In Florida, realtors need a higher online profile than their German counterparts
Speaking to realtors in Florida, they all agree: there is no way around the Internet. In Germany, many realtors still rely on sole agencies, and place their properties on large real estate portals, instead of investing in their own websites.
It’s different in Florida. Via the multiple listing service (MLS) every registered realtor has access to properties available in the market (with the exception of private sales). This is also one of the reasons why the real estate portals have been far less successful here than in Germany, as it simply is not only a question of publishing a real estate offer in the style of a small ad.
Rule 1: Show your competence
The customer – who is king – thus has far more freedom when it comes to choosing a realtor – and providers are forced to sharpen up their profiles accordingly, to set themselves apart from the competition. David Dapporto from East Coast Immobiliare in Miami says:
“The Internet allows a realtor to present himself professionally to an international clientele. An attractive website together with online marketing and social media activities is the best basis for a successful presence.”
In this connection, “trust-building” is an important term for Ralf Spielvogel, Franchise Manager International with Porta Mondial AG:
“The greater the distance between vendor and buyer, the more the Internet is used to choose a realtor.” That is why Porta Mondial invests a great deal of time and effort in the relevant local training for its (Master) franchise partners. “We offer the professional framework and guidelines, not only on how to best present real estate on the Internet, but also on how to successfully use the numerous social media instruments such as Facebook, Twitter and blogs, to develop competence.”
Rule 2: Speak your customers’ language
Many realtors use only the national language for their websites. Although most buyers generally understand English quite well, when it comes to high-end investments, buyers usually prefer to deal with somebody with whom they can negotiate in their own language. It is therefore recommended that an existing repertoire of languages also be displayed on the Internet.
Michael Sopka, a realtor in Naples, can only confirm this and also draws attention to another point:
“German buyers have different questions and legal starting positions to Americans. This means that having the right specialist realtor knowledge is essential. Having your own website is a good way for specialists to boost their profile by showing that they possess the right additional qualifications.”
Rule 3: React quickly
What some often forget is that the Internet is interactive:
“The response time is often crucial when it comes to choosing a realtor,”
says Ralf Spielvogel, speaking from experience. Those who wait longer than 12 hours to respond to e-mail enquiries may often have lost the customer already.
***This article appears on 20th December in issue 1/2013 of the Florida Sun Magazin, the biggest German-language magazine in Florida.***