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Archive for the ‘Website news’ Category

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Realestate.co.nz goes multilingual

Posted on: September 16th, 2011 | Filed in Featured, Website news

Thanks to the power and enormous capability of Google we are now able to offer a multilingual version of the Realestate.co.nz website. A first for NZ property fanatics, buyers, sellers and agents.

Rather than re-build the site we have made it as simple as possible to read the content of the website and all its listings in any of 48 languages as well as good old English!

Just scroll down to the footer of any page on the website and locate the “Translate” link to the right hand side of the page in the grey shaded box. This link brings up a selection list of the fill range of the most popular languages – everything from Latvian, to Korean and from Afrikaans to Yiddish. It does interestingly include Welsh, Irish and Maltese; not the most well known of global languages I must admit.

 

Selecting you chosen language then performs the Google magic to the whole of the realestate.co.nz website for the remainder of your viewing session.

Whilst the functionality is fairly comprehensive we clearly cannot confirm that all content will be translated or that the translation is accurate as a true representation of the content which is English in its original form, for this reason we would always encourage users to verify all details on properties with the listing agent before making any decisions concerning the property.

With over 30% of all daily users of the realestate.co.nz from outside NZ – amounting to over 100,000 users per month, this new service will certainly prove a boon to our international users and we trust that they will share the good news of how much easier it is now to search for NZ property in their native language.

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Discover rental properties on your smartphone

Posted on: August 24th, 2011 | Filed in Renting, Technology, Website news

Since the launch of the Realestate.co.nz iPhone app in November last year over 35,000 downloads of the app have been made by property addicts keen to discover property for sale around them. On an average day over 1,500 people fire up the app to check out local properties; come the weekend that activity leaps as open home tours are instigated by serious property seekers, especially now that Spring is round the corner and the property market is showing strong signs of activity.

Up until now the app has only displayed property for sale. This is all changing as we have now released version 1.1 of the app – complete with the discovery of  rental properties. You can now fire up the app to check out the rental properties around you, wherever you may be in New Zealand. The app is free to download from the Apple apps store.

At this time there are some 4,262 rental properties discoverable on the app based on their location, covering all sizes, price ranges and locations right around the country. Using the search function you can find another 3,000 listings that unfortunately have not been addressed, but full details of these rental properties can be found on the app.

Unlike some real estate mobile apps we have decided that we would not clutter up a local map with both rental properties and properties for sale. So with our new version of the app you choose to discover rental properties or properties for sale. Return to the home screen at anytime to make a change to the other selection by the icon at the bottom right of the screen.

This latest version of the iPhone app is destined to be a great asset when searching to find that next rental property. You no longer need to be tied to your PC at home to access this great ability to find rental properties close by.

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Career opportunity at Realestate.co.nz – Marketing Manager

Posted on: August 16th, 2011 | Filed in Website news

Realestate.co.nz is where people discover their love for property and we need someone to join our team to help these people truly discover the property they most want as their next home, investment property, rental pad or beachside retreat.

We need a digital expert someone with the skills and proven track record to leverage all aspects of today’s digital environment – web, mobile, social media and email.

Our reach and coverage is extensive – we welcome over 500,000 unique visitors across our 6 websites each month, sending out over 200,000 emails a month and supporting over 10,000 individual agents. We know the power of digital communication and need someone who can challenge us to reach further, wider and establish a deeper engagement.

We need someone who is confident, articulate and a born communicator, someone who is a digital native – a digital fanatic.

We are a small team challenged in this highly competitive marketplace by some major players, we pride ourselves on our innovative approach and unrelenting focus on customer engagement and delight.

Our previous marketing manager has chosen to move on to a great new job and we need a great person to fill her role. To be considered you need to be able to allow the online world to profile you through your work and your presence. So send us the links that can allow us to see how you can dazzle in this role.

Apply by sending a summary with copious links to jobs@realestate.co.nz – all applications need to be submitted by Friday 2nd September.

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Property searching on the iPhone surpasses 20,000 users

Posted on: March 21st, 2011 | Filed in Technology, Website news

Real estate search on the iPhone - NZIn the space of just 120 days the Realestate.co.nz iPhone app has been downloaded by over 20,000 people.

As every day passes that number keep growing at around 140 per day. The app has already become a much talked about means by which house hunters can quickly and easily find properties for sale right nearby to where they are.

Users are telling us how much they love the way they can be sitting in a cafe having a quiet coffee with friends when the inspiration grabs them to see what open homes are within a couple of streets of where they are sitting. This feedback mirrors the statistics of usership which is telling us that the most active time for use is Saturday and Sunday mornings!

