[This blog is Part 1 of 2 in a series about technology tips that will attract and please your home buyers. Stay tuned next week for the rest of contributor Andrew Fortune's top REALTOR® tech tips!]
Technology changes the way we do business every day. Most of the real estate technology tips that I find online are directed towards helping REALTORS® with their listings, which is understandable, as an agent’s ability to leverage technology in their listings is one of the most important skills that we have. However, there are also great ways for buyers agents to impress their clients.
I wanted to take a quick moment to share some unique ways in which I have leveraged technology with my buyers to help solidify myself as their “go-to” agent. A large portion of my business comes from first-time buyers utilizing my website, so I like to capitalize on my love of technology to earn their business. Considering that much of the data from NAR projects an increase in millennial buyers over the next few years, I am always looking for new ways to connect with them using technology trends.
The plethora of technology options available to us can make it hard to think “outside the box” and create unique ways to stand out from the crowd using these services. My hope is that this post will not only give you some new ways to impress your buyer clients, but also get the wheels turning so others will generate new ideas and additional ways to leverage technology in your real estate business. These five tips are essential to my real estate business and I am grateful for the opportunity to share them with my fellow RISMedia readers.
Create Special Infographics to Answer Common Home Buyer Questions
Anyone who works with first-time buyers will appreciate this tech tip. First-time home buyers have many questions and are usually uneasy and nervous throughout the home buying process. When I first started in the business, I would respond to my buyer’s questions with a long email for each question. This took a lot of time to put together and it takes the buyers a long time to read through it all. I compiled a list of the most common home buyer questions and began making infographics to share with them so that I could easily answer these questions in a visual format. It’s one of the most powerful tools that I have added to my business over the last few years. My most popular infographic is designed for first-time home buyers in Colorado Springs. My buyers love this infographic and share it all over the place.
Some people might not consider this a “tech tip,” as graphic design has been around for many years. However, realistically I could never create these graphics if it were not for new technologies. I started off using Piktochart, and then advanced to using Adobe Illustrator. Stock vector images are the real key to great graphics. I get most of my vectors from BigStockPhoto.com and alter them using Illustrator. This technology is always changing, so the more you know about it, the better positioned you are to take advantage of it in the future.
I personally think graphics are more powerful than videos, because videos require time to watch and an environment where you can turn the sound on. I’ve done plenty of both and I get exponentially more shares from my graphics than from my videos. I rarely find myself in a scenario where I am free to watch a video while I’m at work, but I can always browse a graphic and then save it on my Pinterest board for later. In my experience, graphics are more powerful than words these days.
You’re probably thinking, “I do not know how to do this, where would I even start?” Well, you’re in luck. Infographics have become so popular that many services have been created to help beginner users create infographics with ease. Piktochart is one of the most popular services. You can try it for free and see if it works for you. If you would rather hire someone to make your graphics, you can try Fiverr for some economic options, or Visual.ly for more high-end selections. There are several vendors to choose from, so do your research and find what works best for you. In my opinion, learning to make your own graphics is one of the most powerful tools that you can incorporate into your business.
BONUS TIP: If you hire someone to make an editable infographic for monthly market statistics in your area, you can reuse it over and over again each month. Simply update the data every month and repost it. Here’s an example from my website of one I reuse every month: http://www.greatcoloradohomes.com/blog/statistics/
Create a PDF Showing Schedule with Neighborhood Data
It’s easy to assume that buyers know how our business works, since we do it every day and are accustomed to it. In reality, many first-time buyers have no clue what it’s like to look at a home with you. They don’t know if you are going to want them to ride in your car, or if you are going to add any homes to their list of properties that they want to view. I’ve even had buyers assume they’re about to have an HGTV experience where they view three random homes and then are forced to pick one!
When I plan out a showing schedule, I make a PDF cover page with the date, the buyer’s name, and the list of properties that we are going to view with an hourly schedule of the time we will be at every property. This helps me to coordinate the showings, but it also helps my buyer(s) know exactly what our schedule looks like. I let the buyer(s) know ahead of time that I will meet them at the first property and then they will follow me to the rest of the properties. This takes out any confusion on what our showing process will look like. I also attach an MLS sheet for each listing to the cover page, with the homes in the order that we are going to look at them. I email them the PDF before our showings, and also put it into a Dropbox folder, which I will explain the benefit of in my next tip.
If you want to further impress your buyers, simply create a market report with current comparables for each neighborhood that you are visiting. Add it to your PDF packet and you will show your clients a level of service rarely experienced in our industry. How often have you been asked by a buyer “What do you think of the price of this home?” With your neighborhood sheet handy, simply pull it out and show them current market data in up-to-date numbers that you have prepared ahead of time. Buyers love to have access to this information and you will immediately gain more credibility with them when you have this data available for them to view, rather than just asking them to take your word on it.
BONUS TIP: If your buyer has an iPad, they can pull up your PDF Showing schedule and add their own notes to it using a PDF editor app. If they do not have an iPad, you can add notes for them on your iPad and then email them the file with their notes in it after the showing.
Stay tuned to Housecall for more tech tips from Andrew coming soon!
Andrew Fortune is a top REALTOR® in Colorado Springs, Colo. who enjoys technology, SEO, real estate marketing, and hiking with his wife and three daughters in the mountains. He is very active on social media and can even be found online playing Battlefield 4 in his down time.