When the Realtors decided to start showing all the “listings” on the Internet over a decade ago, they really could not have foreseen the business opportunity that they were creating. I’m sure you have been on Zillow, Trulia, Redfin or Realtor.com by now.
These Internet sites provide information on homes for sale, and are primarily sponsored by advertising or affiliated business agreements. Yes, they are searching for hot leads.
In Northern Virginia real estate, our MLS is named MRIS for Metropolitan Regional Information Service and covers the Washington D.C. region. It’s where life begins… so to speak.
It is essential to understand the original source of listings on those sites. In 99% of the cases, it is the MLS. When your listing goes in, MRIS syndicates that information to hundreds of sites over the next 24 hours and not just to RE/MAX, but to Long & Foster, Redfin, Weichert, C-21, KW, FranklyMLS, MRISHomes.com and many more.
Maximum exposure is the idea here. Rather than just posting an ad on one real estate site or sites like Craigslist or Facebook, syndication places a house on hundreds of sites that buyers from Arlington to San Francisco may be using.
what everyone will read and see
Real estate agents still enter much of the data manually and that is why some listings seem more complete than others. Fields such as finished square footage, schools, room dimensions, or appliances that convey are agent added. Also those brief descriptions like “a gourmet kitchen that HGTV would appreciate” are added by the realtor.
And those photos… the real estate photos, whether good, bad or really bad are added by the realtor.
For example, as I am preparing to add a new listing in Vienna Virginia, I will make note of every detail that can be added to a listing. Details like room dimensions, kitchen appliances, heating fuel type, number of bedrooms, important upgrades, school information, or even if there is a pool or mud room are a few examples that a home buyer should know about. Remember, this is “sales”!
Often a client will touch base with me because they have discovered a home for sale on Zillow or Trulia that’s not listed in MRIS or it’s public web portal, MRISHomes.com.
In virtually all of those cases, the property was either sold months ago or pulled from the market. Last year the issue was a listing which had the wrong price ( it was a $1,350,000 listing showing up as $135,000 ~oops). In this case the agent had pulled the original listing from MRIS but it lived on in the pages of Trulia for a year.
Garbage in, Garbage out
The old adage of “garbage in, garbage out” is very true in online marketing. I like to proof a listing and tweak it, but I also ask my clients to tell me if something is missing. It is a team effort and having an editor is essential.
You are probably thinking that there is some duplication going on, and you are right. Home buyers typically have a couple of favorite apps and an alerts notifying them through email or text. If you are a seller then this works to your benefit especially when your agent has added a complete listing with photos ~ that means from the very first minute.
My marketing strategy is to understand the technology tools people use to leverage their usefulness. That new listing in Vienna may not populate the pages of Zillow until tomorrow but it better be 100% complete today ~ photos, marketing language, school info… you probably get the point. In my opinion, it is a smart strategy that delivers a valuable level of service to my clients and to today’s demanding tech equipped real estate buyers.
I am constantly updating how I work, and you should read How I Sell Your Home.