[This blog is Part 2 of 2 in a series about technology tips that will attract and please your home buyers. To view Part 1 of this series, click here.]
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.
Share a Dropbox Folder with All Showing History & Relevant Docs
Once you have developed a streamlined system for creating PDF showing schedule packets, you can store them in a Dropbox folder and use them to document each showing that you have had with your client. Every buyer is different and some need to see 20 homes before they will ever really consider putting in an offer. The journey from an initial first meeting to the final closing can be a long one. I started documenting this journey to help buyers understand how much time I have spent with them throughout the process. They usually forget that I met them over six months ago and have been corresponding with them weekly for many months.
I document every showing schedule and keep MLS sheets from each showing with notes from the showings for all of my buyers. I organize these PDF files in a Dropbox folder for each buyer and share it with them at the beginning of the buying process. I will also add all of the contracts, addendum, closing docs, and necessary correspondence into the folder. It becomes a huge file with loads of information from the beginning of the buyer’s home search, to the end. Most of the time, buyers won’t access the file much throughout the buying process, but once they have purchased a property, I remind them to download their files from my Dropbox folder for their records so that I can close out the file. This is where they get to visually see how much work and time that you have put into their transaction since the first showing. As soon as I notice that they have accessed and downloaded their file, I then ask them for a review of my services, while they are reminded of all of the work that I have done for them, usually at no expense to them. It works like a charm.
BONUS TIP: Dropbox usually offers you a free storage limit upgrade when you refer them a new user. If your buyer does not have a Dropbox account, you can refer them from your account and Dropbox will increase your free storage limit. When I started with Dropbox years ago, I increased my free storage to 10Gb by referring my buyers to the service. I now have a paid business account with unlimited storage, but this is a good, free way to start out with Dropbox and increase your free storage capacity for as long as possible.
Create a Personalized Video Walkthrough Once Your Buyers Are Under Contract
Most home buyers have to wait 30 to 45 days to close on a property once it is under contract. For buyers, this waiting game can be difficult. Many buyers will execute a contract on a property after only viewing it one or two times. Chances are also high that the listing agent has not made a real property walkthrough video and is using an outdated virtual tour that just rotates images that are already available in the property listing. This means that the only content available for your buyer to view their future home are the few photoshopped images on the MLS.
I still remember how much this used to infuriate me during my first few home purchases. My wife and I would repeatedly examine the property images and try to plan where we would place our furniture and belongings. Most of the time there were no images of garages, attic access, closets, etc. It’s hard to remember what the home you are purchasing looks like when you’ve only seen it once, especially after viewing numerous others within the same month as well.
After receiving multiple requests from my buyers to view the property while under contract, I decided to find for a solution to this problem. I started making video walkthroughs for my buyers as soon as we had an accepted offer. This allowed my buyers to revisit the home at their convenience through a personalized video tour. Buyers love these videos! My first video took me five or six hours to put together, but it got easier each time. Now I can make a great looking video tour within a couple of hours. I use a GoPro Hero 3 with a Steadicam Smoothee and mix everything together using Final Cut Pro on my MacBook. The results are quite impressive; don’t be surprised to find your buyers raving about your skills. I walk the entire premises, open all the doors, and cover every inch of square foot to help them plan out their moving and storage needs. I would have loved this convenience when I bought my first home so many years ago.
Here is an example of a video that I made for a buyer client a few days ago, right after we executed a sales contract:
BONUS TIP: You can also use this tech tip to help out-of-town buyers. I have sold homes to buyers before they ever stepped foot in the home by using this tech tip. Just be sure to ask each listing agent for permission before you video a property and share it with anyone.
Make Everything Mobile Friendly
We all know that we have to be mobile friendly, right? Well, that is becoming an understatement. Google is constantly releasing data that reflects how mobile usage will easily dominate the desktop market. This means that your website, email, social presence, search rankings, reviews, shared online docs, electronic signature software, and drip campaigns all have to look great on mobile devices. The data is clear that the way you look on a mobile device is more important than the way you look on a desktop.
If you have any part of your business that is not mobile friendly, it is time to replace it with a mobile option. If your electronic signature service is not mobile friendly, find a new one. If your website is not mobile friendly, get it redesigned immediately. Even established professionals with a long-standing strong Internet presence are not exempt from this necessity. Bill Gassett has one of the largest followings of any real estate professional on Google Plus, and he recently redesigned his website at MaxRealEstateExposure.com to be mobile responsive. Check out his website and reach out to him on Google Plus if you have questions about the best way to approach this topic.
The mobile market is not “coming soon” - it is here right now. My website mobile traffic for 2013 was 37 percent; this year it is 48 percent. That happened in only one year. It would not surprise me if my mobile traffic goes up to 70 percent in the next few years. I use my mobile device much more than my desktop. When I shop online, I’m usually on my iPad or iPhone. I just purchased the new iPhone 6 Plus, which has a much larger screen than my iPhone 5. I’m sure I’ll be doing even more with my phone, once I familiarize myself with all its added options. The evolution of mobile device use shows no sign of slowing down, so make sure that all of your content creation, online presence, and marketing materials are mobile responsive and engaging on mobile devices.
BONUS TIPS: Some companies will offer separate mobile platforms which redirect visitors to another site that is designed for mobile use when visitors use your website on mobile devices. In my opinion, it is much better to have your whole website be “fully responsive,” which means that each page on your website will resize itself to fit the browser window on any device.
Did you learn anything in this post? If so, leave a comment below and let us know what your thoughts are. Got a great tech tip? Post it in the comments section and let’s collaborate on it!
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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.