Over the past 3 months just under 5 million property page views have been served up on this mobile app which means that the traffic on the iPhone amounts to over 11% of all the traffic on the website. These stats are very much the same as have been reported by specialist real estate websites in UK, USA and Australia with whom we keep in close contact to discuss emerging technologies and developments for real estate online.

The other great feature that people love about the application is the Inspection feature.

This virtual notebook allows you to make notes as well as rate and photograph parts of a house you are inspecting. It goes as far as providing tips per room of the house as to things to look for when you are in different parts of the house.

iphone for real estate search in NZ - inspection notes and tips

Don’t forget that the Realestate.co.nz app for the iPhone is free to download from the iTunes app store – it features the most comprehensive selection of property for sale by licensed real estate agents in NZ including all types of property as well as building sections for sale.

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The great tour is done!

Posted on: December 16th, 2010 | Filed in Featured, social media, The lighter side, Website news

Queenstown stopover airport 3

Tuesday the 14th December 2010 may not go down as a historic day is the same manner as the First Moon Landing or the invention of the Guttenberg Press, but in its own way it was a significant day.

It was the day of the Great New Zealand Property Tour – a fun and unique event to showcase the capabilities of the new iPhone app from Realestate.co.nz.

Air New Zealand Bookings - Multistop Search for FlightsWe wanted a means by which we could show off the extensive coverage of the app around NZ. So rather than invest in world leading advertising campaign featuring international TV stars to showcase the extremes of NZ coverage; we in typical kiwi style grabbed a couple of flights to set off around the country and try and get to 6 locations across the North and South Island in a day – only using scheduled flights.

14 hours after we set off from Auckland we returned home having taken 6 flights and seen 5 locations around the country and more importantly demonstrated the app at each location.

Due to the vagaries of the weather we had to unfortunately skip the stop-over in Blenheim. We did however touchdown at Napier, Wellington, Christchurch, Queenstown and Auckland.

Elvis- smallThrough the day we encountered some really great people – Elvis (aka Brian Childs) in Wellington, Louise McLeavy in the Garden City and Mark Martin in Queenstown – all great real estate agents and all passionate about the new app for their clients. It is great to see the way the real estate profession is adopting new technology and demonstrating to their clients the power of open accessible data.

We actively used social media during the day – employing both Twitter and Facebook to engage the growing audience with the fun and appreciation of the app. We created a unique Twitter page which captured 171 followers during the day, this was supported by tweets from key people in our team with their own tweets and also the Realestate.co.nz twitter page. On Facebook we created a special section on the Realestate.co.nz Facebook page to profile the tour and gained over 200 new fans on the day – come and join us and follow us on both now! We also added all the videos we produced on the day tracking our path round the country.

Prizes were flowing thick and fast with vouchers, a Foosball table and 2 iPhones – thanks to the great team at Westpac. These prizes were given away to fast fingered tweeters who decrypted the clues sent out when we landed at each location.Queenstown villas small

We had a chance at each location to launch the app and examine the market and in some cases we chatted to the agents to get them to give us a perspective on the property market. Our time at most locations did not allow us to check out any property with the exception of Queenstown where Mark Martin showed us this amazing Alpine villa property perched magnificently high atop Queenstown Hill. The property was easily found via the app with some awesome photos. We did our own checks on the home, storing images and making notes on bedrooms, bathrooms and gardens.

Credits:

Starring in order of appearance

Brian Childs (aka Elvis) – Professionals Hutt City

Aaron Davis – apologies from 16,000 ft over Blenheim

Louise McLeavey – Harcourts

Mark Martin – Harcourts Queenstown

Original concept – Bullet PR

Screenplay – Nicholas O’Flaherty

Script – done on the fly productions

App design and build: Cactus Lab – Karl, Matt and the team

Prizes :

Mitre 10

Endemicworld.com

Urbis Magazine

Hire a Hubby

Westpac Bank – Adrian McCaffrey : Marketing Manager – Housing

Production:

Video camera operator – Tammy Smith

Video equipment – Flip camera : Barnacle Barnes

All technology used in this production of this blog post and the whole of the NZ Property Tour was courtesy of Apple Computers

Make up – not enough time to apply any!

