What A House And A Big Green Egg Have In Common
Michelle and I recently moved our family "in-town," so as to be closer to the things that we do so often, like school, ballet, basketball, football, baseball, etc. The move has reduced our drive times very nicely, so we have more time to work and play. As with most families, the move created new needs that required filling, and I was/am in charge of the family grill.
Our past home had a nice natural gas grill, but I decided to do some research before getting the next family grill. We love our grilling at the Manausa house, so I decided to "rule nothing out" in my search for a new grill. I went online and visited more than 10 different sites dedicated to grilling and reviewing grilling products. I was rapidly becoming educated and opinionated in all things grilling.
My buddy Ron had shown me a Big Green Egg, and I was intrigued by his great appreciation for this grill. Now understand, Ron is closer to 300 lbs. than 200 lbs., so his opinion on grilling carries some weight with me. I went on to read nearly 100 different customer reviews about this great grilling product before I made the decision to buy it at our local Pinch-A-Penny, and I have not been disappointed.
So what does grilling and the Big Green Egg have to do with real estate? Not much. But the process that I went through as a buyer is a lesson on modern consumerism that is lost by many real estate companies worldwide. Just as buyers of the Big Green Egg go online to learn more about the industry, the process, and the product, so too do the buyers of homes for sale in Tallahassee.
Home Sellers Can Learn From The Big Green Egg
By examining my shopping process (as you can verify when you do your own shopping and research online), we can gain insight into what homebuyers are doing and then better understand how the top real estate marketers are actually reaching them at the time they are ready to make a buying decision. Our research has determined that there are three key stages of buying on the internet, and every consumer undergoes these at rates that vary with different products and services.
Consumers today are flocking to the internet at one or all three stages of the buying process. They arrive as "information seekers," wanting to learn as much as possible about the product or service that they seek. They are often drawn to the large international websites that spend millions of dollars per year to draw traffic to their sites. The information seeker is not going to be making a buying decision, and they are focused on general information. Sadly, this is where most real estate companies try to market a home for sale, and the shoppers on these websites are not ready to buy.
During my time as an information seeker (shopping for a grill), I was on all the large grilling sites and learning that there were great alternatives to gas grilling. I learned quite a bit about what I should be looking for in a grill, as well as the size that would be most suitable for my needs. Most homebuyers are like this as well. They look at homes for sale in many places and at many prices ranges, to get a "feel" for what they should expect when they buy a home.
The second stage of the buying process moves the consumer to be a "comparison shopper," seeking tools and information. They have gathered enough information so that they are comfortable enough to begin eliminating options and to begin narrowing down their choices. I became fixated with hardwood grilling, and knew that my next grill would be something that allowed me to cook over natural coals. I then started to look for features in these types of products that I would find valuable.
Homebuyers do the same thing during the comparison shopping stage. They no longer are looking at national websites, as they want to know more about the local community that has drawn their attention. After all, real estate is local in nature and they want to know as much about the community as they do about specific homes.
They want market information, they want neighborhood information, and most importantly, they want an easy-to-use property search tool for the local community. Comparison shoppers are not going to be making a buying decision, but they are definitely becoming more familiar with valuations and have locked-into their favorite website(s).
The third and final stage of the buying process is the "ready buyer." This consumer has done the research and studied the market and knows exactly what she or he is looking for. In my case, I read enough product reviews of the Big Green Egg to know that I wanted it, and what features that I was going to purchase with it. I walked into the store, found a salesperson, and told him exactly what I wanted. I spent about 10 minutes in the store to make the purchase.
The entire process for me buying the grill took about two weeks. The information seeking stage and the comparison shopping stage took most of the time, as my choice allowed me to immediately buy locally what I had found online.
And the homebuyer is no different, though we have found the 3 stages last not two weeks, but about 9 months. And the homebuyer might not be able to immediately find the home that she or he has decided to buy, and that is why a targeted home selling plan is so important.
If a real estate company understands these three stages of the home buying process, then their marketing to consumers in the 2nd and 3rd stage should be apparent. You can determine the best real estate company to hire by going online and discovering who is attracting the comparison shopper, in order to "be there" as consumers emerge into "ready buyers."
You should be able to sell your home fast, in any market conditions, if you hire the real estate company that has been drawing and grooming the "ready buyers" in your local housing market.