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Mapping the Customer Journey for Home Buyers & Sellers

12.10.21 10:00 AM By Rhys Daniels
A lot has been written about the customer journey of an estate agency client - that is, the home buyer journey - because funnelling potential buyers into a retail space, and converting them into paying customers is absolutely critical in today's competitive market.  

Similarly to how media theory "The Hero's Journey" can be used to dissect the structure of stories ranging from Star Wars to Disney classics, the underlying principles of how potential customers become paying customers holds the same across multiple fields. And you can map that out using the home buyer customer journey. 

Now, it's important to keep in mind that they home buyer journey from the perspective of the buyer is bound to be different to the home buyer's journey from the perspective of you, the estate agent. 
The Home Buyer Customer Journey
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For this reason, we have split this guide into two sections. In it, you will see the home buyer or seller's journey from the customer's viewpoint, as well as the journey from an estate agency's perspective.

Whether the discussion is about selling shoes or retirement plans, the main points hold true, however, because the significant costs and potential upheaval involved in buying or selling property, that journey becomes a little rockier.

To understand how estate agents can help clients navigate this path, we should start by defining that path. There are basically 6 phases along the customer journey of a home buyer or seller when they come to an estate agency. They are defined below...

Home buyer journey: A customer journey for estate agents

The home buyer journey - from the perspective of an estate agent.

Phase 1


Consideration: Defining the Need. The customer has only just realised that they have a need to either sell or purchase a property, and now they must decide how to address that need. Do they use an estate agency? Keep this early stage of the customer journey in mind and give them a reason to use your property business - whether it's via your expertise, the customer service offered through your estate agency software, or simply peace of mind!


Phase 2


Discovery: Search for Information. Now your potential customer must gather information that they will use further along in the process. They'll be using search engines online, word of mouth and - perhaps subconsciously - any advertising that they see or have seen previously. Keep in mind that, with our estate agency software, you can get advertising brochure templates made by our dedicated in-house branding team to help you get your agency's name out there in the physical world, as well as online through digital marketing.   


Phase 3


Selection: Compare and Choose. Once they have the necessary information, they will now make decisions regarding where to buy, what to buy, which agency to use, etc. This is why it's important that your agency: A. Uses PropTech and estate agency software to provide the very best service to your customers, and B. Advertises well enough both online and physically (using brochures) to capture those potential customers and turn them into paying customers. Towards the end of this phase, they will have chosen you as their estate agent of choice (because your marketing and services are so good as a Rezi software user!) and will begin the potentially less "exciting" and more "official" stages - documents, contracts and paperwork.


Phase 4


Verify: Documentation and Approvals. During this phase, your customers begin to enter the final stretch. Documents must be gathered and a mortgage must be approved. It isn't the most exciting phase for your customers, and they can become quite frustrated waiting for legalities, so be sure to keep engaging with them and providing them with relevant updates. Whether that's through automation, Rezi Anytime, or simple phone calls, that's up to you - but a good customer service is crucial.


Phase 5

Purchase: Contracts Exchanged. This is typically the final phase of the customer’s journey where paperwork is completed and contracts exchanged. During this time, it's imperative that you engage with your customers and make the experience as good as possible, as contracts and paperwork can be quite daunting and mundane. You can do this by providing them with their very own client log-in portal in Rezi Anytime, where your customers can log in to view all the information they need. This includes sales progression information (which is very valuable to your customers as you know!), electronic document signing, document upload and even appointment booking. 


Phase 6


Complete: Practical Move. The old property is cleaned out and everything now moves into the new home that you have helped your customer move into. This journey is complete, but remember that they may become return customers in the future. For this reason, you may want to consider adding them to your mailing list and sending out occasional newsletters to keep your great estate agency fresh in their minds! You may also want to consider asking them to leave a review for your agency - after all, if you provide as good a service as Rezi estate agency software allows you to, your customers will be happy to sing your praises and help build your online presence. 

Marketing during the buyer journey as an estate agency

At each phase of this journey, estate agents can use their marketing activities to target specific areas in order to increase revenues, improve the client experience, and create a more valuable customer relationship. 

Having a physical as well as a digital presence is all-important in today's world, so be sure not to neglect your advertising. 

We will take a look at each step in depth and discuss how Rezi estate agency software can provide unique opportunities along the way.
The Home Buyer Customer Journey
Consideration


In this first phase, the potential customer has just decided that they need to buy or sell a property. Unlike normal retail transactions, this decision is not entered into lightly and there is little chance that they will change their mind. Few things in life are as fraught and as significant as buying a home. It is therefore crucial that during this phase, your estate agency be seen as trustworthy, competent, and attentive.


First time buyers especially will want someone who is willing to take them by the hand and lead them through the rest of the journey. Before they ever see your website, our estate agency software - Rezi - can be at work behind the scenes making sure your agency puts its best face forward no matter what marketing channel is being utilised. If you'd like to know more about how our real estate agent software will become your most important employee, simply book a demo today!


