How to Use Social Media to Find Your Dream Home
If you think Kim Kardashian is hot, you’ll probably love John and Melissa Steele’s video of themselves dressed as Kim and Kanye showing homes. The Steele’s are two of hundreds of real estate agents using social media, humor, and their personalities, not just an MLS listing, to showcase homes.
Buyers love the funny videos but ask serious questions. “When we’re doing property tour videos the most common questions we will get are questions about the home. How much is that home? How many square feet? How many bedrooms? The biggest goal of the videos is just to showcase who we are and how we work as agents in order to build that trust with potential clients,” John Steele said.
There are real estate magazines and fliers, listings and photos and of course, the MLS, but more and more real estate agents are turning to social media to get the details of their listings out there. If you want to see the up close and personal side of a city, neighborhood or home, consider tracking down the real estate agents who use social media best.
Tacoma real estate agent, Marguerite Giguere, advertises herself and her skydiving passion on her blog. She and fellow real estate agent, Anne Jones, have separate websites, but share videos and photos they have had professionally taken. They combine a series of personality packed videos of Tacoma, Washington with more detailed information about the homes. The two were also recently featured in a Homes.com webinar about how they started utilizing social media.
Kevin Lawton, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker Schiavone & Associates in Bordentown, New Jersey hosts his own radio show, not a podcast, called The Real Estate Deal. He found a college intern who records and produces the show; all he has to do is invite guest speakers and interview them.
“I believe it is incredibly key as a real estate agent to be a local expert on not just houses but the market you work in. With today’s marketplace and social media there is so much more value that can be given to consumers from a real estate agent’s standpoint,” he said.
Real estate agents suggest:
Do your “house tours” online to save time.
Look at the video of the home you’re interested in, and then visit the homes you like. “Our approach is not so much to show every nook and cranny of the house, rather more the lifestyle of living there and on that part of the island,” said Win Baker, Director of Marketing for Point B Realty on Martha’s Vineyard. “We had one buyer, who had never seen one of the houses in-person, but had ‘seen the video 50 times,’ and felt like she already knew it. She finally set up a visit. Validated that the house experience was indeed captured well in the video. She made an offer that weekend, and the house sold for $3,000,000.”
Notice the real estate agent’s personality.
Tacoma real estate agents Giguere and Jones make sure to put a lot of their personalities into their videos. It’s one of the things that draws buyers to them. “They like us as people,” Giguere said. “So they come to us for that reason.” Do you like the real estate agent you’re seeing in the video? Personality clicks are an important part of the process. Following a real estate agent on social media will not only help you find the right house but the right real estate agent.
Look for authenticity.
“Look for an agent who’s authentic; not just someone who’s posting listings or open houses (how boring is that?!). But someone who has a life outside of real estate; someone with energy and similar interests. After all, buying or selling a home can be stressful so it would be nice to work with someone you may click with,” said Robyn Porter. Porter is an agent in Bethesda, Maryland. She urges buyers to go a step further: don’t just look at social media; check online reviews.
“Buyers and sellers should check for online reviews… they’re very important! Yelp is great for that because reviews tend to be more in-depth and more than a number of stars or ‘she’s great.’ Yelp reviews tend to explain why someone is great to work with or why they aren’t,” she said.
Use real estate agents who use social media.
Kristie Forsman, Director of Digital Marketing for Berkshire Hathaway Home Services The Preferred Realty in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania believes good social media defines who the professional real estate agents are. “I’m a firm believer that real estate agents and brokers need to position themselves as an expert in both real estate and the community. Posting listings alone will not do that,” she said. “For us, lists, how-tos and video-rich content get the best engagement. Additionally, anything that relates to our city gets a lot of attention. We love writing articles on national days (National Pizza Day, National Burger Day, National Bike Riding Day, etc.) and tagging local businesses that offer relevant products or services. It’s a great way for us to connect with the community and get our name out there.”
Finally, take to Facebook.
While most real estate agents have listings there, look for who’s sharing what, who’s commenting about the neighborhood and post your questions there. Share properties you’re interested in with friends, and look for links and information about other areas, jobs, parks, communities and events in the area.