The Unconditional Blog

The impartial voice of the industry

 
4

The wish list of property seekers

Posted on: April 28th, 2011 | Filed in Buying / Selling a home, Featured, Home features, Website searching

This week we have been extending the testing of our new beta site for Realestate.co.nz. In opening up access to a wider audience we have encouraged people to share with us the things they like about the new site, as well as those areas where we could do better!

Such an exercise is tremendous in opening up a dialogue with our users. To date we have received 116 emails. Reviewing and replying to them has been an enlightening and enjoyable experience as I have certainly gleaned a great insight into not only how they feel about the site, but also the things that as active users of our site they would love to see us do more of.

Overall we seem to have developed a site design and functionality that judged on this sample group is a positive step forward.

As well as functional feedback it is really interesting to hear of the things that people most want to be able to find on a website. Taking a simple poll of these comments I have tabulated the top 5 things people would most like to see on a real estate site.

Map based search

This is by far and away the greatest demand from our users and thankfully this is something that the new site delivers to the massive satisfaction of this audience.

Many have commented as to the excellent value and experience of the iPhone app that we launched at the end of last year (now exceeding 24,000 downloads to date and growing!). That user experience seems to so many people so intuitive that we had to bring it to the web.

A comment made by all the people was the extent to which they were surprised and disappointed that Google had ceased to offer this service. Now we can step in to fill this void and provide a vital way of display property for sale as seen from an aerial view perspective. Or as one email commented – “show the properties exactly where they are, rather than where the agent would like to have us think they are!”

CV

It is clear that richer data is expected by users of real estate website and the data that most frustrates them is the access to the CV or rating valuation. This is seen as a “must have” and as many quote – the data is accessible from most council websites.

The fact is we would love to add this key fact to listings on the website, however whereas a single query can provide the CV for a single property for free via a council website, to enable us to provide this for all properties requires access to a database for all properties. This is a service for which we would have to pay a significant license fee to local authorities or to QV who acting for these councils undertakes to provide the data.

Definitive price

This response (can we please have a price on every listings) is not news to us. Ever since we started the website in 2006 we have had constant comments and questions as to why we cannot get or encourage agents to provide a price on every property. Users of the site are vocal in their view that a price or a price guide would vastly improve the user experience. Many go as far to state that they completely ignore properties for which there is no displayed price – arguing that they have no confidence that the appearance of a property in the search results may not be a true reflection of the expected price.

We do share with these people that the listings we receive must be provided with either a display price, a search range or more common these days a non-display search price. We need to ensure that property listings for a filtered search price genuinely reflect the true range of the property for sale.

Land and building size

People generally believe that the size of a section or the size of the property should be as standard a set of data as the number of bedrooms or ensuites. It is hard to argue with this assertion as all properties have a legal title that defines the section size. As to building size this is certainly less easily available. To assist in this area we do integrate listings with property database of Zoodle which often provides section and building size. Where we can (accurate addressing of the property) we link directly from Realestate.co.nz to Zoodle.

Representative images

Interestingly a few comments were made as to the “authenticity” of some property images. The perspective was that photographers had been known to use certain types of lens to be – how it might be called “more generous” with the size of rooms when taking pictures.

Whilst we do not actively get involved in the production of photos (we simply display those images we are given) we are always delighted to see the general trend to have more photos, better quality photos and bigger photos. It is funny to think back 5 years ago when we started the website the average listing had just 4 photos and the size was tiny. Today the average has shot up to 16 and the size grown significantly.

Article Discussion

  1. Nothing new in there, the mapping is a nice feature but I would consider that the pricing information is the one that buyers most want and it happens to be the one piece of information that VENDORS are most reluctant to reveal. It’s got nothing to do with statistics, school zones, CV’s, floor area, bedrooms or garages – it has everything to do with VENDOR psychology. Their pride, their reason for selling, what their friends house sold for, what the neighbours house sold for and most of all, their fear of UNDER SELLING their house.

    If the owner under good advice, still chooses to not set an asking figure, there’s not much the industry can or should do about that. Once a price is indicated (and I would hazard a guess that the hidden search price could be deduced) then the owner is bound to accept reasonable offers close to that figure.

    I think there is also a case for too much information and from an agents perspective more chance for problems if the information quoted is wrong.

  2. Ross Brader says:

    Agreed that the CV is one of the first things a buyer asks about if it is not stated on the listing but the CV figures in Auckland central at least are way off the mark.

    For example we have a home for sale with a CV of $570,000 – yet a Registered Valuation was obtained last week at $775,000. Another sold for $1,160,000 with a CV of $880,000.

    So buyers relying on CV information as a price guide could be well off the mark.

  3. […] Zealand property portal realestate.co.nz is testing out a new beta version of the website. “Overall we seem to have developed a site design and functionality that […]

  4. david Dave says:

    I thought I’d be cheeky and add my comment to this under the number one wish of real estate salespeople. The answer? An unrestricted alphnumeric field for the display price on web advertising. This would allow us to easily advertise properties without the dreaded POA default kicking in if typing mistakes are made or if the style of marketing falls outside the current restrictions. :)

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