Homebuyers usually go through what I call a ‘browsing period’—a period of time in which they’re just looking for information on homes, not necessarily to buy them straight away. This period can last anywhere from nine to 12 months, more or less.
Think about buying homes in the old days, before the internet became almost universally accessible: Buyers had browsing periods, but we browsed for homes using print advertising in magazines, newspapers, etc. We would look at print ads to get an idea of what homes’ prices were; we certainly didn’t want to be hounded by a professional real estate salesperson. At the time, we were hesitant to make that phone call to learn about the information the listing agent didn’t include in the ad.
When we did get closer to the point of actually buying a home, we finally ended up making the call to the Realtor. Then what did the Realtor do? They knew that the prospect was looking to buy sometime in the next two days, two weeks, or two months. After doing the browsing on their own, the buyer had come to a point where they were now a prospect, where they could determine what they were looking for, and how we were going to help them.
Back then, the browsing period was a lot shorter, so let’s look at what it looks like today.
Like I said, humans haven’t changed. They still want the browsing period, but we now have the ability, using the technology and tools available to us, to find out a buyer’s intentions sooner in the process. We have access to their contact information because, these days, buyers are registering with certain websites online.
It’s not that these internet leads are no good or that conversion rates are too low—when we understand that human beings are human beings, it really gives us an opportunity to help build trust. After all, a client needs to know, like, and trust the agent they work with to buy a home.
For us agents, these leads aren’t really even leads, but more like suspects; we don’t really know if they’re serious about buying or if they’re just entertaining the idea. But, because most home browsers these days are planning to move within two years, we have the chance to grow our relationship with the person during the browsing period. This way, when they get to the point of knowing they’re ready to buy, they officially become prospects.
Here at RE/MAX Action, we provide agents with the process, people, and technology to help you close more deals in less time. If you’d like more information, or if I can help you in any way, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’d love to speak with you.