Riding the Wave of Change in Your Real Estate Business

By: Brandi Cummings

"The sky is falling! The sky is falling!" This is what many agents felt when people started looking on the Internet for their next home. "The end is near!" This was the response by many when the MLS was made available to anybody with an Internet connection. Technology, the Internet specifically, has forever changed the way people buy and sell their homes.

The real estate market has changed so quickly and completely that there are many real estate agents at a loss for what to do now. Experienced agents that never had a problem attracting new clients through traditional advertising are now finding out that they need to rethink their marketing strategy. New agents are finding themselves in an industry that is in the middle of a transformation. They have been finding that the rules that they just learned about building a successful real estate business are being rewritten before they even have a chance to apply them.

Old Rule: As a real estate agent you have exclusive access to the list where your prospect will find the home of their dreams. Your sellers rely on you to put their house on this list of dreams.
New Rule: Anyone with an Internet connection can search the MLS listing. FSBO's can add their home to the list through any number of sources.

Old Rule: You hold Open Houses so that interested home buyers can see the inside of your seller's home without an appointment. This is also a good way to prospect for buyers.
New Rule: Interested home buyers view digital pictures and virtual tours of homes at their convenience, without an appointment, at anytime of day.

These new rules do change the real estate industry in a fundamental way. They do not, however, mean that the end is near or that the sky is falling. As long as you understand that the new rules exist and what it means for your business, you will be able to ride the tides of change all the way to the bank.

If buyers and sellers do not need real estate agents for the MLS or for viewing houses, what do they need them for? How can agents get prospects to come to them?

At the same time the Internet was changing the way people buy and sell their homes, it was also contributing to a more fundamental change in people as consumers. People are hungry for information and they want that information at their fingertips at all times. A savvy real estate agent will take advantage of this demand for knowledge and information by becoming the source that buyers and sellers come to.

Agents can establish themselves as an expert there to help. By offering reports such as "Ten Things You Must Know Before Selling Your Home" or "3 Mistakes You Don't Want To Make When Buying A New Home" your prospects will come to you. An important aspect of this new marketing strategy is going to be capturing the information of prospects requesting your reports. Whether it be name, address, phone number, email or in the best case scenario all 4 points of contact, make sure you are able to follow up with them.

Here are just some of the benefits of becoming an information source for people that are starting the process of buying or selling a home.

*An agent can start to build a relationship with potential clients based on trust and respect.
*Buyers and sellers seek out the agent instead of the agent seeking out the prospects.
*There is no better quality of lead than one that raises its hand and says, "I would like information about selling my home."
*Agents can set themselves apart from their competition by using non-traditional advertising.
*By establishing a good rapport and helping potential clients find the information they need, they will come to you when they are ready to make their move.

The real estate industry has been undergoing a fundamental change. Some agents may have a doomsday view of these changes and at this point real estate agents have two choices. They can simply wait for the end to come or they can adapt with this evolving market and ride the wave of change all the way to the bank.

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