The Unconditional Blog

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Archive for the ‘Online marketing’ Category

13

Sharing the experience of house buying

Posted on: March 19th, 2011 | Filed in Buying / Selling a home, Featured, Online marketing

House buying is a significant undertaking and from a personal perspective not something that I have undertake for over 10 years, as we have been, and remain very happy in the home we have owned for this period. However a property appeared on the market recently. One, which really captured our imagination and set our hearts racing. As genuine and interested buyers I thought it would be very interesting to share the experiences and feedback on the process of this house hunting / house buying.

The house in question basically ticks all the boxes for us of a house that we would very happily move into – a house that, having kept our eyes on the market for many years we thought in that classic sense that there would “never be a house that would meet or exceed our expectations”! (and at a price that we could afford!)

I propose to post a number of articles in the next week or so as we progress through the process, a process that may or may not lead to us buying the house.

I intend to be completely honest about our experience. I have been completely transparent with the agents concerned, they have my business card as CEO of Realestate.co.nz and we are approaching this as committed and serious buyers, not as a piece of consumer research; although I hope that there will be some interesting insights.

I do not intend to disclose the specific details of the property nor the names or location of the agents. I trust that the insights, observations and feedback will be of interest to buyers, sellers and agents alike.

The first experience for me in relation to this property was one of those moments of surprise and delight. I received a phone call from an agent, someone who I had not met previously. She stated politely that as we had previously visited an open homes a couple of months ago she was keen to provide us with early notification of a property about to come on the market later that week that may interest us – if we were potentially in the market for this type of house in this location.

I have to say I was very impressed by the professional and considerate manner of the agent. We had not registered to be on a database but given that we had not been barraged in the preceding few months by potential properties I was not offended by this proactive approach, especially when the property so completely matched our criteria.

The agent provided us with the address and a brief description allowing us that night to drive by the property and more importantly look up details on the property for free on Zoodle. First impressions – perfect!

I should point out at this time that the agent who highlighted this property to us was not the listing agent!

Listings presentation online

The property appeared on realestate.co.nz the next day and was superbly presented with a great selection of photos, providing a comprehensive view of the property. With the address displayed on the property nowadays provides so much potential to investigate the local community and amenities all from the comfort of your home computer.

Whilst property descriptions are useful the real power of a listing online lies in the photos and address. When it comes to photos there is never a situation where I could say there could be too many as it is amazing how easily you forget some aspects of a property from an open home visit where comprehensive photos can prompt you to recall.

Coming up – the open home and floor plans

11

New Year brings new business models for real estate

Posted on: February 8th, 2011 | Filed in Featured, Online marketing, Real Estate Industry News

It is often said that the best time to launch a new company is in the depths of a recession. To survive in the midst of such adversity should surely provide a proof of the potential when and if the recovery comes, and the economy begins again to fire on all cylinders.

Well, we are from all accounts climbing; albeit slow out of recession across the general economy. The real estate market though is still not as yet firing on all cylinders. Sales in 2010 were barely above the all time low of 56,071 in 2008 at just 56,303.

When compared to the 5 year period of 2003 to 2007 when the average total year sales were just under 107,000 it is very clear to see how slow the property market has become in recent years. Even during the recession of the Asian Crisis of 1997/8 the average sales volumes during those years was over 80,000.

So despite this slow market it is therefore not surprising to see some new companies emerging in the real estate market. With these new companies comes some new approaches which clearly are trying to define a new business model to attract what is still a significant business.

The real estate industry in the residential sector alone accounted for total transacted sales of just under $25 billion in the last year. With an average commission of around 3.5% that adds us to close to $850 million in fees earned by the industry per annum in the depth of the property market recession. In the height of the market the figure reached over $1.4 billion.

Such revenue opportunity supports a large industry of over 11,000 sales agents working out of a total of close to 1,100 offices around the country.

These new entrants to the market that have emerged over the past couple of months share a two key things in common:

1. They focus on online marketing

2. They offer a lower fee for selling a property

The two most recent companies to highlight are 200Square and The Property Market. Additionally it has recently been speculated that Mike Pero may be looking to enter the property market. It is interesting but not surprising that the proposed concepts is also a solution based on a lower fee structure combined with a focus on online marketing.

