As society has evolved through the digital era, so have our habits when it comes to buying and selling properties.
In the last decade, the emergence of property portals – websites specifically developed to engage those on both sides of the property market – has led to a shift in trends for how properties are marketed online.
Their ease of use, according to our resident property expert Sandra Ruttle, is a big draw and can lead to substantial gains.
She said: “They are very user-friendly; they allow you to filter down to the property type that you are looking for, before contacting the real estate agent to organise a viewing of the property – all in the space of a click of a few buttons.
“Some of our partners are saying that 60% of their property leads are now coming through property portals, so – coupled with their easy-to-use nature – they are a big space that you need to occupy for selling or letting properties.”
Over time property portals have become more refined – one of the latest developments in particular, premium listings, is a feature that can enhance the ability to sell a real estate by up to 30%.
“Of course, this will attract an additional fee, but if a premium listing can give an advantage in the market over your competitor of that size, then it’s a valuable investment that is well worth making,” added Sandra.
One region where property portals are growing in influence is Continental Europe.
Bruce Hawker, Director at Fine & Country Algarve, said a significant proportion of their leads are through property portals and that this has helped them to “diversify our marketing to reach new markets”.
He said: “We have sold to buyers from over 30 different countries over the last three years and the portals are largely responsible for this.
“There are only benefits as far as we see it. And they will become more influential – as technology continues to improve, they can only get better. But great care is needed – we are constantly monitoring our responses on all of the portals to establish the cost and the quality of leads from each one.”
Conversion rates, from lead to sale, are not as strong through property portals (around 1 in 40) compared to ‘walk-ins’ (less than 1 in 10). However, when used in the right way, portals can be a main – or even a sole – source of business.
Bruce added: “A really important consideration is the quality of presentation. So having things like videos on each of listing and virtual tours make listing rank higher on most portals. Having an office in a great location pays dividends when it comes to walk-ins, but in this day and age, it is quite possible for an agent to rely only on the portals, if they have the right product to sell.”