The quick answered is convenience, the privacy of the Internet offers home buyers, especially those who are first timer, the opportunity to access information about a home without the need to disclose his or hers information to an agent.
According to a recent data released by the National Association of Realtors, it shows how the Internet continues to grow as one of the most popular means for buyer to search properties for sale. NAR data for the year 2008 shows that 32 percent of home buyers first looked at home they purchased online-up from an insignificant 8 percent on 2001. The same study reveals that the percentage of home buyers finding their dream home from a Realtor dropped from 41 in 2001 to just 34 percent in 2008, making traditional real estate not as popular as it once was.
Latinos are not exempt from this and they are too turning to the internet to look for resources including real estate. In my Blog , I make a reference to how the online Latino presence hit an all time high 20.3 million in 2008, up 6 percent from 2007. Hispanos, now accounts for 11% of the total U.S. online market creating many opportunities for bilingual real estate professionals to expand theirs business on a new whole way.
Here are some tips that you should consider if you are really serious about doing real estate business with Latinos online, which by the way are considered for some experts to be the next driving force in real estate, as the baby boomers did.
If you don’t have a website, you should get one: A website is considered one of the agent’s best tools. In today’s real estate market a website is more than just an appealing graphic display, it is your 24/7 virtual office. Your website is the place where you can interact with potential clients, while at the same time you are offering valuable information without asking for anything in return. A bilingual real estate agent should have a website that targets both (Ingles y Español) clients.
A dynamic website has tools allowing the agent to interact with his or her virtual visitors, for example, a section where visitor can have their questions answered, to request a customized list of available property for sale and of course it should offers listings. An agent should take advantage of IDX and display the entire local MLS on their site showcasing his or her contact information. Just remember one thing, use your site as a place of free information and resource for your potential clients, avoid doing the hard sale on your self or your service, it wont’ work, show your visitors that you are there for them, shall they want to contact you.
Ok, you got a bilingual website, now what? Well, is time to let the world know that you have a website, ok, maybe not the whole world, just your local market. First, get 2 domain names one for each language, this way you will be able to direct your marketing materials more efficiently to your Latino and non-Latinos clients. Add your website to all your printing materials like, business cards, flyers, first time homebuyer presentations, etc.
It is also important that you optimized your site so, when potential clients are doing a search for real estate in your area, your site is among the top findings. If your budget allows it create PayPerClick campaigns in Google or Yahoo, this way you can have some assurance to be listed among the top search result on the search engines. You can also direct organic traffic to your site, organic meanings free of charge, by posting ads in online social networks and local forums where Latinos area active, places like Univision.com, Terra.com and QuePasa.com. I also like to ad posts to other non-Latino, but very popular forums like Craiglist.com and Backpage.com.
Free is good: If you are a new agent or simply don’t have the budget required to maintain a website online, you need a plan B. Create your own Blog and begin writing about what you know best, real estate. With the assistance of the current free technology, like Blogger.com, Wordpress.com and other you can set up a Blog in just a few minutes. Blogs are a great alternative to website, although it will never replace it, a Blog can give you the edge you need to facilitate your online presence and position yourself as the local bilingual real estate expert.
There are too many ways for a real estate agent to interact with potential clients online some works better than other, but you can only find out if you try them, who knows maybe your next closing is from a buyer surfing the net looking for an honest real estate advice.