NZ Real Estate  - new business models for 2011Late last year details emerged of an Australian company Refund Real Estate looking to enter the market with a rebate scheme of fees and a focus towards online marketing.

This focus online is logical. As has been detailed in the blog previously the focus of property buyers and sellers is to use the web first and foremost for searching and researching property. This focus online in the home or the office is now fast being complemented by the evolution of the mobile real estate applications. At this stage with the Realestate.co.nz iPhone app which is gaining significant traction and usage, with over 14,000 downloads and well over 1,500 daily users. So for smart new companies to advocate the priority to online marketing is both logical and appealing as in so doing they not only save their clients significant amounts of money compared to print advertising, but also provide great analysis of lead generation.

The other aspect of these new companies, being the low fee offering as compared to the established operators. Certainly the consumer appeal of paying a flat fee or a lower percentage is undoubtedly strong, the key question will be as to the ability of these companies to make the business model work. There have been those who have tried and succeeded with a low fee structure, uniquely in the Christchurch market with Diane Astle and Premier Real Estate both offering a 1% fee service. Equally there have been those who have tried and failed, most notably The Jones.

What is certain is that the web marketing advocated by these new companies is pointing the way to the future for this industry, with it comes cost savings for vendors as compared to print media. As for the fees for professional services of real estate agents – the judgment will ultimately be made by the consumer who will trust in agents that deliver true value whether that will be in a low fee, or a full fee structure will be interesting to see and well worth watching as the year progresses.

3

Realestate iPhone app proves popular!

Posted on: December 7th, 2010 | Filed in Featured, mobile, Online marketing, Technology

blue bar chart growing - croppedThe first week with the app has been a blast! – we are delighted and so it seems are our audience, which feels great.

Since we launched 10 days ago we have had just over 7,000 downloads.

The usage so far is spectacular. Over the weekend we found that the level of traffic really picked up as expected (and as shared with us by US real estate sites with apps) as people used it to plan, navigate and collate their open home tours!

On Saturday we had the equivalent of 1 in 10 of our website visitors to listings on realestate.co.nz accessing property information via the app. During that period they viewed over 10,000 unique properties – that shows just how compelling the app is with people on the go, who want to be in touch with the property market.

Not only is the usage great, the feedback is awesome – thanks!

iTunes-1The iTunes store provides a platform for rating the app and we are again delighted to have had 20 written reviews and 25 ratings with an aggregate score of 4 out of 5 – plenty of people rate it 5 stars, there are some 4 stars and some 1 stars (its an open rating system!). The review section though does not allow the opportunity to comment back to posters, so here is some answers to questions asked.

FatCat Matt commented “Good app for the crazy ones buying houses like us. But needs to list the auctions date also!”

This is a good point and currently the app only highlights that the property is being sold by auction, tender or by negotiation. We will take this on board for future updates to the app.

ReaderG commented “Looks great but why not iPad too? Look forward to the upgrade”.

A good question and one that has been asked a few times. Firstly the app works well on the iPad – in the 2x mode you get great images (example below) and maps – the images are in the main configured for the iPhone 4 retina display so the quality on the iPad is pretty good.

iPad image example

Secondly we are waiting and reviewing the role of the iPad in real estate search process and are keen to get feedback. The principle of the iPhone app is to have a device which people can use “on the go” – whilst out and about at open homes and at the weekend. The integration of photos captured at properties as part of notes on the property is core to the principle of the app and this cannot be handled on the iPad – at the moment.

What I think this comment shows us is how valuable a search on a map is to the real estate search within the website of realestate.co.nz. We are currently working on this update for the new year on the website.

I can say that an iPad app is part of our plans for the near future as would be an Android app and Windows 7 mobile app.

……………………….

Mazone66 commented “Sadly doesn’t show over 50% of current listings. Disappointing”

The app is currently showing 45,296 listings of properties and building sections for sale as per the screen shot below (great feature this to be able to zoom right out to the whole of NZ).

iPhone addresses 6 Dec 2010On the site currently we have 49,314 homes for sale, 16,743 building sections for sale as well as 11,382 lifestyle properties. That means that the app has 58% of all the current licensed real estate listings we have on the website (we have a subscriber base of over 95% of all licensed real estate offices in NZ).

