Sell Your Home Faster with a Tech-Savvy Realtor

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As the world has gone increasingly high tech, so has real estate. There are dozens of new tools real estate agents are using to sell houses and to help buyers connect to their dream home.

A decade ago, agents focused marketing their listings toward other agents who would pass along the information to their buyers. Now, 89 percent of buyers use online tools when searching for a home, finding what they like before contacting their agent to say, “Here’s one I want to go see.”

For sellers, this means that having their home looking as good as possible online is the key to selling quickly and for more than the asking price. Each house and each neighborhood is unique, so sellers should talk with their agent about how to handle their home’s online marketing, asking them what high-tech tools they use, and why. There are a lot of choices.

One of the new ways for home sellers to reach buyers is through online videos, including video tours, used by a small but growing number of selling agents. According to Google, 51 percent of homebuyers are using YouTube to do research and most say they find video tours helpful when looking for a home.

These virtual tours allow prospective buyers to walk through a home, seeing the best of the property and giving sellers a huge advantage over those listings that don’t feature this technology. Virtual tours allow hundreds of buyers to see a home, instead of just those who actually visit the property. And if buyers view online and like the home, they will show up with their agent for a live showing.

For sellers, this is an inexpensive way to get the attention of a greater number of prospective buyers to their home instead of one down the street. Real estate agents can hire a professional videographer or take the videos themselves, using easy-to-use editing software programs specifically made for selling real estate. It’s also possible to use regular still photos and turn them into an animated property tour, highlighting special features of the home.

Some agents are even taking advantage of the ubiquitous virtual world by creating a website for each home they list, with a dedicated and unique website. The website address is included in a rider on the real estate sign outside the homes as well as in other marketing. This website can include the standard Multiple Listing Service information, sales copy, photos and videos.

One of the hottest pieces of state-of-the-art techniques sweeping the real estate industry is the use of drones. According to MLS statistics, homes with aerial images sold 68 percent faster than those without.

Drones can take still and video photography, with prices for drone services ranging from a few hundred dollars to more than $1,000, depending on the city, the size of the home and the additional services the drone company offers. The use of drones is more suited for high-end or larger homes marketed to high-end buyers. Drone shots can show an entire property, and they work best for a multi-story home with a large and attractive lawn, gardens or a pool, outbuildings or woods. Drone shots can feature whole neighborhoods and local amenities such as parks, trendy nearby corners, mountains or lakes, a dramatic way to tell the whole story of a home, including location, location, location.

Using drones for commercial purposes requires special approval by the FAA. Drone operators need to hold a Remote Pilot Certificate with a Small UAS Rating or face a high fine that can extend to the person who hired them. Drones can’t operate in Washington, D.C., near sports stadiums, during papal or presidential visits and within five miles of an airport. Neighbors might object as well. Hiring a professional who will not only follow the law but will know some of the tricks of the video trade is important to show the house in the best light. Be polite. Let your neighbors know your plans and assure them that they and their property will not be filmed.

One very innovative sales technique, currently available in only a limited number of markets, is the live-streamed video walk-through. These allow an agent to do a live broadcast to a buyer, much like a personal podcast, showing off each room and every special feature while answering questions about the property, live, while the buyer stays home. Expect the use of this cutting edge tool to be available everywhere, very soon.

Real estate sales techniques will continue to evolve at the speed of the internet. Real estate agents are evolving as well and will continue to offer newer and better multimedia experiences for clients, providing more powerful new ways to sell homes. Be sure to ask your Realtor what they can offer. ■

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