With the news that former Dragons’ Den star James Caan has backed a leading online estate agency in Brentwood, the entire industry has been brought into the media spotlight. Since its emergence in the wake of the global recession, there is little doubt this sector of the market is set to experience considerable growth in 2014 and beyond.
Another key factor in online market growth is the consistently changing behaviour of consumers, who are increasingly active online and more comfortable than ever when it comes to browsing the virtual medium. With a growing number of Internet users now happy to make large scale purchases and reference high end products online, the online property market is clearly at the beginning of a steep and robust upward curve.
3 Online Real Estate Trends to Look for in 2013
With this in mind, what are the main trends that will distinguish the online real estate market in 2014? Consider the following: –
The Rise of Video Content
Video marketing has become an influential medium in 2013, and this trend has had a huge impact on the property market. Given this and the fact that audio-visual website YouTube is now firmly established as the virtual world’s second biggest search engine, it is absolutely vital that online real estate firms utilise this medium as effectively as possible. This has obvious connotations in terms of marketing properties, as well-presented videos can be used to provide online tours of listed properties and capture the features of the surrounding area. This instantly enables reputable agents such as the House Network Limited to reach a wider and more engaged audience, which in turn can increase demand and the profitability of houses nationwide.
The Age of Location Based Marketing
Increasingly, consumers are taking to their smartphones and tablets as a way of referencing products, searching for goods and making purchases. This principle also applies to the search for property, and mobile devices allow users to target houses and accommodation according to a designated post code. As a result of this, online real estate firms have a unique opportunity to market properties in real-time, capitalising on a geographically targeted demographic to arrange swift viewings and ultimately a prompt sale. This is so long as their website is correctly optimised for local search, however, and uses responsive design that affords and interactive experience to customers. Without this, they may lose local custom to more proactive and motivated service providers.
The Changing Role of Real Estate Agents
With the online real estate sector now claiming a larger share of the overall market, agencies are evolving at a considerable rate. This is similar to the changes that impacted on the financial markets, where the implementation of online trading platforms forced brokers to become less directly involved with everyday transactions and focus instead on delivering advanced tools and tutorials to investors. A similar trend may yet unfold within the real estate market, especially as the concepts of video marketing and the accessibility of social media encourages a growing number of home-owners to sell their property independently. As a consequence of this, 2014 may yet see online estate agents evolve and emerge as more of a support network for independent vendors.