CoStar Group Inc. closed on its acquisition of Homes.com. The company plans to combine its real estate marketplace, Homesnap, with the home buying website to create the most seamless experience possible for home buyers and sellers.
CoStar Group Acquires Homes.com
Homes.com is a service that maintains a database of homes for sale by real estate brokers across the country. Homes are listed with photographs, floor plans, and descriptions of what makes each home unique.
Zillow and Homes.com Comparison:
Direct competitors of Homes.com include Zillow, a site that also provides home listings, maps, floor plans, public records, and home value estimates. However, Zillow and Homes.com are not direct competitors in that they provide different services for different markets of consumers with different needs.
Homes.com provides a venue for consumers to view homes for sale including photos of the property as well as floor plans and descriptions of the features that make the home unique. Consumers can search by geographic location or may search all homes or a specific price range. The company’s goal is to assist homeowners in finding their dream home from anywhere in one central location.
Lead generation in the Real Estate Market — Insights for Agents:
According to National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) CEO Bob Goldberg, “today’s real estate agents obtain leads from more places than ever before, but market inefficiencies too often lead our members in the wrong direction – costing valuable time and resources.”
Why “Lead Generation”
Lead generation is the process of generating prospective customers or contacts — a.k.a. leads — and directing them toward a sales funnel or conversion process from awareness to sale or lead. Lead generation is paramount to the success of any business, especially real estate agents, and provides evidence that there is significant demand for your products or services. Without leads, there are no sales.
What Leads Are Useful For
Ideally leads should be qualified before they enter the sales funnel so that time and resources are spent on those prospects most likely to convert into paying customers. Qualification can be done in a number of ways including geographic location searched, socio-economic data provided (e.g. credit score, income level), and the type of property searched (e.g. square footage, type of purchase).
Top Tips For Generating Leads:
• Leverage the best resources, talent, and tools
Consider hiring a full-time, professional real estate virtual assistant — often times up to 70% less in costs from a traditional employee. Allow your talent to coordinate lead generation efforts. Use your website visitors, mailing list subscribers, and social media followers as active contacts through which to generate leads. Get creative with the tools you use; tap into other channels you use to promote or recommend your business; leverage apps to provide additional functionality; connect with online influencers. There are many online lead generation tools that provide free leads — many of which are built for real estate agents.
• Do your research
Conduct a market analysis to identify the top markets for your product or service so that you can focus your lead generation efforts on those regions and markets with the highest potential.
• Maintain good inventory
Inventory is critical! Make sure you have a current list of active buyers and sellers posted online so that leads can be directed to the correct person/s when they fill out their profile information.
• Set a good foundation
A credible website with the right look and feel. Setting up your website with industry-relevant keywords for your property search, good photos of your listings, and concise descriptions of the properties will reduce search time and increase the chance that a lead will contact you.
• Reach out to those in your network:
If you have a social media presence then be sure to make use of it. Interact with members on sites like Facebook, Twitter, etc., especially if you are using it as a personal page, share useful information/resources that will encourage your network to be active in these areas (ex. offer referral links or special deals having to do with your business).
What can an agent do to improve their lead generation efforts?
There are two ways to generate a lead. The first is to search MLS (Multiple Listing Service) sites, but the problem with MLS sites is that they only provide contact information for sellers. The second way is to contact people, and this can be done by leaving an email message or having a phone conversation with a person on the list.
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