According to a recent NAR research survey*, buyers think floor plans are very useful as part of a website’s listing content. We of course have always been big believers that floor plans help sell homes and provide a vital piece of the marketing puzzle for listings. After all, photos show how the seller lives in the home. A floor plan shows how the buyer can live in it! Well, we worked with the National Association of Realtors’ research team to get floor plans included in their annual survey for home buyers and sellers. And the results are in:
55% of Buyers stated floor plans were VERY Helpful as part of a website’s content features.
In fact, they were right behind photos and detailed property info (Exhibit 3-09). The top 5 items ranked for “Very Useful” (the highest choice possible):
- Property Photos
- Detailed Property information
- Floor Plans
- Virtual Tours
- Recently Sold Home Data
You can see the complete report here (page 47): NAR Home Buyers & Sellers Generational Trends Report*
How can floor plans help you get more listings or sell homes faster?
Think about it. The same photos are all pulled from the same source (the MLS), and while one site might display them a bit differently, there is nothing really different from the hundreds of sites that have your listing. They all regurgitate the same (often small sized) photos. Except our virtual tour. The virtual tour features HD sized photos that fill the screen, 2D and 3D floor plans, a 3D designer, the flyer with floor plans, a video and more. All of this can help differentiate you on the web that can help you get more buyers and sellers coming to you because they can see a difference, and as the NAR research shows, they appreciate content that can help them make a better decision. After all, 62% of home buyers are under 52. They want digital content. They use the web to not only find homes (44% first went online to search for homes for sale and 51% found the home they bought on the Internet), but to find agents, or help validate their decision. We call this The Silent Interview – the way people are silently evaluating who they want to work with to help them either sell their home, or buy a new one, or both.
View our video on how to Win the Silent Interview and get more listings by being differentiated online.
Another tip. We automatically create a Call2Action photo – a composite image that includes the floor plan and 4 photos with the text of the virtual tour link. We provide both a branded and unbranded version. The unbranded version can be included with most MLS systems as a listing photo. Since people will see the unbranded link, it complies with the MLS branding rules. But, you can login to Zillow and Realtor.com and replace that unbranded image with the branded one. This informs people viewing the listing that there is more content out there – go find it on the virtual tour! We strongly suggest AGAINST including images of the floor plans in the photo gallery – as that creates less of an incentive to click the tour link or type it in. The goal is to get the user to the branded tour, so YOU can have an opportunity to engage in lead capture. So leverage the fact a listing is on Zillow, just make sure you get the person coming to you, via the virtual tour.
There are also other creative ways to leverage the content we create for you. One of our customers in the Seattle area is not only leveraging the Call2Action photo we automatically create on Zillow, but she is putting it right on the yard sign. She printed it out, laminated it, and stapled it to the sign, as you see here. A great idea! Saves paper, gives the browsers a link to the tour via the link or QR code, and teases them to go see more, including videos, floor plans and of course the 3D Designer.
Speaking of the 3D Designer. We are the only virtual tour company in the US with their own 3D floor plan tool. That gives us control and innovative options. With the click of a button, any potential buyer can open up their private version of the 3D Designer and experiment with changing flooring, wall colors or even seeing what an open concept might look like with the click of a few buttons. Like brings those HGTV-like tools you see on TV, right to your listing. Plus, add our Enhanced 3D package to your floor plan to closely match what the house looks like, all virtually.
Finally, if someone buys the home, all of this great information can be claimed by the buyer via the virtual tour and the Claim Home button. This includes the listing photos and the 2D/3D FloorPlans and Designer! No other tour platform has this capability. Look more at the NAR report. While the vast majority of people say they would use their agent again on another transaction, in reality, only 11% actually do. See page
Sellers and their agents.
So leverage all of this great information and features to win the listing appointment. Talk about it and incorporate screen shots into your listing presentation. Call it out on your flyer or at open houses, such as this home comes with a HomeDiary! This is a great way for you to differentiate yourself and your listings from the masses and get more and more people coming to you.
When you did into the data (Exhibit 7-1), the vast majority of sellers found their agent from referral first. I would advocate the web can be a referring source IF YOU differentiate yourself. That means you have to stand out. Doing the same thing everyone else is doing does not cut it. if you can stand out, chances are, you can be the ONE (in 72% of the time) agent people go with. Better yet, younger sellers (36 and under) go with one agent 82% of the time! And 55% of the time you can not only get the listing, but get the new home purchase too! However, while 85% of Sellers would use the agent again (or recommend the agent – Exhibit 7-10), in reality, only 25% used the same agent. So a huge drop off (this actually has gotten better compared to previous surveys). One of the main reasons is after one year, 70% of homeowners FORGOT their agent’s name. So, stay in touch and be relevant. Our free HomeDiary service can help – read how you can invite your clients for free.
In summary, we provide a lot of content, tools and ways to differentiate yourself. It takes a little bit of time, but your will reap the rewards with more listings and more buy-side opportunities.
*Copyright ©201 “Home Buyers & Sellers Generational Trends Report 2017.” NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission. March 7, 2017, https://www.nar.realtor/sites/default/files/reports/2017/2017-home-buyer-and-seller-generational-trends-03-07-2017.pdf
I am very excited to announce the next step in the evolution of the FloorPlanOnline service offering with our new “go to market” strategy called the FloorPlanOnline Area Manager (“FAM”) program. Photographers, please read more about the program here. http://floorplanonline.com/for-photographers/
In the past, we have contracted with local photographers who would accept jobs and have little engagement or incentive to expand the market beyond them accepting a job. They would leave all the sales and marketing to FloorPlanOnline. The problem is, real estate is a local business, and having local sales people means less money can go to the person doing the actual work and engaging with the customer on a weekly basis. With our new FAM program, we are taking a different approach in how we work with local photographers to help them build their business on top of our platform and our brand. While we continue to do top level marketing such as national tradeshows and vendor programs, the billing and even the centralized technical customer support, we are looking to the local FAM to do the local sales and service work. In exchange, the local FAM has an opportunity to make much more money and build their own business leveraging a national company, but on a local basis. This creates a win-win-win for both FloorPlanOnline, the local provider, and our joint customers because the customer gets a person engaged in, incentivized by and tie to that local business! Churn in the photographer base is greatly reduced and customer satisfaction is greatly increased!
We know many of our competitors churn through various photographers very quickly. This creates service issues, potential distrust and a costly retrain each time. In contrast, we have had people working for us for 12 years! With the FAM program, we are looking to build lifetime relationships with the local provider and our customers.
We need your help. If you know of a photographer, appraiser or other highly motivated person that has a passion for real estate, we would love to talk to them about being a FAM! You can direct them to our Photographer page to get started!
Here is a great post I saw today of what Millennials want out of the real estate process. Why should you care? Zillow says they make up 55% of buyers!
An Open Letter from Millennials to the Real Estate Industry
Let me summarize it.
- They want to use technology to simplify things, like electronic documents and file sharing.
- They want to screen properties BEFORE they ever visit them. This means lots of photos, aerial images, virtual tours and we think floor plans to help people visualize how their family can live in the property, not how the seller currently is living in it. Lots of research out there that says 70% to 90% of buyers want to see floor plans when they search. Leverage this and market it at the listing appointment to get the listing every time!
- Be the expert on the process and help people understand it.
- Be creative.
Great advice. We can help.