The real estate industry has always had a love-hate relationship with the portals. While it’s the portals that own the best audience for property buyers – and are therefore an important part of any vendor’s marketing spend – the charging models and sense of dependence has always irked agents. No-one likes being obliged to pay for a service you feel you have little control over.
But the portals and the technology that drives them are now more than 15 years old. And over the past 3 years, the game they changed has started to change again. It’s possible the portals are about to be disrupted themselves.
Fifteen years ago, the idea that buyers could go to one place online to see every property on the market in any suburb you chose was absolutely revolutionary. Buyers no longer had to jump in the car and visit the suburb to check out local real estate agent shop windows or get hold of a local paper. All the information you needed was in one place, and you could look at it at whatever time suited you – 9am, 9pm, 2pm, 2am – on your desktop computer in the comfort of your office or living room and send a message of inquiry. It was a huge improvement in the old way of doing things, removing pain points and making property hunting faster and more convenient.
But two new revolutions have occurred over roughly the past three to five years – the social revolution and the mobile revolution. The two are interconnected as the conversion of our mobile phones to mobile computers that are always on and always with us, in turn, enabled the social revolution with apps such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Messenger, LinkedIn, Pinterest and WhatsApp to dominate our lives.
And it’s apps like Facebook that are likely to dramatically change the way we ‘do’ real estate again in the very near future.
Facebook claims to be a company based on “human connection and bringing people together”, the recent REIQ Tech Day was told. Its mission is to “give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together”.
There are 2.01b people on Facebook every month and 1.32b on Facebook every day. Facebook is the eighth most-used feature on any mobile phone and in addition to the mothership, there are 1.2b on Whatsapp, 1.2b on Messenger and 700m people on Instagram each month – all part of the Facebook family.
The only thing bigger than the Facebook community, the conference was told, is Christianity.
Facebook also has a second mission – to “democratise advertising” by making it easy and affordable for every business – especially small businesses – to reach customers by giving them access to the same tools that big business has traditionally dominated.
This is where the threat to the portals happens.
The above article was originally published on CoreLogic. Read more here.