Archive for the ‘Website Features’ Category
It’s been a year layered with lessons and changes in the world of Real Estate software in South Africa.
We’ve seen a noticeable increase in Agencies focusing on their websites and software as the year has progressed. More and more ’boutique’ or independent agencies are taking the time to ensure they have a quality marketing and administrative infrastructure in place. We’ve noticed an increased demand for more detailed analytics on site traffic, SEO and leads. More clients are enquiring about our software capabilities and where we plan to go with our features and functionality. All of this shows a market that is maturing. An industry that is realizing what software and the online space can do for their trade at a time when cost efficiency, quality service and innovative marketing means the difference between sinking or swimming.
We’ve taken the time this year to reconsider our own software platform and our ability to innovative at the rate that the industry requires. As a result, we’ve forced ourselves to think creatively about what we offer and how we offer it. Stepping back and factoring in the lessons we’ve learnt during 2011 we took a decision to rebuild our entire software platform so that we could bring something entirely different to Real Estate in 2012. We’ve focused on building a website and software package that will expose the industry to new level of quality and performance. Our new platform will hit the market in February 2012 and given our partnership with Private Property, we’re able to offer this free of license fees, hooks or conditions for any Agency looking for a new website and software solution.
We’re excited at the prospect of what 2012 will bring and we look forward to working with Real Estate in a fresh new way so that we can continue to build software that adds tangible value from marketing through to transfer.
General Manager Graydot
After many months and some late hours from the dev team, the team at privateproperty.co.za is proud to announce the beta launch of our latest innovation, The Property Index, and it means great things for estate agents advertising on the privateproperty.co.za site: more sellers and landlords, more mandates for top agents, more buyers and tenants, more leads and more sales.
The Property Index is a directory containing (bar a few exceptions) all residential property in South Africa as registered in the deeds office – over 6 million properties. Even more exciting is we are able to display a property value estimate for over 2 million properties over R500 000. Anybody can navigate through every town, suburb, street and complex in South Africa to see what is going on in their area.
Check out the video:
Google has become an everyday tool for almost all internet users in South Africa, not only to shop or book an airline ticket, but to find out about pretty much anything, so much so that it has become a regular verb. You can Google your new boss, an old girlfriend or boyfriend – hey you can Google yourself to see what a rock star you are. In the next couple of weeks people will be able to Google their properties too. Google is busy crawling through our index and once it is done (it takes a while to read through 6 million properties), almost every property in the country will show up number 1 on the Google search engine, pointing to the Property Index page for that property on our web site. That means more and more people will be landing here – this thing is going big, very big!
So if you are one of those internet-savvy marketers who are listing all your properties in maximum detail with a virtual tour thrown in, all those potential sellers and buyers in your area will see your advert on their property’s Index page, where they can contact you for a valuation to sell their property, or discover their next home. Of course all who advertise on our site will benefit from the increased traffic, but agents who have gone the extra mile to market themselves and their properties will have first chance to woo a potential client.
In keeping with the principles of agile software development we are releasing the basic functionality first, and then steadily adding rich features to it every month. Look forward to getting rich insight into suburb trends in property prices, market activity, demographics, local property news and more. Last week we released the core or backbone of the Property Index. Users can search for any freehold or sectional title residential property and discover the following:
- property EstiMate values – a value prediction using Lightstone’s automated valuation model, based on deeds office price history for the property and suburb, plus other data sources
- land area of the property
- Google streetview of the road and external view of the property
- surrounding points of interest including schools, hospitals, police stations, shops and shopping centres
- top local estate agents
We are very, very excited about the Property Index, it’s going to get better and better and are looking forward to watching the leads grow more and more daily. I’m off to check the stats for today…. watch this space.
It has been more than two years since Privateproperty.co.za has done any above the line advertising. We have been too busy concentrating on building our Online offering .Taking that into account it has been an amazing two years, and our business has gone from strength to strength. In the last 2 years we have built amazing relationships with almost all of South Africa’s leading Estate Agencies.
Almost every week I still run into somebody completely amazed that we have been able to turn a Private Listing website into the #1 Portal for Estate Agents in South Africa in only two years. We are more excited than ever about the role we can play in making Estate Agents lives much easier. Our recent acquisition of InView, through Graydot is going to bring a brand new level to what we can offer Estate Agents, Branches and Brands. So look out for our new Fusion and InView product offerings.
We did research earlier this year, and we identified that we needed to re-position our brand in the eyes of the consumer. So over the last few months we have been working hard to come up with the ideas, concepts and content that will help us do that. So in a few weeks we will start marketing again with a campaign to assist us re-position our brand.
Make sure that you are prepared! Sign up, upgrade and load every listing you have. There is a huge wave of leads on its way, so make sure you ready for the ride!
A Virtual Tour, Aerial Photos and Video Made of your School - at no COST.
Recently, I heard from someone that they had relocated to live within the “catchment area” of a school of choice, yet their child hadn’t been born yet! And this in South Africa.
