With the bulk of any real estate office's budget going into marketing costs it is crucial for any owner of an agency to do his best to establish the source of the buyer and the source of the seller.
Such research is a vital part of running any growing and successful business and in the rapidly evolving world of real estate, detecting trends is a critical part of strategic planning.
Having recently concluded a survey of 2013 sales the biggest trend I have identified is the substantial increase in the use of property portals by buyers, over the use of Corporate websites. Of all the portals, Property24 is clearly the outright preferred portal for our area. Fewer buyers seem to be interested in what individual company websites have to offer, with a clear preference to go to the shared portal sites. It seems that the real value in Corporate website is now for branding and positioning on Google and other search engines, for those buyers who don't know about the property portals. *
Of the buyers surveyed on their buying process significantly all except 11% had used the internet as part of their search to find a property to buy. Of these 72% remember using the portal Property24. Only 33% mentioned any other property portal (this was mostly PrivateProperty followed by IOL and Tivvit). Only 27% could recall using any individual company's website. I would very much like the Western Cape Institute of Estate Agents to undertake a regional survey to establish these trends, and have communicated such request to them as I don't believe that the portals themselves can provide independent commentary on this that would not be considered subjective.
There is also a clear decline in the use of printed media for sourcing information on properties for sale. Only 52% mentioned using any printed property publication as a part of their property selection process. The last time we did a similar survey some 80% had referred to printed media, so a significant decline.
Many people were maybe not surprisingly, rather vague with their recollections and I have little doubt that results will vary from area to area and of course market demographics.