Interviewing a Web Savvy Listing Agent to Sell Your Home in the Crowded 2009 Atlanta Market

Over the last 24 months, particularly in large metropolitan markets like Atlanta, real estate print media has all but disappeared in favor of Internet promotion of listings and services. Web advertising continues to evolve; the ability of agents to provide enhanced listing details has captivated consumers who want easy access to every bit of online information that can be provided before they get into a car to begin the search. In the crowded 2009 Atlanta market with huge and stagnant inventories, differentiation is crucial. With approximately 45,000 single family homes and 10,000 condominiums available for purchase, there is significant motivation for sellers and listing agents to understand and implement high impact web marketing.

Customizable search criteria, birds eye views, street views, back yards, parking, amenities, questionable structures, bodies of water and topography are information used by enlightened Atlanta area buyers to eliminate properties in an oversupplied inventory. The Atlanta metro area has two MLS systems with significant overlap, so many agents list properties on both. In practice, a Multiple Listing System creates an equal playing field, so to leverage their listings, proactive agents are likely to advertise beyond the content of these systems. Powerful area specific websites, such as The Atlanta Journal Homefinder, Craigslist, Backpage, and Creative Loafing have evolved quickly to include extras like mapping tools and photo tours. However, these opportunities remain underutilized by listing agents, even when the advertising is free.

Specialized Internet marketing is not included in the skill set of most agents. Tech savvy agents who really get Internet marketing and property promotion are unique. An example of the typical disconnect is the property listing website, indexed by the house address url. What buyer knows your address before searching for their target dream home? How many web paths does your listing agent provide to move the buyer toward a site that showcases your home’s most appealing features?

More importantly, how does your agent achieve front page ranking on Google for your home? Occasionally I see listings that have placed an informational link in the private remarks section of the MLS listing, so that it may be viewed only by agents. If that is the sole online visibility of the path to a home’s virtual tour then everybody loses. The consumer browsing on a public access listing website misses some of the most compelling information. When I see this error, I know the agent has limited Internet marketing savvy; the chances of this home ranking high on Google are slim.

Descriptive property pages which achieve a high ranking on Google are not the result of large corporate brokerages which “stuff” listings into national real estate websites. In the large inventory of urban, suburban, and rural Atlanta housing, a home search can quickly confuse and frustrate buyers. The most successful web advertising for your home is a carefully crafted product managed by an agent who knows what really matters when consumers begin the search process. If Kennesaw Mountain Battlefield National Park, The Avenue of East Cobb, or Roswell Square are popular destinations near your home, then the agent will incorporate this information into the web page title to capture additional traffic.

Relevant interview questions to help you identify a web savvy listing agent capable of creating a high impact marketing campaign to sell your home are:

* On which local and national real estate websites will you list my home?

* How often do you update my home’s listing information on these sites?

* What keyword searches can consumers use to find my home on the front page of Google?

* Explain how you incorporate SEO techniques into your overall marketing plan.

* Which Atlanta area specific domain names do you own that help potential clients find my house?

* Do you hire a professional photographer to showcase my home’s interior and exterior?

* How many pictures will appear on my home tour and which websites will display the tour?

* Will you add information to the pictures to create additional interest?

* How many seconds does it take for a buyer to load and view my tour?

* Can the photo tour of my home be emailed?

* Can you show me an example of your high impact listings?

* Will you walk me through the process that demonstrates how a buyer will find my home online?

* Will you show me all the details of my home’s listing profile as the public will view it?

* Will I receive weekly emails showing the number of views of my home’s virtual tour?

In the crowded 2009 Atlanta real estate market, the answers to these questions and the derived benefits are important differentiators between top sales achievers and those who won’t get to the closing table.