How to Avoid Getting Stuck With The Wrong Online Real Estate Agent!

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Lola Audu~Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI Real Estate

oh my goodness...what a clown!A blind date has got to be one of life's scarier moments! Many of us have been the recipient of this form of 'relationship assistance' at some point in our lives.

Although, it's exciting to not know exactly who you will be meeting, the experience is fraught with much angst and trepidation for precisely the same reason...you don't know exactly what you'll get when your date shows up in person!

Today, online dating has spawned hundreds of thousands of successful unions.  However, we all suspect that for every success story, there are oodles of folks who don't have a storybook outcome. 

We all worry about the potential for this:

  • A person whose in person appearance is not even remotely connected to how they appear online

 

  • Fake Testimonials which promise more than they deliver

 

  • Individuals who are not what they purport to be...ie the 'pretend doctor' syndrome with fake credentials

These issues are also a concern for millions of consumers who are now going online to select professional services like those provided by members of the real estate community.  Data from the National Association of Realtors indicates that more than 80% of all consumers will utilize the Internet as a part of their selection process for choosing an agent and/or home.  Selecting the right agent for your specific concerns can make all the difference in the world.

researching onlineAlthough, there are no guarantees that even your best efforts will yield the results you desire, taking the time to do some preliminary research will greatly enhance your prospects for a successful match.  Let's examine some critical aspects which you should consider as you review potential prospects.

Do You Know if they're the Real Deal?

I mean this literally.  Make sure you're dealing with a real person or business.  Do some checking.  It's pretty easy.  Here are some suggestions:  Contact the local real estate board to inquire about their membership and status.  If they indicate they hold certain awards or designations, call or go online to see if they are on the membership roster.  Google the physical location/address and if you still have doubts, do a drive by.  If things don't check out at this basic level, there's a problem.

Are their Products Visible?

You'll be hiring a real estate agent to market your home.  The disappearing agent who sticks a sign in the yard and NEVER calls is well documented in real estate folklore. 

But what about the disappearing listing? When the home is placed on the market, it becomes a part of the real estate companys' listing portfolio. 

Did you know that there is a dramatic difference between the levels of exposure which your home may receive on the Internet? Did you know that your agent's understanding of Search Engine Positioning and Optimization will be key determinants of your exposure?

For instance, a good online real estate agent can literally put your home on the map...the google indexing map that is.  Imagine being able to say to your friends and family...did you google my home?  If you're competing with 50 other homes for sale in your community, this may make all the difference in the world.

Do They Know What They're Talking About?

Here's the area where the Internet can be of the greatest benefit.  While an increasing number of agents and their agencies have websites, these will provide you with only static information about their listings and services.  To dig deeper, it's prudent to see if the agent you are considering also writes a blog.

Blogging provides a tremendous amount of benefit to the consumer who is in the process of selecting an agent.  For starters, it can save you TIME!  In reading a good agent blog, you will be able to determine the areas of an agent's expertise, their style with clients, the kinds of transactions they handle, and the way they resolve conflicts and solve problems.

Can You Interview them Without Extra Hassle?

You'll find that reading an agent's blog is similar to conducting an interview.  What's great is that you can e-mail or respond in the comment section if you have any additional questions or would like clarification on certain issues.  This type of dialog can be tremendously informative and provides a great platform to become comfortable with someone before hiring them for the job.

It's important to hire the right agent to get the job done.  Using this simple list will improve your chances of selecting someone who has the skill and personality which will be most in alignment with your specific needs.  If you are in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area and are looking for an Online Real Estate Expert, the real estate specialists at Audu Real Estate would be happy to explore how we can assist you.

Where Should you be looking?

Our listings are advertised in a number of Venues which include:  our website, numerous blogs, the Grand Rapids Association of Realtors Multiple Listing Service, the Michigan Association of Realtors  NAR (National Association of Realtors), Zillow, Trulia, Real Estate Shows, Google, Yahoo, Oodle, Twitter & Flickr.  Contact us to discuss how we can create an Internet marketing strategy which makes sense for you!

Copyright 2008  Audu Real Estate  All Rights Reserved

 

Check out these Related Articles for additional information:

 11369 starflower drive: Did You Tell Them to....Please Google Their Home?

