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Are Estate Agents websites Dead?

We had an interesting email today from a 3rd year college student asking us to help them with a project they are working on. The project is questioning if Auctioning or Estate Agents Websites are dead? She was wondering if there is any point in a business involved in selling or letting property should bother having their own website, when property websites such as Daft.ie or MyHome.ie or Globrix.ie etc

As they day progressed we were in touch with a company involved in property lettings and it was interesting again to see that they have actually stopped listing their properties on their website and instead now seem to only list them on 1 property website. They also said they get few inquiries via their website. . . well no surprise there really. We were astonished and really amazed that they has basically given up on the Internet and given in to just putting all their eggs in 1 basket.

People don’t research online and they don’t use Google!?!

This was the impression I got on the phone about this industry and with hand on my heart I have to object. People research online, they do look at websites to do with the area they are looking to visit or buy in. Businesses have to remember how old their target market is and the type of education they have. They use computers, in fact they google from their mobiles! We have even created a new website for our area called Gorey and surrounding towns called North Wexford.com that is mobile compatible as we know it will be used by people on their mobiles.

In our industry we hear from many businesses around Ireland and get to hear how Enterprise Boards and Development Groups working with National Development Plan funds are working with businesses around Ireland to help them in a recession and yet some business feel they are out in the cold and on their own when it comes to getting more from the net.

Looking back on the day, we have to look at ourselves  . . . .  and question , are we doing enough for our clients in letting them know what they should be doing online, what websites they should be linking to and from, what social networks are important and up and coming. We do try to keep our company blog fresh with tips and ideas on everything Internet. We also publish on Facebook and have a Business page that we encourage our clients and others to become a fan.

Twittering is also huge these days as they are pushing their new search engine so we are also using twitter to communicate with our clients and suggest that they “Follow” our tweets on  www.twitter.com/cadamedia/

Where was I . . .

So, getting back to where are estate agents websites going, well we think they are going to survive, but in a newer more modern way. The Internet is very powerful and their websites are going to have to give more information than just listings as those are available from the bigger sites that are a database list of properties. The estate agent sites are going to have to be more advice and information driven. They are going to have to “Sell” rather than simply be a contact tool as property is no longer sold off the plans with young couples sleeping in their cars to make sure they are the first in line at show houses.

Estate Agents are evolving and showing their expertise in bringing sellers and buyers together. They are going to have to form relationships in order to do the negotiations needed to bring both parties together to agree. Their websites are going to have to help do this partnership and use every means possible. Facebook, twitter, daft, youtube, they will all plan a part too. It’s not gonna be about a new app for a website, but rather a tool that will being everyone together, things like text messages to both parties via the site is something that has been in the UK for years and hasn’t caught on here.

Like any good business they will adapt to change or simply die.

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