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Years before the internet home buyers and sellers needed to contact a real estate agent if they wanted property information. The agent was the connection and knew how to find a buyer for a home and a home for a buyer.

Obviously things have changed. Today most home buyers (around 92%) shop for their next home online at some point in the process. Home sellers can get a pretty good idea of what their home may be worth by doing research online.  Information provided by websites like Zillow.comTrulia.comRealtor.com, and Homes.com have greatly increased the customers understanding of value as it relates to property. The real estate agent is often NOT the first contact with the consumer.

So, do home buyers and sellers even need a real estate agent anymore? Thankfully, the answer is “More Than Ever”! You had to have guessed that would be the answer, or I would not be writing this article. I might be selling shoes at the local mall.

Sellers want to work with an agent that can find them a ready, willing and able buyer for their home. But there’s more to the request. They also want a buyer who is reasonable about the conditions of the sale, offers them a fair price and is easy to work with.

Buyers want to work with an agent who can find them the right home. And yes, there is more here too. The home buyers desire guidance relating to home inspections, mortgage financing, Etc. They also want a home at a fair price, minimal risk of principal during the transaction (a way out if things do not go as planned), and yes, a reasonable home seller.

The real estate agent that is connected offers the buyer and seller a greater chance of success. It is a simple matter of having more resources to work with. Technology is great, but there is a learning curve. Many of today’s real estate agents have enough on their plates just keeping up the industry changes let alone trying to understand the intricacies of the latest tech programs.

In the pre-internet days, the connection was based on knowledge as it related to home and buyer availability. Now it is related to the real estate agent who is connected to the public, a professional network and a crack staff.

Let’s start with the public:  This can be summed up in two words “Social Media”. Is your agent active on sites like FacebookTwitterLinkedinPinterestAbout.MeGoogle+ ? If so, do they have any connections, likes, pins, tweets, followers. It might be a good question that both buyers and sellers may want to add their next agent interview.

Let’s use Facebook as an example. All things being equal, most home sellers would rather list their home with an agent who has 1,000 likes than just 50. The agent who has more followers means your home will be shared with 950 more people. The real magic is knowing how to have your home seen by over 10,000 people in 24 to 48 hours after it is listed. That is real connectivity.

It is “selfless plug” time. Check out my Facebook Business Page at www.facebook.com/BerksCountyPARealEstate . You will see approximately 5,260 likes and climbing. Feel free to add to the number by liking my business page.

Consider real estate agents who have a presence on websites like Zillow.com, Trulia.com, and Realtor.com. Sellers can get better positioning of their home listing when an agent uses these national syndicators.

Buyers can find the highest rated real estate agents on sites like Zillow, Trulia, and Stik.com. Read the reviews of the agents you may want to work with and make sure they are connected.

Lastly, do a web search on google.com. Use key phrases to search for homes or real estate agents in your area. See which rank highest. A large part of my decision to purchase a Weichert franchise was their positioning on Google. Search “Top Realtor in Berks County” on Google and tell me what you see.

The Professional Network Connection:  A real estate agent normally refer professionals in the fields of finance, title & home inspection to their clients. You may also want someone who is connected to Handy people, cleaning services, moving companies, Etc. It is a necessity to have a list of professionals your agent can recommend. The professional services network connection is often overlooked but is none the less important in getting a real estate deal to the table.

The Crack Staff:  Many times a customer will hire an agent without considering their support staff. You not only want to be connected to your agent but the staff as well. At Weichert Realtors® Neighborhood One, we have a staff of and agents that provide a specialty boutiques style of real estate service. The customer/agent/staff connection is important to us. We use a system called Folio. It allows the home buyer, The seller, mortgage lender, title clerk and anyone else associated with a real estate transaction to be connected. It is a type of online collaborative that keeps all informed of where things stand in the deal.

Being a connected real estate agent in today’s market is important. It may be the difference in a home buyer getting the right home before it is no longer available. It may be the difference in a home seller finding the right buyer sooner, so their home does not sit on the market forever thus making it look unwanted.

The first connection is the important one. Find a Realtor® who is connected and you will be in good hands!

Knowkedge is Power!

Jeffrey C. Hogue