How’s your real estate safety? Open houses are an excellent way to promote a house for sale, yet it can be difficult for real estate agents to keep track of all guests who come into an open house. With rDigz, the seller and agent can rest assured that everyone attending the open house is accounted for. During a rDigz Open House, all guests need to download the rDigz app and receive an “Open House Pass” to enter the home. When downloading the rDigz app, a phone number must be verified before receiving the “Open House Pass”, thus validating and keeping all guests accounted for. This increases the security of the Open House because people are less likely to steal or do any harm when they know they are being tracked.
The National Association of Realtors provides the following safety tips for hosting an open house:
If possible, always try to have at least one other person working with you at the open house.
Check your cell phone’s battery and signal prior to the open house. Have emergency numbers programmed on speed dial.
Upon entering a house for the first time, check all rooms and determine several “escape” routes.
Make sure that if you were to escape by the back door, you could escape from the backyard.
Have all open house visitors sign in.
When showing the house, always walk behind the prospect. Direct them; don’t lead them. Say, for example, “The kitchen is on your left,” and gesture for them to go ahead of you.
Avoid attics, basements, and getting trapped in small rooms.
Notify someone in your office, a friend, or a relative that you will be calling in every hour on the hour. And if you don’t call, they are to call you.
Inform a neighbor that you will be showing the house and ask if he or she would keep an eye and ear open for anything out of the ordinary.
Don’t assume that everyone has left the premises at the end of an open house. Check all of the rooms and the backyard prior to locking the doors.
Using the safety tips from the National Association of Realtors, along with the rDigz app, will help provide you and your client’s home the Safest Open House. For additional safety tips, visit https://www.nar.realtor/safety, because your safety needs to be a priority.
Stay in front of consumers by marketing your listings 33 days before they go to Zillow! By posting your listing on rDigz with “First Look Friday”, then active on “MLS Monday” as Coming Soon for 30 days, you can market your listings for up to 33 days before it is found on IDX websites such as Zillow, Redfin, Realtor.com, and more.
How does this benefit the AGENTS? The leads acquired from rDigz go directly to the agent – there is no middle-man taking your leads! rDigz allows for cross-brokerage marketing, highlighting you, the agent listing the house.
How does this benefit the SELLERS? The coming soon period creates interest from buyers. Oftentimes this leads to multiple offers over asking price!
A “Coming Soon” home is generally a new listing that is not officially on the market or the MLS (Multiple Listing Service). A home listed as coming soon is expected to be listed for sale within 30 days.
You Can Still Make an Offer
In real estate markets with limited inventory, sometimes listing agents will list a home as “Coming Soon” to try to stir up a little pre-market excitement. A real estate agent is typically not allowed to market nor advertise these expected “Coming Soon” listings directly. However, if you know about the pending listing, buyers can still make an offer.
The seller signs a listing agreement. You (your broker) are authorized to market their house. You have walked the house, reviewed the comps, set a price, discussed access, neighborhood amenities, house upgrades, what caught the eye of the seller when they bought the house, and much more during the procurement process of securing the listing. Then you work diligently with the seller to prepare the house and demonstrate all of its specific features for best display.
Now come the questions.
Who would the seller prefer to discuss these things with potential buyers?YOU. They picked you out of 50,000 agents, you are the one because you have displayed all of the attributes that are most important because they feel you can sell their house. You have reviewed with them the specific upgrades and particular outstanding features that make this a deal for the next person. So then the question is simple, who does the seller want to answer questions about their home? You.
The seller also agrees to put this listing in MLS as there are countless benefits to the exposure. The question is, does the seller fully understand that signing a listing agreement that includes agreeing to list on MLS that now almost all of the initial inquires (buyer leads) will be fielded by a random agent, not you? Of course, all agents want a commission and they will “try” to sell an interested buyer your seller house but it’s not the best option in our opinion, as they didn’t pick just any agent, they pick you, the elite agent, because of your specific skills in selling. I believe your seller would prefer if they had the choice for buyers to speak to you and your team. I personally feel the agent that walks the house and knows the specifics, would present the best features of the house, especially if trained by you.
Oddly enough, we now live in an environment where consumers are in control of the search process. Buyers drive neighborhoods looking for their next home. Yet, 99%+ of the time when they Google the property address the internet companies send that buyer lead information to an agent that has not been in that house or done the done diligence you have with the seller.
To my point, this is why on Inman.com, Andy Florance, CEO of CoStar, said the Zillow business model was “unethical”. That putting digital yard signs of your competitors in your seller yard is a practice he didn’t think was right. Spencer Rascoff, the co-founder of Zillow and former CEO, said in response on Rob Hahn’s podcast, that so is IDX. I am not here to point fingers at either. We work with both Zillow and Costar but I agree the seller would prefer the listing agent to answer buyer questions over another agent who knows nothing about the property and who does not have a vested interest to sell the house.
