Wally Scales: Technology and Real Estate
Technology and Real Estate
Authored article by Wally Scales, General Manager, PropertyLook
Record numbers of Australians are moving online, taking advantage of the convenience and accessibility that the Internet has to offer. Mirroring this trend, local online advertising has also escalated and the Internet has become the fastest growing advertising medium in the country.
With nearly 10 million Australians now online, some property agents are fast realising the unique selling capabilities and wide-ranging scope of the Internet, and are increasingly listing their commercial properties online in order to capture the burgeoning market.
Agents that have already established a web presence have noted a substantial growth in online traffic, particularly in the commercial sector where time poor business people are using online services to quickly and conveniently locate suitable properties. Prospective buyers and lessees that are interested in property information, and looking to gain a better understanding of the market before approaching estate agents, are also driving demand for online property services.
Real estate agents don’t have to take an either/or approach when moving to technology but can use it as part of an integrated marketing campaign to effectively generate business and establish themselves in the competitive commercial property market.
For example George Nicholas, Associate Director at commercial real estate consultancy Colliers International, said his online advertising campaign complements his agency’s marketing efforts, allowing potential buyers to view the website and download tours, maps, images and brochures before they decided to inspect. According to Nicholas, it has proven to be a cost-effective way to reach and distribute relevant information to commercial property investors.
The Internet allows real estate agents to deliver content-rich information about their properties and services directly to their buyers. Online advertising ensures that agents can conduct pro-active real-time contact with potential customers and even offer virtual tours, making online property inspections a fast and practical reality.
The cost of advertising online when compared to print is negligible, yet by marketing a property on the Internet estate agents have the potential to reach a far greater and more varied audience, unrestricted by print circulation or publication availability. Internet listings can also feature on a site over a longer time period than a print advertisement, which can have a limited life span.
Online advertising assisted Andrew Stewart, Director of Industrial Services at commercial real estate consultancy CB Richard Ellis in selling a manufacturing facility that was being offered with vacant possession. The consultancy had initially invested in traditional forms of advertising, including brochure, mailout and press ads, but with limited success. After persuading the vendor to put the property online, the property sold within a week.
The far-reaching scope of the Internet gives property agents the opportunity to capture a larger portion of the market, covering all potential prospects for their vendors. While it allows them to directly target local buyers and tenants, worldwide access to the Internet is also facilitating access to the Australian property market for foreign investors.
Online advertising provides off-shore opportunities and identifies investors that agents would not otherwise be aware of. Colliers International, Sydney office, sold a prominent $2.65 million property at Circular Quay to an offshore investor that had seen the listing on PropertyLook. The buyer has subsequently looked at other properties in Sydney.
PropertyLook provides thousands of online listings for commercial real estate in Australia and New Zealand.
It is exclusively endorsed by the four major commercial property agency groups - Jones Lang LaSalle, CB Richard Ellis, Knight Frank and Colliers International - and is also utilised by most other leading agencies.
The commercial properties listed on PropertyLook include the sale and lease of office space, industrial buildings, retail outlets, hotels and leisure resorts, as well as development and investment opportunities.
Around 72% of visitors to the PropertyLook website are property seekers looking for commercial property or researching the market. 28% of visitors are industry professionals, such as agents or valuers.