportunity for real estate professionals to not only promote themselves and their business, but also to engage and interact with a community and their clients. Social media allows agents to be as public as they want to be by sharing personal information, videos and photos and giving clients an inside look at their lives. It also gives agents the power to offer market insight, expert knowledge and tips as well as to educate their followers on real estate information and trends. This is a great tool to establish market dominance and engage with buyers and sellers alike. The only challenge that has come up from social media is that it requires a significant time commitment to create content, manage social media pages and interact with an audience. Many real estate professionals have chosen to outsource this work to professional marketers and social media managers who assist with branding, strategy development, content creation and management.
As little as a few years ago, word of mouth was the primary source of receiving referrals for new business and clients. If a neighbor had an outstanding experience with a real estate agent, they would pass the information along to the rest of the community and to other friends and family members. These days, real estate agents have to ensure that their online reputation is spotless and measures up to high standards. A single bad review online could severely affect any future business opportunities. This is why it is more important than ever to ensure that clients are always satisfied with their agent. One way that agents are building their business and manage their reputation is by uploading testimonials from happy clients on social media pages, blogs and websites.
Advertising & Promotions
Real estate professionals are in the business of sales, which inevitably means that they need to be really good at promoting the product that they are trying to sell. The most successful real estate agents become marketing geniuses – they need to earn business, grow their client base and promote their closings. These professionals understand that simply listing a property on the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) is not enough, they know how to properly price a listing and position it for maximum exposure. Agents will spend their own money on advertising a property online, mailing postcards, placing ads in newspapers, creating email campaigns, printing flyers and using social media to even further boost the exposure of their listings. Agents also spend money on professional staging and photography in order to present the property in the best way possible so that they can attract the largest number of buyers. Years ago, buyers would look through the local paper and circle homes for sale that they were interested in – if that were the only form of advertising used today, it’s safe to say the exposure of the listing would be extremely limited. In fact, some agents are so innovative in their marketing that it is not uncommon to find advertisements of a newly listed property in unexpected places like shopping malls, parking lots and even at airports. These new methods of advertising and promotion definitely beat the conventional ways of marketing properties through cold calls and door knocking, which are considered to be effective, but intrusive methods of building a business and winning over new clients.
Communication with Buyers & Sellers
In the past, communication between clients and real estate agents may have been limited to phone calls. Today there are various methods of communication that can be utilized – including social media, text message, email campaigns and virtual video communication. There are many real estate agents who develop strong friendships with their clients, and the relationship between a client and an agent can become more informal and friendly. This means that communication with buyers and sellers has also changed. Many real estate professionals will use drip email campaigns to stay in touch with prospects and clients. This is a very efficient way of communicating and keeping clients informed with important real estate news and market trends. Additionally, real estate agents will also directly communicate with clients via text message in order to provide timely responses. Social media has also altered communication between agents and their clients – buyers and sellers can directly message an agent about something they have seen on the page, engage with photos on various platforms and digest all types of videos and other digital content 24/7.
You may be noticing a trend in this article – a lot of the ways that the business of real estate has changed is because of innovation in the industry and with advancements in technology and communication. This also means that the way a transaction is handled has also become more efficient and streamlined. For decades, a phone call has been the primary tool of the trade used in real estate, but now as more millennials and younger generations are buying homes, they prefer communication over text or email. Real estate professionals have had to figure out tools to use that will allow them to provide quick responses to their clients. This is also important in a hot market when many homes on the market receive multiple offers. There are certain applications like DocuSign that make it so much easier to streamline transaction management because it allows all legal documents to be signed on mobile devices, tablets or computers without having to travel with paperwork for physical signatures.
Real estate is the business of assisting clients with buying and selling property, but there is so much more involved in every transaction than simply processing offers and paperwork. Buying or selling a home is an emotional experience, and it can be extremely stressful, which is why it has always been important for an agent to provide support, knowledge and the finest customer service to their clients as they guide them through every transaction. With the rise in social media and review websites, agents are putting even more emphasis on customer service in an effort to exceed client expectations and provide a smooth, stress-free experience. Clients will expect their agents to be a partner during the real estate process and to be available to answer questions and provide guidance at all times. The competition in the real estate industry is fierce and it is crucial for agents to be more than just market experts in order to build and sustain their business.
As you can see, while some things stay the same or see slight evolution, other things have completely changed in the industry. Living through the COVID-19 pandemic has also forced the industry to further evolve – these days we’re seeing more virtual tours, meetings via Zoom or FaceTime and almost all paperwork is completed through DocuSign. Just like any other business, real estate has had to evolve with technology and the world and professional realtors are making the adjustments seamlessly without affecting their clients. If you would like to learn more about how our team at Brazos County Realty has adjusted our business, or about our featured properties please don’t hesitate to contact us. We look forward to speaking with you, working with you and making all of your real estate goals a reality!