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Real Estate Marketing Tips

by Katie Bassett

Over the last 15 years, the internet has fundamentally changed the way we shop for homes. 51% of today’s buyers find the home they end up purchasing online, compared to 30% who find their house through an agent, and 7% by seeing an old-fashioned yard sign.And house hunters aren’t the only ones to reap the benefits. The 5.5 million people who sell their home in a year now have more ways than ever to market their property on the web.

“Once a listing goes live in the MLS (multiple listing service), it actually data-feeds out to over 900 websites,” says top-selling Phoenix, Arizona, agent Kim Panozzo, who’s sold over 76% more properties at a 60% faster pace than the average agent in her region.

What’s more, modern home sellers can find out what their home is worth, look up the sale prices of homes in their area, read up on real estate market trends, and connect with top professionals in the field at the click of a button.

It’s hard to stay current on all the opportunities out there to harness the power of the web, so we’ve rounded up this list of the best real estate websites for sellers with pro tips on how to leverage their sophisticated tools and resources.


1. Zillow

Zillow is the most popular real estate website on the internet with 36 million unique monthly visitors as of May 2018. The online real estate behemoth collects property data from agents, brokers, third party feed providers, and multiple listing services across the country to provide a one-stop shop for browsing real estate listings in any given market. If you’re listing isn’t on Zillow, you’ve got a problem.

Why we picked Zillow:
Zillow’s Zestimate tool, an automated valuation model (AVM), has created transparency around and instant access to something consumers will always be curious about: home values. The AVM takes real estate market data and property details such as your home’s square footage, location, number of beds and baths, and more, then runs all the information through an algorithm to give you a ballpark figure for what your home is worth. Zillow notes that because the Zestimate is created with public and user-submitted data, it is a starting point (not an end game) in determining a home’s value.

How to use Zillow:
Your agent should be using Zillow to optimize your property listing. When optimizing a listing, be sure your description of the property includes features that your target buyer would be looking for. Whether that be proximity to a school system or accessibility to public transportation, you want to use your description as an outlet to speak directly to your desired buyer pool. Zillow even allows buyers to filter for listings by certain keywords under the “more” tab of its search results, so make sure your home’s highlights are searchable.

Tips to get the best listing on Zillow:
Talk to your agent about posting a teaser for your property before it hits the market with Zillow’s “Coming Soon” listing tool. This can help gauge buyer interest in your house and start lining up offers right away. However, note that some state real estate commissions have put rules around nefarious “Coming Soon” listing practices, so in certain markets there are boundaries around this type of advertising.

Drawbacks for using Zillow:
While the Zestimate tool can be effective (and fun to check obsessively!), many users question the accuracy of it. According to Zillow the Zestimate has a median error rate of 5%, and you want your asking price to be spot on.

The Zestimate tool also can’t take the design of the home and emotional connection a buyer might have into account. It’s been found that homebuyers are psychologically driven to features like a longer driveway or a bigger backyard—can an algorithm account for that?

Don’t put all of your faith on one number. Compare a handful of online estimates and run an official comparative market analysis through your real estate agent before you price your home for sale.


2. Realtor

Realtor.com is the fourth most-popular real estate website with 18 million monthly unique visitors as of May 2018. The site offers comprehensive information on properties for sale as well as tools and professional expertise to help people navigate through the ebbs and flows of the real estate market and the process of buying and selling a home.

Why we picked Realtor:
Realtor provides expert insights on the industry that agents can use to stay current on the latest market research. Your agent can check out the latest trends in real estate, pull reports on affordability distribution, keep up to speed on buyer generational trends, and gauge the temperature of their market. The site also says it has 99% of all MLS-listed properties in the U.S., with 90% of its listings updated every 15 minutes. If you’re selling your home, you want your listing to appear on Realtor.

How to use Realtor: 
Realtor’s “Sell” tab is a particularly robust feature for people looking to sell their home. Users that type in their address will be led to a page offering trends for their local real estate market, including a graph of the median home price and median days on market over the past two years, and a list of comparable homes in the area.

Tips to get the best listing on Realtor: 
Realtor’s search filters are extensive, allowing buyers to refine their results based on the types of rooms and features they seek (dining room, fireplace, or hardwood floors), outside features like a spa or pool, waterfront views, positioning on a golf course lot, security features, parking, and more. Be sure your listing is set to show up in all of the relevant searches by checking all the right boxes for your property.

Drawbacks for using Realtor: 
While Realtor offers a wealth of property data and real estate market analysis, it’s difficult to narrow down and select a real estate agent on Realtor.

Without a referral or specific agent in mind, Realtor only takes a seller’s location into account and curates a lengthy list of real estate agents. Few reviews or recommendations are left on agent pages, making it challenging to narrow down the list and find the best ones.


3. HomeLight

HomeLight is a leading marketplace for finding real estate agents, based on objective performance data. By using our database with over 29 million real estate transactions and client reviews, we can objectively match you with the top real estate agents in your area.

Here’s what you should know about HomeLight.

Why we picked HomeLight: 
It’s hard to find a good real estate agent these days and we built HomeLight to make it extremely simple. We’re a customer-centric platform that allows buyers and sellers to find the top real estate agent that will best serve them.

Our unique database offers insight into real estate agents that other companies can’t replicate. There’s no mucking about in huge lists of average real estate agents—we match you with a top agent nearby in just a few minutes.

How to use HomeLight:
HomeLight is easy to use for those searching for a real estate agent to sell their home. Once you’re ready to find a real estate agent, you’ll be asked to enter your area, select what kind of home you’re living in, input how much your home is worth, and provide a timeframe for the process.

We analyze millions of home sales to find top agents in your area.

Using this information, HomeLight will populate a list of the best real estate agents, catered to your needs. After you’ve selected a real estate agent, you should start using the HomeLight blog to pick up the latest best practices for how to sell your home, insights on market trends, and other real estate stories that can help you navigate through the industry.

Tips when finding an agent on HomeLight: 
HomeLight uses relevance analysis ranking and real performance ratings to narrow down a list to match sellers with the right real estate agent for them, so it’s important to provide detailed information when listing out your needs. Before starting the process, be sure to read through the blog to get the latest industry insights.

Drawbacks for using HomeLight:
We don’t list properties on our website but we do partner with the best real estate agents across the country who have exclusive access to MLS databases that you can take advantage of.

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