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Zillow, Trulia, Realtor vs Agents

Inman News just wrote a great article talking about how the Big 3 portals in the Real Estate Industry have taken a 3rd of all online searches from people looking to buy and sell real estate. Instead of go over everything they spoke about I will just provide a link to the full article. Click Here.

How this impacts your Real Estate Business and why it matters!

The business model of these websites is based on taking available homes for sale and displaying it to people online. How do they get the Property Listings to post online? Public Records is one way but mostly from Realtors. That’s right you are syndicating your listings to these sites and they then use those listings to get you to buy into a monthly plan with them. Great for them, not so great for you.  They also generate a tremendous following via their marketing efforts.

Their Enticement is “Become a Featured Agent in your area”

In order to be a Featured Agent you need to spend big! It is common for an agent to spend more than $200 per month on each site. I’ve actually spoken with agents that have spent more. That means you can easily spend anywhere from $600 to $1,000 per month on the Big 3 in order to generate leads. That ends up being $7,200 to $12,000 per year. Also the leads you generate on these sites are not the best. Why do I say that? There’s no loyalty between the lead you get from those sites and you. The average person visiting those sites see a ton of different agents and start to get blinded by all the options.

All About Leads!

If you’re a serious Real Estate Agent or Broker then you know that in order to survive in this business you need to have a steady flow of high quality leads. Competition is greater than ever! With Low Inventory in many markets and not that many qualified buyers out there, it’s tough to be in this business. Then you also have so many Realtors in the business to compete with.

Many Realtors have gone broke marketing on these 3rd party sites. Spending a small, medium or even a large fortune and seeing little return on investment.

What’s the solution?

You can continue to rent leads from the big 3 or you can invest in your own online presence. If you’ve read my previous posts you know I’m a big believer in having a focused online presence that you own. I’m talking about your own Domain Name, Hosting with IDX integration so you offer the same functionality that the larger sites provide but now you are the only Agent being featured on every listing.

How much does it cost?

  • Domain Name = $9.99 per year at Order Here
  • Hosting = Starting at $4.99 per month at Order Here
  • IDX Integration = $59.99 per month at IDX by PixemWeb
  • Web Design = One time fee starting at $500. I run special deals every so often so contact me to chat about available options. Contact Me

How do you beat the Big 3?

I’m not going to say it’s easy. It requires you to make a few adjustments in your marketing tactics. But the results will be long lasting and lead to much higher conversions of online leads. You will also build a website of value that gains equity. Yes, your website can become a valuable asset that you can sell later or use to generate some passive income. Your website is like Real Estate. If it’s nurtured it will rise in value. If it’s abandoned, then it will lose value.

Follow these steps

  • Blog Often – 3 times per week on local valuable topics. This is great for users and the search engines will find you to be a reliable resource for your area.
  • Get Social – You should be active on Google+, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
  • Build an Email list – Use your list to send a weekly or monthly newsletter keeping people up to date on Real Estate and your local market. People might not get a chance to read your blog post when they go live or might miss your postings on the social network. So this is another way to reach them.
  • IDX – This is a must. People visit a real estate website to view available homes for sale. If you only have a few listings then your web visitors will look elsewhere. Get IDX

Is there a place for these sites?

Yes, after all that I’ve said, I do believe these sites can be used as part of your marketing plan. But they shouldn’t be your primary investment. They should be used after you’ve maximized all other options and are still looking for additional growth.

I hope this article helps you on your path to become a dominant force in your local market. As always, thanks for reading and feel free to share.

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