What to expect when searching for your dream home online

Private Property South Africa
Private Property Reporter

Reporter: The question I think a lot of consumers have, especially when it comes to logging onto Private Property, is what can they expect?

Simon Bray: When people come to a property website like ours, it's all about finding the next home. That dream home for a lot of people is high up on their bucket list. It's a life accomplishment to own and live in a beautiful property, and Private Property's one of those websites that you can go to and see all of the homes available on the market at any time. Obviously, it's about starting your search. It's about investigating the markets that you want to live in, finding the property that best suits you and your family's needs. You can add them to a wishlist on the site, so your top ten properties are all there, ready to go.

Once you've logged on, you've found your dream home. Obviously, the next step is you need to see it, and I find through experience that sometimes it's hard to get in touch with your agent to make sure that you actually can go see that home. How are you guys finding that?

It can be quite a big frustration. People find the home of their dreams, it's this lovely bachelor pad or this urban apartment, and they want to go and see it, and they want to go and see it now. Often, they don't realise that the estate agent that's on the other side, the guy advertising the property, he's on the road. He's running his business. He's in show days. So, he's often quite difficult to get hold of. A lot of people that send emails, in particular, over the platform get frustrated that their email goes unanswered for days and they just lose hope with the process. In fact, we see 70% of inquiries on the site are actually phone calls and it's the best way to get hold of an estate agent. The guy's on the road just pick up the phone, give him a shout, and you can organise a viewing as soon as possible. Obviously, if you don't like that, if you want to have the guy call you back, there's a convenient service on the site. You just hit call me back, the agent gets the details of the listing you're looking at and your name and number, and he'll give you a shout when he's got a chance.

Can you tell us more about the importance of viewing a home before you buy?

No, for sure, for sure. This is the biggest investment a lot of people make in their lives and no two properties are the same. You absolutely have to see the property before you buy it. Viewing a property is essential, and I think that's where the age old art of show days really come in. If you're in the market and you're serious, you should probably be going to show days. Our website has a great tool that allows you to see all the show days coming up for that week. That type of thing is really good. That means you can go in there on a Sunday afternoon, you can check out the house with the agent, and there's a no commitment viewing that happens there.

My next question is, can I trust the Private Property agents? Because as daunting as it is to buy a house, going online as well, it's maybe unfamiliar for a lot of people out there. You want to interact with somebody face to face.

Absolutely, and I think that's the ultimate vision for a business like ours is to connect the people that are really searching for property to the people that make that property dream happen. You can absolutely trust the agents on the other side of the phone. We spend a lot of time with them. In fact, we have sales people on the road that call on them, building relationships, working with them on their online service provision. We see about 500 agents a week, so we can vouch for most of the agents on the site. They're certified. They're reputable agents. They know what they're doing. They're certainly professionals in their market.

What is your tip of the day?

There's great property content. There's great information about properties on our website, but if you're really serious about finding your next home, you've got to make that appointment. You've got to go and view those properties.

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