The future is online and South Africa is fast catching on. In line with the trend, Privateproperty.co.za - South Africa’s leading online property portal – has geared up to make the online home browsing experience innovative, user-friendly and appealing to their core target audience.
According to Privateproperty’s marketing manager Sue Clarke, research conducted by the company shows that approximately 80 percent of potential property buyers go online before utilising other resources.
Notably, Clarke says that the majority of their browsers are aged between 25 and 40 which is the age bracket from which most first-time buyers stem. And this number is increasing. According to recent reports, the percentage of first-time property buyers has grown from 44.9 percent in April 2010 to 52 percent in April 2013.
As for the online bias towards young buyers, Clarke explains that this should come as no surprise given that the average 25 to 40 year old has probably had an email address most of their adult life; uses search engines over any other reference tool, has a Facebook profile and interacts with friends and brands on Twitter. As such, it’s only natural that when considering a house purchase, the Internet is the first place these buyers will look.
Says Clarke: “It’s clear that property purchases in S.A are being driven by the younger generation which is why property needs to be advertised and sold in line with this audience’s preferences. One such preference is the love of convenience which is why we offer browsers the widest range of unique property listed by both estate agents and private sellers.”
Privateproperty bears this mind whenever it introduces a new product or modifies elements. The company kept this top of mind during their recent website overhaul which now sports a ‘Be Moved’ theme underpinned by three core elements: inspiration, personality and reality.
“We settled on the ‘Be Moved’ theme as we believe buyers should be moved when searching for their home. After all, it’s more than just an investment, it's a lifestyle choice. Being inspired by a beautiful garden for the kids or a great patio for your next braai is what it’s all about.”
Of the core elements Privateproperty focuses on, the ‘reality’ element would in all probability appeal the most to the company’s tech-savvy, first-time buyers notes Clarke. Privateproperty’s adverts are a case in point. Each advert is ranked according to ‘quality scores’ which means that the property listings which feature the most ‘real’ information appear most prominently. Criteria for a high ranking advert include a minimum number of clear photographs, a virtual tour and disclosure of any pertinent information.
Another ‘reality’ driven augmentation Privateproperty makes use of is YouTube. Recognising the potential offered by this platform, Clarke says Private Property has built up a thriving YouTube account where thousands of videos featuring properties as well as advice and fun corporate clips can be viewed.
A dedicated social media manager and support centre further illustrates Privateproperty’s commitment to its ‘reality’ element. Notes Clarke: “Our social media manager interacts with our clients and fans on a daily basis. We also run a support centre which enables potential buyers to talk to trained professionals – a service completely unique among the larger property portals.”
“We love the idea that people buy property from people through online channels. Through our various innovations, we hope to make property transactions a rich experience for all who engage in the process. Suffice to say we exist to inspire, connect and serve people in their search for a great life. When all of this comes together, they should ‘Be Moved’.”