Archive for June, 2008

Embracing the internet

I know that I have used the expression “real estate agents will not be replaced by technology, they will be replaced by agents with technology” quite a bit this year to highlight the fact that this industry needs to embrace the changes brought about by the internet.

This approach is most succinctly articulated in this blog post from Teresa Boardman on Inman News titled “Consider the internet an ally“. This is simply one of the best presented perspectives on the issue of the changing role of real estate professionals here in NZ and overseas. As one reader commented “If I ran a brokerage, this post would be mandatory reading for all my agents”.

She stresses that withholding information that today is so freely available is counter-productive; accept the fact that the world is typified by informed consumers who as buyers have just as much information as you have, but sell the fact that what you have is experience – unique and valuable experience to be able to interpret facts – not just to hoard facts.

The fact is that in the future agents that act as information brokers will be replaced by agents acting as professional advisors – a far more lucrative and respected role and profession

June 27 2008 | Blogs | 1 Comment »

Delays experienced by allrealestate.co.nz in responding to email enquiries

It has been brought to my attention that a major problem experienced by the website of www.realestate.com.au in Australia may have had consequential impact on the email delivery of buyer enquiries from the NZ website of www.allrealestate.co.nz. I just want to share the facts and ensure firstly there is no confusion regarding which website experienced problems.

Firstly let me say that I am detailing this situation so as to ensure there is no confusion as the industry does at time experience confusion between realestate.co.nz and allrealestate.co.nz. I am not out to defame the operation of a competitor. Secondly I also want to make the point that issues such as delays in delivering email enquiries damages not just the website experiencing the problem, but all website operators as the experience can cast concerns over the operation of website in managing leads.

The facts of the problem experienced by realestate.com.au in Australia are already being reported in the main media and in the industry communication channels of blogs such as Business2.

The company has sent out an email to all the buyers who made enquiries of the realestate.com.au website for which emails were delayed. This is the copy of the email.

I have been told by people in NZ that this problem was experienced by enquirers of the allrealestate.co.nz website and this message was also sent to prospective buyers in NZ.

Just to confirm – this issue effected realestate.com.au in Australia and apparently the sister site in NZ which is allrealestate.co.nz, both of these website are owned by the REA Group, a listed Australian media company. This problem has not been experienced by realestate.co.nz which is a NZ owned website, 100% owned by the real estate industry here in NZ.

This incident has highlighted the critical importance of timely attention to emails at all stages of their life – at realestate.co.nz we have always monitored outbound email traffic and with the exposure of this situation we we be ever more vigilant in the future, equally it is important for all in this industry to understand the expectations of enquirers using emails who expect speedy response. It is worth noting that our system does send an email immediately to the buyers who sends an email from our website providing full details of the agent including telephone number and direct email address.

June 27 2008 | News | No Comments »

Come and hear one of the leading visionaries of trends in real estate

I am delighted to announce that we will be hosting a very special “one-off” presentation by arguably the finest mind in real estate today. Stefan Swanepoel is widely recognised as the leading visionary on trends and change in the real estate industry.

Stefan at our invitation will be visiting Auckland in July and on Friday 18th July will be making a presentation at Alexandra Park raceway at 10am.

This event is free of charge to all real estate professionals. We want you to share in the learning and leading edge thinking for the future of this industry. If you want to be better informed where the real estate industry is going in New Zealand then come and join us and learn.

Spaces are limited to just 350 so send us your details in an email to events@realestate.co.nz today and we will get back to you with full details. Don’t delay.

Each year since 1997 Stefan has authored the Real Estate Trends book which has become the definitive perspective of the future of real estate. Back in April I wrote a detailed review of the Trends report for 2008 and highlighted where I thought the interpretations of the trends identified by Stefan would play out in the NZ market. Well now you can hear and see Stefan first hand as he will explain what he sees as critical for the future of real estate agents in NZ.

Book me up now!

June 11 2008 | News | 6 Comments »

Who do you credit when that phone call generates a lead?

A constant question raised by real estate salespeople around the country whenever Peter or I talk to them is – how many leads should I expect to get from my listing on realestate.co.nz?

Occasionally we also get the statement that the web does not deliver as many leads (emails) as telephone calls (from newspaper adverts).

Well you may be surprised to learn that a large number of those phone calls could very well be coming from the website contact details. Data from the #1 real estate website in the UK is very revealing…

The web reveals information and facts that before would never be known. The fact is in the past 3 months realestate.co.nz has sent out over 39,000 emails from interested buyers to agents and in the past 12 months over 336,000 referral leads (including web links and emails). Could any newspaper or magazine tell you that?