Real Estate Blog - 11 "Quirky" Questions to Ask your Realtor ...

real estate advertising: 8 Great Ways to Reinvent the Old Pre-View Home Tour!

real estate advertising: The Question That Messed Up My Old Marketing Strategy!

marketing: Touch Points...Building Localism into the Communal Landscape!

real estate advertising: Elevating the Extraordinary Within The Ordinary...Another Look At Creative Marketing

real estate advertising: WHY Ambush Marketing is Gobbling Up The Hottest Real Estate on The Planet!

marketing: Creating Captivating Open Houses!

*thanks to Susan Deane of Greenridge Real Estate for pointing out the typo & resultant update.

 

 

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Rainmaker
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Lola Audu
Lola Audu~Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI Real Estate - Grand Rapids, MI
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Fran, Absolutely.  This advise can be helpful in evaluating any number of Internet offerings.  While a brick & mortar address does not necessarily tell the full story, their MEMBERSHIP on the local real estate board and their status as a licensee is extremely important.  It's this type of basic information that consumers should be sure to check when making a determination regarding hiring a real estate agent. 

Sep 17, 2008 12:23 PM #23
Rainmaker
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Lola Audu
Lola Audu~Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI Real Estate - Grand Rapids, MI
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Carole, 5 years ago, hardly anyone would have thought of 'googling' anyone.  I was googled for the first time by a client in 2001 and to be honest with you, I didn't know what they had done.  I went home and discovered google for the first time!  An online presence is essential for business today...and that means every sort of business.

Sep 17, 2008 12:26 PM #24
Rainer
1,544
Elrico Hurley
Amerisave Mortgage Company - Kalamazoo, MI

I agree with much of what you said.  However the thing that is missed is that those in my generation and younger are still in the "Right Now" generation.  The reason so many on-line real estate agents and mortgage brokers can flourish is because we look straight to the internet.  Gone are the days of TV and radio ads.  Gone are the days of the telephone book!  The computer and the use of the internet will be known as the hottest and most depended on piece of technology in the 21st Century.  By the time you will have read this comment though, there will have been 3 computer upgrades, 8 new cell phone prototypes, and someone will live longer because of the cure found in a medical lab.

Real Estate agents and Mortgage Brokers will need to have an on-line presence if they will have an opportunity to survive.

Sep 17, 2008 12:26 PM #25
Rainmaker
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Lola Audu
Lola Audu~Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI Real Estate - Grand Rapids, MI
Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI ~Welcome Home!

Jeff, appreciate your comment.  This form of marketing is fairly new and consumers are inundated with tons of information.  It's sometimes hard to sort out what is really valid and then even more challenging to figure out what is a good personal fit.  My goal is to arm people with a few tools they can use to determine what might work best for them.

Sep 17, 2008 12:28 PM #26
Rainmaker
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Lola Audu
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Terry...research saves you a lot of hassle.  It's time spent upfront which yields dividends in the long run.

Sep 17, 2008 12:30 PM #27
Rainmaker
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Lola Audu
Lola Audu~Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI Real Estate - Grand Rapids, MI
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Hi Lisa, The most fascinating aspect of this new way of doing business is that more and more people are comfortable transacting business online. 

Ten years ago, the idea of doing a transaction with an Internet professional was not normal...indeed in our area, the largest brokerages did NOT even advertise that they had a website!  I found an old newspaper real estate advertising section from 1998 and was surprised in retrospect to see only telephone numbers! What a difference a decade makes.

Sep 17, 2008 01:27 PM #28
Rainmaker
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Lola Audu
Lola Audu~Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI Real Estate - Grand Rapids, MI
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Missy, you're absolutely right about areas/locations.  I have had calls this year from individuals who were looking for an agent and not realizing that they were calling an area which was sometimes hours away.  If I was unscrupulous, I could have pretended to be an 'expert.'  With an online expert, this can be difficult to determine.  Asking the right questions makes a difference.

That's also why it can be especially helpful to read blogs and see what others have to say about the agent.  The Referral Section on Active Rain is something that can reveal additional insight.

Sep 17, 2008 01:35 PM #29
Rainmaker
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Lola Audu
Lola Audu~Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI Real Estate - Grand Rapids, MI
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Gita...thanks for your comment.

You're welcome Pippa.  We need to understand how we provide value and let consumers know.

William...while it's hard to imagine, it's actually happening all the time.  Sometimes things go well and sometimes they don't.  The problem is that many people don't even know what to inquire about.

Sep 17, 2008 01:37 PM #30
Rainmaker
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Lola Audu
Lola Audu~Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI Real Estate - Grand Rapids, MI
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Michelle, well yes, it does.  The Internet is a wonderful source of information.  You just need to verify before trusting. 