More and more the search for good education institutions will be the reason why parents will relocate. Private Property understands that a buying decision may just be determined by the quality of the schools within the proximity of a property.
To this end, Private Property have recently added a feature to our website that groups property around a school within a suburb, making the school, the centre point around which people are now able to view property. Each school page on our website includes a map indicating the location of the school and equally importantly contact details for the school. Furthermore we showcase the school by means of a Virtual Tour, video clip (comprising the school song and Virtual Tour) and in some cases we do Aerial images of the school as well. We have already created 10 000 of these pages for schools across South Africa and would like to add the Virtual Tour / video and aerial images to these pages.
10 000 School pages are active already!
We have created 10 000 school pages with this information, as mentioned above, and currently are building the structure to assist people to navigate to these pages – your school is almost definately one of these. We just don’t have the virtual tour, video or Aerial Images attached to your school and need your permission to come out and create this content.
ALL OF THE ABOVE IS DONE AT NO COST TO THE SCHOOL.
Busiest Property Website
Private Property recently had over 1 million unique browsers – that is the equivalent of 1 million different people view the website - this during January 2011 and we want to showcase your school to them, giving them the opportunity to view properties around your school and making it convenient for them to see something about your school.
See an Example:
Click here to see a current school page - Laerskool Randhart in Alberton, Gauteng.
or view Southdowns College in Irene on this link.
Give Your School a Marketing Edge
Contact me should you want me to check whether we have created your school page already, and all we need to do is add the Virtual Tour, video and Aerial images. Please contact Barrie via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call me on 082 610 7456.
* aerial images are limited to those schools who are prepared to host a link from their website to the page we create for the school on ours.
On the new Private Property website you will see a very prominent search box, in more technical terms it’s referred to as a “fuzzy search” and we are very excited about it as we believe it will drastically enhance the sites usability.
Its purpose is to get you to what you are looking for as quickly and easily as possible.
The term “fuzzy search” refers to an exact or inexact search term typed in by the user, where the website responds by taking or showing the user the most relevant results matching the searched data.
We have seen a few implementations of a “fuzzy search” on various websites, and the correct formula is still a debate, our feeling is that there should be a good balance between the free format component and structured component i.e. a free format search that takes you to a page where you can refine your search using the current filter sets.
The fuzzy search will always be a work in progress, and our current implementation allows for a suburb, home-type, bedroom and a variable price range search term, here are a few examples.
e.g. [3 bed duplex in bellville between 700k and 1000000]
e.g. [4 bed house camps bay > 4mil]
e.g. [elardus park less than 500k]
As we improve the search it we be more of an “English language search” and you would be able to get results for complex and street searches and “points of interest”, here is an example of what you might type.
3 bedroom houses near Wynberg Boys’ High School
Why not go to www.privateproperty.co.za and try some searches out.
Its official! Privateproperty.co.za launched our new website this week, after months of intense testing. The new design follows international trends towards a search-based website, and also holds some innovative features designed to improve the experience of each visitor to the site – including our agents.
It’s uncluttered, and focussed as much as possible on assisting potential buyers or tenants to find relevant information. It’s so much more than a design upgrade…
The most noticeable improvement you’ll see is the search function, which has been replaced with a ‘fuzzy search’ facility. What does this mean? Well, phrases can be entered into the search bar to generate a more targeted search result. Instead of entering the reference number of a property, or the area in which you’re searching, you can now enter a phrase such as ‘2 bedroom house for sale less than R2m Randburg’ and be taken immediately to a list of property results matching your query.
The new site also has larger images of properties advertised – not only in the picture gallery for each property listing, but also the images used in search results and elsewhere on the site. Not only does it make the experience better for our users, but you get to show off your mandates to their best advantage.
In addition, we’ve introduced a Google map on every search result page, so that users are able to see the exact location of all properties listed for sale on Privateproperty.co.za within their search criteria, provided that the full address details have been supplied. Which makes it really important that you include the address details of your properties!
Coinciding with the launch of our new-look website, we’ve also launched a new property valuation tool, dubbed ‘EstiMate’.
EstiMate is a free electronic valuation service being offered to any owners of residential property in South Africa who wish to obtain an estimate of the worth of their property. The service is being provided in partnership with Lightstone, SA’s leader of automated valuation data and technology, and is the same as the reports you can pull on your mandates.
What’s so great about EstiMate is that people don’t even need to be a regular user of the site to obtain a report. They don’t need to be in the market to buy, sell or rent property. If they own a property, and are interested in knowing its value, they can get an EstiMate report free of charge. And best of all, a new report will be generated every 3 months, also free of charge, should they wish to download an update for their records.
How does this help you? Well, the tool will assist in generating a large database of property owners on our system, who may not be willing to sell just yet, but who will one day. It’s our intention to assist the database, when they’re ready, to sell or rent out their properties, which means a great source of leads for our Estate Agents. Sound good?
