4 Important Trust Signals When Hiring A Real Estate Agent
There are few events in life quite like buying a house.
A chance to restart, build your dream home, or just get on the property ladder. Buying or selling a house is an exciting process – but anyone who’s done it knows it’s not without its major complications and challenges. To make sure the process goes as smoothly as possible and you get the right deal you need to trust everyone involved.
There’s a lot not to trust in real estate. However, there are some key ways to tell whether the person you’re working with is on the level or not.
So whether you’re making your first foray into the housing market after renting, trying to shift an old property you’ve had for years or establishing your first real estate company – here are the most important trust signals in the industry.
A Great Website
Whether we like it or not, we live in a digital world.
Much in the same way a fancy office or enticing storefront was essential for a business looking to build trust 20 years ago, having a contemporary, professional-looking website is crucial to the success of modern operations.
Both buyers and sellers alike want to know the real estate professionals they’re dealing with understand what they’re doing. In today’s digital world, rather than calling, consumers are much more likely to build this perception entirely around their experience on a website.
Fortunately for real estate professionals who are more familiar with houses than servers – building a professional website suitable for 2020 is much easier than it looks.
A number of template store builders exist, and as long as you make your website functional, fill it with great content and ensure fast enough to load pages in less than three seconds you’ll be well above the industry standard.
Unique features can also help your website stand out – such as Realtor.com and their function that allows users to calculate the estimated worth of their home.
The real estate industry should also pay attention to the growing importance of social media. It feels redundant to say now that Facebook, Twitter and Instagram control so much of our lives – but social is growing every day and building a trustworthy, professional persona involves having a well-curated social media presence and keeping up to date with new trends to build exposure for your personal brand.
It’s hard to get people to trust you these days.
A culture mass competition, internet scammers and great offers not quite being what they promised has made consumers wary of believing what they hear and read. Real estate hasn’t been able to escape this either, with many people looking at property professionals as some of the least trustworthy individuals around.
Much like having a great website, potential buyers and sellers want to see evidence of past success. Perhaps the best way to do that is through customer testimony.
The power of social proof is a much-discussed topic – with star ratings, in-depth reviews and personal recommendations on social media being an important part of not just convincing a customer of your trustworthiness but improving your rankings on search engines. There are lots of creative ways to present this information and not all methods of doing so are equal.
Mortgage broker Breezeful has a perfect example of this on their website. Combining real faces with positive visual star ratings and detailed testimony gives off an instant sense of professionalism – even if the visitor doesn’t read the entire thing. It’s less about the exact content and the experience and more about how you present positive assessments of yourself and your brand.
Don’t think customer testimony is something you can get away with doing at half-measures or ignoring entirely because you’re not in retail. Partner with trusted review websites, pay attention to your score on everything from Google to Facebook and make sure to push happy customers towards leaving positive feedback.
Tangible Local Knowledge
What do people want to hear when they’re viewing a new house?
Recently refurbished? Always a bonus. A great amount of rooms? Just what a family wants.
Perhaps more than anything to do with the house though, people want to know about the location.
Families need to access schools in the area. Workers want to know about transport links. A buyer wants to know they’re moving into a safe area with the potential to sell on for a profit.
If a real estate agent can’t answer these questions they’ll be faced with a lot of raised eyebrows and fewer sales than they expected. It’s easy to lose a sale because you didn’t put in the work and learn about the area first. It’s expected of you as a professional and comes across less as a lack of knowledge and more than you have something to hide.
Honestly is usually the best policy – but it also helps to quickly address the positives of the area. Yes, you’re selling a house, but you’re also selling a lifestyle. Positivity about the area and its potential is a huge trust signal for the average buyer – who likely has no idea about the ins and outs of buying a home.
The same goes for people looking to sell a house. If you want to put the work in yourself and try and convince people to take your home you need to be positive about the area and display a keen interest in local knowledge. Trying to get off the subject can be a huge red flag. Knowledge is power and your knowledge lies in your surroundings.
Speed of Process
It feels like we’re willing to sacrifice quality for instant service these days. Websites need to load instantly or else we get bored. Our content streams need to think of new things as quickly as possible to keep our attention. Speed is everything and an important part of why we stick with a trusted product.
Once again, the same is true in real estate, -for different reasons though.
Speed is a bit of a double-edged sword in this industry. Take too long and you’ll be seen as incompetent and frustrate the buyer and seller. However, if you try and push through a sale too quickly those same individuals can become suspicious and be a major issue for their trust signals.
A quick sale looks like you’re trying to move property with issues out the door as quickly as possible. People don’t like being frustrated, but they understand real estate comes with a lot of red tape and admin processes. You can paint yourself as a very shady operation without walking them through the proper procedure. Even if you’re trying to make things as simple as possible for people you need to involve them and not look to get the process over and done with as soon as possible.
Speed and transparency are a wonderful combination when you’re trying to sell any product. People love next day delivery – but they want assurance of where their package is at all times. No matter your role (agent, buyer or seller), follow this concept throughout your processes and you’ll be dealing with happy and trusting people who will make everything easier.
In an industry built on trust with a lot of untrustworthy characters, it can be hard to convince people as a Realtor. These are four key signals you need to be aware of at all times. People want to trust they’re being guided towards a dream home – so give them no reason to doubt you.
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