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Hyper-Information and Real Estate

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Jason O'Neil

Jason O’Neil

By Jason O’Neil

In today’s day and age of hyper-competition and hyper-information, consumers are looking for substance and relevance. They are looking to buy but not be sold. But how is that possible? How does one buy if they aren’t sold?

Bill Gates wrote in his 1999 (but still relevant) book Business @ the Speed of Thought,  “The most meaningful way to differentiate your company from your competition … is to do an outstanding job with information. How you gather, manage, and use information will determine whether you win or lose.”

Sounds easy enough — but showings are almost nonexistent, sign calls have dried up, and football season starts this weekend. No one will be going to my open houses.

True, and the fact of the matter is that a potential home buyer can see virtually every angle of your home online…in most cases they can find out the details and the price on their smartphone in half the time it would take to call the number on the sign and hope for a live person.

In the spirit of the aforementioned Gates quote, I propose that we, as REALTORS®, incorporate the following to make certain we are winning in the eyes of the public:

1.            Be accurate.

2.            Be detailed.

3.            Be communicative.

Be Accurate: Proofreading is not just a high school topic. I see so many listings that should be entered as condos, but are listed as single-family homes. Listings that should be $220,000 get listed for $2,200,000. Agents constantly have typos and misspellings in marketing pieces. I know for the majority reading this, the point is belabored. But if it’s not, please take this advice to heart. Online copy editors will help you for $15-$25 per hour. Having your own city spelled correctly on your Web site is worth 100 times that! [And yes, I’ve seen this, too.]

Be Detailed: “A picture is worth a thousand words.” This idea and quote has been confused through history as to who really said it first, but that’s not important. What is important is that in today’s day and age for an agent to have dated (read snow in summer) photos, bad photos, or no photos is inexcusable. You may only have a few seconds to capture a fellow agent or buyer’s attention. Those seconds are precious to not only us as practitioners, but also to our sellers. Capturing and sharing the details, or the essence, of a property will allow you to gain extra seconds and mind share of your audience.

Be Communicative: Information dissemination will prevail. With all the data, pictures, prices, dimension, and statistics available to would-be home buyers and sellers, they will find the information they want. Will they get it from you or will they go elsewhere? Becoming the resource that communicates accurate, manageable and transparent information is going to be the key to longevity.

We are witnessing the information wave beginning to crest. As professionals, it is our responsibility to manage and maintain this information, make sure it is correct and present it to the public in a concise and accurate manner.  Our communities are watching us. They want to work with us as professionals; but before they do, they want to witness us demonstrate our reliability and dependability as professionals.

Jason O’Neil is an associate broker with Encore Sotheby’s International Realty in Indianapolis. Visit his Web site: www.oneilrealtors.com.

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Comments 5

  1. Jason, I totally agree with you and it’s not only a problem with website copy and listings but it trickles into contracts, correspondence etc.

    It can have a negative impact on your company image and your individual agent image as well. In our very small office we help each other by using our own QA/QC process. It catches a lot of mistakes.



  2. In my listing presentation, I put before sellers copies of listing sheets that I have done side by side with public view copies of sheets prepared by my competition. (All identifying info on the other company is excluded on the public versions.) I let the seller know that I pay attention to the things the other agents missed – spelling, capitalization, grammar, room sizes, accurate and creative descriptions, lots of good photos, and accurate mapping. Unfortunately, it is easy to find examples of error filled or incomplete listing sheets. I explain that buyers fully expect these things to be done accurately and completely when they are searching on the web, as well as when some of them get listing sheets.

  3. As a licensed transaction coordinator, I’ve seen first hand what inattention can do. Contracts are binding documents under the law, and living in the most litigious state in the land, I’ve seen people try to wiggle out of major deals on minor technicalities.

    Also another pet peeve is the lack of communication, even between agents with active deals on the table!!! I’ve never heard of another profession where people were too busy to get paid, but it happens all the time in real estate. Bad news is better than no news.

  4. Thanks for the comments.

    Ray, I agree wholeheartedly!

    Carrie, Thank you!

    Anne, Great strategy. It is also important to show the difference in your photo quality. What happens is that buyers view incompleteness and inaccuracies as sloppy…making their first impression sloppiness and I can tell you that is no mind frame to be in when you walk through the front door.

    Denise, You are so right! How about this: Return phone calls. It’s really not that hard but we constantly have to call the same person over and over…unless, of course, they want something!

    Good luck all!

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