So Mazone66 is partly right in that we do not show all listings, but we do have more than 50%. There are 2 reasons for this lack of completeness. Firstly whilst we have close to 100% of all listing sent to us by real estate agents with an address, still a lot of agents request us not to publish the address, secondly address matching to map positioning is not an exact science (for more detailed explanation on these two issue please read my comment to a question on the earlier blog post on the launch of the iPhone app). Rest assured we are working really hard to improve the ratio of listings that are shown on the app – we want to provide the most comprehensive experience.

……………………….

Zoomzoom.mike commented “The only app that has ever asked me to go into general settings to enable location; the rest ask the questions within the app“.

We have double checked with our development team at Cactus Lab and they tell us that the code for the app for the iTunes App store does not have an option to ask for location or not to ask. The experience that has been noted here is not a function of how the app is built but may be a part of the set up of the phone on an individual basis. I am sorry Mike that this was the experience, the iTunes app store and the iPhone platform has many compliance requirements and we have to build to that, we want a seamless experience and we are sorry that you had this experience.

ZoomZoom mike also commented”Needs to have more specific search / filtering to make it truly personalized and useful. For example I only wanted to see 3 bedroom, 2 bathrooms, less than $400k

The “refine” button allows for filtering of bedrooms, price and type of property. It does not provide filtering on bathrooms. We did in reviewing the spec for the app judge that removing the bathroom filter would not be a great loss in the interest of use of space. Clearly we may need to review this.

iPhone refine options Dec 2010

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appUser John commented “This is a great idea, done really well, except for the out of date realestate.co.nz database.

3 out of 4 houses I found with this app were actually no longer on the market. There are other houses around that don’t show up on the app. Also, it crashed 3 times in the 1day I was playing with it

The issue in regard to the houses that are for sale not showing up on the app was answered earlier. In regard to property found on the app no longer being on the market. This is of concern to us. Our database of properties for sale (as well as rental, commercial properties, businesses and farms) is an integrated database with all of the customers of the website (real estate companies and agents).

We have over 1,000 real estate companies and offices sending us data everyday – sometime multiple times per day. In this way our database becomes a mirror of the database of the real estate offices and is very much live and dynamic with listings constantly being added and removed. These companies and offices want to ensure that they only advertise on our website or theirs properties that are truly on the market.

As to the experience of the app crashing, this is very frustrating. Naturally we have extensively tested the app however unlike a PC environment the mobile OS environment is susceptible to the connections with carriers and the nature of the computing platform. We are really keen to be able to investigate such crashes. To help us if you wouldn’t mind if you could go to this website and follow this instruction to log crashes – it does this through a sync feature with iTunes so you don’t need worry about remembering where you were on the app when it crashed!!

0

Partnering with Westpac adds value to the new Realestate.co.nz iPhone app

Posted on: November 27th, 2010 | Filed in Buying / Selling a home, Online marketing, Technology

Westpac New ZealandThe new iPhone app has been undertaken as a partnership with Westpac bank. There is, in my mind, real value in being completely open and up front about this as it is vastly different to the traditional sponsorship model, where a large branded company pays money to “get their brand” on some other product or other. Often resulting in a sense of “selling out”!

The partnership with Westpac could have been with any bank. We chose to work with Westpac due to their pro-active, open approach from their marketing department. It also speaks to the logical synergy (ahh – marketing speak!) – banks, mortgages and property buying are all one inextricably linked event or activity and cannot for the vast majority of home buyers be unbundled.

Westpac have been a partner on realestate.co.nz for over a year now with a smart mortgage calculator on the property-for-sale side of the website and also another calculator on the rental side of the site, offering renters an insight into what their weekly rental payments could afford them if they put that towards a mortgage payment. This rich integration which pre-populates the selling price / rental price of property into calculators, is judged (based on feedback) as valuable and an added-value service. What is great news is that Westpac are delighted with the lead generation from these tools and the partnership.

