Real estate in the age of the internet

*Sponsored by Raine and Horne

Like the pursuit of your one true love, finding your dream home was once a series of hopeful meet-and-greets as prospective home-buyers encountered front door after front door of unsuitable candidates.

Lured by the belief that the next one had to be the right one, buyers plastered on an optimistic face as they inspected homes chosen from the window of a real estate agent or a tiny newspaper listing, with just a few images and some dot-point text to go off - if they were lucky.

But it was these window displays and newspaper listings that once secured a real estate agent’s ongoing business – and a fairly flexible schedule for the many house inspections that came with this now dated style of home-buying.

The success of the experience was largely dependent on the real estate agent being able to discover the home buyer’s needs and match them to a property, which could be difficult and time-consuming for both parties.

The internet has brought with it a digital revolution in the way we buy and sell property. The control has shifted from the real estate agent to prospective buyer as the buyer is able to peruse listings on their own time, learn the details of the properties and sniper-target the homes that fit the bill – no matter what the geographical distance.

Flipping the traditional model upside down and putting the buyer at the forefront of property-hunting has borne a new real estate industry where content is king. Real estate agents now present property listings on webpages in vivid technicolour detail, with property locations on interactive maps, suburb profiles, drone footage from the sky and even virtual tours all at the click of a home-buyer's finger.

Social media has also become a valuable tool in a digital real estate world, with agents having a whole new way to reach their customers, often with more than just property information. 

Ciara Elworthy is the social media manager at Raine and Horne Cleveland and estimates around three quarters of what is posted on Raine and Horne Cleveland’s Facebook is focused towards local community engagement.

“We speak to our customers using both Facebook and Instagram by posting relevant content relating to the community as well as information on properties we have for sale,” she says.

“Seventy percent of our Facebook content is focused towards the community, with the rest being real estate focused including property of the week, inspections and property videos.”

But some things never change, and no matter how automated and filtered the search for property becomes, nothing is more valuable to a successful home-buying experience than the agent picking up the phone and having a conversation with the buyer.

Jan Goezte and David Paterson, principals at Raine and Horne Cleveland, says this communication between the agent and the prospective buyer should remains at the forefront of the home buying experience in the interest of authenticity and accuracy.

“The most important traditional way of selling real estate is face-to-face contact with both buyers and sellers,” says Jan.

“Verbal communication is very important to ensure that nothing is lost in translation and that the end result is a happy one.”

Sponsored by Raine and Horne