The Unconditional Blog

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Archive for the ‘Online marketing’ Category


Affordable housing – can we please learn from others!

I am not sure if I am more amazed by this proposed bill being introduced by the Housing Minister to provide for affordable housing or by the only reaction that the media could find to report – that being the Property Council’s view that the outcome of the bill will result in higher building costs as developers, forced to take a lower margin on “affordable” housing pass on this “cost” to regular buyers.

Is everyone missing the point here?

This proposal is unworkable, how would it ever be possible to demarcate a property as “affordable” – it is a house, indistinguishable from any other house. I shudder at the thought of a highly expensive bureaucratic team established to monitor these new “affordable” houses so that some “unscrupulous” owner did not try and sell such a house on the open market and land a sizable profit.IKEA BoKlok House - affordable housing for the UK

The housing market is a private sector open-market economic model driven by supply and demand – for the government to try to intervene is naive at best. Sure there are issues with affordability of homes for young people, but trying to create an artificial market for a designated house is impossible – surely we have some intelligent advisers in our government who could look to see what they can learn from others.

Overseas there are very workable models of assistance in the area of finance to help young people buy a home (of their choosing – not some select group of properties our government want us to buy).

Additionally why not let the market demand encourage developers find new ways to build more efficient modular houses – try looking at the IKEA housing model in the UK. We are not alone in this world in having social and economic problems – how do we let politicians come up with such half baked ideas!


One relevant property picture is worth a thousand words

Posted on: December 2nd, 2007 | Filed in Agent Tips, Online marketing

With 92,000 properties on the website at this time, the question is as ever how to find what you are looking for? – whether it is a classic 50’s bach on the shores of lake Rotoiti, a city pad in Christchurch or a slice of rural lifestyle in Cambridge. The fact is there is no science to searching for property – it involves the right balance of “heart and head”, however there is one element without which no search can be complete – images.

Given the criticality of images as part of a property search it never fails to amaze me the number of properties that get posted on our site (and other property websites) with either no photo or photos bearing no relevance to the property.

I speak to what is sometimes thought of as “innovative marketing” by some real estate agents. The photo of a dog to highlight that his “master and mistress” are moving and “Ben needs a new home!” – or a 6 year old perched on the suitcases – “We’re off to OZ – the house needs to be sold!” or worse still a photo of the Taj Mahal – “Our home is a temple, it can now be yours”.

Such innovative marketing misses the key point about the internet – it satisfied a functional need, people want to efficiently and quickly peruse the equivalent of every real estate office window and filing cabinet – all from their home PC or office desk – what they want is relevant photos of the property, lots of photos, and lots of relevant photos. If an agent tries to be clever it can be damaging and counter productive as people skip the property and move on down the list of properties.

Agents please note the public are speaking!


Selling your house online?

Posted on: November 26th, 2007 | Filed in Buying / Selling a home, Online marketing

Seems such an attractive proposition in this world of ubiquitous “always on” internet, just imagine the reaction of your friends as sipping that coffee you nonchalantly advise that you have just bought or sold a house – all from the comfort of the local cafe!

The reality is somewhat different – just to debunk the myths.

In New Zealand the transaction of land (and in most cases by default property) requires a written contract to be signed and a consideration (money) exchanged. contract-261107-sm.jpgThe process of buying and selling houses is however anything but easy and the exchange of a contract is the final stamp on what can be a very demanding and fraught process.

Therefore for a website to say that you can “sell your house” for xx dollars is being somewhat conservative with the truth.

Online is a medium for communication, a highly efficient and powerful medium – in the case of real estate it provides a very efficient means of advertising available properties for sale or rent – rich images, comprehensive information all go a long way to help prospective buyers find what they are looking for. But what it can never do is sell a house!

Having recently seen the proposed reform of the real estate agents act presented by the Associate Minister of Justice it surprises me that when they talk of the reforms being in the best interest of the consumer, why then did they not choose to address the issue of the role of some real estate websites and the services they offer?

It is very interesting to note that in the UK the Office of Fair Trading brought about the closure of a property website set up by Tesco (one of the largest UK supermarket chains) based on this position:

“If an internet property retailer does anything for their clients more than simply carry an advertisement, for example if their website has a message board for sellers to contact buyers, they will be doing estate agency work. It may well be that most internet property retailers are acting as estate agents.”

Clearly in the UK they feel that it is appropriate to protect the consumer and do so by providing the appropriate organisation with the teeth to act – here our government chooses to see only half the story and attack a section of the real estate industry (the agents), missing an emerging and significant component.

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