Facebook pages – Skinny marketing – Andrew & Anthony

Video upload – Skinny Marketing

Catering services – Air New Zealand Koru lounges

Tweeter – @nzpropertytour : Robyn Ellson

Tweeter – @realestateconz : Kerry Kissane

Tweeter – @bulletpr : Alex Erasmus

Tweeter – @alistairnz : Alistair Helm

Ground Transportation – Christchurch : Jackie (Christchurch Blue Star Taxis)

Flight planning co-ordination : Air New Zealand excellent online booking

Flight rescheduling : Adrian – Air New Zealand Koru lounge concierge

All flights – Air New Zealand

Special thanks to Westpac bank for being a great partner in developing and promoting the app

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Realestate comes to the iPhone

Posted on: November 26th, 2010 | Filed in Featured, Technology, Website news

Apple - iPhone 4 - Video calls, multitasking, HD video, and moreIf you are one of the 200,000 odd people in NZ (or in fact one of the 74 million around the world) that own an iPhone then you can now discover NZ real estate on your smart phone.

Realestate.coIphone home page - cropped.nz has been since its launch 4 years ago a leader in online real estate marketing; through social media, rich property and community information as well as innovation through the adoption of Google maps. That is why we are pleased to bring NZ real estate to the iPhone. This is the first dedicated iPhone app for the whole NZ property market. It is also the most comprehensive app for discovering property for sale.

We built the app after extensive research from around the world. We wanted to build an app that was not just a website on a mobile platform – that is not what buyers want.

We reviewed the top apps from the US (Zillow, Trulia and Redfin) and from the UK (Rightmove), we also looked at specific real estate company apps (Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate). We wanted to bring the best experience we could to make sure we offered a great experience – something that people would love to use and love to share.

In some ways the app needs no description – it is designed without a user manual. It is intuitive. However here’s 10 great reasons why this app is a must for any house hunter or real estate enthusiast:

  1. It is a discovery device Download the app and first off it shows you a property that is for sale near you! Hit the “near you” button and you are instantly shown what is for sale within a 1km radius (actually depends where in the country you are – in a remote location means it will search a wider radius).iphone near me
  2. Open Homes We have highlighted open homes with a flag to allow you easily see what you could pop around to view today or this weekend. Great when you have a quiet afternoon.
  3. Refine your search From the map you can refine your search – fancy property over $500k but less than $700k with 3 bedrooms, no problem. Fancy spreading the net wider than just your current location – zoom out on map to see a broader range. Keep zooming out a far as you like to see the whole country if you like!
  4. Zooming! You will notice that as you zoom out we have clustered the pins into blue dot which are numbered – this is the aggregate of listings in this area.iphone clustering
  5. Check out all the photos Found that interesting property along the road? Just tap to see the full listing details and all the photos. Flick the iPhone round to see them in landscape mode. Like the property but want to know more? – just call the agent or send an email – all from the iPhone.
  6. Virtual open home notebook When reviewing any property (especially open homes) you can make notes on all aspects of the property. Hit the inspection button and you can rate, make notes and add photos (or video) for any section of the property – the living area, the kitchen, bedrooms, outside etc. Also check out the Tips for things to look for and checkout when inspecting a property. All these notes then become part of the stored “My Property” section of the app housing you favourites. At this stage we have not, given this is version 1 synchronsied these with your “My Property” section on the website, that will come later.iPhone taking notes at open home
  7. Search by location Find out about property for sale anywhere in NZ. Given the comprehensive content of Realesate.co.nz why not go check to see what is for sale in your dream location. Use the “Search” function on the home page and either select by region, district and suburb or else type in the name of the town or street in the search box at the top – whichever way you choose you instantly see what’s for sale there.
  8. What you see is what you get Seem simple but this app only shows properties on the map where we have an address supplied by the agent. If you want to check to see if there are other properties for sale then hit the “list view” button on the map result page to see all the properties for sale in the area.
  9. Favourites Your favourites you have saved as well as open homes and also the most recently viewed properties are all stored in the “My Property” section – we want you to easily find that great property you were just checking out.
  10. The Mortgage So you have found that perfect home – but can you afford it? We have partnered with our good friends at Westpac to bring you an affordability calculator for each property. Check it out to see what the fortnightly or monthly repayments might be for different terms and different deposits. Then check out the local Westpac branch near you – right on the app for the contact details of a mobile mortgage manager to assist you. Oh and by the way the maps also feature locations for all of the Westpac ATM’s so there is no excuse for being short of some cash!iPhone westpac

So as you can see we are excited by this new app, so please let us know what you think, go to iTunes and download the app or visit our download page for the iPhone and leave feedback or on iTunes.

We are conscious that this is version 1.0 – we will continue to develop and improve the app, so tell us what you would like to see and how we can improve it. We can learn best when we listen.

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When it comes to searching for property nothing beats the ease and functionality of the web – true?

