Know Your Customers – Introduction

What tools are you using to better understand your customers? We’re going to kick off a new topic here on our Building Blocks series focused on how to pull all the information you need out of the National Association of Realtors (NAR) Annual Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers Report. Using this crucial source of industry knowledge, we’ll show you how grow your real estate photography business!

Welcome back to Building Blocks, where we share our useful strategies for growing your real estate photography business.

With this episode, we’re beginning a new series called – Know Your Customers.

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Over the next four episodes we’ll be focusing on four chapters in the National Association of Realtors (NAR), Annual Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers Report:

  • The Home Search Process
  • Home Buying and Real Estate Professionals
  • The Home Selling Experience
  • Home Selling and Real Estate Professionals

We’ll talk about the survey results and share how you can relate these customer findings to your real estate photography business.

We suggest that you read the report (link below to get it) for yourself and follow along during the next four episodes and apply this knowledge in your business.

To frame this and the next four conversations, consider Mercedes. When we think of Mercedes, we picture luxury cars. Mercedes is over one hundred and thirty years old. They didn’t stumble into a business with a rich history and a brand that conjures images of quality and luxury without having formidable products and an exceptional reputation among customers.

Mercedes knows their customers; their needs and their wants.

You should reach for the same level of success for your real estate photography businesses. Aspire to exceptional quality, formidable services, and an incredible understanding of our customers; their needs and their wants.

When we talk about our customers, we are talking about home buyers and sellers who use our services.

Just as Mercedes sells its cars to dealers, we sell our services to realtors. Realtors are our clients, as the dealers are for Mercedes. Like Mercedes, who creates their products and innovations for customers, the people who buy and drive their vehicles; we are creating and tooling our services and innovations for our customers; the home buyers and sellers.

We reach our customers through our realtor clients in the same way that Mercedes reaches car buyers through their dealers.

Mercedes invests tremendous dollars and resources into gaining insights into their customers’ behaviours and experiences, so they know how to market their vehicles to their customers.

You may not have the dollars and resources of Mercedes, but fortunately every year NAR gives us a great start to understanding our customers.

For nearly 40 years NAR has been surveying and analysing buyers and sellers from all across America. NAR gives us insights into buyers’ and sellers behaviours and experiences leading up to, during and after the important transaction of buying and selling a home.

The NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers Report keeps us up to date with the trends and evolution of the home buying and selling process that we can then apply to our businesses and speak directly to the needs and wants of our customers.

If you are a member of NAR, you can purchase this valuable tool for only $20 and we’ll be sharing a link below for you to order your own copy of the Home Buyers and Sellers Report.

*Note that we don’t have any vested interest and don’t receive any kickback from your order. We just know it’s an amazing source of information and use it ourselves. – https://store.realtor.org/product/report/2018-profile-home-buyers-and-sellers-download

Thank you for watching and stay tuned for future videos in our Know Your Customer series.

Know Your Customers – The Home Search Process

Ready to dive into the 2019 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers Report with us? This week we’ll be pulling out all the relevant information on the Home Search Process and explaining how you can use it to better demonstrate your understanding of your customers’ needs.

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Welcome back to our Know Your Customers topic in our ongoing Building Blocks video series.

Throughout this series, we’re sharing findings and interpretations from the 2018 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers Report. To access the report for yourself, just click on the previous link and then select “Buy Full Report”.

**Please note that we do not receive any financial advantage through the sales of the report. We are just suggesting it as an effective vehicle for keeping up to date on the latest trends in Real Estate.

This episode is focused on chapter three, the Home Search Process.

Understanding the Home Search process is very important to us, as real estate property media content creators.

Our business is about delivering the tools buyers use during the search process, so we need to know as much as we can about their home search, that way we can position our services to them, and our clients, their realtor.

There are three parts to the Home Search section that we find particularly interesting and relevant as a service provider:

  • The information sources used during the home search
  • The length of the home search
  • And the value of specific website features during the home search
Preferred Information Sources

Even though the places people go to find information during their search has been trending in the same direction for the last decade, when we talk with realtor clients, it is important to know and be able to speak to this important statistic.

For more than 10 years, Internet websites have been the most important source of information for home shoppers. Last year 93% of shoppers were looking online for their next home.

Real Estate agents came next, with 83% of home shoppers sourcing information directly from them.