If you’re wondering how you can get free Lightstone reports from our system, instead of paying for them, please chat to your Private Property Account Manager – you do get free reports if you upgrade your package.
So what are you waiting for – go check out the new site and tell us what you think!
These are exciting times for us at Private Property!
Our new web site was launched on 8th September and the new features we have built into the system will add significant value to you as an agent and will further distance us from our competitors.
We have always been able to provide you access to our vast database of buyers, and that won’t change! We are still committed to providing you the most buyer leads in the industry, BUT, our goal is also to be able to provide you with seller mandates.
Our objective is to provide you with a complete real estate solution with access to both buyers and sellers…
Here’s how it works:
List Results Banner
As an Estate Agent who advertises your mandates on Privateproperty.co.za, your company logo should already appear on each of your property listings near the contact details.
But how can you increase your presence on the site in other areas? Well, we have a plan. We will be launching a new product on 1st October called – the List Result Banner.
Your company logo will appear on the search results page next to every listing credited to your agency.
And that’s not all! Your logo will click through to a landing page dedicated to your agency, which will contain information about your company, its location and its agents, as well as all properties currently advertised by your agency on Privateproperty.co.za. We’ll even include a Virtual Tour of your office, and a personalized Video of your office, free of charge.
Increase leads and get prospective sellers to contact you directly – a prominently displayed “sell my house” link on your landing page enables would-be sellers to send you their contact information, and hereby provide you with BUYERS as well as SELLERS.
What are the benefits to you as an Estate Agent?
In a nutshell, when your agency has a list results banner, you’ll:
- Have a unique branding opportunity
- Your brand will receive 20 times more exposure
- Increase leads and awareness through the dedicated landing page
- And you have the added benefit of receiving leads for Sellers
What are the costs?
Estate Agencies based in Metro areas will pay R500 per month, and non-Metro agencies will pay R300 per month. (Ad-vantage Club members receive a 50% discount on this monthly fee.)
But remember, Private Property will issue your agency with ProPoints equivalent to your spend on the list results banner each month, which essentially means that the banner pays for itself!
For more information, or to get the list results banner for your agency, please contact your Private Property Account Manager
If you’ve ever been in the market to buy a house, and especially if you’re an Estate Agent, you’ve heard the phrase ‘location, location, location’.
Location is indeed one of the deciding reasons when buying a property. When it comes to listings properties on the internet, there are 2 main factors that need to be taken into account in the context of “location” or geography.
The seller/agent want their properties to be represented in the most relevant area, which includes geography and demographics. The buyer wants to be able to see properties relevant to an area without being bombarded by clutter.
We realize that there is a massive need to be more responsive and approachable when it comes to our suburb data, and who better to guide us than the sellers, buyers and agents working and living in the areas.
We believe that we are going to solve our “location” issues with what we call our “Geo-spatial Mapper”. What is it? Basically, we have separated all of the suburbs and areas in South Africa into shapes or “cut-outs”, which can be manipulated or altered by adding them together or cutting them into smaller shapes. We call these shapes polygons.
If you are thinking that pirates and 16th century explorers should be the only people who should get excited about maps, and you cannot see what we are on about, maybe this will help. Once we have mapped a property it will now fit into its relevant “cut-out” or polygon. If that polygon gets cut into 2 new suburbs the property will automatically appear in the correct area. This creates relationships between properties and areas. Another use for this would be to search for properties by drawing a search area on a map.
We’re planning on launching this new feature at the end of November, and we’re madly working on it in the background. If you’d like to get involved, or have any suggestions about your particular suburbs or areas, please email us at email@example.com.
The recent widely publicised strike affected Schools across the country, and it highlighted the issue of offering quality education to our children. We all want to offer our children the best possible jump-start in life. Browsers on the Private Property website will undoubtedly consider schools as part of their next relocation, especially if they have children of school-going age. So, with this in mind we at Private Property are taking the quality of information to a new level by enriching the information on our system that reflects the points of interest – and in this instance SCHOOLS.
We are starting the process of creating a page per school on our system where a browser is able to see some basic information about a school in the suburb in which they are looking to buy or rent, and on the school landing page our system will aggregate property in our database that are either “for sale” or “to rent” within the proximity of that school. In effect, the browser will have the ability to look at property from a perspective of proximity to a school of interest. Isn’t that NEAT!
So, should you know of a school that would be interested to be on this program, please let me know. We’re offering the school a free Virtual Tour and Aerial Images of the school, along with a YouTube video clip of the school. You can contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org should you know of any schools who want to be part of this initiative. It is a great opportunity for the school to direct potential parents to a database of properties that are on the market within a defined radius of the school.
You can access school information as well as other amenities in the surrounding area of a property you are viewing on our website. Next to the street address, click on the link that says “VIEW MAP” which will give you a screen like the one below with the map on the left and a list of amenities on the right. Click on the relevant tab, eg. Education, to see schools in the area.