Home sweet home: Moving real estate and rental listings into the digital era
December 11, 2018
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This post is sponsored by Facebook.

The digital era is here, and it’s past time for industries across the board to adapt. While sectors like commerce and marketing naturally lend themselves to digital technology, others — like residential real estate — have had to get a bit more creative to seamlessly fit digital into their business models.

Listing agents and property managers do need to kick their digital game into high gear because 70% of consumers rank experiences that connect across digital and physical channels as being very important when choosing which companies get their business, and 84% of customers say personalized treatment is very important to them, according to a Salesforce study. So why not meet renters where they already spend their time? Why not make real estate listings and rentals truly digital?

Navigating the world of online real estate can be challenging when it comes to managing lead volume and assessing the quality of the leads collected online, according to Facebook Marketplace’s Product Marketing Lead Dean Ostilly. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth the effort, especially since there are tools available to help.

Digital rental listings -- particularly those that extend to mobile -- offer agents the benefit of interacting with renters through channels they use in their everyday lives. For instance, mobile-friendly listings enable consumers to search while they’re on the go.

“You can now look for your next apartment while in line at a coffee shop — or find new places to visit on a Saturday when you’re already out viewing open houses and new neighborhoods,” Ostilly said.

Through mobile apps, listing agents and property managers can also message renters and communicate with them in real time.

Delving further into the mobile channel, social media platforms represent a growing opportunity in the real estate market, especially considering the fact that 69% of Americans surveyed said they use social media, with 68% of adults using Facebook and 74% of surveyed Facebook users saying they visit every day, according to research from Pew.

As Facebook and other social platforms have grown to play a significant role in the lives of consumers of all ages, the scale and reach potential of the social channel for real estate listings is ideal, Ostilly said. People are already sharing and discussing topics including real estate on social media and in places like Facebook Groups, he said. And Marketplace, in particular, gives people a central destination to browse rental listings on Facebook and seamlessly connects agents, property managers and potential renters.

So if listing agents and property managers do choose to explore the realm of digital real estate listings, what should they keep in mind to make sure they’re getting the most out of it?

Ostilly offered these tips:

  • Find out where your potential buyers and renters are learning about, talking about and looking at real estate -- and be present there.
  • Be sure your online listings are accurate and complete -- don’t spare any details that might make the difference.
  • Put time and effort into the photos and creative assets that accompany your online listings.
  • If you’re going to invest in online real estate listings, make sure you’re taking advantage of the tools at your fingertips and responding as quickly as possible to messages and other engagement from potential buyers.

“Finding a home to rent is a very interactive process, and Marketplace is always looking for ways to help support that experience,” Ostilly said.

Once a real estate agent or property manager has extended business into digital and social channels, that doesn’t mean the work is done -- technology is always expanding and improving. Listing agents should continue to stay aware of the newest tech and trends that can help them do their business better. Ostilly said some of the trends agents should have on their radar include virtual and augmented reality, market data transparency and more complete, end-to-end online buying and renting systems.

And while the benefits of digital tools play well into the real estate market, it doesn’t have to end there. Looking beyond real estate listings, tools like Facebook Marketplace offer businesses an opportunity to connect with potential customers where they’re already spending their time, creating a unique opportunity to make real connections.