Open Houses and Yard Signs are number three and four respectively, with roughly half of home shoppers using them to look for a home.

If you knew that 93% of your clients were going to the same website to choose a real estate photographer for their next listing, you should make every effort to create a great impression on that website.

You would want to grab that client’s attention, show them everything you have to offer, and compel them with some powerful marketing to look no further.

Now, compare that to selling a home. While you may have ten competitors in your markets, home sellers have dozens, if not hundreds of competitors, fighting for the home buyers’ attention.

Knowing where your clients’ customers are looking for their new home is important, so you can help them get the best return on their money and marketing energy.

The Length of the Home Search

This information is particularly compelling for our industry and a great way to frame and illustrate the value of your services.

In 2001, people spent seven weeks looking for a new home. Contrast that to 2018 where we see people now spend an average of 10 weeks looking for a new home.

In every other part of our lives, the internet has made shopping faster, easier, and more convenient. It would be easy to assume that as people became more comfortable with the internet, people would have been able to find their perfect home faster, but instead they are spending 43% longer.

With buyers spending all this extra time looking at homes today, it has become even harder for realtors and their listed homes to capture buyers’ attention in the first place and create a lasting impression.

It is our mission to help our clients and their homes create a lasting impression.

Lets recap; we know where buyers look for home information, and we know how long they spend looking for a new home. I then want to know what information buyers are looking for.

The Value of Website Features

These website features are the information tools buyers want to see when they are looking for a home.

The NAR study tells us that buyers want to see:

  1. Property photos
  2. Detailed property information (like room measurements and floor areas)
  3. Floor plans
  4. Virtual tours
  5. Neighborhood information

If your client, the realtor, wants to do a great job and stand out, it starts with offering these minimum service expectations. These are the tools and information that they are looking for.

If we needed to point to a reason why iGUIDE is so successful and used by so many top producing agents throughout North America, it would easily be our inclusion of these five tools. There is no faster, more cost effective way for realtors to create and share the information tools that buyers want.

The NAR profile of the home buying process offers us great insights into where buyers search for homes, how long they spend looking for a home, and the tools they want during the search process.

If your clients want to win more general leads and more referrals, it is critical for them to establish value while creating a lasting, positive impression. They can do all this by giving buyers what they want, when they want it, and where they want it.

As a real estate photographer, reading these reports and understanding this information will empower you. The more knowledge you can show, the more trustworthy you will seem and the easier it will be for clients to justify your services to themselves and their sellers.

Know Your Customers – Home Buying & the Real Estate Professional

You have to know your clients’ customers in order to properly market to your clients! It’s critical to understand the consumers of your services; the home buyers, if you want to continue to succeed and grow! Read on for Kevin’s analysis of some of the current stats and trends for this key group.

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As providers of media services for the real estate industry, it’s critical to understand the consumers of your services; the home buyers and sellers. Because the home buyer is the main consumer of your services, we need to understand their shopping process and their relationship with our clients, the real estate professional.

Once again, we’re going to have a look at the 2018 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers Report for the relevant stats and trends from last year that will help us to better understand the Home Buyer and the Real Estate Professional. If you haven’t yet, we do recommend that all Real Estate Photographers get a copy of the 2018 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers Report. You can order it here and as always, we don’t have any vested interest and don’t receive any kickback from your order.

Who Are Buyers Looking to Purchase a Home From?

The first stat we look at is the method of home purchase. Last year 87% of buyers used a realtor to purchase their home. 7% bought a new home directly from a builder and only 6% purchased directly from a previous owner. This stat has remained pretty consistent over the past 30 years.

The real estate industry constantly talks about the impact of new ways to buy a home, but history and the NAR study shows us that the vast majority of shoppers continue to rely on the expertise of realtors to complete a home purchase.

Knowing that shoppers overwhelmingly depend on realtors to guide them through the home purchase process, helps you position your services to better equip realtors with the tools they need, to deliver exceptional service.

The NAR study tells us that buyers are looking for help with:

  • Finding the right home
  • Negotiating terms of purchase
  • Negotiating price
  • Comparing options
  • And completing all the paperwork

Since we know that the majority of buyers are comfortable searching for a home on their own, the emphasis for the realtor’s intangible value must fall on their client support, industry knowledge, and expertise.

How do Buyers Perceive their Realtor Experience?