Discovery


As we mentioned, there is a crucial need for consistent branding in real estate and it is even more important during this phase. This is the first time that a potential client will start paying attention and when they do, they need to see a consistent, trustworthy brand image. Rezi can make sure that all of your email campaigns, brochures, mailers, and anything else you produce look like they came from the same place. “Consistency breeds respectability” is a common marketing proverb for a reason. If it doesn’t look like you can keep your own house in order, how can you be expected to help someone else with theirs?


The other opportunity during this phase is to pitch yourself as a “one stop solution” to everything they might need. From mortgages to removals, if your agency is seen as a single, dependable solution that can address a myriad of needs, well that’s one less thing to worry about. With so many third party apps able to connect to Rezi, the sky really is the limit when it comes to adding arrows to your quiver. Home buying and selling is one of the most stressful times in the average person’s life and being able to get everything in one place certainly has its advantages.

Read more about our branding and brochure templates here!


Selection


Most people will continue comparing and changing their mind right up until they sign paperwork, but ultimately they will select an estate agency to work with and a property to purchase. Particularly now with so many online options available, they will likely choose more than one “just to see what’s available.”


For many homebuyers in the UK, 41% to be precise, most of the options they are given DO NOT fit their listed criteria. Rezi estate agent software solves this problem by using more sophisticated algorithms to match clients only with properties they actually want to see. Besides being simply smarter, this also translates to the customer feeling that they are being hear. In other words, they are receiving personalised, expert customer service rather than being bombarded with information on properties they don’t want or need - all thanks to your estate agency software!


Verify


Now documents must be gathered and approval on mortgages must be obtained. For agents using Rezi estate agency software and their nearly limitless ability to connect with other service providers, there are numerous opportunities for integration. Referrals for legal advice, mortgage providers, conveyancing, and more, the enterprising agent can extract more value from their customer by receiving commissions on any successful referrals.


This ability doesn’t just apply to those aspects of the journey that customers face now, but because Rezi can “future-proof” your business, no matter what comes down the pike, the prepared agency can find a way to maximise value in the future, as well.


Purchase


During this fraught phase, the customer is likely losing sleep at night wondering who has what paperwork and where they are in the process. With Rezi estate agent software, however, the answers to those questions are just a few clicks away. From the 24/7 availability of Rezi Anytime - our client login portal - to partnerships with apps like Signable, Zapier and ViewMyChain, customers can see in an instant where everyone else is.


By keeping everyone on the same page and in the loop, nerves are calmed and peace is restored. Those well-rested customers will now be able to say how their agent kept them up-to-date on the progress of their sale no matter what time of day or night. This kind of positive word-of-mouth will translate into more customers all seeking that same level of personalised service, and with Rezi, it will be no challenge at all to provide it.


Complete


“The old place has to be cleaned out. We need to hire a truck for the move. AND we have a few small repairs to perform. Who do we know that can do all that?” With Rezi, you can fill your central database with anything you can think of to help your clients move house. Then when they ask, or preferably before that, you can provide a wealth of information to help them with a smooth transition.


Here, again, referrals and commissions can help your business extract the maximum value from your customers while also helping them. No one wants to spend all day looking for a good truck hire company or a cleaner. If you’ve done your job well and have established yourself as a trusted business, why wouldn’t you capitalise on your contacts and expertise? It just makes sense. That adds up to pounds.


At every phase, Rezi real estate agency software is designed to help you find more opportunities for revenue while still providing expert customer service. From vertical integration to third party applications, Rezi is bound only by your imagination and built to adapt to almost anything you can think of.


Future proof your estate agency today by booking a demo with our friendly team of software experts!
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The home buyer's journey

The home buyer's journey - from the perspective of the buyer.

While we focus mainly in this article on the home buyer's journey as a customer journey from the perspective of an estate agent, it's also worth considering how it looks from the perspective of a buyer/seller in today's market.


Here's a quick list summarising the process a property or home buyer goes through when making a purchase...

  1. Figure out moving costs and fees
  2. Establish how much they are able to borrow
  3. A search for the right property 
  4. Attend property viewings 
  5. Make an offer on the right purchase
  6. Confirm and agree the sale
  7. Find a solicitor, complete a mortgage application and mortgage valuation
  8. Conveyancing begins
  9. Contracts are drafted and solicitor confirms property details
  10. Searches done by solicitor
  11. Mortgage is confirmed and home insurance is purchased
  12. Contract is signed 
  13. Moving dates agreed and contracts exchanged
  14. Confirm the move with removals
  15. Completion
  16. Get the keys and move in! 

As an estate agent, it's important that you use the above home buyer journey and place it within your customer's journey. Use it to time your marketing, advertising and automations, as well as improving your customer service once you've converted those potential customers into paying customers. 


Are you an estate agent or property buff looking to set up your own estate agency? Why not take a look at our free e-book - Setting Up an Estate Agency - or our separate guide for more information. 


If you're an estate agency looking to improve your overall offering, how your real estate business is run and increase instructions or sales, then book a Rezi estate agency software demo today! We'd love to hear from you...

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