What Home Buyers Want – Trends from Daniel Levine
Daniel Levine is an expert on trends (trends are NOT fads, he says), running a company, the Avant-Guide Institute, that specializes in helping companies in the global marketplace understand the social trends that motivate consumers to buy, and how to be more relevant, profitable and innovative.
I’m in Boston for the CRS meetings and the keynote talk before starting our mastermind work Thursday morning was a riveting discussion by Daniel about trends in real estate, specifically things that home buyers want. Listen up – these can all, and should, impact how you conduct your real estate business now, and in the future.
1. Buyers want top ratings.
Whether we like it or not, online ratings are a part of our world, and seemingly pertain to just about every service, venue, and product imaginable….did you know that Yelp rates prisons? You can rate your Uber driver, and they can rate you, too! The post office asks for surveys, doctors and dentists want feedback, and it goes on and on.
Levine says more and more buyers are looking online to find out who they want to work with, and ratings for Realtors are found all over (Zillow and Yelp being just 2 popular sites), and not only when we request them. Younger buyers are relying on ratings more than other generations.
Having good ratings online as an agent is essential, and requesting past buyers and sellers to rate us online is an important thing to do, in addition to collecting those testimonials. Levine says research shows a 1 star increase on Yelp can mean a 5 – 9% increase in revenue. So if you don’t have 5 stars guess what – there is work to be done.
2. Buyers want transparency
The desire for transparency, and the push for companies to provide it, is everywhere. Trace your Catch by Bumblebee allows consumers to find out where that tuna came from by entering a code from the can. Another example - Job hunters can get the inside scoop on companies and management on Glassdoor.
Buyers these days want to know, and can learn, all sorts of things about homes, the buying process, about agents and so much more well before they ever contact us, and afterwards. Real estate agents used to be the guardians of listings and everything about them but no longer. Want to know who died in a house – you can check Died in House (but it will cost you!).
Social media has changed forever the notion of keeping pretty much anything private, it seems. In some ways it’s getting harder to compete without being very transparent, but of course one must be careful about how transparent you are AND what you share and where. You never know who might be reading…that potential client, perhaps. Yes, you want to be out there online but for the right reasons.
Levine recommends we share the truth of what we really do, and have a value proposition to communicate to potential buyers, and sellers.
3. Buyers want efficiency
Consumers these days want their lives to be easier, and tons of companies go out of their way to make this happen. Technology is a big part of making life easier…or so that’s the claim. Look at all the online 1-click shopping, for example (heard of Amazon?). And Dominos now has Zero Click shopping just by launching their app! How simple is that!?
Just think about all the new companies that now exist to presumably make the buying and selling process easier for consumers. Purplebricks, Offrs, Homelife for sellers…and the list keeps growing. I’m not recommending them, just sayin’!
Levine recommends thinking carefully about how we can streamline things for our clients and make life easier for them in the purchasing process.
Consider the things that might make it difficult to work with us (e.g., communication, getting information and updates), and how to eliminate that difficulty. How about a list of FAQs on your website or blog so consumers have access 24/7? And think about how can they reach you, and you can reach them easily – texting? Email? Facebook Messenger?
4. Buyers want Higher Touch
Notice that says “higher” not “high.” Buyers already expect, and deserve, high touch, and high tech (not one or the other). But keep in mind that high tech doesn’t suit everyone.
What’s interesting is that the shift that took place in many companies to high tech is changing in the other direction, with more consumer contact (Amazon, again, being a good example) becoming more essential. Some companies that were only online now offer bricks and mortar stores.
Consider how you can become even more high touch with your clients beyond what you already do, and not hide behind all that technology all the time.
5. Living for the future
This was an interesting discussion focusing on where things are now, and where they are heading, particularly with robots.
Robots are being used more frequently in hotels to assist guests and deliver things to their rooms, Walmart is using robots at some stores for restocking shelves, and robots at the airport in Seoul, South Korea, will give you information about your gate and will escort you there.
Compass has unveiled new digital signage recently. Robots are being used to show rental properties. The CIWAO app allows buyers to do a self-walk-through open house after a background check. Holland is 3-D printing habitable houses. You can bet this arena will keep expanding.
Want to know more about trends? Levine recommended checking out Wikitrend.
Not only is it important to be aware of the trends but to consider how they impact our real estate business and how we can innovate when we do to better assist our clients.
Levine shared a list of questions to ask ourselves. The one that stood out most for me was “how can we better promote our value to our clients?”
This all may not be new to you, but hopefully these trends will give you something to think about, and to look at some possible changes in your business.