Archive for September, 2009

Featured Agent suburb adverts now available for Oct & Nov

Today is a great day to increase your profile on the web – get your name in front of thousands of active buyers.

These buyers, as is well known are more than likely to be looking to list their property for sale in the coming weeks – Featured Agent adverts are an excellent and very cost effective advertising medium for you to build your awareness and profile. Starting at just $15 per suburb per month where else can you get that kind of value for money in advertising these days?

Today you can go online and buy an advert for the months of October & November.

The reason that we are only releasing these 2 months is that we are undergoing a major re-development and re-design of the website. As part of this project we are upgrading the featured agent service to improve on its ability to put you in front of prospective clients. This development work is underway and will be completed in November.

The service for the next 2 months of October and November remains as previously, with the same individual suburbs able to be purchased as one of only 3 featured agents at the top of each of the search pages for that suburb. The costs have not changed nor the category of suburb.

Just as a reminder. In the case of residential searches the most highly viewed suburbs “Gold” are charged at $150 per month, the next tier of suburbs “Silver” are charged at $75 per month and all of the remainder, which is actually 80% of the 1,700+ suburbs across the country are charged at just $15 per suburb. All costs are inclusive of GST.

To advertise in rental search results the prices are $50 / $25 / $10; for commercial property, the prices are $100 / $25 / $10 and to advertise in searches farms the prices are $25 / $15 / $10.

To help identify the costs for your particular suburb these documents downloadable below will make it easy to find out the costs for each suburb for each category:

Choose – Residential / Commercial / Rental / Rural

All bookings for this Featured Agent service must be booked online through the Agent pro website. There you will need to login and purchase with a valid credit card. To purchase a Featured Agent advert for an individual agent requires logging in under that agent’s name.

September 30 2009 | Online marketing | No Comments »

Record level of website traffic

The month of August turned out to be another bumper month in terms of traffic to real estate websites. Following a record level in July, August saw another new record established with a massive 1,489,294 unique browser visits to a variety of real estate websites as monitored by Nielsen Online.

The table here shows the top 10 websites as recorded by Nielsen for the month.

Not only is this good news for these websites, but is also great news for the industry as these record levels are a key indicator of interest from property seekers searching for property and information on the market.

In total the traffic represented a year on year growth of 17% – an extra 216,264 unique browsers as compared to August last year.

For realestate.co.nz the month was not just a new record but represented a growth of 50% from August last year – far ahead of the 17% growth of the market and second only in terms of growth to Barfoot & Thompson website. The 50% increase represents an additional 132,125 unique browsers visiting the website this year that did not visit last year – great news for your listings and for your clients.

A complete analysis of the online market and the performance of the website of realestate.co.nz including useful sales inserts can be viewed by downloading the September report here.

The report provides insight into the growing usage of the web for real estate search as well as demonstration of the value of the web in attracting domestic and international interest in your listings.

September 14 2009 | News | No Comments »

Realestate.co.nz limited – Annual Report 2008/9

Realestate.co.nz is an industry owned website – we are enormously proud of this fact as well as the support that we receive from the real estate industry. We are unique in a world where the international media barons dominate the print and online real estate advertising marketplaces, to be able to offer you a NZ owned, cost effective tool for marketing yourself and your listing in a website that classically punches well above its weight.

As an industry owned website we are keen to be transparent about our business – a business you all share in, to enable you to see what you get for your subscription. You can download and read a copy of our annual report which details the performance of the website over the year to 31st March 2009. In addition we would encourage you to share your comments and thoughts on this blog post.

Annual Report – Realestate.co.nz Limited.

Financial year ending 31 March 2009.

1. Key performance metrics

All metrics are as at 31st March 2009

2. Chairman’s Report

This past year has been a challenging one for the whole of the real estate industry. The direct consequences of the economic recession saw property sales drop by half and sent ripples through all sectors of the industry. Online real estate marketing was not immune. Realestate.co.nz Ltd was impacted by the loss of over 150 subscribing offices that ceased operations in the past year. Such a scale of office closures impacts subscriptions, the primary revenue driver for the business. Heeding early warning signs, the Board and management embarked on protective strategies and actions which has enabled the company to end the year in excellent operational and financial health.

For the 12 months ending March 2009 the company reported total revenue of $2,854k, a decline of $327k from the prior year as a direct result of the loss of subscribing offices. That decline in revenue caused the operating profit before license fees to fall to $67k, from the prior year $483k.