Westpac site calculatorsWith the iPhone app we wanted to go further than just a calculator. The app has the ability to let the user call the real estate agent or email the agent from the phone when reviewing property from right across the street. So why not allow people to contact someone to discuss the mortgage? Westpac have mobile mortgage managers out and about in most areas of the country and these can be contacted through the virtual bank branch on the app. Just locate the closest branch on the map and dial up the mobile mortgage manager based there.

As well as accessing finance help and advice through the app, Westpac naturally have a vast number of ATM’s around the country and adding these to the map view of property search makes total sense – we all need to top up cash reserves, and knowing that there is one round the corner from the cafe seems to make sense and add to the interactive ability of the app.

Finally Westpac has the ability to communicate really effectively with our target audience in a way that benefits both of us. They have very highly trafficked website and featuring the app on that site reinforces the values of innovation with their customers. Their email campaign also accesses a large database of property prospects and then lastly their latest TV commercial being aired over the summer enables them to reinforce the value of this partnership and showcase the app.

2

Insight into online real estate marketing

Posted on: November 24th, 2010 | Filed in Featured, Online marketing, social media

marketing words croppedI was recently asked to do an online interview (they asked questions and I wrote a response!) for Property AdGuru on the subject of online real estate marketing. Whilst the focus of my response was addressed to the customers of realestate.co.nz – real estate agents and companies, I was conscious that the responses might well resonate with buyers, sellers and those who have a general interest in real estate.

Here are the full written responses.

What are the top three things you think agents need to include in their listing to get it noticed?

1. Photos

Magnificent Mission Bay - Realestate.co.nzSeems so simple, but in NZ as in so many countries the art of taking / commissioning photos of a property seems to be forgotten at best and completely ignored at worst. I still to my horror, see listings with no photos or photos of the bathroom or the couch as the first photo. So little time taken to make such a major impact. It really frustrates me to see the abdication of responsibility. I often see better and more insightful photos taken for a $20 item on e-bay than I see for a $300,000 property.

Having said all of that we do see the average number of photos per listing growing all the time, back in 2006 it was less than 4, by 2008 it was just under 10 and today it is over 16. Many are taking advantage of our policy of no restrictions and we have many listings with in excess of 80 photos for a single listing.

Not only that, the property and thereby the agent’s client is being poorly represented, but the agent is doing themselves such a disservice – a smart vendor checking out the capabilities of prospective agents will make fast work out of eliminating agents that fail at this very first huddle. The sad truth is these agents get away with it because they will spend proportionally more time composing, reviewing and proofing a single half page advert in the newspaper – an advert potentially seen by a fraction of the audience of the online advert.

2. Address

It’s a property they are trying to sell! – so why not share the most basic of information!

Only 60% of all listings on realestate.co.nz show the address on the website – often this omission by 4 out of 10 listings is not because the respective agents don’t want to display it, but rather as we found out the other day there are still offices and companies that have a policy that the default for upload of listing data is to not display the address (even though in the data file we have the address).

The history of this tactic has been shared with me, as I am sure all in this industry will know, in that no address is thought to encourage the prospective buyer to contact the agent to find out the details. Well the world has moved on, and the consumers of today have a higher threshold expectation of transparency and so feel that the address should be there. Just as in the case of the photos, a prospective buyer not seeing an address will undertake to identify the address using whatever online tools they can – mostly Google maps and StreetView; if they through this super sleuthing find the address – the question will be – how will that reflect on their estimation of the agent?? – not that good!

3. Community information

Agents are flush with a wealth of information and knowledge. They are by the very nature of this industry, local experts. Their niche is the very small geographical boundaries that define their business area. They know so much about the houses, the schools, the transportation, the shops, the cafes (they are certainly experts there!) and the local amenities. This information is so vital for prospective buyers. It is valued and respected if the agents can get it across in a compelling and transparent manner.

The best advice is for agents to include snippets of this info in listings as sound bites and morsels that attract buyers to check out richer information curated on a personal blog. With websites allowing embedded html in listing details for blog links, this opportunity is a gold mine for agents that is seldom utilised.

What is the biggest mistake agents tend to make when listing a property?

Simply put; ignoring these key three points above!

- its a bathroomTo be more specific the critical importance of the first photo for a listing cannot be underestimated. It is the hero shot and has to work hard to really sell the appeal of the listing. As with poor quality photos, insufficient photos or no photos, choosing the wrong photo for the 1st place can be, and is often the case is the criminal mistake agents all too often make.

