Archive for June, 2009

Photographs are the most important component of a listing

The subject of photography is a constant theme of real estate marketing – and rightly so!

At every presentation I undertake I roll out the chart which shows the most important components of a real estate listing as judged by buyers – right at the top with 96% of people considering it important or very important is large images / high quality images and a large portfolio.

What is also often quoted is the fact that the human eye can read a photographic image around 20 times faster than reading text. These reasons mean that any property listing must start with the photos – get these right and you are half way there.

As an aside I am delighted at the embracing of rich, comprehensive photos by this industry – when we started the website in 2006 we had an average of just 3.6 photos per listing, last year when we checked this had rocketed up to 11.2 and this year it is up again to 13.7 – proof indeed of the value of photography!

When it comes to choosing a photographic service, the one thing I want to make sure is understood is that does not promote any one company over another – we value the role of being impartial. We promote all professional photographers who with agents enhance the output of great photographs that assist in marketing listings.

We do have a technical integration with Open2view, however this is a non-commercial arrangement which is designed to allow our site to showcase their portfolio of photos – both sides benefit.

With this in mind I was delighted to learn of an Auckland based business I was only to happy to profile for those agents in the region. Skyworks Aerial Photography specialises in lower altitude aerial photography using helium filled plimps or telescopic platforms allowing images to be taken up to 70 feet above the ground.

Aerial photographs are such a natural complement to the standard portfolio of indoor and outdoor photos and of course complement the higher altitude images presented on Zoodle. They also complement Google Streetview – all aiding the easier comprehension by buyers as to the layout and attributes of their chosen house, all from the comfort of their armchair via the web.

June 23 2009 | Photos | 5 Comments »

Little by little, bit by bit we are transforming real estate!

This may seem a somewhat arrogant statement, but the serendipitous experience of two communications today give me confidence that at last the NZ real estate industry is changing in a positive way to embrace the web. The first occurrence was as a consequence of a presentation to did first thing today in Tauranga to an assembled team of Harcourts salespeople from Advantage Realty.

The presentation was as ever to share insight to the power of the web in real estate marketing and endeavour to encourage all agents to embrace the web and build an online profile. The audience were great and the response in questions was excellent. To my surprise later in the day I was sent this photo by the MD of the company with this comment:

“thought you might like this photo, this agent would be or has been the most techno ignorant agent in our company and after your presentation arrived into the office with a computer and said ‘I refuse to be left behind!”

Little by little we are changing the industry!

Then later in the day I came across this great article on Inman News from Marc Davison of 1000Watt Consulting which really speaks to the similar challenge faced over there in converting agents to the benefits of social media. Just 3 out a group of 400 this guy had been speaking to actually practiced social media to build their business. For me the really compelling comments came at the end of the article:

  • The first time you receive a comment to your blog telling you how good your post was, you’ll be amazed at how much time you’ll find to write another one.
  • The first time a long-lost friend from college locates you on Facebook and coincidently happens to be in the market to buy a home, watch how fast you start “friending” everyone you’ve ever met throughout your life.
  • The first time someone posts a question on Twitter about your community and you respond seconds later with precise info that turns them into a follower, notice how your slogan — which has sat dormant on your business card forever — begins to glow.

Little by little, bit by bit – the change is happening and will happen as this industry goes through a transformation.

PS – if you want to attend one of these presentatios then check out our ‘On-the-Road’ blog for future dates and times around the country.

June 10 2009 | Online marketing | No Comments »

Open Homes – new website functionality

Open homes are a key part of marketing for any property and almost every salesperson. They are also a perfect component of a good real estate website. For over 2 years we have had the opportunity for salespeople to add open home times to individual listings in our database, however up until now this has not been an automated process integrating your own office website with

But now that has changed and we can from this week offer all offices access to show their open home time automatically on To ensure your office can benefit from this please contact your data provider or helpdesk support – we have been working with the data providers but cannot confirm all will be able to provide this all this week.

We have made some changes to the website to help buyers find and schedule open homes.

