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Real Estate Lead Nurturing: Understanding the Home Buyer’s Journey

By iremarketing Filed in: Real Estate Marketing
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In a perfect world, the process of guiding a potential client through a new home purchase goes something like this: You capture a real estate lead through your website or a referral. You make contact with them within 5 minutes (like always) and you qualify them as an opportunity. You set up a few showings and within 30 days you have something under contract.

Unfortunately, it’s usually not that fluid. Most of the time, you have to put much more time and effort into nurturing a relationship with a potential home buyer before they convert. And the needs of today’s home buyers are changing. It’s more important than ever to understand your client’s journey to buying a home.

The home buying journey takes around 11-27 months. Your lead nurturing plan could span several months — even years — so it’s important to build a foundation for a long-term relationship. Here are the different stages of a real estate lead lifecycle and what you should know about nurturing leads the at the right time and in the right way to maximize your pipeline ROI.

Consideration (2+ years before closing)

At this stage, home buyers are thinking: What type of home do I want? What areas do I want to consider? Is now a good time to buy? Leads in this stage are just thinking about buying and have likely not actively pursued an agent. Your first contact should be an introduction, letting them know you’re available to answer questions without pressuring them to make a decision. Let them browse, but make yourself known. Remember, the first agent to make contact with a real estate lead is 238% more likely to convert.

Online Research (1 year before closing)

At this stage, home buyers are thinking: What can we afford in our area(s)? What are the demographics, schools, etc. like in the area(s)? Leads in this stage have started to browse listings, but not yet ready to buy. 90% of all home buyers start their home search online, and are more likely to communicate via the web. Make sure your website is up to date and communicates your brand (you) and the unique value you offer. Once they’ve made contact with your site, send them relevant, helpful information to establish a connection and start building trust.

Active Search (4 months before closing)

At this stage, home buyers ready to start touring homes with an agent. They are thinking: How many homes have you sold this year? How well do you know the area(s) of interest? How will you help make this process easier? Real estate leads in this stage are aware of what they want and can afford, and want specifics about the buying process. As an agent, you should make yourself available for showings and offer recommendations based on their criteria. Timely response in this stage is crucial, so be prompt in your communications.

Transaction (1 month before closing)

At this stage, home buyers need an agent to negotiate contracts and guide them through the purchase process. They are thinking: How much should we offer for this home? What are the contingencies? Are we competing with other buyers? This is your chance to shine. Provide exceptional service and guidance, resources and referrals. It takes on average 23 days to negotiate a home purchase, so be upfront about the timeline and logistics. By establishing trust, you are giving them a reason to work with you again and refer family and friends.

Post-Sale (2+ months out)

At this stage, home buyers want to know about changes in their home’s value and what’s trending in the marketplace. Keep in touch with your clients by sending information about the local real estate market and their home’s current value. This helps to ensure repeat business and referrals when the time comes to sell or buy again, or when a friend is looking to purchase a home. Connect with them on social media and use automation tools to stay in touch via email and text. 84% of home buyers say they would use the same agent again, so put effort into generating repeat business.

An effective real estate lead management and nurturing plan for your brokerage and team should be included in your marketing toolkit. Engage in the customer journey, not just the transaction. Initiate lead action plans to ensure you aren’t missing a chance to convert and automatically connect with your clients throughout the home buying process to boost your brand image — and your ROI.

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