The last few weeks, we’ve talked about preparing for the next year and making goals, but it’s time to actually look at what 2017 could bring. Here are the big

Here are the big numbers from 2016 that will shape this coming year.

It’s well documented how almost everything in real estate starts online. Here are some statistics concerning that and other trends that are going on in 2016.

80% buyers start their home search online.

This puts more stress on your single property websites and you SEO tactics. Printed ads and people driving around neighborhoods are dying ways people search for houses. Having anything but the highest quality pictures will limit your prospects.

Online floor plans and detailed descriptions are worth more than ever.

83% of all home buyers want to see pictures of the property online.

It’s surprising that this number isn’t at 100%. This includes virtual tours and drone shots. We’ll touch back again on drones in a little here.

The young generation accounts for 68% of all first time home buyers.

Marketing to them is much different than marketing to older buyers. Make sure that your sites and pages are mobile compatible. Over a third of 28 and under will start their research on buying a home from their phone. Most of the time, a millennial will disregard a brand pretty quickly if their site doesn’t look professional, and can’t be easily accessed from their phone.

Just 9% of realtors were using social media to market their listings.

This is another surprising statistic. We’ve harped on the importance of using your social media platforms over and over. It’s a giant piece of the pie and it’s not even being utilized by one tenth of agents right now. This is one of the best and cheapest methods for getting the word out there on the properties you’re selling.

This is even bigger with first-time buyers, since they are usually younger. Not only that, but 72 percent of Americans use Facebook on a regular basis. You’re reaching so many people each time you promote something there.

49% of leads are through referrals.

This is something that hasn’t changed, even with the Internet taking over, and probably won’t anytime soon. Personal referrals could be called the most important part of your marketing, just based on the numbers at least. Remind your clients to tell anyone interested in buying or selling a home to refer you.

73% of all buyers say they would use their agent again or recommend them to a friend.

This bodes well if your clients are satisfied. This is why you need to stay in touch with past clients, they are so big for bringing in leads.

It was 35% cheaper to buy than rent in 2016.

Targeting some long term renters throughout this year is a good idea. Look up how much they’ll save in the area they live at and use it to persuade.

These stats just reflect the shift into how realtors need to do business. Focus on building up your online and social media presences. They are the key to successfully reaching the up-and-coming young-buyer market, but also key to keep up with the growing number of people looking online.

Those are more cut and dry situations, let’s take a look at some trends moving forward and look at Zillow’s predictions for 2017.

1. Cities will focus on a denser development of smaller homes close to public transit and urban centers.

This means that new homes will be made smaller and smaller. The shift also reflects a renewed focus by builders on the neglected market of entry-level buyers. Your buyer clients might ask you to focus more on finding homes with upscale features or green technology but might not have the biggest square footage.

2. More millennials will become homeowners, driving up the homeownership rate. Millennials are also more racially diverse, so more homeowners will be people of color, reflecting the changing demographics of the United States.

We touched on this in the statistics, and it will continue to grow and will be even more of a factor throughout the upcoming year. When you are making your marketing plans for 2017, this just adds even more important. Using your social media marketing and platforms is one of the best ways to reach them. But making sure your websites are mobile proof, will really make the difference.

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85% of millennials own a smartphone. They do a whole lot of research online and a big chunk of that is off of their phones. Make sure that your website is optimized to work well for smartphone viewing. It can’t be glitchy or slow loading on the mobile browser. If it is the viewer will probably give up on the site.

Most of the time, a millennial will disregard a brand pretty quickly if their site doesn’t look professional, and can’t be easily accessed from their phone.

3. Rental affordability will improve as incomes rise and growth in rents slows.

While rents in most large areas will continue to increase next year, they’ll grow at just 1.7 percent next year, following a similar growth this year, according to Zillow’s rent forecast. But other areas will go down.

It won’t be that noticeable of an effect, but it is something to consider when you prospect.

4. The percentage of people who drive to work will rise for the first time in a decade as homeowners move further into the suburbs seeking affordable housing — putting them further from adequate public transit options.

As homeowners move deeper into the suburbs and out of walking distance or near public transportation in search of affordable housing, the percentage of people who drive to work will increase. Naturally, this means the high-end market is closer to the main or downtown areas.

5. Home values will grow 3.6 percent in 2017, according to more than 100 economic and housing experts surveyed in the latest Zillow Home Price Expectations Survey. National home values have risen 4.8 percent so far in 2016.

After a 6.3 percent increase over the past year, home prices are poised to rise another 5.2 percent through September 2017, according to a recent report from CoreLogic. Rising prices have doubled the amount of home equity held by Americans with the average homeowner gaining more than $11,000 in home-equity wealth last year alone.

This is an opportunity to check in with homeowners who might have been waiting for a better list price. It could also help out the expired market. 

Drones will continue to make an impact.

In 2017, we’ll likely see drones being used in the real estate space with a greater degree of regularity than we see now. Given that location is everything in real estate (and it really is), sellers will want to schedule flyovers with drones to take pictures that’ll appear to would-be buyers. Additionally, using a drone to do a live posting on social media is a great way to pull in views

At this point, you’re already falling behind if you’re not shooting aerial photography for each of your listings with a drone.

There are a lot of fairly-priced drones out there, but make sure yours is equipped with the right camera and isn’t extremely tough to navigate throughout a house. If you are serious about starting this business you need serious hardware to keep up with your competition.

It is important to view the type and quality of videos that each drone is capable of before making any type of purchase.

You can find the regulations right here on the FAA’s website.

Some of them are, you are only allowed to fly during the day and it must always be in your visible range. There are a few restricted zones that allow no flying at all time and there is a height and speed limit as well.

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Plan Your Shoot

Research the area beforehand. You need to know what aerial shots or landmarks to include. For example, if you want to show how close a house it to the beach or some water. Or if it’s near a popular area downtown.

Ask your client if they want anything specific to be included, golf courses, parks or anything else. On the flip side, ask them if there’s anything that they want left out. They probably don’t want industrial structures or cell towers to be standing out.

Choosing the proper time is massively important. You need the sun to light up the home, but not to an extreme level. It’s going to be different for different areas and landscapes. A beach-front property is going to need to be shot a different time than a property near a bunch of trees.

You should want 10 seconds or so of smooth video at a time.  Higher frame rates will allow you to slow shots down even more without losing the smoothness of the video. Plan out the best routes around what you want as well, to make sure to get best out of your battery.

Master Your Post Production

This is where you can make up any problems you had with color or distortion problems you may have. Using Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere Pro are going to be your most detailed programs to really improve your video.

Transitions are important and so is background music or voice overs.