Posted by: housingdabble | May 22, 2009

Social Networking Meets Property Sales – Cutting Out The Estate agent

 Many estate agents would read the above headline and immediately come to the conclusion that here is just another private seller web site that is destined to fail. This happened with Tesco property (Tesco say they will come back to the market at some point) and has more recently happened with ebay property (the jury is still out on this one). I made that same judgement in the mid-nineties with the internet, feeling that people would never browse property on a computer because going into an estate agents office was more convenient and personal…  fortunately, I wasn’t running my own agency at the time.

 So when will the next phenomenon of property marketing take off and where will it be? With its phenomenal growth, you wouldn’t be wise to bet against the social networking scene being involved in some way.

 I received an invitation yesterday to join a pilot scheme for a new property web site where social media meets property sales. Hablib.com, due to launch in August 2009, claims it is ‘set to cause a stir due its unique offering of residential property profiling combined with the social networking capabilities of facebook, myspace, bebo and orkut’. Quite a bold statement, but the basic idea it that members upload a profile in much that same way as other social networking web sites and in addition they also profile their property. You don’t have to be selling the property at the time of joining, but by uploading its profile, you build up market awareness and collect a list of potential buyers from the other members that tag your property. At the point at which you do decide to sell, you flag your property as being available and hey presto, you have an immediate marketing platform and pre-registered interest.

 The site will be free to use and no doubt the owner (Anton Kreil from the BBC2 series Million Dollar Traders) will generate income from additional services and/or advertising.  Anton’s key challenge in making it a site that can enable sellers to find a buyer , providing that is his objective, will be getting enough users to sign up and load their property profile which is estimated to take around 30mins. At last count, Facebook had 17.4 million users in the UK which accounts for 28% of the UK population and would be a good start in generating interest in your prized possession.

 My expectation is that most estate agents will not see it as an immediate threat; however agents should consider how they might replicate this type of marketing and how they can harness the social media obsession to their benefit.  How they can begin to engage future clients now by networking and marketing via social media. Setting up groups on popular networking sites could be the first port of call in connecting with your target market, maybe by offering advice and support to your group member’s opportunities will present themselves to providing your traditional services.

 There seems to be someone new popping up each day with the claim that they will revolutionise that way people market their homes. One day soon I believe someone actually will.


Responses

  1. Hey Ben,

    Glad to see that you have started up the blog as well.

    All i can really say about this matter is that the internet really grew in strength after the 90’s recession. I believe that Social Media could be what grows out of the 2008 recession.

    After all it shares the same characteristics in that it is cheap to do though time consuming (at the time the Internet was laughed at if we all remember!) and not everyone understood it.

    When it comes to Real Estate it is perhaps to early to know if Social Media and its many many individual start ups, Hablib being one of them, will be a success, but i certainly think it has the right ingrediants; Real Estate is all about communicating after all.

    Your online brand or profile has never been more important.

    Best wishes for the blog Ben,

    James

  2. Intriguing idea. But how about, to make it even more fun, it has a ‘party game’ facility that allows you to mix up the Face Book Profiles and the properties, and you have to guess who lives where?
    Like Through The Keyhole, but possible.

  3. hi Ben, thanks for the review. Very much appreciated. You’re about the only person that reviewed this acuurately at the time. We launch next week and we have many more features that We’re going to be the ifrst property site in the world that pays people to be on there! not joking!Im sure you’d love to be the first to hear about it 😉 Drop me a line. Anton.


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