The NAR study also tells us how well realtors are addressing buyers’ wants; less than 40% of buyers felt their realtor improved their knowledge throughout the process. This statistic shows that although buyers recognize the value of working with a realtor, buyers are generally underwhelmed by the services their own agent provided.

When asked if they would use their agent again for their next purchase or sale, 90% of buyers said they would.

But what do they tell us through their actions?

  • Only 1 in 10 buyers actually use the same realtor again.
  • 5 in 10 use a realtor that was recommended to them.
  • And 2 in 10 find their realtor online

Combine these results with the services buyers want from their realtor, and you can see that realtors have an incredible opportunity to offer better service which will lead to winning more business through repeat clients and more referrals.

As real estate content creators, we can play a significant part in helping realtors demonstrate exceptional value to their customers and particularly in winning new business.

This is the time you ask your clients about what they’re doing to demonstrate value to their customers?

Since we know the services buyers value most and the tools they use, we know realtors who are using iGUIDE have a great opportunity to deliver great service and demonstrate exceptional value.

A wise person once told us that the difference between average and exceptional is only 1%. If our clients simply focus on offering buyers better than average service, they will be exceptional and will be successful for it. Realtors need to use our tools; photos, property details, floor plans, property tours, and neighborhood information to help buyers through the purchase process. In doing this, realtors can be exceptional.

If these first two chapters in the Annual NAR Home Buyers and Sellers Report teaches us anything, it’s that clearly demonstrating value is a key to success in real estate. As real estate photographers, reading and understanding these reports will help you do a better job understanding home buyers and tailoring your marketing to attract and retain realtor clients.

If you are a member of NAR, you can purchase this valuable tool for only $20 so you can order your own copy of the Home Buyers and Sellers Report. *Note that we don’t have any vested interest and don’t receive any kickback from your order. We just know it’s an amazing source of information and use it ourselves.

Know Your Customers – Understanding the Home Selling Experience

Are you ready for our Understanding the Home Selling Experience in our Know Your Customers series? If you’re just tuning in for the first time, we suggest you also take a look at the previous videos in this series when you’re done. In today’s segment, Kevin Klages will be focusing on helping you to better understand your clients (Real Estate Agents) and your client’s clients (the home sellers) so that you can grow your real estate photography business.

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In today’s segment, Kevin Klages will be focusing on helping you to better understand your clients (Real Estate Agents) and your client’s clients (the home sellers) so that you can grow your real estate photography business.

The 2018 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers Report offers us great insight into the thoughts, behaviours, and actions of home buyers and sellers. To access the report for yourself, just click here – 2018 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers Report and then select “Buy Full Report”.

**Please note that we do not receive any financial advantage through the sales of the report. We are just suggesting it as an effective vehicle for keeping up to date on the latest trends in Real Estate.

As real estate photographers, it is our job to convince realtors that our services are essential to their home selling process. We need to also help our clients explain to their home sellers how essential our services are to them, as well.

Chapter 6 of the Report offers some great statistics that you can use to explain your value to your realtor clients, and they can use to explain their value, to their sellers.The first statistic we look for is the method sellers used to sell their home last year.

  • 91% of sellers used a realtor to help them sell their home. This statistic shows that the vast majority of home sellers continue to work with a realtor.
  • Only 7% of sellers sold their homes themselves and in over half of these cases, the seller already knew the buyer. So, presumably if the sellers and buyers did not know one another, they too, would have used a realtor.

This statistic demonstrates that home sellers continue to rely on the expertise of a realtor to help them sell their home.

It tells us that your clients (the Real Estate Agents) don’t need to focus on differentiating themselves from for-sale-by-owner or another way to sell a home, your clients need to communicate their value, over other agents.

You need to help your clients explain to their home sellers sellers how your exceptional services will help their home sell.

The next chapter in the report tells us what sellers expect from their realtor:

  1. Sellers want realtors marketing their home to potential buyers.
  2. Sellers want help accurately pricing their home.
  3. Sellers want to sell their home within their specified time frame.

This chapter tells us what realistic expectations could and should be. Let’s look at some quick stats for perspective:

  • In 2018 the average home took three weeks to sell.
  • In 2008 it took 8 weeks to sell.

Three weeks is really fast, which was great in 2018, but not great in 2019 when market conditions aren’t the same!

