The holiday season is traditionally regarded as a slow time in the real estate industry, and that is definitely true if we are just talking about sales. But you might be surprised to find out that the last few weeks of December into early January are actually one of the busiest times of the year for online real estate searches.
There might not be a lot of inventory on the market at this time, and active buyers aren’t exactly plentiful, but one thing people do tend to have during the holidays is time in front of the computer or their smart phones. With so many people checking out local listings during the holiday season, it is actually becoming a perfect time for web savvy agents to fill their pipeline with leads.
If that sounds like something that could help your business heading into the new year, here are a few things you can do to get ready for the holiday surge in online real estate searches followed by a few ideas for how to best respond during the holidays and how to follow up in the new year.
Preparing for the Holidays
In order to gear up for the upcoming holiday surge in real estate searches, agents should be doing everything they can to make sure that their online presence is as solid as possible. The best place to start with this is updating your agent website and making sure all of the pictures and information are current.
In addition to updating your own website, you should also be checking your profile on all of the major real estate sites. Make sure that you are using the same updated photo and bio across all of the sites in order to present a consistent image. You should also make sure that the same information is listed for each of your social media accounts.
Another great way to prepare for the coming rush of online searches is to update the MLS information for all of your current listings. In addition to freshening up the pricing and descriptions for each listing, you might also want to go the extra step and update the pictures as well to make sure you are presenting them in the best possible light.
During the Holidays
Since most real estate agents view the holiday season as downtime, there is a significant advantage to be gained by being the one agent in your community that actually answers the phone during the holidays, so the first step in taking advantage of those extra searches is to simply answer your phone when it rings.
For cases when you aren’t able to make it to the phone, you should also make sure that you update your voicemail message and then return those calls as quickly as possible.
While you are likely to get some calls from people who are searching for real estate over the holidays, since they are searching online, you are even more likely to receive any inquiries in the form of email. That means that we have to be on top of checking for those emails as often as possible.
Any truly motivated holiday buyers are likely going to be emailing multiple agents, and the first one to email them back is the one that is most likely to get the sale.
After the Holidays
Following the holiday season, it is important to remember that anyone who might have contacted you about a property during the holidays is a much better than average candidate to buy or sell a home early in the new year. Make a point to contact them again early in January to see if there is anything you can do to help them.
If you happen to come across a listing that is similar to one that someone contacted you about over the holidays, remembering their interest and letting them know about the new property is often a great way turn a holiday lead into a customer for life.
With so many people taking time off of work to spend at home over the holidays, it’s no wonder that there is a dramatic increase in online real estate searches during this time. And by putting yourself in a position to capitalize on those searches, you can get a jump start on making next year the best one yet!