How Real Estate Agents Can Leverage Technology for a Competitive Advantage

Mark Weithorn, president of DPI Showcase Websites

One of the biggest challenges independent real estate agents face in today’s market is the failure to embrace the technology available to them. Individual Realtors and established firms are now competing with the ease and automation big web portals provide, and the options can be overwhelming when creating their websites. To gain a competitive advantage, real estate professionals have to zero in on the most effective tools available to help them succeed.

Technology’s dominance in the real estate industry has adversely affected some individual real estate professionals' businesses, primarily because of listings’ commoditization and the resulting erosion of real estate professionals’ value proposition. As people increasingly conduct their own searches across vast numbers of listings, many mistakenly believe independent research can replace the need for a real estate agent, but agents’ knowledge and negotiation skills can’t be matched by any algorithm. Many of the big web portals use (AVMs) automated valuation models for property estimates; this information can be easily misinterpreted, causing sellers to undervalue their homes and buyers to overvalue their purchases. Real estate agents, on the other hand, provide value with their knowledge of the local market and expertise in accurately pricing properties for buyers and sellers alike. To compete with modern technology, they’re getting creative, using other types of tech to complement the guidance they provide for their clients. In that spirit, real estate agents are strategically leveraging their websites to help them compete, but many are unaware how to get the most from those upgrades.

“Some agents regard their website as an online business card,” explained Mark Weithorn, president of DPI Showcase Websites. “Without the knowledge of how to manipulate its functionalities, it doesn’t get used as often as it should. That’s why we employ automation in the form of blogging, weekly email blasts, and newsletters sent to their real estate clients. Some don’t have the time or desire to learn web development or content marketing. We’ve streamlined the process by automating these things for them.”

With automation in hand, agents are free to focus on providing their clients with personalized, localized experiences and actionable information. Their deep knowledge of local markets enhance the advice they tailor to each client; this blend of automation and personalization gives them an edge as they personally stay in contact and provide relevant information and insights.

Mark Weithorn, President of DPI Showcase Websites

Real estate professionals are also investing in user-friendly website designs and advanced search engine functionalities.

“Convenience, efficiency, and enhanced user experience are what clients are looking for when they are browsing a real estate website,” said Weithorn. “Some sites can be confusing due to inaccurate data or an overload of data. We make sure to simplify what the client is seeing and ensure that it’s 100 percent correct. Eliminating popups and closed listings, and having a very streamlined and easy to understand site, will keep clients from clicking off to look elsewhere.”

By enhancing the user experience with intuitive interfaces, quick property search options, and interactive features, agents can capture and retain potential buyers’ and sellers’ attention. An optimized website can provide clients with valuable data insights like market trends, property history, and comparative analysis. These features empower clients to get the best deal possible based on the intimate knowledge their agent has of the local market and each listing within it.

Content marketing is another powerful tool Realtors can use to stay ahead of the competition by differentiating themselves and standing out to clients.

“Real estate is not something most clients deal with often,” said Weithorn. “It’s infrequent, so… the real estate agent needs to be the client’s go-to person for everything in that world. When they are ready to buy or sell again, they’re more likely to return to the real estate company that stayed in communication throughout the years.”

That’s why creating articles, emails, blog posts, videos, and virtual tours is key for providing clients with valuable insights into their potential investments. Optimized websites enable Realtors to produce high-quality content that addresses their clients’ most common concerns while offering advice and highlighting what a valuable asset they can be to their clients. Content-driven websites not only attract potential clients, but also help Realtors establish long-term relationships by consistently delivering relevant information.

“A person's timing and motivation to buy or sell often depend on the market,” Weithorn continued. “Things like mortgage rates, how to hedge against inflation, and valuations of properties are all factors the real estate agent should be an expert on. Providing clients with articles and content about the important things going on in the market shows that you are at the forefront and have the answers to their questions. External events such as political developments, policy changes, and global economic factors can impact market dynamics. By extension, these factors affect client's decision-making. The best way to retain clients and gain new ones is to keep them up to date and informed with the information they need to make smart investment decisions.”

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