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Day to Day Real Estate Pain Points: Identifying Problems Before Solutions

A few weeks back, Drew Meyers and I had discussed how many technology ventures are exciting and groundbreaking, but they don’t necessarily solve a specific problem that the average real estate professional is facing.  These “solutions looking for a problem” often languish in terms of use and profitability because they don’t fit into a pre-defined niche.

We thought it would be interesting to hear about your “Day to Day Pain Points”.  For now, it’s just a discussion on the simple items in your everyday business that either:

  • You struggle to get done
  • You know could be done more quickly and efficiently
  • You just hate to do yourself
  • You see as a choke point or unnecessary strain on your otherwise successful business

My team’s business won’t match the average agent or broker’s need profile because we’re mostly involved in buyer-side transactions from internet leads.  But, to start the conversation, here are a few issues that we deal with on a regular basis, and may have found products that claim to help through them but haven’t found the silver bullet yet:

  • Creating a valuable, low-cost follow-up plan for long-term relocation buyers, with some automation but no cookie-cutter drip campaigns
  • Explaining the listing display process from agent to MLS to syndication without bludgeoning a buyer with boring information
  • Explaining the value of buyer agency to an early-process buyer who is just starting to browse homes, without sounding preachy
  • Hiring assistants who know the local area and market somewhat, and are motivated to convert clients but not sell homes

These are probably very different than some of your pain points, but give us 2 or 3 in the comment section, and let’s see if there are a number of issues that seem widespread across the industry.

About Sam DeBord

Sam DeBord is a former management consultant and web developer who writes for for Inman News and REALTOR® Magazine. He is Managing Broker for Seattle Homes Group with Coldwell Banker Danforth, and 2016 President-Elect of Seattle King County REALTORS®. His team sells Seattle homes, condos, and Bellevue homes.

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  • “Creating a valuable, low-cost follow-up plan for long-term relocation buyers, with some automation but no cookie-cutter drip campaigns”
    My mind is racing w/ ideas on this one. We talked about it over lunch…there is definitely a product in this somewhere. But it needs the right dataset to start with, that I don’t have. I suspect if Zillow had Yelp data to work w/…could be pretty interesting. Obviously you could give the agent the right tool, but then they would still have to create the content on their own…and we all know that doesn’t usually work out too well.

    • Right. Agents want something easy out of the box, but most buyers would require customization so you’re not sending info about 55+ communities to first time buyers or popular late-night bars to retirees.

  • SEO is my pain point.

    Regarding the low cost follow-up plan we put everyone on our Watch List so they get Emails of new properties that interest them. It is inexpensive to do, requires very little time, and sends them things that interest them, sometimes daily, vs. a monthly newsletter which takes a lot of time to put together and may not interest them.

    I figure if I can send to them almost daily then I am in front of them a lot, and being it is info that interests them they are less likely to unsubscribe.

    • seo is a pain point…what does that mean, exactly? The real issue is traffic, right? It doesn’t have to come from seo…it could come from anywhere? There are seo solutions out there. They are not cheap. But you can’t automate the whole thing. If you pay enough money or put enough work in, it’s not really an issue. “SEO” is too broad a topic to pinpoint like that as the pain point, IMHO.

      • I had first position on Google for an important keyword and now I don’t.

        I am trying to get the clicks to my site through other methods including PPC, but honestly there is no way to replace the exposure you get on Google from being in the 1st or 2nd position with anything else that I know of.

        Right now I am going through a lot of pain trying to get my position back and trying to compensate with PPC, so that is what I mean by a pain point.

        • Bryn, we’ve had some of the same pain. Lots of #1 positions now #4 behind the big 3 syndication sites. Sort of a big picture issue, though, one I don’t expect anyone but ourselves to solve.

          • Right, I did not keep my site up to date with a Plus One button and a blog, and now I am paying the price. Not sure what else might have dropped me but I think those are two biggies.

    • We put everyone on a drip for new listings to their email as well, Bryn, but I’m trying to find something additional with a more engaging topic for someone who will likely move to Seattle in 18 months.

  • Sam- I agree with you on a number of points. For example, Drew’s notion of real estate agents as travel concierges fits in nicely as a solution looking for a problem. From my vantage point, that example seems more like a problem looking for a problem. Lots of work and headache for a negligible increase in brand identity.

    I agree that the low cost follow up plan is the closest there is to a silver bullet. I think Doorsteps might be close, but not quite there. My clients are vacation home buyers so they often take quite a bit of nurturing. Sending them auto-emails with listings is nice, but it’s hard to create systems that send relevant listings when the inventory is so small in a niche market like I work. I think a newsletter that has a combination of new info as well as links back to evergreen content is probably a good bet in addition to a well crafted (and useful to the consumer) drip campaign.

    • I’m curious, how many relo clients do you have right now that you’d want to try something with?

      • What is your definition of relo? If it is similar to mine, I almost never have relo clients.

        • ok ok since they aren’t “moving” there full time. you are vacation home market.

          • Precisely. 90% of our buyers are second home buyers and 10% are locals who are making the switch from renters to owners.

    • lol..and touche on the solution looking for a problem. Likely some truth to that.

      The problem I see — is remaining top of mind to home owners for the 7 years when they are not buying/selling a home. At the franchise brand level, that is a very real issue, IMO. But then again, maybe they just don’t care…and they expect their agents to keep them top of mind with their end clients. But we all know most agents fail at that.

      It’s a big risk. But big potential reward if it earns them raving raving fans…

      • Real estate brands certainly have some work to do to remain relevant and keep top of mind awareness. The brands have two clients – the agents and the consumers. I think for the most part, big brands throw some money at national ad campaigns and pray that the agents keep in contact with their clients. I think brands can be more involved in local communities – both as volunteers and as donors which would pay big dividends much in the way that agents are involved in communities.

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