Posted on: November 12th, 2010 | Filed in Agent Tips, Featured, Website news

Searching for a home istock - croppedThat fact holds so true and has been validated in consistent research and usage – especially as everyday close to 100,000 unique visitors check out property information online in NZ (on realestate.co.nz we average of 22,000 per day) – far in excess of any print media. They love the ability to refine searches and be notified of new properties; as well as view dozens of photos, maps, videos and property statistics; all from the comfort of their couch or desk.

Having said all of that, there comes a time in the process of house hunting when printed information is invaluable.

The printed page is still one of the best ways of sharing vital information in a close group of people. In the case of open home viewings, I know from personal experience the ease of grabbing a set of printed details for each of the properties we are going to visit. From listening to our customers this is often their experience as well. It is interesting how that contrasts with earlier responses I remember well when the response was “we are a website – why would you want to print details?”

To help just such people (I suspect more than we might imagine!) we have made some tweaks and added some technology so that now you can print details of an individual listing in a nicely formatted pdf file that can be shared with your friends and partner.

pdf printThe print function lies at the top right of every listing page (and has a clear highlighter saying “New PDF”) – depending on the browser you use, it will create and download a pdf or it may open a new tab showing the document.

In addition to collating all the information presented on the listing – photos, address, specifications and a map; we also have added the latest data of viewings for the listing. These statistics are presented in a chart showing the number of viewings of the property day by day over the past month as well as where those viewings have come from, anywhere around the world.

Sample pdf print of a realestate.co.nz property listing

Listing view stats(By the way these charts are accessible for any listing and are updated dynamically – just click the link in the top right hand side of the page marked “listing viewed xx times”).

So whenever you want to grab a record for a property and scribble some notes, then you can now use this great tool and have all the information laid out in an easy to read format.

We do however ask you to act responsibly and not print excessively! – we don’t wish to be the cause of environmental devastation as our print media colleagues are!

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The smartest agents recognise the power of technology – how we are helping

fore-logo-homeLater this week Realestate.co.nz will host its first ever conference focused on the role that technology in all its forms is having on the real estate industry. Titled the “Future of Real Estate” the conference to be held on Friday 3rd September at Waipuna conference centre in Auckland and will feature both domestic and international speakers as well as workshop sessions focused to the key business tools of the web – Facebook, blogs and Twitter.

The conference is very much influenced by the experiences I have encountered in attending the Inman Connect conferences in the states each year. Coupled with the style and richness of the Inman conference the NZ conference echos a quotation which I first heard at least 3 years ago and still to this day rings so true:

“Traditional agents will not be replaced by technology.. they will be replaced by agents with technology”

The quote comes from an Australian real estate conference and every time I use it; it reinforces to me the critical requirement of real estate professionals to recognise that technology is not the threat, but rather it is the means to take a giant step forward and surpass all those in the industry who believe technology is the threat. Over these past years I have been keen to get together an event in which we can help those in this industry who want to move ahead and who are keen to meet like minded individuals and listen and collaborate with the best in the business. This conference is the realisation of this ambition.

The event features some great contributors:

From the US we have invited Joel Burslem. Joel is a respected expert within the real estate industry. He is a blogger, real estate marketer and consultant. He founded the Future of Real Estate Marketing blog whilst working at Inman  News and now is a key part of the consultancy firm of 1000 Consulting. Joel will be providing an overview of the trends in digital marketing around the world with detail around the role of social media in this industry.

From closer to home we have Nicholas O’Flaherty who is MD of Bullet PR, a respected specialist media consultancy company whose clients value the skills and innovation Nicholas’ company brings to the implementation of social media. Bullet recently hosted the enormously popular Social Media Junction conference with outline plans for a further event later in the year. Nicholas will be picking up on Joel’s presentation and bringing the local perspective as well as the practical examples of the best in the marketplace today in NZ using all forms of social media.

Addressing the ever present question in relation to the web – that of search we are very pleased to have Charles Coxhead joining the conference. Charles has a long and distinguished career specialising in search. As an online search and marketing consultant he has worked with clients such as Air New Zealand, Expedia as well as Realestate.co.nz. He will bring some focus to the ever evolving search landscape that nowadays transends beyond just Google into real time search as well as hyper local search and in so doing will apply the test as to the relevance for the real estate industry.