In reality though the performance of the web may well be vastly under-represented. I came across the annual report of the #1 real estate website in the UK – Rightmove. This website is very comparable to realestate.co.nz with a subscriber base of over 90% of the UK industry. What interested me was the fact that over 2 years ago they started tracking telephone enquiries from web listings.

Over this period it turns out that for every email lead sent to an agent from the website there were two phone calls made.

This data is accurate as the website actually offers every agent a unique local call number through which interested buyers contact the agent, so this is not analysis of sample research – but actual calls made.

The data also provides some perspective of the ratio of emails that agents receive in the UK as compared to here in NZ. With over 5 million emails sent to agents in the UK from the rightmove.co.uk website this represents a response rate of 22 emails per 1,000 browsers sessions on the website. Our comparable figures for NZ are 171,000 emails sent from realestate.co.nz representing a response rate of 28 emails per 1,000 browsers sessions. As ever it is quality over quantity.

So when next you get a call about one of your listings don’t assume that the lead came from the newspaper – it is far more likely that the web listing drove that enquirer to call you.

June 11 2008 | Web facts | 3 Comments »

Realestate.co.nz is moving!

The team at realestate.co.nz is moving this month. We have been co-located in the office of REINZ for the past 2 years, however now is the time to establish our own offices as the company has grown and developed.

We have decided to stay in Parnell and have found new premises just down the road at 128 Parnell Road. The new office will allow us a better working environment for the team which has had to manage in a number of separate offices over the past 12 months as we have grown our capability.

It is worth at this time to share with you the make up of the team as we have added resources this year to meet the needs of a more comprehensive website and larger customer base.

The team now comprises 7 people with a core focus to customer service. Peter Driscoll who joined the team last year heads up the sales focus. Many of you will have met Peter over the past year as he has and continues to travel the country. Working closely with Peter is Kerry Kissane who fulfils a dual role as our training guru and team leader for our customer support team. Kerry may also be well known to many of you as she has been busy providing training and support to offices across the breadth of our customer base.

The team you may not have met, but may well have spoken to over the past year are our customer support team of Katherine Jariel, Luana McKenzie and our newest member Crystal Fell. These wonderful three are the front line support to your day to day issues.

Another new member of the team is Phil Dunn. Phil joined us last month and has the position chief operating officer, his role is to manage the programme of developments and operation of the website. Phil has been actively involved with our business for over 18 months on a contract role and to have secured his permanent involvement is great for the long term development of the site.

The new office will also enable us to implement a new telephone system which will enable us to better manage incoming calls, something that the current office arrangement has limited us to achieve.

From our customers point of view it is important to note that our main contact telephone number of 0800 732 536 will not change when we move office, nor will our postal address which remains PO Box 9284, Newmarket. All contact numbers are as ever available on the website. If you have been using the current Auckland number of 09 353 2250 this will change to 09 366 1502. When we move a recorded message will be placed on the old number to remind you of this change and the new number.

June 11 2008 | News | 2 Comments »

Online real estate – May 08

realestate.co.nz becomes in May 2008

the #1 international traffic real estate website in NZ

Presented here is the latest data from Nielsen Online to provide a picture of the state of real estate search on the web as well as the performance of key websites for the month of May 2008.

Starting at the aggregated level – the level of total visitor sessions of purely NZ’ers viewing real estate websites continues to track below the 2007 level with around 330,000 weekly sessions through May. (For clarification this aggregated data excludes the traffic of Trade Me property as it tends to skew the data as Trade Me represent over 60% of the total market session traffic, additionally visitor sessions for property very closely mirror those of the total Trade Me website).

As can be seen from the graph the period from April through to September is a fairly flat period of activity representative of the quieter market interest in property. It will be interesting to see the state of property searching as we approach spring.
In terms of the Top 10 website for the month of May – the traffic to all of the top sites fell slightly without major change to the rankings, although Trade Me flatmates site grew traffic to lift its position from #5 to #3.

The 3 main real estate portals remained in the same postions with Trade Me #1, realestate.co.nz #2 and allrealestate at #6.

It is interesting to note that the NZ Herald site now measures traffic to their property section of the NZ Herald website rather than the Search4homes website.

In regard to the performance of realestate.co.nz for the month of May – there was the significant and continuing growth in overseas traffic. Through targeted marketing the total traffic to the site from outside NZ grew to 90,607 unique browsers in the month, making realestate.co.nz the #1 real estate website for the month based on international visitors. As the graph shows the growth of traffic from overseas to realestate.co.nz represents a 22% growth over the past 6 months, compared to a 2% growth for Trade Me property, 1% growth for open2view and a 3% decline for allrealestate.

June 09 2008 | Nielsen Online stats | 1 Comment »