Optimizing for the Home Buying Cycle: The Research Stage

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Home shoppers can spend months on multiple websites as they transition through the four Home-Buyer Life Cycle Stages of Discovery, Research, Selection, and Closing. In our Optimizing the Home Buying Cycle series, we uncover all the ways to align your website to the needs of each of these four stages in order to deliver a consistently optimized and impressively effective home shopping experience. Yesterday, we went over some great ways to optimize your site for home shoppers who are casually looking at their next home’s possibilities. While we saw some fun, effective strategies to help draw in the Discovery crowds, as home shoppers transition into the Research stage of their Home Buying Cycle their questions, interests, and demands become more specific, critical, prominent, and stressful. To align, your website should be equipped with granular and informative content that answer the questions most critical in the Research stage while still remaining user friendly and engaging.

One of the major tools we discussed for the Discovery phase is the Automated Valuation Model, an estimation tool that helps potential home sellers discover the worth of their home. On the opposite site of the spectrum, in the Research phase, home shoppers become much more concerned with the investment they are about to make than the potential worth of their current home. To help put their questions and stress to rest, offer them Home Sales Trends and Transactions, a frequently updated data set complete with local housing trends and market information.

Another way to align your website to the needs of home shoppers in the Research stage is to offer accurate, expansive local content. This can include Community Information such as crime data, employment information, housing stability, and percentage of families with children. Another form of local content to consider for the Research stage is School Attendance Zones, a data set with test scores, teacher and parent ratings and reviews for the 40% of home buyers who have school-aged children. When incorporating informative local content, be sure to retain the simplicity and user friendliness your home shoppers have come to enjoy on your site. Information should be organized, easy to find, and prioritized. One great way to execute this is by organizing data into different tabs.

Finally, a great way to cater to the needs of home shoppers in the Research stage is to offer advanced search capabilities for available listings. Onboard’s Listings Search Engine offers over 25 search filters including nearby transit, local school ratings, and distance from a nearby starting point.

The Research stage is the mot stressful in the Home Buying Cycle. The best way to optimize for your home shoppers’ needs is by supplying all the local content they need while retaining a simple, user friendly interface. To learn more on how to convert more leads through the Home Buyer Cycle, register for our free upcoming webinar, Close More Deals: The Art (and Science) of Converting Leads to Sales.

Image Credit: CollegeDegrees360 on Flickr.com