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Realtor Claims and Due Diligence

This year has been real tough for the majority of Realtors. Thankfully, this year will be my best yet and it’s all because of the way Buyers are looking for homes on the Internet these days. The transition has happened and advertising homes in newspapers and real estate magazines is just throwing away money. (I picked up a Homes and Land while in the Bay Area and the issue was just 16 pages with 2 of these pages being advertisements for Homes and Land. This is way different than the days when a typical issue was over 70 pages).

Because the way the Internet works, it’s tough to get a real estate site found by Buyers. I’ve been working on my Internet strategy for over 6 years to get my site(s) visible in the search engines. In reality, 99% of Realtor websites will never be found by Buyers because most Realtors use what’s called template websites which are similar with any other Realtor across the country that buys one from the same company. Search engines like to see unique content and template websites look alike to the search engines so they don’t get good rankings.

I’m writing all this because of a flyer that was dropped off at my home by another Realtor team with claims that they “can sell my home Faster and Better”. They then quote the California Association of Realtor survey that says 85% of Buyers found their homes on the Internet. They also claimed that over 75% of their listed homes contacted them while Internet surfing.

I thought this was an interesting claim so I thought I’d do some checking as I’ve never heard of their website before (and I’m well aware of the sites that come up in the search engines). According to the MLS, they had 3 listings in 2008 and all of those were sold by other Realtors so I’m at a loss what their 75% claim means. One of the listings was on the market for over a year so not really sure what “Faster and Better” selling claim means either.

What’s great about the Internet is that there are plenty of statistics that are logged on Internet sites that can tell you how many people visited each page, what search engines people found you on, and more. In addition, a Realtor should also have access to how many people are searching for MLS listings on their site.

So, if you are looking at a Realtor to represent you in the sale of your home and the Internet is important to you, make sure to ask for the following:

– web site statistics that show the following (either total number over a time period or a daily average)
– the number of visitors
– the number of “unique” visitors
– the number of MLS searches
– the number of search engine click-throughs (Google, Yahoo, MSN)
– the keywords that people used to find the site (from Google, Yahoo, MSN)

Also, if the Realtor is claiming a better listing service make sure to get:
– their sold listings over the past year which include the Days on Market and the property history which will show how many price changes they did.

As I’ve blogged about before, there is no “secret home selling marketing system”. A Listing Realtor doesn’t even need to have a website themselves but they MUST understand how to market a home through the Internet so when a Buyer sees a home on or other websites, it gets the Buyer interested. A good listing agent also knows that another Realtor will be the one that brings the Buyer so you also need to provide information about the listing to other Realtors so they are knowledgeable about your home. And of course, you need to price it right!

Ask a Realtor what they do to market a listing to other Realtors. You’re probably going to get a deer in the headlights look or the “we put it on the MLS” response that has been used for years. A good follow-up question to that response is “then what do you do differently then the companies that charge $595 to put a home on the MLS”. Chances are you’ll get the deer in the headlights look again!

If you get the statistics mentioned above and ask the questions, you’ll be able to see if the Realtor REALLY understands how to sell real estate in today’s market.

Written by Keith Byrd - Go to Keith's Website/Profile