Sep 17, 2008 01:50 PM #31
Rainmaker
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Lola Audu
Lola Audu~Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI Real Estate - Grand Rapids, MI
Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI ~Welcome Home!

Gary, Congratulations on 29 years of married life.  It's a whole different scene out there today...:)

Yvette...thanks for your comment.  Since blogging is fairly new, this may not be something a lot of people think about. Although Google is making it much easier by indexing blog articles and the news media also is incorporating blogging into their regular news feed.

Thanks for your comment Kristin.

 

Sep 17, 2008 01:55 PM #32
Rainmaker
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Lola Audu
Lola Audu~Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI Real Estate - Grand Rapids, MI
Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI ~Welcome Home!

Chris, you're right that it is the responsibility of the client to educate themselves.  It's just that there are very few instruction manuals out there right now...

Jennifer...When clients are SHOWN the difference in results, no more convincing is needed.  The Internet is where everyone is looking.

Sep 17, 2008 02:06 PM #33
Rainmaker
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Lola Audu
Lola Audu~Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI Real Estate - Grand Rapids, MI
Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI ~Welcome Home!

Brian...Zip Realty is doing a lot of very intelligent things when it comes to Internet marketing.  Simple tools such as finding a home by the type of mortgage you would like to pay on a monthly basis or the real estate pricing game are an acknowledgment that the consumer is engaged and wants to know the value of the data you provide before committing.  Very smart! 

Real Estate agents need to be more involved in providing an interactive experience.  Interesting thing about a blind date...the more you know about a prospect, the less scary it is. :) True for people and for online business. Thanks for stopping by to read and comment.

Sep 17, 2008 02:15 PM #34
Rainmaker
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Lola Audu
Lola Audu~Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI Real Estate - Grand Rapids, MI
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Elrico...I really hope readers of this blog STOP and take time to reflect on what you wrote in your comment.  Thank you for adding additional insight to this discussion.

Sep 17, 2008 02:17 PM #35
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George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages Connecticut - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Lola, I LOVE IT!!!

I never thought of equating an online Realtor or in my case an Internet lender with a blind date ........ LOL

That is now a permanent part of how I will describe them ....... LOL

Sep 17, 2008 02:43 PM #36
Rainmaker
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Lola Audu
Lola Audu~Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI Real Estate - Grand Rapids, MI
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Hi George, sometimes a change of perspective reveals things in a new light. :)  Glad you enjoyed the article.  Thanks for stopping by to read and comment.

Sep 17, 2008 02:48 PM #37
Rainmaker
389,642
Kim Sellers
Lake Arrowhead, CA Coldwell Banker - Lake Arrowhead, CA
Lake Arrowhead Realtor - DRE#01412099 - Lake Arrow

Well said.  Such a huge thing to make sure you can carry what your selling on the Internet.

Sep 17, 2008 05:28 PM #38
Ambassador
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Donna Bigda
RE/MAX Alliance - Branford, CT
Greater New Haven CT Real Estate

Lola - With so many buyers and sellers who may be months out before deciding to buy or sell starting on the internet to find information on the real estate market, homes or a particular town they are considering a move to, the majority of agent and company websites today do not provide that personal window that a blog can create in allowing them to get the infomation they want anonymously and finding the agent they feel will best suit their needs.

Sep 17, 2008 09:03 PM #39
Rainer
288,198
Diane Aurit
LKN Realty, LLC - Mooresville, NC
Lake Norman Real Estate

I do think blogging is the best way to get to know a Realtor.  I just got a buyer from Russia who has been following my blog for 8 months.  When we talked it was like we were old friends.  I agree that static websites really don't tell you much about an agent and people need to do their homework.  Great advice.

Sep 19, 2008 04:10 PM #40
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Tracy Santrock
Fonville Morisey/Santrock Realty Group, Inc. - Cary, NC
Raleigh - Cary Realtor

This is becoming more common today than ever.  You make some excellent points regarding expectations and what to ask the Realtor prior to meeting them.  As Diane points out - when people meet me they feel like they've known me for a long time through my blog. 

Sep 22, 2008 08:01 AM #41
Rainer
198,094
Ed Vogt
Midwest Properties of Michigan - Grandville, MI
Grandville, MI Midwest Properties

You brought up some great points for consumers/clients to think about and questions to ask when selecting an Agent.  On line interviews through our blogs or by reading our blogs is what I have found some to be doing. 

Sep 23, 2008 01:48 PM #42
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Rainmaker
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