One note: I believe representation is valuable but two agents on the same team or brokerage will suffice if they have higher standards.
Wouldn’t it be great if leads from your listings came directly to you?
You can stick a sign in the front yard of your listing and the phone will still ring but sign calls are no longer a consistent source of business. I know one agent that claimed 25%+ of his business used to be from leads wanting more information about the property. Inman recently wrote an article quoting Andy Florance, CEO of CoStar, calling Zillow’s business model of putting digital yard signs in our listings Unethical. Past CEO Spencer Rascoff, countered on a Notorious ROB podcast and said then IDX is unethical, the difference is most brokerages getting leads told us from the beginning they were our competitor not originating as our partner, or their client, only time will tell what direction this goes. BUT FOR NOW, this is directly affecting us. That potential buyer (and seller) are going to the real estate Internet aggregators (such as Zillow, Realtor.com, HomeLight, or Trulia) that pops up first or is their favorite. Zillow alone gets 36 million visitors so we know more people are Googling and wanting to search electronically instead of calling the number on the sign.
The Challenges We Face
The first challenge is that several real estate aggregators are winning the war according to their public Valuations. The challenge for the consumer is that they think they are talking to the listing agent or “Specific House Expert”. When in reality they’re likely going to be connected to a new agent or one with no knowledge of the neighborhood, let alone the property. These companies are more concerned about making money instead of getting the lead to the best agent who knows everything about the house.
We have a huge opportunity to be more transparent and provide the property routing system to get leads inquiring about your listings straight to you.
When buyers, sellers, and neighbors inquire on our platform, the rDigz platform (www.rDigz.com), the contact goes directly to the Seller. Why it is FSBO marketing, who has a listing agreement with Agent Audrey who has been an elite agent for years. She has already been in the home, interviewed the seller, and is excited to assist the seller and get that buyer or neighbor into the house and answer all of the questions. When the seller passes the contact information for Agent Audrey to follow up and provides a SIMPLE and SEAMLESS sale for her seller.
The second challenge is getting the word out. As I said, collectively we sold 87% of the house and if we band together across brokerages, we have the buyers to get top dollars. We are marketers and we know how to drive traffic, as we build this brand, and as long as we work together, we will get these homes sold for top dollar. Fortunately, the real estate world has swung in control of the Consumer who prefers to drive around the neighborhoods and find homes on their own. We will leverage this.
Let’s take a closer look.
Nosy Neighbor Ned is looking to sell in the next year or so. He wants to stay up on the market to figure out how much he can get. He loves his neighbors but does not want everyone to know his business. He has seen all of the estimates online, but his floor plan is modified and he thinks another one with a floorplan like his is coming to market and is original, so he is super curious when he sees a post go up.
Our predecessors and current brokerages did not fight hard enough to win the war on the web! To be fair, brokerages made a choice as they could not be all to everyone, and in a move to be competitive, started offering fewer services as their value proposition changed from being a lead generator and moved their focus to agent tools, but leads are the lifeline of our business. Unfortunately, we were not in the decision-making seats of the leading brokerages but we are definitely paying hefty lead fees to those internet brands that made the right decisions on investing on the web, what we now refer to as aggregators. I can’t help but feel we should be getting a larger piece of the pie for the amount of blood, sweat, and tears that went into building the relationship to get a sign in the yard, then to let these potential clients only find us if we pay a 3rd party to connect us.
To make it even worse, slanting the floorboards more in favor of dominant Internet real estate brands like a cartoon, now “all listings marketed by Agent” need to be recorded in MLS, according to MLS 8.0. As soon as that sign goes in the ground the listing is then syndicated out to the leaders on the web. Agent Audrey the listing agent becomes anonymous, as she fades to small print hidden on webpages. The Nosy Ned inquiry goes to the BFF of the website, instead of to you the listing Agent. You’ve worked your entire life to know everything about real estate and would, honestly, be the best person, having been in the house, to ask questions about that home. You have spent time with the seller, who fills you up with all of the great neighborhood and home details to share with potential buyers you just don’t get to talk to the buyers except through their agent, who got your lead by paying the fee.
We used to be able to market pre-MLS so that we could squeeze out a couple of those sign calls. Now that 90+% of the buyer’s google the address when they find a property or just go straight to real estate Internet brands to start their search and have become more loyal to these brands that the Brokers would have through 10-15 years ago when they made a choice to not develop a stronger web presence. Now it’s up to us, and I have a plan to win and take back our industry before we go too far.
We are focused on helping our fellow great agents of the valley, You just reviewed all of the comps, you are at the top of your game. We just need more people to tell!