1. A new search filter tool has been added to the search box and the search filters on search results allowing buyers to view just open homes

2. In addition we are introducing a weekly email service for buyers specifically focused on open homes. So when a buyer saves a search selection on the website they will be prompted to receive a weekly email on a Friday afternoon which will show all the open homes we have featured on the site within the saved search criteria all ranked in time order – thereby making planning open home visits more efficient.

3. The scheduling of open homes is often a very dynamic event, often more so than the listing itself. To this end we are encouraging data providers and your office to send us any open home updates as frequently as they like – more than once per day. In this way we can help you better highlight to buyers any changes to open home times.

We are conscious that the website needs to assist you in this key part of marketing – we see no need for buyers to visit multiple websites to get the key information that we can provide on this website – nor do we see the need for you to pay other website to offer a profile of your open homes when this can be done on your industry owned website – all of this of course is provided free of charge to you and your office as part of your regular monthly subscription.

June 04 2009 | New feature | No Comments »

Real estate online traffic – May 2009

The level of visitor traffic to real estate websites continues to hold up well even as the winter period creeps closer. In May over 3.8 million sessions were viewed on one of the key listings websites.

The graph below shows the tracking of these visitors on a weekly basis. It is very clear from the graph that the level of interest in property picked up again significantly after Easter and has maintained a strong level in excess of 1 million visitor sessions for the past 4 weeks. This scale of traffic is considerably above the same period in 2008 and 2007 and has yet to see any significant seasonal downturn. This trending of traffic for 2009 seems to be mirroring 2007.

The top 10 websites of real estate remain pretty much the same as in prior months with the overall level of reach in terms of unique visitors showing a 7% growth measuring May 2009 as against May 2008.

All of the main websites showed growth ahead of the market, particular strong growth was seen by Barfoot & Thompson (up 37%), (up 31%) and Bayleys (up 29%).

When measured as 3 month comparison the website of is up a staggering 38% in growth of visitor traffic when compared to the same period in 2008.

In terms of international visitors reviewing NZ listings the latest data for May reinforces the strength of in delivering the largest set of international property searchers. In the month just over 115,000 unique visitors from over 200 countries checked out the property listings on the site – more than 56% more traffic than trade me.

June 04 2009 | Nielsen Online stats | No Comments »

How do you rate in responding to emails??

We have recently completed a survey of email response rate from enquiries sent from the website. This is a survey which we have undertaken annually for the past 2 years.

The good news is that response rate and timeliness of response is improving – the bad news is that out of 100 email enquiries sent from the site – 12 were never answered!! – those emails could have been genuine enquiries from buyers!

The research carried out by an independent company was undertaken in late April and surveyed the response rate of 100 enquiries sent from the site on a random basis across the country to a representative number of listings per region. Here are the key findings and some observations / recommendations:

1. Overall response rate 88% answered. This compares to 87% last year and 69% 2 years ago – things are improving

2. Regionally Auckland performed worst (78%) with the rest of the North Island performing best (96%)

3. Excellent responsiveness – 43% responded to an email within 2 hours, 86% responded within 24 hours. A year ago only 68% responded within 24 hours

4. Email is the preferred method of response – 86% of enquiry that asked for an email response got one by email, however 23% of enquiries asking for a telephone call were responded by email only

So what can this information do to help you – or rather what can you do to ensure you do not miss important leads, here are a few tips:

1. Ensure that the email address we have in our system for your listings is correct – test our website. Send a test email to yourself from one of your listing on our site – it’s free and if you get the email in your inbox it immediately all is working OK – if not then let us help try and find why – call the team on 0800 732 536

2. Find ways of being kept informed on email enquiries – use a mobile phone that can receive emails or get someone in your office to text you to inform you of new enquiries

3. Set up home email so that you can respond at the end of your working day

Have a read of the full report to fully understand how your approach may help in gaining more from email enquiries – pdf file (0.4MB file)

Click here to download the full report

June 04 2009 | Online marketing and Research | No Comments »