Luxury Homebuyers Like Agents With Websites

Posted by — July 21, 2005

By John Brian LoshReal estate professionals: If you have a cookie-cutter website for your company or haven't yet established a presence on the Internet, you're missing out on the most powerful marketing tool available.

Real estate professionals: If you have a cookie-cutter website for your company or haven't yet established a presence on the Internet, you're missing out on the most powerful marketing tool available.

According to a study by the National Association of Realtors, 72 percent of homebuyers use the Internet to search for listings and services, and more than 20 percent of homebuyers first learned about the home they purchased on-line. These numbers will only increase as the average homebuyer grows younger and more Internet-savvy.

So what are you waiting for? Establishing a quality website is easier than you may think and will allow you to reap benefits you may never have imagined.

The Benefits of Investing in Your Website

Building a great website -- one that inspires inquiries and repeat visits -- may call for an initial investment, but in the long run it is a cost-effective way to give your properties and company positive, long-ranging exposure, not only to homebuyers in your community but to people all over the world.

The Internet reaches a global audience of more than 200 million people every day, and that number is growing by the month. At any moment, a homebuyer in another state or even another country -- beyond the reach of any local advertising you may do -- might visit your website looking for that perfect home.

An effective website is one of the most dependable ways to reach your target clientele: affluent homebuyers.

According to a study by the California Association of Realtors, homebuyers who find their home on the Internet are wealthier and purchase more expensive homes than non-Internet buyers. On average, Internet homebuyers spend $452,000 on a home while traditional homebuyers spend $310,000.

The California Association of Realtors' study also found that Internet homebuyers make their purchases nearly twice as fast as homebuyers who do not use the Internet. That's because Internet homebuyers have the luxury of checking out prospective homes on-line before arranging for an in-person visit, which saves you time by making viewings more targeted.

Finally, researchers have found that homebuyers who use the Internet are more likely than non-Internet buyers to use a real estate agent to find their home and complete the buying process. They also express greater satisfaction with their real estate agent when the transaction is done, which means repeat customers and referrals for your company.

Create a Website that Works for You

Think about your favorite website. What makes it a pleasure to visit? Odds are the website does an effective job of communicating who the company is, what services it offers and how it does business. Likewise, it is essential for you to convey a clear message on your own website that is easy for visitors to process and understand.

Studies have shown time and time again that websites with a clear, simple message and design get the best results. If your website is bogged down with too many distractions, such as sound bytes and animation text, you might actually turn prospects away instead of capturing their attention and inspiring return visits. Website design should always support your message, not overwhelm it.

Additionally, adding the type of features mentioned above means your website won't load as quickly. You only have about 10 seconds to capture a viewer's attention, so time is of the essence. Once your website is complete, give it a test run from a few different computers to make sure it loads within a reasonable amount of time (within 10 seconds).

Don't forget to protect your company by adding the proper disclosures required by your state and local association of Realtors and any other governing agencies to your website. A quick phone call or two will tell you everything you need to know.

Finally, always remember to spell-check and ask a colleague or friend to proofread any copy you plan to post.

Call in the Pros

If you don't have experience with website development -- and don't worry, most Realtors don't -- hiring a pro to develop your website is a smart investment. There are loads of great website developers, and some not-so-great ones as well, so do your research. Some companies specialize in developing real-estate-specific websites and can provide you with field-tested information and guidance on how to develop a website that receives optimum results.

It's worth investing in a custom website that's designed to capture the essence of your business rather than choosing one of the "templated" websites offered by many companies. Do you really want your website to look identical to the website of your competitor down the block? Spending a little extra money on a custom-designed website allows you to convey your personality, and that of the area you serve, to visitors. A well-designed website of a real estate professional in Hawaii will look much different than one belonging to a real estate professional in New York or Alaska. Remember, you're selling real estate, not widgets.

Plant a Seed and Let It Grow

Once you have established a quality website, with today's technology, the sky's the limit regarding where you can take it. Some of the additional services you might explore include search engine optimization, which brings your company to the top of search lists when it meets established criteria (such as "San Francisco real estate"); and virtual tours, which give visitors a sense of actually walking through your for-sale properties. You can even create a blog, or a web log that you update on a daily or weekly basis -- a chance to share your views on real estate with the world.

For information about LuxuryRealEstate.com's website development services, visit www.LuxuryWebDesign.com.

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