I have seen some horrible examples – photos of toilets, kitchens, untidy bedroom, couches – you name it we have seen it. Even the use of an image of the landscape view from the property can be poor choice. The mindset of the searching buyers is typified in having a brain hardwired to be evaluating property design types and looks. To throw in a view from a property is confusing.

Some agents tell me that this disruption to the regular type of photo is very successful in getting people to be inquisitive and get them to check out more photos. I cannot deny the logic of their argument, but as a marketeer I disagree as intrusive, out-of-context images tend to allow the viewer to eliminate; as that is the core task of a search / refine process – people need to eliminate to refine down to a meaningful number of properties to evaluate in detail.

image coming soonAnother appalling error (which I am glad to see declining in incidence) is the tactic of posting a new listing with a heading “Just listed – too new to photograph”, often accompanied with insufficient or no information. The logic for this behaviour from those agents is the desire to “get the listing online” as fast as possible – of course not appreciating that no content means no value to the target audience and going back to an earlier comment – blows the credibility of the agent. Added to the negative impact on the searcher online is the fact that all new listings are featured in the daily email to hot prospects – this one time medium is so powerful to target the listing to the right audience. As I say to agents, miss that first day and you have almost blow the campaign.

We did research recently on a sample of over 1,000 listings and found that over 40% of viewing for a property occur in the first week with the majority of that on the first day. So it comes down again to “proofing” a listing with comprehensive information before posting it to the web.

Besides creating high-quality listings, what else should Australian and New Zealand real estate agents be doing to market themselves online?

Every agent has to have a profile page on the web. This page must be the #1 link on a Google search for their name (with or without the reference to real estate in the search term – depending on the uniqueness of the name). Every agent needs to own this space. This is their reference tool 24hrs a day. Ideally the profile should be hosted on their own domain name, if not then on the domain of their company or as in the case of our site we offer profile pages on our site. The benefit of a profile page on realestate.co.nz is that if the agent changes offices/ company, the day of that change the profile page on our site changes, and maintains the same Google search page ranking, whereas the old profile on the old company website will still be there until the new profile gains ranking.

Step 2 after the basic web page is a web site, this is the opportunity for richer information to profile the agent and feature all the success and unique proposition they offer prospective clients. A natural evolution to the website is a blog. Today the lines between blog and website have blurred to the extent that they are one of the same. The feature set of being able to add dynamic content to a website is critical for an agent to build a profile as a local expert – or as a subject matter expert. This is or rather should be the ambition of every agent, this is their calling card, their prospecting tool, their letterbox drop all rolled into one.

As ever building the website is only the beginning – it needs nurturing and growing to attract an audience, it needs referral links in both on an offline references. This requires work, the use of social media tool such as Facebook and Twitter as well as outreach to establish back links to other relevant and contextual sites in their community or business area. It take time, but as with anything the investment will pay back – and the beauty of the web is that it keeps paying back 24hrs a day.

2

How marketing has been transformed in the past decade

Posted on: November 23rd, 2010 | Filed in Online marketing, social media

Social Media JunctionLast week I spent 2 days in the company of close to 200 people in Auckland, attending Social Media Junction #2. I reflected during the closing sessions on the transformational impact that the web has had on business in the past decade; and marveled, as I am sure many of my fellow attendees did,  as to what the business world might look like 5 or 10 years from now.

It is often said that things seemed so much simpler back in the 80’s or even the 90’s. In the case of marketing, I would have to say that view would be correct, especially as I grew up in brand marketing in those decades.

In those days the complexity of marketing revolved around the options of what was, by today’s standards, a limited range of media – TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, outdoor and cinema. All provided a stimulation (visual or audible) which was as we now call it “interruption marketing” although at the time we called it “cut through advertising”. The task was to allocate and prioritise the budget and ensure that the timetable for such advertising was scheduled well enough in advance. All done; we would then wait and watch to see the consequential impact on product sales or market research stats some months down the track.

Today we inhabit a vastly different world as has been ably demonstrated by this conference. We fully appreciate that the impact of “traditional media” has been blunted and today’s reality is that it simply does not deliver as it used to – added to which consumers can and do “tune out”.

