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The New, Tech-Savvy Real Estate Agent

iHome Finder - Image - Tech Savvy Real Estate Agent Blog - 20161123 Real estate agents are no longer the single, solitary gatekeepers of real estate information. Technological developments that empower buyers and sellers have forced significant changes on the industry. The agents and brokerages who adapt to this new, technology-rich paradigm will thrive and continue to continue to see success.

Real Estate Technology for Homebuyers and Agents

15 years ago, the real estate market was a different place. If a homebuyer wanted information on a home, an agent would have to dig it out of their files and walk them through the listing. Now, things have changed. Buyers can find detailed real estate information with a quick search on their smartphones. Large, consumer portals like Zillow opened this door. They provided information and data comparisons for anyone to see, empowering consumers and changing the way real estate transactions happened. The simple ability to search for homes at their leisure gave homebuyers more freedom and control than they’d previously had. And with that newfound freedom, buyers and sellers developed an expectation for this level of convenience and independence. Technology has changed for agents and brokers, too. Now that homebuyers do much of the early explorations on their own, modern agents have found other ways to provide value. It involves using technology to connect with potential buyers, automatically nurture their leads, and build effective relationships.

It Starts on The Website

Even individual agents and smaller brokerages can offer the detailed MLS information through their websites to provide the experience that homebuyers expect. An IDX website allows agents to offer:
  • A user-friendly property search with multiple search options
  • Interactive map searches for those who prefer a visual approach to home discovery
  • Property galleries where agents can feature new listings or recent price drops
  • Automated systems to feature active listings through the MLS
These tools help agents and brokerages keep potential homebuyers on the website and interacting with the listings. But it can go even further, and you can more easily turn those visitors into valuable leads with proven lead capture features. These real estate websites can make it easy for potential clients to save listings and searches and then sign up to receive email alerts when new listings match their criteria. MarketBoost, then, allows agents to keep in touch with all these new contacts by sending automated listings content, starting drip email campaigns, and otherwise making sure they know about new open homes, new listings, prices changes, and other important market reports. As the agent continues to update the website with the newest, most current information on the area, it will help establish them as the undisputed local expert. In the modern market, the most successful agents are those who can use these types of website tools to turn real estate information into practical and actionable advice.

Investing in an Edge

As more brokerages start to adapt to this evolving marketplace, they have started investing more of their resources into the technology their agents use throughout the buying and selling process. This has, in fact, become one way that brokerages are recruiting and retaining more agents. When it’s clear that they will have a range of tools for lead nurturing at their fingertips, they’ll know that they have the support of the brokerage. Tools like MarketBoost and OmniPress give agents an edge over the competition. They make it easy to capture more leads and get detailed reports on what those potential homebuyers searched for, what they viewed, and what actions they took on your website. This kind of technology can help save time and money while keeping in touch with all their leads and highlighting their expertise in the local markets.

Full Integration

Many brokerages immediately jumped on the technology bandwagon, but soon found that some of their tools and apps didn’t mesh with others. The most effective tools in this tech-rich market should easily integrate with the systems already in place at the brokerage. iHomefinder’s solutions were designed to work effectively with a variety of third-party apps, from Top Producer and IXACT Contact to Follow Up Boss and FiveStreet. This way an agent can forward leads from the website to other systems the brokerage is using without any problems. This kind of integration also gives agents the ability to add their leads’ IDX website activity to the CRM. They can then automatically add the leads in the CRM to the MarketBoost report subscriptions. Agents will have the ability to manage lead aggregation and routing while automating email and web content for lead nurturing.

Technology and Accessibility

Agents who have fully adapted to the modern real estate market do more than make real estate data available to homebuyers. While real estate information is readily available, the most successful agents are those who can use it to address the concerns of their clients. Homebuyers are more empowered than ever before. New technologies have opened the world of real estate to them, but not completely. The door may stand open, but it’s the modern real estate agent who will show them in and help them understand the potential of what they’ve discovered. Technology isn’t just about gathering new leads and correlating data. It’s about finding new ways to become the trusted advisor on the important real estate decisions.

Introducing Brian Barry of All East Bay Properties

 Brian Barry Blog Post Image In 2005, Brian Barry, began working with Jason Crouch at All East Bay Properties. The company was just opening in Emeryville, California, right across the Bay from San Francisco, and Brian had the opportunity to work with them from the start, serving as the marketing and technology manager. Now, with a team of only five, they are one of the top real estate offices in town, specializing in condominiums and rental properties. In a typical year, they sell roughly 30 properties with a topline revenue of $20 million. They attribute their success to consistently drawing in new website visitors and repeat clients with their extensive local knowledge of the East Bay real estate market.

