In today’s information age, property agents need to find and use technology tools to sell a property. Gone are the days where property agents just need to place ads in newspapers with plain text to snag a potential buyer.
As the owners of the property get more internet savvy, more of them will be inclined to sell or rent on their own, without the need for property agents. Transaction data is readily available on the URA (Urban Redevelopment Authority) web and tools such as Streetsine’s X-Value are also available to home owners. Even property portals who have been immensely loyal to property agents so far, are not immune to the fact that more home owners are DIY sellers as well. ST Property, the internet arm of SPH (Singapore Press Holdings) allows home owners to list their property for free, with add-ons such as featured listing also available to them for a small fee.
It is definitely much tougher for agents at the moment with dwindling interest from buyers and plummeting transaction volumes. As the industry moves into the technological age, agents with the knowhow have a huge advantage over those who are still using traditional methods of marketing.
The most common new-age marketing channel are websites. If you do a Google search for Singapore property today, you will be faced with a barrage of websites touting the latest project launches in Singapore. These are created and run by property agents. If you are not already on the bandwagon, I would suggest you not jump into it now as property websites rely solely on web traffic and getting them is becoming increasing competitive and expensive. Paying a few thousand dollars to SEO companies to increase pagerank and buying keywords using Google AdWords is not unheard of. It is not guaranteed that the huge investment will come with a huge payoff, unlike 2 or 3 years back where there wasn’t much competition.
If not websites, what then? Agents have to be mindful of the fact that property still and remains strongly a people business. There are still many property owners still willing to pass the job of handling their property to professionals as long as there is value added service. Therefore a good balance of online and offline marketing should be the way to go.
One suggestion is to use a virtual 360 tour to market your properties. By having this added weapon in your repertoire of marketing tools, a home owner can see that you can bring an extra element over the rest. A virtual 360 tour brings the potential buyer a walkthrough of the entire house, sort of a preview before the actual showing. This cuts out unnecessary time and effort to show the house at every opportunity, in the process saving the buyer’s time to view properties that are not suitable, the seller’s time to prepare the house for viewing and the agents time to travel back and forth for non potential buyers.
Ask any home seller and they will tell you the worst thing about selling their house is the distress of showing the place. Plans get interrupted, privacy of their own home is violated and having to rush back to entertain home-shoppers at short notice is something they can do without. By offering this solution, the seller will be able to see that you are looking out for him by implementing a basic filtering of buyers.
A virtual 360 tour has to be accompanied by a floor plan of the house and a write-up with detailed description and directions. Before arranging a viewing, direct any enquirer to the hosted page. Statistics have shown that 70% of buyers who have viewed an online virtual tour of the property before coming down for the actual viewing are more inclined to offer a price on the house. If you haven’t realized by now, the actual viewing is in fact a 2nd viewing of the property.
Another technological tool to complement your Virtual 360 Tour is using QR Codes. QR codes can be printed on traditional print media to bring the prospect straight to the hosted page where your Virtual 360 Tour is. All the prospect has to do is take out his smartphone and snap a shot of the QR code with a QR code app and he will be re-directed to the website. You can publish your QR codes on flyers or your newspaper advertisements. The possibilities are endless.
This article serves to help Real Estate Professionals gain an edge over the rest in a highly competitive market. All opinion is of the author only and does not guarantee that results will be the same for everyone. Property is essentially still a service and Real Estate Professionals will be wise to use any tools ON TOP of GOOD SERVICE they are providing to their clients.