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Why Do Real Estate Agents Need Websites?

It is difficult to for a real estate agent to be successful today without a Website. First, your customers and prospective clients expect you to have a Website, simply as a matter of credibility. Second, a Website is where you have an opportunity to promote yourself, your listings and your services to your local marketplace. Websites offer several advantages for real estate agents because they:

  • Are available 24 hours daily, 7 days per week on a year-round basis.

  • Give you the same marketing clout as agents with more resources.

  • Generate sales leads.

  • Provide credibility.

  • Offer a means of making information available to customers, prospects and the public.

  • Provide a platform for running special promotions, especially when used in conjunction with an email newsletter.

If your competitors have a Website and you do not, then you suffer from a competitive disadvantage. Let's face it, people would rather surf the Web to get information than pick up a phone to call their local Realtor.

Information sources used in home search: *

  • Internet: 88%

  • Real estate agent: 87%

  • Yard sign: 55%

  • Open house: 45%

  • Newspaper ad: 30%

  • Home book or magazine: 19%

Actions taken as result of Internet home search: *

  • Walked through a home viewed online: 63%

  • Found agent used to search/buy home: 10%

  • Drove by/viewed a home: 63%

*Source: 2011 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers

Another good reason to have a Website is to acquire non-local business. Suppose someone is thinking about moving to your area, or is an absentee landowner who has a property in your area that he wishes to sell. How will they even know you exist if they can't find you when they do an Internet search?

The Home Search – The Web is a Valuable Tool*

By Jessica Lautz, Survey Research Manager and Meredith Dunn, Research Communications Representative

With new communication tools such as tablets (and androids) and smart phones, communication in 2011 moved increasingly online. Last year, the number of people worldwide using the Internet hit the 2 billion mark. The increase in popularity of online and web tools extends to the real estate business, and particularly how home buyers and sellers expect to be able to find information.

According to the 2011 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 40 percent of recent buyers found their home through the Internet, compared to 37 percent of buyers in 2010 and just eight percent of buyers in 2001. Real estate websites draw serious would-be home buyers and home sellers. Also, there are many curiosity-seekers just wanting to lurk.

Popular Sites
The web site of a multiple listing service (MLS) was the most frequently used site. Because of the timing of the REALTOR®’s data entry into the MLS and the subsequent retrieval of the data by national aggregator sites, the most up-to-date information on new listings or price changes will be the local MLS website. Some national aggregator websites may update information within 15 minutes or several days’ lag time. Serious buyers and sellers would naturally be browsing through the local MLS website while curious lurkers could be checking out the national aggregator site.

A real estate agent’s website was the second most frequently reported method used to search for homes for all buyers and first-time buyers specifically, and the third-most frequent method for repeat buyers. A little less than half of all buyers used this method, which was even more popular than using a real estate company’s website. This result suggests that potential home buyers are looking to connect with an individual agent. With money tight, those real estate professionals seeking to advertise their services may get a bigger return on their investment with a presence on locally-based websites.

Social networking is not (yet) making an impact in terms of the home search, though younger people are much more likely to use social networking than are older people.

Business Generated from Websites
Although a relatively small amount of business was reported having been generated by an agent’s website in 2010 – just 3 percent – that number rose proportionately to the amount of resources agents dedicate to maintaining those sites. According to NAR’s 2011 Member Profile, those REALTORS® who put $500-$999 into their site saw 7 percent of their business directed from their website, and those that spent $1000 or more had 10 percent of their business come from their site.

*For More Information
More information about the results from the latest NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers is available on line. Visit
www.realtor.org/research.

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