To be effective in today’s world of marketing, requires so much more of a hands-on approach. You have to engage with your customers, you have to be social (as opposed to “doing” social) and you have to listen – all of which cannot be a part of interruption marketing. Added to this opportunity to better engage with your customers, is the challenge of a myriad of channels to utilise and the fact that largely most of what needs to be done, needs to be done by you! – the role of advertising and marketing agencies has similarly changed as marketeers can and need to engage more directly with customers.

That is why these style of conferences are so much more important. Marketers today need to not only learn the tools, they importantly need to share and discuss experiences and tactics with their peers. Such conferences are not about sales pitches for products and services; but critically are about good honest ideas and guides of what to do in a variety of situations; situations that those who present have actually experienced and learned from.

The great thing is that this new social media marketing transformation is not a winner-takes-all scenario, as a marketer you can learn and share good ideas with colleagues, you can be more open – even with competitors as in  this world driven by social media there is not a single successful strategy that beats all others, there is just good execution of many strategies. You have to be prepared to fail fast, pick yourself up and try something else.

I could not possibly do justice to the full range of content from the conference, so I would recommend that you read the summary of the event from Alex Erasmus on the StopPress blog and keep an eye open for a future Social Media Junction conference next year.

9

More and more listings found online is great for consumers and the industry

Posted on: November 19th, 2010 | Filed in Featured, Online marketing, Website searching

blue bar chart growing - croppedI am sure that the phrase “Content is king” had relevance prior to the internet age, however in the past 20 years it has become a mantra of web companies. As consumers gravitate to rich content, so will be found the opportunity for product and advertising sales.

In the context of real estate, listings content is critical. A property searcher wants to find the most comprehensive selection of property for sale or rent ideally on one site (to avoid having to visit multiple sites). In the NZ market the challenge for the 2 main websites (realestate.co.nz and Trade Me Property) has been in attracting real estate agents to list their content. The chart below tracks the total number of residential listings (this includes homes, apartments, lifestyle properties and sections) on these 2 websites over the past 4 years.

real estate listings for NZ between 2006 and 2010

As is very clear from the chart, realestate.co.nz has long hosted a more comprehensive selection of content than Trade Me. Realestate.co.nz is a website owned by the real estate industry through a 50% shareholding by the Real Estate Institute and 50% by six of the large real estate companies. Trade me is a subsidiary company of Fairfax media.

A key differentiation of Trade me as compared to realestate.co.nz is the fact that Trade me features private listings, something that naturally Realestate.co.nz and its owners are reluctant to do. This means that all of the listings on realestate.co.nz are from licensed real estate agents. Realestate.co.nz currently has around 95% of all of the listings of licensed agents in NZ featured on the site.

The growth of Trade me Property is impressive and they are to be congratulated. Their latest email for November celebrates this fact, citing that with “more than 70,000 houses for sale and rent.. that’s more than any other real estate site in NZ”. This is a fact if you add up all the homes for sale, together with lifestyle property and rental property Trade me Property has 72,835 and realestate.co.nz has 68,182.

This fact is a reflection of just how important the real estate industry judge the web to be in marketing property. This industry judges that in addition to their own websites and realestate.co.nz they wish to ensure that they all feature their listings on the largest trafficked website in NZ. As less people read newspapers and property magazines, with an ever growing use of the web for property searching it is completely logical that real estate agents on behalf of their clients would go for maximum exposure.

In most countries around the world now as newspaper and magazine advertising for property dwindles in relevance so each country begins to rely on 2 or 3 major real estate websites. In Australia it is Realestate.com.au and Domain. In the UK Rightmove.co.uk and Primelocation.co.uk. In the US – Realtor.com, Zillow.com, Yahoo real estate and Trulia.

However returning to the opening statement – content is still king and for the sake of transparency I think it is valuable to dive a little behind the headline figures provided in the Trade me Property newsletter. The chart below breaks down the number of listings by category. It is very clear that whilst Trade me Property holds a significant advantage in rental property (a significant part of that segment is made up of private landords) when it comes to homes for sale, lifestyle property and sections for sale, realestate.co.nz still holds a more comprehensive portfolio.

