Posted by: housingdabble | January 18, 2011

Rightmove go Hyperlocal with RightmovePlaces

The figurative journey a home mover travels on between deciding to move home and instructing an estate agent to sell their property takes on average four weeks. Because of the web, in recent years estate agents are finding themselves with fewer opportunities to speak to home owners, particularly during this period. So much of sellers initial browsing activity is done online with little reason to pick up the phone or visit the office.

Much of the knowledge home buyers and sellers previously relied on from their local knowledgeable estate agent is now available to them online – information ranging from guides on property values to where are the best local restaurants or school.

Some of this information is known as “hyperlocal” and is becoming more and more accurate and readily available through a growing number of sites that rely on local people to populate and update the information.

Rightmove have picked up on this trend and identified it as the perfect way to develop their offering whilst also helping agents to build their credibility online through an open forum.

Rightmoveplaces, currently in “quiet beta”, is their new hyperlocal offering which will ultimately link to the individual property pages on the main Rightmove providing information and insights into the local area and community. It makes sense really, when people are moving home, they will no doubt be keen to research different areas and find out what are the good and bad points about the areas they are considering.

They are doing this already, so why not provide a way to do so without them moving too far from the properties agents want them to be looking at.

The opportunities for agents is obvious, and a chance to provide a balanced view of your local community and engage with sellers at this stage is not one to be missed.

In terms of functionality the site works well already, with each local area home page carrying photographs of local sites which immediately gives each page a distinct and local feel. Most importantly its very simple!

You just click to rate either the area or various aspects such as the schools or nightlife and you can also add your own 160 character review. There is a notice board facility and also a pretty addictive higher or lower house price game based on Miles valuations of local properties.

You don’t need to register to contribute to the site, but clearly that’s the way to go if you want to have any kind of local profile. You can create a bio, add a photograph (please don’t use your company logo!) and then create content to your hearts content.

Put aside the challenges that will face Rightmove in terms of building momentum and then policing the content (they assure me there are processes in place) and you can see this being a clever addition to the Rightmove family as they take further steps towards embracing the social web.

As for agents, no doubt some will focus on the negatives and I expect some will want to find a way of feeding all their listings to it. However, others will know that to outwardly promote their brand in this type of environment would be akin to wearing a branded sandwich board in their local pub and broadcasting their latest listings through a megaphone. These switched on agents will get stuck in early and try to identify how they can improve their credibility by helping people in their community.

I think this could turn out to be a great forum to help agents get involved in conversations that are already taking place and ultimately win more business.

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Responses

  1. People will go to high street branches less and less when searching for property to buy. Is it healthy to have a closely monopolistic grip on the web by the portal sites?

    What about sellers. Will they start to market their own property on the web? Will Estate Agents merely become facilitators to accompany viewings and maybe conduct negotiations?

    Interesting prospect

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Ben Harris, Barry Sharpe and others. Barry Sharpe said: RT @housingdabble: An estate/letting agent interested in social networking, you will want to know about this http://bit.ly/ebiIfk #property […]

  3. interesting to see a property market view. there’s a lively discussion on the merits of rightmoveplaces going on amongst hyperlocal publishers over here

    http://talkaboutlocal.org.uk/rightmoveplaces-and-hyperlocal-sites-what-do-you-think/

    • Thanks William, Tom directed me to your blog which I found interesting too – particularly the comments and discussion from other hyperlocals

  4. […] They thrive on the fact that they are run by people who understand and care about the local community and can be a genuine source of knowledge. There is definitely a demand for this hyperlocal content as demonstrated by Rightmove’s move to create Rightmove Places. […]


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