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Technology-inspired house hunting

Augmented and virtual reality technology is now becoming commonplace and social media a daily part of life. It is thus no surprise when the face of real estate marketing begins to move beyond standard property search engines to the web where consumers actually spend most of their time.

Also read:Tenant purchase schemes the new way to go in Kenyan Housing market

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One of the biggest changes is the convenience of being able to do most of the initial ‘legwork’ without actually leaving home, and the volume of information means consumers can equate locations and value with comparative asking prices on a scale that would have been impossible in the age when print was king.

According to Graham Knoop, digital marketing expert and specialist realtor for Lew Geffen Sotheby in Cape Town, the accessibility to information means clients are more educated and savvy than ever before. This enables informed buyers and sellers make better choices, and buying property is usually a financial decision that will affect your life for a very long time.

Figures released by Facebook in early March noted more than 1.86-billion active users per month globally, a 17% year-on-year user increase.

Facebook has 85%-plus more users than its nearest social media competitor, making it the international social media whale and increasingly the place to source property news and information on the latest stock coming onto the market – in-between interacting with friends.

Propscan is an app that provides South African realtors with the technology and consumers with a simple interface platform to showcase and view properties in 3D.

Propscan founder JP van der Bergh says the 3D technology gives realtors’ clients the edge over other homes being marketed with more conventional tools, the platform is competitively priced at a set rate without hidden monthly charges and because the app is being widely promoted to consumers as a free search tool with many unique features, property professionals reach their target audiences.

With properties showcased in 3D on Propscan, a simple twist of the viewing device will allow buyers to view features such as floor coverings, fittings and finishes in far greater detail than previously possible with still photographs.

Grahame Diedericks, manager for Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty in Midrand, Johannesburg, says that when done strategically, digital marketing can help agents reach a broad demographic of potential buyers at a pace never imagined during the reign of print advertising. Furthermore, studies of consumer brand interaction reinforce why it’s vital for sellers to select a real estate company that has a strong online presence.

According to Diedericks, an optimum marketing strategy should now include social media, database advertising, property search portal and app placements, digital media showcasing, show days, outdoor boarding and high-end print material.

As an advantage, digital marketing saves both buyers and agents a significant amount of time since the initial online research by buyers will whittle down the list of homes they eventually view. It also helps buyers narrow down their searches and save time by allowing them to discard home choices that don’t suit their requirements.

Knoop further says that when one takes into account online inquiries and their primal role in resulting to sales, agents with the correct digital support and knowledge will thus be able to achieve the best possible price for their homes in the shortest possible time.

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