Our final keynote speaker is Simon Baker. Simon is well known and highly regarded within the real estate industry primarily in Australia where for 7 years he lead the stellar growth of realestate.com.au into the substantial ASX listed company with revenues exceeding A$160m. Since leaving the REA group, Simon has persued a strategy as an investor and consultant, his focus in online classified businesses with international scale and within that area he has investments in a number of Asian real estate portals. He brings to the conference a reflection on the criticality of the real estate portals and the heart of the business which is exposure to real estate listings through online marketing. He will also provide some interesting insight into the comparison of development between Australasia, Europe, US and Asia when it comes to real estate online.

The event promises to be a fast paced, rich content experience which in addition to the keynote presentations will feature workshop sessions on Twitter, Facebook, blogs and online etiquette. The day culminates with a panel discussion on the topic of the future of real estate and its implications for all involved in the industry.

The event is for the real estate industry and anyone involved in the industry at whatever level or in whatever capacity is welcome to register. There is a limited number of spaces still available so if you are interested please register before the event as registrations need to be made online prior to the event.

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We have a vacancy for an Accountant!

Posted on: July 9th, 2010 | Filed in Website news

Accounting calculatorRealestate.co.nz continues to grow and develop; providing as it does a comprehensive service to the real estate industry. Just 4 years ago we launched the website at a time when online real estate was really beginning to take off. Back then just over half of all property searching was done online, today that number is closing in on 100%. The number of daily visitors to our site regularly exceeds 25,000.

The organisation of Realestate.co.nz has grown in size to match the growing needs of real estate agents who more and more look to online marketing to provide clients’ with effective exposure to attract buyers, tenants and investors.

We started out 4 years ago with a a small handful of people to manage this business and its 1,200 customers. Today that team has reached double figures and we are ambitious as to our future.

As pat of this growth we are looking to bring on board a full time Accountant to join the team.

The role is very much hands-on and covers all aspects of of accounts and financial systems which are fully integrated with our website and customer management system. We don’t have a finance department so this role has to manage every aspect of finance from strategic to nuts and bolts – invoices, banking and debtors!

We have a great company culture with a great working environment in our open plan offices in Parnell. This new addition to the team would feel right at home if they like to be in the “mix of it all” with a fun and dynamic young team.

Up until now we have had our accounting and financial services provided for us by a 3rd party company, whereas we now feel the time is right to bring this into being a part of the team, working closely with sales, customer support and the CEO.

If this feel like a role that would interest your or someone you know then contact our partner financial services company Staples Rodway who are handling this recruitment – the application process starts naturally online – do you think we would advertise this role in the newspaper!

Just go to the job advert on Jobs.co.nz (a great Wellington based kiwi start up challenging the incumbents) and apply – we would love to meet you.

Alistair Helm

CEO – Realestate.co.nz

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We have been listening… and we have now made a key decision

Posted on: May 9th, 2010 | Filed in Featured, Website news

Announcement image croppedOne of the greatest benefits of extensively using social media in this business, is the ability to participate in the conversations surrounding our website and the real estate industry in general. This approach has been invaluable over the past week following the launch of the new realestate.co.nz website.

It has been invaluable for us to be able to share our development and to listen to the comments posted from users as well as our customers as to their reaction to using the new website for the first time.

In addition to these comments we have received a ton of emails, which have provided further direct feedback. We have been listening, and we will continue to listen to our users and customers as we are acutely aware that, as with all website in today’s networked world we are only one click away from oblivion.

The new website was developed after extensive research and feedback which assisted us in designing a website that could take us forward in offering a really great experience for finding a perfect home. The past week has shown us that this quest may not have been perfectly fulfilled in the new website. In fact it would appear that we have pushed too far, too fast.

I have therefore taken the decision today, that we will by the middle of next week reestablish the former website of Realestate.co.nz that will be familiar to you. We cannot be unresponsive to the feedback of the conversations with our users and customers.

This is in my view a pragmatic decision. We are committed to moving forward with the new website, however we are conscious that we may have taken a step too far and in so doing alienated some of our community.

We will be working in the immediate future to fix the technical issues that the new website faced. We will also be making some modifications and some enhancements to ensure the new site becomes a more intuitive migration from the current website. At some point in time, I believe it will be of value to provide an open-access view to the new website in a fully live “Beta” version in parallel to the current website and thereby allow direct feedback. This will also allow those members of the community who have been excited about the new website to use it in a fully functional manner.

I will maintain an open communication as ever through this blog, as well as direct communication with our customers.

As the saying goes “a week is a long time in politics” – that has certainly been true for the UK parliamentary candidates this week, for me and the rest of the team at Realestate.co.nz, this seems equally to be true that “a week is a very long time on the web!!”

Alistair Helm

CEO – Realestate.co.nz

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