People looking to sell their home today might be setting their expectations based on statistics from previous years that no longer apply. Realtors need to understand their local market conditions today so they can help their home sellers set realistic expectations. When homes sell quickly, one can also expect homes to sell for more money.

In 2018, 46% (nearly half) of all home sales sold for all or more of their asking price.

Compare this again to 2008, less than a quarter, only 24% sold for all or more of their asking price.

Here too, realtors need to know their current local market conditions so they can help sellers set realistic expectations. Unless realtors help sellers frame their expectations, they’ll wind up disappointed.

Realtors may have little control over how long it will take a particular home to sell or what offers buyers are willing to make, but fortunately realtors can control what sellers want most from them, marketing their home to potential buyers.

Using professional tools like those included in the iGUIDE, such as; photography, floor plans, room measurements, floor area calculations, and virtual tours, realtors can make sure their home listings stand out from others, engage potential buyers for longer, and have a better chance of selling faster and for more money.

We can help our clients communicate to their clients – the home sellers, that by using professional marketing tools, their home will be better positioned to stand out among competitors.

As real estate photographers, understanding this information empowers us to better provide for our clients; not only through exceptional services but through the knowledge they can use to win their next listing.

Know Your Customers – Home Selling & the Real Estate Professional

This is the final episode in our Know Your Customers series. Today, we’re discussing chapter seven of the 2018 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers Report – Home Sellers and the Real Estate Professional. To access the report for yourself, just click on here and then select “Buy Full Report”.

**Please note that we do not receive any financial advantage through the sales of the report. We are just suggesting it as an effective vehicle for keeping up to date on the latest trends in Real Estate.

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The people who pay your bills are the realtors who work with sellers and list homes. Your services help prepare, market, and sell homes, so your business comes from sellers and new listings.

We suggest that you use the knowledge you gain from the NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers Report to better position your services to your clients, and help those clients better position themselves to their customers.

Chapter seven is the most important chapter because year-after-year it gives clear proof that every real estate professional who lists a home, should use our services. This chapter will help you get into the mindset of the end user so you can better position your services to your clients.

Exhibit 7.7 illustrates what sellers want most from real estate professionals. When a potential home seller is sitting across the dining table from a realtor who wants to help them sell their home, this is the internal checklist that is running through their minds.

The top 5 things home sellers want are:

  1. sellers want their realtor to market their home to potential buyers
  2. sellers want help pricing their home
  3. sellers want to sell their home within their specified time frame
  4. sellers want suggestions to help their home sell for more money
  5. sellers want help negotiating with buyers and managing the paperwork

If we were a real estate professional, which we are not, we know that these are the five questions in the seller’s mind that need to be answered, better than any other agent, if we wanted to win that listing.

More than any other service a real estate agent offers, sellers want them to market their home to potential buyers. The fundamentals of marketing are really simple: Marketing is about satisfying the wants of the buyer. For real estate professionals to effectively market a home to potential buyers, they need to satisfy the wants of home buyers.

And what is it home buyers want?

Great news, we know this too, because chapter three already told us that when shopping for a home:

  • Buyers want to see photos. Details like – room measurements and area calculations.
  • Buyers want to see floor plans and they want to see virtual tours.

If you were able to only give one reason to a realtor as to why they should use iGUIDE and your photography services, this is it; you are giving sellers what they want, by giving buyers what they want and there is nobody on the planet that can do this better than you can.

Of all the wonderful insights in the report that you can use to help grow your business and your clients to grow theirs, this is the most compelling reason. You are helping real estate professionals give their home sellers what they value most.

Sellers also want help pricing their home competitively and selling within their time frame.
We help with that too. We have studied home sales data across every different price category and compared homes sold with iGUIDEs to homes sold with just photos, and homes sold with other virtual tour technologies and across every price category. Impressively homes with iGUIDE sold faster and for more money than everything else.

As a professional iGUIDE service provider, you can help your clients deliver on the top three things their sellers want from them, so they can focus on the other things sellers want, that will set them apart; which will create a more satisfying experience and lead to more referrals and repeat business.

Ladies and gentlemen, our professional services are complex, but our value proposition is not.

Reading and understanding this NAR Report gives us the facts and figures that sell our services for us. We just need to get this information out there. So consider adding in some of these stats and trends to your next discussion with a potential client and see how the power of numbers help to demonstrate your value.

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