The Latest Cool Technology for Your Real Estate Website
Are you using your real estate website as your correspondence secretary, eye in the sky, or comparison shopper? Website technology has evolved to improve the information available on your website and also multiply the tasks your website can handle.
Use your real estate website as your secretary while you are on the road. When a potential home buyer or seller contacts your website, use the auto responder technology to send them an email. This is one of the multiple advertising touches to imprint your personal brand. Use it creatively! Your return message should carry your enthusiasm and personality as well as the traditional “Thank you”. And as always repeat the contact information. Your auto responder message is another potential business card that can be printed or forwarded to a friend. Innocently suggest the referral route by adding an official looking post script “If you have received this email as a forward, you have very perceptive and intelligent friends.” OK, its not that innocent, but it is leveraging your marketing using real estate technology, which is the subject of this entry.
Over 80% of real estate agents use a digital camera to capture images of properties. The obvious benefit of digital pictures is that you can quickly store, sort and upload them to your website. But another area that is rarely used is that it is easy to do minor edits on your pictures. One simple editing task is lighten areas of pictures that are too dark to see the house features – a common problem when shooting a house against a bright sky. Another is cropping – cutting the image to focus on the impressive part and possibly lop off the neighbors drooling Saint Bernard at the fence.
Image editing has become very inexpensive with the release of GIMP software, a freeware similar to Photoshop. The latest release has both a built-in help feature as well as a user manual to lead you through the steps to crop, lighten, enhance the color or improve the contrast in your photos! Freeware that improves your effectiveness is a boon for the mobile professional people and pleasing the population of real estate agents.
The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) found that the top way to improve your real estate website is to have many property photos with descriptions. Both buyers and sellers responded in a 2004 survey that pictures and the properties are the two most valuable features on a real estate web site. Virtual tours – video walk throughs of a house – ranked third.
The NAR’s second most effective website tool is the webpage for your MLS listings. Make sure this link is incorporated into your web design so that your clients don’t lose your website when they link to the listing site.
Google Earth and Zillow are changing the way people research property. In the ten years from 1995 to 2005, the NAR found that the buying trend shifted from 2% of the population to 77% of the population use the internet to search for properties. Decide how you want your real estate website to integrate with this fast changing and evolving part of the market place. Consult your real estate website design professional to see what they have found works with this budding opportunity.
In this day and age of visual and virtual marketing, your real estate website must stay up with the technology the same way you keep your physical office well painted and carpeted. The buying and selling public responds well to technologically helpful real estate sites that have the human touch shining through.
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