The Evolution of Brian’s Website Promotion

Brian’s team started by investing in social media marketing to complement their regular marketing techniques (such as sending postcards every 2-3 months and regular email marketing). Then, with his background in web design and some search engine optimization (SEO), Brian was able to help the agency rank first in the search results for the search query: “Emeryville real estate.” Later, Google’s algorithm changed and their page dropped a few spots, so Brian began looking more into social media marketing. Brian was fairly new to social media, but he saw how it could add value to his real estate business. Over the past few years, they have maintained a blog that is rich with infographics sourced, in part, from their local MLS. Each of these blog posts are heavily promoted on their social media channels. Brian also created and launched a Facebook ad campaign. As a result, they have received more online exposure, facilitated online interactions, and further established themselves as a local real estate market leader. In fact, over the last few years, their Facebook followers have grown to 5,500. Now, with solid website and social media traffic, he just needed something that would enhance his website with the same functionality as larger brokerages and destination sites. He chose iHomefinder and MarketBoost to provide these tools for his website.

Making the Move to iHomeFinder IDX’s MarketBoost

Brian and his team immediately improved their ability to manage their listings with iHomefinder’s responsive IDX. MarketBoost gave him an advantage in the area because it provided visitors with a wide range of information about sold and open property listings as well as price changes. They couldn’t provide visitors these services in the past, but this gave them a chance to develop deeper online engagement with their potential leads. These tools turned his website into a significant source of leads, and the team capitalized on it by using the lead setting that requires registration after conducting two property searches. Brian can then offer those leads Market Reports via iHomefinder’s MarketBoost, which includes detailed information about the local market. The All East Bay Properties’ team employs a unique method of reaching out to these potential clients by creating markets defined by the specific building rather than a geographic area. Clients love the hyper-local marketing and return to Brian’s website again and again as the detailed market reports provide insights not available from other brokerages. Brian and his team created 12 markets, which will increase in the future. The current markets are all condominium complexes or rental properties where they have amassed a significant amount of local knowledge over the years.

Initial Results

With iHomefinder’s IDX on his website, Brian’s team was able to get more traffic to their site and generate more leads and repeat visitors. Adding iHomefinder’s MarketBoost to their website provided significant value to the brokerage:
  1. Solidify their reputation and image as local real estate experts. Brian and his team have gained the trust of sellers, buyers, and landlords who turn to them to rent and manage their properties. With MarketBoost, they are well-positioned to build upon this trust by providing relevant content to their new and past clients.
  2. Provide a means to nurture leads. For years, sellers and buyers have leveraged the internet to gain market knowledge prior to engaging with real estate agents. Brian and his team leveraged the power of MarketBoost to ensure clients always received the desired information directly from them (instead of the big portals). This keeps them ‘Top-of-Mind’ when the client is ready to transact.
  3. Save valuable agent time. By providing insights from the local market to their potential clients, his agents can free up more of their time to interact with clients much closer to transacting.
Brian is very pleased with the detailed local market information available through MarketBoost. He has established All East Bay Properties as the local real estate experts, and this had led to their growth in both first-time clients and repeat customers.

Announcing OmniPress Prime

prime It's now easier and faster than ever to get your OmniPress website up and running! OmniPress Prime includes setup assistance and ongoing maintenance, plus all of the functionality included with OmniPress IDX websites. Within just a week, our team of experts will have your personalized OmniPress website ready for your business, and the included monthly maintenance service will keep your site fresh. Read the press release >>

iHomefinder IDX Products Now Available for Nevada County Association of REALTORS® in California

nevcty-broadThe Nevada County Association of REALTORS® is based out of Grass Valley, California and has approximately 700 agent members and 800 property listings. This Association covers the areas of Sierra Nevada and Gold Country, from Grass Valley to Nevada City and Truckee. Interested participants in this association can visit our MLS® System information page for more details.

iHomefinder Facebook App is here!

We're very excited to announce our new Facebook App which lets Optima IDX clients add a Property Search option to their Facebook business page.

 

After completing the search form, visitors are brought to your website to view search results and listing details within your Optima IDX account. The Facebook app is a free addition and is now available in Optima IDX account packages (Agent, Power, and Broker) and iSite IDX website accounts. Please note the Facebook app is not offered with Optima Express accounts (IDX plugin for WordPress).   How to add the iHomefinder App to your Facebook Business Page:
  1. Login into your Control Panel where you will see an announcement of this new feature.
  2. Click on the Get Started button.
  3. You'll be prompted to login to your Facebook account.
  4. Select the page where you'd like the link to property search to appear.
  5. Confirm your selection.
Your property search link will now appear on your Facebook business page! As always, if you are if you are a current client or reseller and have technical questions, contact us support@ihomefinder.com or at 1-866-700-8855 ext 375.  If you are a prospective client or reseller, please contact us here or at 1-866-700-8855 ext 374.

Optima Express – More Options More Power

There's no slowing down the enhancements we keep adding to Optima Express!

Our latest free update adds the following new options for greater flexibility and even more SEO benefit:
  • Customizable Permalinks for IDX pages
  • Customizable IDX Page Titles
  • Template Selection for IDX Pages - very handy for themes that offer multiple templates
 

It's easy!
Just update your Optima Express plugin and visit our Optima Express Guide for instructions.