The Rise of the Virtual Showing

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One of the most important jobs that a real estate agent has in today’s market is to expose a seller’s property to as many people as possible.  When it comes to exposure, the internet is King.

As is evidenced by the latest survey conducted by the National Association of REALTORS®, more home buyers find their home through the internet than anywhere else.  

Where Buyers Found Home
Source: 2015 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers (NAR)

If you compare the 2015 numbers with the 2001 numbers, there has been a monumental shift in how people search for homes over that time period.  This shift has also been accompanied with how real estate agents market homes.

One of the most valuable sources of feedback for a seller when they placed their home on the market as we started this decade was verbal input that an agent received from other agents that had shown the home to a buyer.  Agents could garner two different types of feedback.  The first was the number of showings on the property.  The more showings, the better the seller felt about how a real estate agent and their company were marketing their home.  The second was the verbal feedback obtained from the showing agent about what their buyer thought of the property (i.e. condition, price, etc.).

Fast forward to today and add a third source to this mix:  the virtual showing.

But what is a virtual showing?  It’s simply the number of times the property has been viewed online.  The more views; the more exposure for the seller.  I call it getting ‘eyeballs’ on the property.

The problem with most agents is that they fail to educate their sellers up front about the importance of internet marketing and then overlook providing internet ‘eyeball’ reports to their clients.  These reports provide the agent and seller with the number of times the property has been viewed online.

Why is this so important?  Let’s take a look at a typical listing scenario.  John and Mary’s house has been listed for 90 days and has had only two showings.  Their listing agent held one open house within two weeks of the property being listed and had two couples attend.  Without an adequate explanation of internet marketing, John and Mary would probably assume that their listing agent is falling down on the job.  After all, they had a total of four people look at their home in three months.  Ugh!

But wait.  If the listing agent had taken the time to provide internet listing reports to his seller, the scenario might be totally different.  Even though there were only four ‘Live’ views of the property, the internet listing reports might show that the property had been viewed a total of 237 times during the listing period.  These are virtual showings.  The agent is doing his job by getting eyeballs on the property.

As more and more buyers are going online to look for properties, the rise of virtual showings and how properties are being presented online is also rapidly changing.  Gone are the days of adding one, front facade, picture to the MLS to entice potential buyers to schedule a showing.  Today agents can use multiple photos, video, and 3-D walkthroughs to showcase their listing.

So if you’re a seller thinking about hiring an agent to market your home, one of your top concerns should be the agent’s internet marketing strategy.

If you’re an agent, take the time to explain the importance of virtual showings.

All the best!

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