Sunday, February 8, 2009

Agent Seeking Relationship

With home searching on the Internet becoming the more popular choice for home buyers to do their initial house hunting, agents can become displaced very early on in the process of working with a home buyer.

Take my site and I for example: It uses google/api integration for its Livermore CA home search engine. At the time of writing, we receive 21,000 hits each month. But, when an email arrives at the inbox or the phone rings due to a call to action on the site, the commonplace afterward is to just have the agent provide links, updates and e-notifications for the soon to be home buyer.

There's the disconnect. We are no longer in control. Most of the time, the home buyer does not want to form a relationship yet. They just want their stuff. I can relate. I only want my stuff when I go to a site for info or downloads. I don't want to be called or put on a mailing list. But the very definition of agent means relationship. We cannot be doing our jobs until we have one, a relationship that is.

But, being with an agent is the best thing that could happen to a buyer.
It's the same as:
  • Having an open house wherever you go. The agent has the permission to enter and holds the key
  • Getting a local, professional opinion on the home being viewed
  • Receiving immediate answers to questions concerning HOA, reports, disclosures, etc.
  • Using a buffer to speak to the seller--keeping the buyer in a safe negotiating position.
  • Not to mention the free ride from house to house.
So, what do we do? We introduce ourselves throughout the Internet communication process and initiate small steps of commitment. Not necessarily in this order, but we hope to get just a little back:
  1. A reply to an email-nice
  2. A return of an opinion to a home that was viewed by the home buyer-ok
  3. A return phone call-ok
  4. Coming into the office-super! 
We continue to follow up by way of phone, email, etc. After all, we cannot blame them for keeping their distance, but I'm sure a lot of agents will agree that we feel displaced, they feel like it is just a one way street where the agent gives and gives and gets nothing in return. However, the preamble of the Realtor remains the same that, we will stand by our would be home buyers and give them what they need--it would just be a bit quicker if we made the one way street into a two way street.

by Jeff Pereyda
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Sandi said...

You're right. Agents do feel displaced. However, with people being so internet savvy these days, having a website as a first contact is critical.

Jenni said...

I'm guilty of looking for the free stuff while avoiding the "relationship." This gives me something more to think about.