Everybody has a website. Paris Hilton has a website. Perez Hilton has a website. Your REALTOR® has a website. I can't advise you what makes a good gossip website, but I can tell you what separates the good from the bad in real estate.
Traffic: You can have the best website out there, but if no one visits it, then what's the point? The Internet is the place to go when thinking of buying a home: 9 out of 10 buyers searched the Internet about real estate before doing anything else (see The Google Monster and Real Estate). When listing your home with an agent, ask yourself “Will his/her site generate the most traffic for my listing?” The more people that see your home will obviously generate the greater amount of interest.
With 3 times the number of unique site visits per sales representative than the competition (COMSCORE and CREA, 2009), the CENTURY 21 website is the obvious choice for promoting your property. Sure, there are a lot of good sites out there, but by sheer volume CENTURY21.ca dominates. By massing all CENTURY 21 agents together under CENTURY21.ca, the site's Google ranking has jumped drastically and outdone the competition, directing more people to our listings and to your home.
Google Ranking: Google has the task of compiling all the information on the web and generating a list of sites relevant to the user's search. The Google search bot looks at updated content, relevance and number of links among other criteria to determine search rankings. Which site would have more links and new content? An independent website for an individual agent, or the entire Canada-wide CENTURY 21 agent population? Where would you want your home to be?
Another benefit of having all CENTURY 21 agents on the same system is that our listings are available anywhere, anytime. It really is another MLS. A buyer in Vancouver, BC searching her local CENTURY 21 agent's site will be able to view all my listings in Milton, ON. I have yet to see another real estate brokerage site that comes even close.
Photos: As the saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” It's true. You can read a description of a home all day long, but it won't truly register until you see it for yourself. Many real estate websites, including REALTOR.ca, offer photos to browse, but only in a very limited number. Do you think five photos really do justice to your home? Showcase 21, an exclusive CENTURY 21 initiative, ensures that every listing on CENTURY21.ca has 21 photos, making our listings more attractive to serious buyers who want to see what the property looks like.
Accessibility: There is a direct correlation between site traffic and accessibility. Many CENTURY 21 agents have multiple vehicles driving traffic to their site, and onto your listing. Personally, I use multiple URLS, CENTURY21.ca search, Facebook, Twitter, my Blog, Google Ad Words and other methods too numerous to list. Is your agent doing this? Without their page being front and centre, your listing will be relegated to the back pages of the Internet (Seriously, how many people have actually looked on page ten, or even page five, of a Google search?)
It is important to remember that the object of having a website is to allow potential buyers easy access to your listing, and the ability to find it in the first place! By working with an agent who stays current with web trends, technology and search power, you can be assured that the most amount of people are seeing your listing, and not the competition.
Seth Ferguson is a Sales Representative with CENTURY 21 Future Realty Inc., in Milton, Ontario. He serves Halton Region, including Milton, Georgetown, Oakville, Burlington and Acton. Looking to buy or sell? www.sethferguson.ca.