The estate agent’s window, or For Sale Boards outside a property, used to be the first ports of call for people looking to buy a property, however the rapid growth of the Internet over the last 10 years has changed the way that people buy and sell residential property. As a result, more and more people today are using online sources when searching for their ideal home.
How Do Buyers Find Properties?
There are many different channels available to assist in finding a property. These include traditional methods, such as speaking directly to estate agents about their properties, looking at print advertising, and contacting developers about new builds, but the most common search method these days is definitely the Internet.
Online property portals are the most popular method of searching for a property online. These websites give buyers an opportunity to see what several different agents have on the market in one place, rather than check each agent’s website individually. Their increasing popularity has meant that estate agents have aligned themselves with these sites in order to maximise the potential to sell. Most estate agents have their own website and buyers can also look there to see what properties specific agents have on the market.
Nowadays, using online property portals, buyers can see what is on the market and also track sale prices in the area as well as current house values. Further information can be found on the local demographic and includes statistics on crime rates, information about local transport routes and details of nearby schools all in the one place. This takes the hassle out of having to research all this information separately and makes it easier to compare different areas.
Online property portals take properties from various different estate agents and group them all into one place, allowing the buyer to check one website rather than many agents’ websites. Most estate agents have their own websites, and buyers can also look there, but the popularity of the portals has meant that estate agents are almost obliged to be present on them in order to maximise the sale potential of their client’s property. Many of the portals offer further information on historic house price data, and area information, such as statistics on crime rates, transport information, details of nearby schools.
How Powerful is Online Property Advertising?
The Internet is now by far the most effective medium for attracting house buyers, which is something that we can absolutely vouch for, with the vast majority of our buying leads coming from enquiries through online portals or through our own website.
Further evidence can be obtained from figures that show that traffic to property portals has increased significantly over the years, with the ESPC stating that last year total visits to espc.com were 29% higher than in 2012, and through the first seven months of this year visits have risen by a further 32%.
A recent survey carried out by The Negotiator magazine found that:
- 60.5% of estate agents believe that between 61-80% of buyers start their searches of a new property online.
- In 5 years time most agent believe that between 81-100% of buyers will start looking for a property online.
- The typical estate agent spends 41-80% of their marketing budget on the Internet. In 5 years time that will rise to 71-100%.
This just reinforces the importance of the internet in getting a property sold.
Added to the importance of online advertising these days is the explosion of people using smart phones and other mobile, internet-connected devices. According to the Office for National Statistics, almost half of Internet users in the United Kingdom are going online using mobile data connections, thereby enabling buyers to search for properties whilst on the go. As a result, more and more property websites are creating mobile friendly versions of their site in order to allow buyers to search using mobile devices.
To illustrate this shift, the Edinburgh Solicitors Property Centre (ESPC) states that visits to its website from mobile phone and tablets accounted for 56% of its total website traffic in August 2014. This can be compared to less than 20% of visits were from mobiles and tablets at the beginning of 2012. So, not only is the internet important, but if your property doesn’t display properly on a mobile device, you are losing potential buyers.
It is clear that the Internet is the most powerful marketing resource available when selling a property, and the most commonly-used route for buyers to find properties.
Paper-based marketing can no longer be relied upon to generate interest and sales, and using national and regional property portals is the best way forward, as these sites will be the first port of call for the majority of buyers when searching for their next home.
All of this means that, if you are selling and want to give your property a competitive advantage, you should look at enhanced, online advertising products. These are a cost-effective way of placing your property head-and-shoulders above the others that are on the market. For more information about this, see our article about enhanced online property marketing products (http://www.mov8realestate.com/2014/08/espc-limelight-rightmove-premium-zoopla-premium/) or give our Valuation Team a call on 0345 646 0208.