The other way online impacts real estate

There’s no denying that the online world has impacted greatly on the real estate industry, and I’ve discussed this before. Even me blogging every day is a sign of how times have changed! We know that the majority of people in the market for a home will at some point end up online to  search for information, which has impacted how the industry markets and communicates massively. There is another way the online environment has impacted on the real estate industry though, and it’s not quite as friendly.

  

Although when selling a home, both the agent and the vendor need feedback, the freedom and anonymity of the online space has sparked brutally frank discussions about specific properties for sale, and the agent representing them. These types of forums can result in hundreds of comments being posted as buyers search for as much information as they can in a market that has proven volatile.

  

Knowing your property is possibly being picked apart online by strangers can be unsettling for the hardiest of vendor, and realistically hiding behind a computer screen to make scathing comments about a vendor’s personal taste when it comes to furnishings are nothing to do with the property itself and its suitability to a new owner.

  

How these online assessments can be helpful however, is to the agent. It pays to be aware of what’s being said about a property for sale and taking key points from it. Great brands have set up online forums specifically so their customers can let loose about what they consider to be a product’s failings, purely so they can make amendments accordingly. Agents need to take the same approach. If the general consensus from people who have viewed the property is that it’s priced too highly for the area, or that the agent isn’t approachable, maybe that’s something both the vendor and the agent have to consider.

  

These types of forums have been established not so people can be deliberately nasty, but so people can ask the questions they feel they can’t ask the agent – that’s not a good sign to begin with! As agents we have a responsibility to be open and accessible, and most importantly – honest. I’ve said before that CENTURY 21 prides itself on providing clear, expert and accessible advice and that needs to become an industry mantra if scenarios like this are to be avoided.

  For the most part, these people aren’t online to be critical, they’re there to gain a qualitative perspective and opinions from others. The moderators of these sites know that, and they do tend to err on the side of giving their users freedom, but a responsible site will remove comments that cross the line into personal slander, like making fun of someone or revealing personal information such as phone numbers. It’s important that customers can source information online, but what is more important is providing a level of service and communication that makes these types of potentially damaging forums redundant.  
Posted by Charles Tarbey on 25/05/2009 at 10:27 AM | Categories:

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