"We're looking for a 3 bedroom between 2500 and 3000 square feet. We want to find a place in the 10028 or 10128 zip codes." When was the last time any buying conversation started like that?
Unfortunately, many real estate sites aren't bridging that gap between what their database can spit out and the way an agent actually sells a home, taking in the real needs of their buyer.
"We're looking for a 3 bedroom in a good area with good schools and two dogs who have a lot of energy. Fun places to go on the weekends are important, but we're looking for all that within a 30 minute commute of my new job."
Sound more familiar?
Conversations like these - and the fabric of our communities - are the reasons why properties are built and priced they are. It's also why people are way less willing to compromise on the quality of their neighborhood and schools than they are on price (according to the NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers).
It's encouraging to see some of our Lifestyle Search clients taking on the challenge of humanizing the web, but we have a long way to go as an industry.
There's no disputing criteria like beds, baths, and price are important parameters and play a starring role in online search, but why does it end there? Alain Pinel Realtors and EXIT Realty are two great examples of sites that integrate a natural flow of Lifestyle Search into their sites. Know exactly where you want to live? Great. Need some help? We'll steer you in the right direction. Need to start from an address and see what's around it? We can do that too.
One argument that sometimes bubbles to the surface amidst the Lifestyle Search conversation is that most consumers already have a firm idea of where they want to live when they start their search. But often, neighborhood changes often contribute to moves - and we certainly know that sometimes the smallest details of the surrounding community have the most weight on the purchase.
A study released in conjunction with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate's Lifestyle Search launch also found that 1 in 5 homeowners have moved or would like to because their community doesn't fit their lifestyle. The tools you use to help them search offline in your prospecting can be a time-saver and lead generator right on your website.
To learn more about Lifestyle Search, click here.
Image Credit: Fred Benenson on Flickr.com