Real estate listings at Nov 2010 for NZ leading two portals

As a final analysis it is worth recognising that as mentioned earlier Trade me features listings from private sellers and private landlords. This richer data set will in time mean that as Trade me gains real estate agent subscribers, the total of listings on their site will grow ahead of realestate.co.nz. This component of private listings was estimated by Trade me back in January of this year at 16% of the total. Applying this calculation to the current listings produces this view of the comparison between the two websites.

real estate listings online as at Nov 2010 showing private listings and agent listings

17

The first week is crucial in selling your home

Posted on: September 20th, 2010 | Filed in Agent Tips, Online marketing, Website searching

There are enumerable phrases such as “the early bird catches the worm” or “you only get one bite at the cherry” or “first in – best dressed” – so it is with real estate, where based on research a new phrase can be adopted:

“Missed the first week and you may have missed the market”

A simple piece of analysis has been undertaken as shown in the chart below. Aggregating the daily viewings data of a sample of 1,079 properties listed on the website over the past 3 months from around the country shows that the most active period is the first week. Fully a quarter of the total of the first 2 months viewings takes place in those first 7 days.

Visits to listing by days on the market Sep 2010

The reason for this is not difficult to appreciate, active buyers are already subscribed to receive email alerts of new listings, realestate.co.nz has over 100,000 customers with email alerts set up. In addition for those eager to watch the local marketplace saved searches always show the latest listings as the default on realestate.co.nz – no need to filter by latest, we do it for the customer.

This buyer behaviour is critically important for agents and vendors to understand fully as it needs to drive a set of key actions:

  1. Getting all the photos ready and uploaded before a property is listed – you can never have too many photos, there is no restriction on realestate.co.nz on the number of photos, we also host videos which can be a great way to view listings
  2. Ensuring the listing is well presented in an emotionally appealing description that provides loads of facts about the property and the local area
  3. A clear indication as to the price expectation of the property – buyers are eager to understand if the property is affordable within their budget
  4. The #1 photo which is the one included in email alerts is the best – the best at selling the property’s best features. Often this is the view of the front of the property, professionally photographed from the road

Get these four essentials right and you are ensuring that your property has the greatest chance of grabbing that viewing audience. Get it wrong or decide to change some details after a week and you could already have missed the boat. This is especially true when it comes to price. A reduction in price of a property posted in the 2nd or 3rd week to reflect a weaker market is less impactful than getting the price right at the outset before someone rejects the property in their mind.

I am grateful for the US real estate company Redfin who first wrote about this analysis last month in an article titled you only get one chance to make a first impression, the story was then picked up by the Wall Street Journal .

3

Real estate marketing – practical online advice

Posted on: September 20th, 2010 | Filed in Agent Tips, Featured, Online marketing, social media, Website searching

iStock_000000504669XSmallThe recent “Future of Real Estate” conference held in Auckland provided us with the opportunity of sitting down with the keynote speakers and interviewing them to provide some global perspective to the opportunity emerging in online marketing.

Blogging

Joel Burslem is a highly regarded consultant with a background in online real estate marketing which has included stints at Inman News, Prudential as well as 1000 Watt Consulting where he currently works. In this interview I seek to better understand Joel’s perspective, advice and insight into blogging from the standpoint of a real estate agent.

Search Marketing

No successful business these days can ignore the importance of search marketing and search engine optimisation. For real estate this is ever more important as the future of lead generation for agents will likely come from online referrals and evaluations. To achieve standout requires a deep appreciation and understanding of search. For the conference we invited Charles Coxhead to speak on this key topic. Charles has an extensive experience in this area and in this interview I speak to Charles and get him to share some of the critical issues and advice around this subject.

Online Marketing

With such an excellent line up of speakers, we grabbed the opportunity to have a panel discussion with Joel Burslem, Charles Coxhead and Simon Baker. This free flowing discussion starts off looking at the dynamic shift in real estate advertising from print to online as witnessed around the world. It then goes on to talk about the priorities for real estate companies, offices and agents in their online presence and marketing, covering the tools of Facebook and Google Adwords, amongst other things.

We split the session into 2 videos covering the 20 minute discussion:

Part 2

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