The needs of today’s real estate consumer are changing and evolving faster than ever before. As a result, REALTORS® continually have to refine their approach and the services they provide in order to evolve and adapt alongside the consumer.
For more than seven years, the focus of my professional career has revolved around figuring out the best way to interact with, and assist, today’s real estate consumer. The question constantly on my mind is, “Given that consumers have access to enormous amounts of real estate information online, what can real estate agents do to validate and demonstrate that they should be the one to earn a client’s business?”
After all this time, I can confidently summarize in one word what today’s consumer wants: VALUE.
Information - The Most Valuable Asset
For many years, the main way a real estate agent provided value to their clients was by giving them access to listing information. Before the Internet, the only place you could get this information was directly from a real estate agent or company. Agents protected their listing data, and were resistant to giving consumers access, because they perceived the listing information as their most valuable asset.
Fast forward to today. Ninety percent of homebuyers rely on the Internet as one of their primary research sources. All the property information they could ever want to see is online. So how does an agent provide value in today’s market?
Well, honestly, there are quite a few ways, and the good agents can easily differentiate themselves based on the value they provide to their clients.
It may come as a surprise to some consumers, but not all real estate websites are the same. On one hand, there are websites that provide users with the same information to which real estate agents have access. This is a VOW (Virtual Office Websites). On the other hand, there are sites that just scratch the surface and provide very limited information - IDX (Internet Data Exchange). They are very different and serve different needs.
From what I’ve seen, the more information you give a consumer, the more valuable you are. So for this reason alone, I prefer VOW websites. I’ll explain more about both types of site and the different values they provide to consumers in a later post.
“Pushing” information to clients is another great way agents can provide value. Any agent can say, “Here’s my website, go search around and see if you can find anything you like.” But an agent focused on providing value will take the time to learn what sort of property their client is searching for, and email listings that meet those criteria as soon as they hit the market.
At Prudential Locations, we have a system called “Neighborhood Expert.” This allows our agents to set up customized property updates specific to each client’s needs. It keeps all of our clients up-to-date as soon as a new listing that matches their criteria hits the market.
Neighborhood Expert provides tremendous value to our clients, especially in today’s market where inventory is low and many buyers are competing for the same home. But this is only one example of how Prudential Locations agents provide value to their clients. We also have our free Mobile App and the free Non-Homeowner Seminars and Webinars.
The final piece of value a good agent should give you, and possibly the most important, is their knowledgebase. A good agent knows:
- Market trends in each area and neighborhood
- Different loan programs and government sponsored home ownership incentives
- All the steps involved in a transaction and how to best protect their clients; and
- How to represent effectively their client’s best interests.
Knowledge is power. Regardless of whether you're buying or selling, you should know that inventory in Oahu’s real estate market is at an all time low. Having the above information should impact how you approach writing your offer or pricing your listing, For more in-depth information on your neighborhood, speak with your Prudential Locations agent.
We arm our Prudential Locations agents with the best tools and technology available, which provides value to their clients. If there’s anything we can do to help with your real estate needs, please give us a call. We look forward to earning your business.
Michael Marks (RA)
Direct: (808) 738-3243
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