Beyond ensuring that we remain financially sound, financial success for Realestate.co.nz Limited takes a back seat to ensuring the success of realestate.co.nz as an effective marketing tool for the subscribers. A key measure of the success of the company in the year can be judged in the strength of the subscriber base which grew in percentage terms to finish the year at a new high of just under 93% of all licensed real estate offices. An equally significant vindication of the growing success of the website was the closure of the competitor website of allrealestate.co.nz in December of 2008. That website had aggressively launched in October 2005 with the backing of the media muscle of News Corporation through the Australian company REA Group which runs the #1 real estate website in Australia. Despite that backing and some very aggressive attempts to dominate the NZ market the website was closed as, in the judgment of its owners, it could not justify the continuing investment required just to hold its 3rd place in the market.

Their demise has assisted the realestate.co.nz website to grow in value to the property seeking public both domestically and internationally. The monthly traffic to the website now exceeds 360,000 unique browsers per month, significantly up from the 260,000 per month a year ago. Whilst not attaining the #1 spot in terms of domestic traffic the website ably demonstrates its appeal in being the clear #1 website based on international visitors searching for NZ properties with a clear margin of 50% more traffic than the #2 website, with over 110,000 unique browsers per month from over 200 countries.

During the year the company has strategically sought to broaden its business base and consolidate its position of being the most comprehensive website for content as well as an authoritative source of real estate information. New incremental revenue was derived from the premium marketing services of featured listings and featured agents during the year. A new company was launched in January as a joint venture with Terralink International providing rich and comprehensive information on all of NZ residential property through an innovative new website – Zoodle. This website has already established itself strongly in the market for property reports and community information and regularly receives over 35,000 monthly unique visitors as well as steady revenue from property reports sold online.

Building on the platform established in the prior year around social media and property data the company has actively promoted its growing role as a reporting service of key data from the website as a lead indicator of consumer activity. This initiative has captured significant media coverage, critical in building the visibility and credibility in the marketplace and placing the company ahead of competitors who could equally have taken the opportunity to provide and promote such data analysis.

As a demonstration of the effective role of social media the traffic from unique visitors to the agents’ own Voices blogs as well as the Unconditional blog now surpass 20,000 unique browsers per month capturing a unique and credible place in the market for timely and accurate property market information.

Far from believing that our work is done the realestate.co.nz team have embarked on a challenging redevelopment of the site to provide an even more compelling marketing opportunity for a broader range of property types. This new investment will reflect the feedback provided by public users of the site and offer an improved level of engagement for users and ultimately improved marketing outcomes for subscribers.

As Chairman of the Board I would once again like to acknowledge the contribution made over the year by the directors of the company who have given generously of their time as well as their demonstrated support of the site. To the realestate.co.nz team, which includes our partner companies, I offer my thanks for their ongoing commitment, dedication and belief to deliver a high value-add service, support the continued development of the site and provide marketing to assist in developing and growing the realestate.co.nz brand. There exists within the team an urge to constantly develop and enhance the website and I am confident that the coming year will see the fruits of their vision take the website to a new level.

The last and most important thanks should go to the industry at large who continue to demonstrate their support for the site, as it is becoming a “must-have” within their marketing portfolio. Realestate.co.nz Limited respects and appreciates its role in providing the real estate industry of NZ with a highly effective, cost competitive real estate marketing website where the value created in the business will deliver long term benefit for all of those in the real estate industry

Jeff Davidson
Chairman – Realestate.co.nz Limited

3. Company structure

Realestate.co.nz Ltd has 2 shareholders. 50% of the shares are owned by REINZ Member Services Ltd, the remaining 50% are owned by Property Page (NZ) Ltd owning 50% of the shares.

Board of Directors

The board of directors for the year ending 31st March 2009 comprised the following:
Board Member Shareholder representative

Murray Cleland – REINZ Member Services Ltd

Mike Pinkney – REINZ Member Services Ltd

John Ross – REINZ Member Services Ltd

Ross Hunter – Property Page (NZ) Ltd

Peter Thompson – Property Page (NZ) Ltd

Bryan Thomson – Property Page (NZ) Ltd

Independent Chairman – Jeff Davidson

Employees

The management team and employees of the company comprised the following as at 31st March 2009

Alistair Helm – Chief Executive

Phil Dunn – Chief Operating Officer

Kerry Kissane – Training and customer services manager

Katherine Jariel – Customer services representative

Crystal Fell – Customer services representative

4. CEO outlook for 2009/10

The website of realestate.co.nz continues to offer a tremendous service to the real estate industry of NZ.

