Obviously one of the biggest focuses in the world of Real Estate is technology and the internet. I hear a lot of different thought processes on websites and their function within our business models. The major theme I hear is that a website is a lead-generator. I agree and disagree with that school of thought. Can a website generate leads? Yes. But it doesn't stop there.
Customers are actually telling us already what role the internet is playing for them in Real Estate. Yes, over 80% of homebuyers are shopping first via the internet. But then they are coming to us. It's a behavior of the customer that I think many are overlooking. The customer is able today to educate themselves in our business like they never could before, and they are doing just that. But they still want the guidance of a Realtor.
So why a website then? The other function I see many forgetting to look at is the service aspect the website provides to your customers. That's the area where design and true functionality come in. It is my thought that the website should be designed with the same though-process of the impression and services you want to provide if someone were to come into your brick-and-mortar office.
A thrid function a website provides is information and services to the customer during the trasaction process. Utilities connection, moving help, selling tips (Lowes has a great partnership with NAR for adding this into your site), information about the area, so forth and so on. It is a 24/7 virtual office for the customer!
I know I find myself sometimes thinking of an idea and a perception of how it will pan out in my business. The reality of things is not always what I intended. This is what the website has become for some where they expected it to simply generate leads and some have even gone to great lengths to try to "force" it to do just that. I say, let it do what the customers say they want it to do. Lead generation is a mixture of avenues with a website being one route but not the only route.
Thanks for listening to my rambling.
Kathy West, Realtor
Exit Realty First Choice
Palm Coast, FL