Last week, property valuation provider ValPal issued new research concerning consumers' perceptions of estate agents.
An analysis of 1,000 home movers showed that:
- Over 75% gather their information online before deciding whether to call an estate agent
- More than 60% judge the quality of an agent's website when deciding who to sell their property with
- Only 11% consider face-to-face customer service from an estate agent as the most important part of the selling process
But what else can the analysis tell us about buyers' and sellers' thought processes?
"I want to be informed (and impressed) by the time I talk to an agent."
The overwhelming majority - three quarters - do their research online before talking to an agent. They'll check out your site, property listing portals, and your competitors' sites before they give you a call.
"The agent I choose will have both a good website and strong high street presence."
Over half said agents need to display strong dedication to quality on their website and have a significant high street presence. 35% said the websites were more important as "everyone searches for property online these days."
"If the website is beautiful, they're more likely to be able to present the home at its best."
The trust-building journey begins before a word is uttered (or read). Over 60% said they "expect an agent's website to be good, as they will be marketing [their] property online."
"I can only make a decision if the site is easily navigable."
When asked how they'd rate an estate agent's website in terms of ease-of-use and relevant content, 36% responded with "Excellent, it was easy to navigate and had all the information I needed."
"Great images are the second most important part of any estate agent website."
Bog standard visuals just don't cut it. In fact, images speak louder than words, as great photos are considered five times more important than information about the agent's background and their ethos.
But it's not all about the hard sell. The best websites provide genuine value and excel at 'inbound marketing' - attracting customers by downloadable information such as ebooks, checklists and guides.
Simon Gerrard, MD at Martyn Gerrard Estate Agents says: “We know potential sellers visit our website multiple times to gather information and advice from our articles and blogs, before committing to booking a market appraisal, so we are continually updating our site with fresh news and content.” Consider these 20 blog post ideas for estate agent websites.
What are the quick wins for building a beautiful estate agent website? What's worth spending time and care on? We'd love to know your ideas as well - let us know in the comments section below.