In the 3 years of operation, the site has demonstrated that with the unified support of the industry a lean operation can compete and challenge any well resourced and funded media company to offer the property buyers and renters of New Zealand a market leading website whilst ensuring that the costs to this industry are controlled.

At no time over the past 3 years has the website rested on its laurels. With constant development and enhancement it has striven to set new benchmarks and provide new services to both its consumers and customers.

This forthcoming year will again be a period of development for the company and the website. There are many new features that we have planned to incorporate into a re-design of the website. The focus is on providing property seekers with a more engaging and valuable experience in using the website – an experience that prompts them to visit regularly as well as share their experiences with their friends, family and colleagues.

The web in general is becoming a far more social environment as people demand greater transparency and authenticity enabling them to be able to make more informed decisions in regard to products and services they buy either directly online or through information provided online. The real estate industry is being challenged by this drive for greater openness and interaction, the winners in the future will be those in the industry that recognise this trend and embrace the online opportunity – using technology to build their profile and their referral base.

The website of realestate.co.nz intends in the coming year to take a leadership position to provide tools and services to assist the industry to embrace this era of transparency and openness as well as cement the dominance of the web as the most effective medium for advertising properties and promotion of salespeople and companies. A key part of this development is the more specialised segments of the industry catering to commercial property agents, business brokers and rural specialists. To each of these dedicated areas we intend to develop bespoke solutions that are tailored to their needs as well as their clients’ needs thereby ensuring that the website continues to offer a true one-stop-shop solution for all segments of the industry.

The promotion and advertising of the website is recognised as a key requirement to build consumer awareness and through that customer loyalty. In today’s fragmented media world the route to achieve this awareness no longer solely relies on traditional mainstream media. It is for this reason that the company continues to seek out opportunities to utilise new and emerging platforms for promotions of the website and thereby endure that the marketing investment is efficiently and effectively invested.
Alistair Helm
CEO – Realestate.co.nz

September 14 2009 | News | No Comments »

Social Media – Buzz Word of the Decade!!

Yes it is true! – social media is here to stay and personally I believe the impact on the real estate industry has only really begin to be felt.

Social media is not a technology matter it is entirely a social matter, it is abut what we all do everyday – communicate as we are social creatures. All social media does is allow through the application of technology the ability for us communicate with more people more efficiently and do it whilst leaving a very clear path and readable footprints which can assist us all in building credibility, respect and importantly referrals.

Don’t just take my word for it though – read the thoughts and ideas of Stefan Swanepoel. Stefan is a leading researcher, analyst and writer on all matters concerning real estate. He has just completed a new book aptly titled “Social media report 2010”.

The book is published in early October and whilst I have not as yet had the opportunity to read it, given Stefan’s pedigree of annual Trends reports I would have to heartily recommend this book.

I have got my order in – why don’t you take advantage of this earlybird offer. The retail price is US$79.95 + shipping and handling.

If you order online now and use the promo code: Friends you can get a 46% discount – you will pay just US$43.05 + shipping and handling.

Here is the synopsis of the book by Stefan:

Communication, collaboration, networking, marketing, sales – as we knew it a decade ago, heck even as we knew it last year, will never be the same again.

Our lives are being radically and exponentially changed by Social Media and Social Networking.

This shift is not happening like many of the business trends detailed in my annual Swanepoel TRENDS Report over a 5 to 10 year period, but rather in an accelerated time frame – probably two to three times as fast.

Many traditional forms of media we have been using for decades are being eclipsed with growth, membership numbers and adoption rates that we have never experienced before.

Consumers no longer want or trust advertising to the same levels as a decade ago. Today they want to talk to other consumers directly, create a discussion and validate for themselves what they want or believe.

If you feel confused as to what this means for real estate agents, don’t worry you’re not alone. I have literally received hundreds and hundreds of emails, posts, facebook comments and tweets about Social Media and what it could mean to the Real Estate Industry.

Therefore I have decided to write another report (similar to my annual Swanepoel TRENDS Report) but to dedicate the entire 120 pages of this report to only addressing Social Media and Social Networking.

Here are some of the items the Report covers:
• Where to Start with Social Media?
• Finding your Target Market Online
• Social Media Rules of Engagement
• Best Practices and Tactics
• Finding Social Balance Online
• Top 25 Social Media Networks
• How to Manage your Time?
• Finding Social Media ROI

We have even added a special 10 Day step-by-step Action Plan for Realtors®.

Mel (my co-author) and I have finished our research and writing and the Report has gone to print. It will be ready for distribution on Monday October 5th, 2009.

September 01 2009 | Social Networking and Special offers | No Comments »