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Drone usage tops real estate tech tools says REINZ

A recent survey carried out for the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ), by Kantar TNS, indicates that real estate professionals are increasingly open to embracing new digital technology, in the interests of providing a more effective service to vendors and buyers.

The number of respondents using drone footage in 2019 has risen to 66% - up from 51%, when the same research was last undertaken in 2017.

Bindi Norwell, CEO, REINZ says that this increase doesn’t surprise her.

“Many years ago, a real estate marketing campaign was essentially a single photo on a newspaper page, with a very short script, and the agent’s phone number, but new technology has completely transformed the process of buying and selling, and drone footage, 3D walkthroughs and VR all can help a prospective purchaser to really ‘experience’ the property and its surroundings, with a 360-degree view.”

Social media continues to be seen as a valuable marketing tool, with 60% of respondents using un-paid social media, while 58% currently pay for advertising on social platforms.

Back in 2017 those figures were 50% and 39% respectively, so the uplift in paid social media advertising shows an interesting trend, which likely attests to its efficacy and reach.

“Social media is such a valuable marketing tool because it allows agents and their clients to connect easily and, in fact, it’s one of the first places most potential buyers look, these days,” says Bindi Norwell.

“Facebook itself is one of the most popular of all social media platforms with real estate professionals, because it targets people who are actually looking in a particular town, suburb, or price range, and the agent can display his or her listings, videos, photos, and updates - as well as past sales, and testimonials. Almost 50% of New Zealanders check their Facebook each day so embracing it has made good business sense.”

The 2019 survey result also points to the increasing popularity of smartphone apps, allowing agents, vendors or buyers to communicate wherever and whenever they want.

51% are now utilising the marketing power of smartphone apps, compared to 38% two years ago and video advertising is another area with a noticeable rise in the number of users.

Search engine optimisation has been embraced by 36% of respondents, up from 29% in 2017, but results for the offshore marketing question reflect a decrease in foreign buyers, over the past two years.

Where 31% were marketing to potential purchasers abroad, in 2017, 29% answered in the affirmative in 2019.

In one of three new questions in this year’s survey, respondents were asked if they are using algorithms to leverage data and while 15% are utilising this technology already, 32% are considering its use.

7% are using artificial intelligence – another new question in 2019 – and use of virtual reality is catching on with 5% utilising it currently while 48% are considering it.

“With so many new tools available to real estate professionals they might appear to be prioritising the relatively tried and true, but there are clearly some in the industry who have quickly become comfortable with really cutting-edge digital tools and services and are using it to benefit themselves and their clients,” says Bindi Norwell.

“1% reported that they’re using robots in open homes, and it will be interesting to compare that figure with next time we survey given that 11% stated they would consider using them,” she adds.

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