First, the positive, because I do so love accentuating the positives when I see them. For whatever reason, I’m more fascinated by problems and issues and doomporn and such, but it’s so nice to see real estate people doing really cool shit.
The example here is Real Living, based in DC. The co-founder and co-CEO, Darrin Friedman, has created one of the — if not THE — coolest real estate brokerage website I’ve ever seen. Check it out here: www.rlathome.com.
Seriously a great job, Darrin!
I Love This Website
Starting with that homepage with full-motion, fullscreen video in the background, it’s hard to find fault with the site. I especially love it because it doesn’t put “Property Search” front and center; not sure how that affects conversion and lead generation and so on, but hey, maybe a brokerage could focus on branding itself and telling the story of how it is different without being ALL about “SEARCH FOR A HOME!!!1BBQ!!!111!!” as if that were the only thing brokerages do.
The Neighborhood Profiles are among the best I’ve ever seen.
Love the design, the color scheme, typography… even the little detail of the square going from B&W to color on mouseover… just really well done. And once you go into a neighborhood, you get this:
And that video that I just told you to go watch?
The camera work and editing were done by Darrin himself, and the copy and the voiceover are by Mrs. Darrin. They’re a talented, creative couple, no? Why they’re not making movies instead of messing around with real estate is a mystery, but it is one the rest of us could be thankful for.
This isn’t a full site review or anything, and I don’t work for RealLiving, (but hey, Darrin, if you wanna throw money my way, you got my number, right?) so all I can tell you is, go check out this website. It’s very, very cool.
A Suggestion, With Wider Implications
There is one small suggestion I might make, however, and this is probably more general to REALTORS everywhere.
One of the coolest features of this brokerage website is how it handles the Ye Olde Find an Agent thing. RealLiving does an excellent job of using video to introduce the agent to a potential buyer/seller. Again, go check it out.
The discordant note comes, however, here. (I apologize in advance to Erin Deric, but hers was the best example of the phenomenon; I do not mean to embarrass, but hopefully offer a suggestion, and if there was a way to hide your identity, I would have.)
Here’s the photo of Erin on her profile page:
And here’s the video of Erin, on the same page just below the fold:
Do we see the issue here?
Erin Deric strikes me as an extremely attractive woman, in both the photo and the video. Okay, yes, the video probably could have used a bit more makeup and lighting setup, but she still looks great in the video. And seems human, and genuine.
The trouble is the glamor shot photo. It actually isn’t clear that the two are the same people. Her photo actually makes Erin look a whole lot more like Ashley Judd and a bit less like… well… Erin Deric. I understand that some photographers want to go the extra mile to make client’s headshots look really, really good. But I’d suggest easing up just a tad on that.
The point here isn’t to enter some beauty contest; the point is to convey who you are to the potential buyer/seller. In this case, when the photo and the video are literally on the same webpage, and you go from the photoshopped/whatevered glamor shot to the real, authentic video, the immediate gut reaction as a consumer is, “Why she so insecure about her looks?” or “That photo must be 10 years old!”
Given how important trust is to the practice of real estate, and how important authenticity is to the everyday working REALTOR, I just think easing back on the glamor throttle would help far more often than hurt. Here’s an example from the same company, of yet another very attractive young woman, but look at the difference:
Sure, it’s a professional photo, so you want to take it seriously, not just as a selfie on your iPhone. But just sayin’ ease up and tap the brakes on the over-the-top glamor shot.
After all, that is why I don’t use this headshot of mine, since no one would believe it’s me*:
*: The list of people who do not believe this is my headshot includes my mom. And the actor Takeshi Kaneshiro, who definitely doesn’t think this is me at all.
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