Videos the way of the future

So much has been said over the last two years about virtual tours and the way that we market and advertise properties.  The fact that potential buyers do their homework on the web is no more debatable. I came across the following two videos and I had to share it with you.  This is not the type of virtual tour that you would do on an average property but it got me thinking of what possibilities exists.  The Spider and the Fly

The next video is stretching it a bit but I can only imagine the seller watching this for the first time after the estate agent created it.

Suburb videos will become more popular and I challenge you all to create a video of the area that you operate in.  This will add massive value to your potential client base.

Enjoy the videos.  I would appreciate your comments on where you see videos in your business in the future.

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Website presence – Dont get caught out!

It has be-gone.  Suddenly every Tom, Dick and Harry out there wants to sell some sort of “service” to the real estate companies.  The reasons given to the business owners stretch from “You are nowhere on Google”, “Your business will not survive if you are not on the world-wide web”, “Your stock can’t be found” and a few other crazy excuses.

To make it worse, people are falling for this “speech” as they don’t know any better or just don’t have the knowledge regarding these matters.  This is usually an expensive mistake….

So what do you need and who`s responsibility is it to make sure that you do appear on the world-wide web?

At Harcourts we ensure that our offices listings / stock will rate well on Google.  Our staff usually appear on the first page of Google and our partners that we contract with will always appear between position 1 and 5 on any Google page associated with real estate in South Africa.

So why the fuss?

These so-called service providers that want to sell you these funny products that will ensure you appear on the first page of Google don’t see the bigger picture that we already have in place.  They have not done their homework and all their findings are mostly based on assumption.  Remember “assumption is  the mother of all ………”.  They have no clue what we, as the franchisor, do in order to take care of social media and Google rankings.  If they only knew what we currently do, the argument or sales pitch would be much shorter or you would never get the call in the first place..

So what do we do?

Harcourts SA has signed agreements with two of the biggest property portals in South Africa, these being Private Property and Property 24.  These two portals host all of our offices listings.  Searching the word properties or real estate with any town or suburb name will bring up these two websites.  Our stock is all listed on these websites as well as links back to our national, office and agent websites.

At Harcourts we promote technology massively as this is the way of the future.  For offices that want traffic driven directly to their listings we have several “Google AdWord” campaigns running and we are tracking our results via Google Analytics.

To be part of a leading real estate company who takes care of technology for it franchises is a benefit that you cannot add a rand value to.

 

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Property values ‘still 25% too high’ : Property News from IOLProperty

Property values ‘still 25% too high’ : Property News from IOLProperty.

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Harcourts Launches New Websites and iPad application

One thing that all Harcourts consultants and business owners can say is that since they have joined Harcourts there knowledge regarding technology has increased ten fold.  If they cannot do it, then we at Harcourts will make sure that it gets done.

On the 19th October we have launched our new office and agent websites.  Currently there are over 90 Harcourts websites up and running and we expect to double these numbers within the next few months.  The nice thing about these websites is that it is easy to use.  Content can be added, edited and removed within a few seconds.  No more paying massive amounts for hosting and managing websites.  We will be doing all this on our own.  “If it is to be then it is up to me”.

We have 30 offices making use of Google AdWords.  This product is working for the majority of people.  If you are not on the web then you are not serious about business.  We feel that it is important that our sellers know that their properties are advertised properly.  At the same time we want as many buyers as possible finding our national website and our agents and office websites. With partners such as Private Property and Property 24 we know that we have covered all our basis.

Our new eCampaign for the iPad is working great.  A few people almost had a hart attack on seeing the functionality.  I am looking forward to great success stories regarding this  listing tool.  To think that more than 50 iPad`s were bought in the last two months by our offices. Our offering is getting better and better.  Technology will play a massive part in this industry.

At the end of November we will launch our mobile agent application for the public and a special separate version for our consultants.  QR Codes has been tested and this will form part of all our offices at the end of the year.

LIFE IS GOOD AT HARCOURTS !!!

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Virtual Tours – Cost vs Product vs Needs

It is becoming very clear that the Real Estate industry has started to realise that more and more business is generated from the world-wide web.  A bit late for some.  At the same time the need of the consumer to view properties via a virtual tour has become more important.  Google rates websites with virtual tours (links) higher and that is part of the reason why some of the top property portals has started to offer this facility to their clients.  The real estate agent / client using their virtual tours as part of their marketing has a greater offering to the prospective buyer, at the same time the owner of the portal gets better ranked  by Google, so all of them get what they want.  Just a shame the only person paying for this service is usually the real estate companies.

To think that with a little bit of effort and knowledge the property consultant can do this all on his own with minimum effort and costs.  With technology as it is today you can make a virtual tour with your smart phone, add music to it and upload it to the web within 5 minutes.  But this is where the service providers of virtual tours come in.  They know that real estate professionals will rather pay a massive amount if someone else do this for them and if it can be added as a service.

I had the opportunity this week to sit down with Rudi van der Merwe from Previsite to look at their product and what they offer.

I think they have a good product if I take into account the need of the average buyer and seller as well as the estate agencies. Their offering is cost-effective, reliable and offers the basics of a virtual tour plus more.  The best part of this is the cost.  For R749 pm you can upload 30 virtual tours to their system.  There is more to it as explained in this video.

To think that similar products could cost over  R30 000.  Who is making all the money???

To make contact with Rudi I suggest you give him a call on 082 780 0415 or e-mail him at rudi@virtualmediasolutions.co.za.

 

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Free SMS`s – Stay in contact.

We all know how important it is to stay in touch with your customers.  If you don’t want to use the SMS system in Harcourts due to cost then go and register yourself on the following website.  No more excuses.  Remember your customers want to do business with like-minded people.

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Harcourts Technology – September update

On the 19th October we will be launching a new version of H1. In this version there will be several changes but the most important change is the new websites that will be launched. I encourage you to go to the library in H1 and type in “Widget”, hit the enter key and you will already see 5 video`s on adding widgets into your new website and there are more video`s to come. We have identified two websites in Australia that looks great, keep in mind the business owners have done these websites themselves after attending training. Please visit the websites.

Harcourts Urban and Harcourts Strathpine

The information in these websites are relevant. I suggest that you go and obtain the necessary information applicable to your office / agents and area in the meantime. Save it in a PDF or JPEG format and half of the work is done already . Your BDM will assist you once they have gone through all the respective training. We are also looking at myself visiting your area to do a technology update (iPad, eCampaign, Mobile Agent, New website, QR Codes etc.)

Mobile Agent

If you have an iPhone or an iPad then there is no reason why you should not have this application already. I know some of you do but for those that don`t have it, kindly follow these guidelines: Go to you Apps store on your iPhone / iPad and type in “Mobile Agent” and download this application. Currently you will be able to see New Zealand and Australia`s properties but soon you will be able to see all the SA properties available. There is also a Mobile agent application coming out for the agents but more on this at a later stage. Click on Mobile Agent to view the video on how this works.

Private Property

If your office subscribes to Private Property – Please note that they will be starting with a TV and Radio campaign so you must ensure that your listings are up to date to get the best possible benefit out of this. They also have a new virtual tour offering coming out and I know they have identified a few Harcourts offices that might be interested in this product. If you are interested in this let me know and I will get the right person to contact you.

QR Codes

We are also looking at QR Codes (Quick Response Codes). To see what Harcourts has done up to date look at the following two video`s. See how to download the application on your iPhone / iPad and how QR Codes work in practice. If everything goes well and according to production then we will launch it by the end of 2011.

Just a reminder to join me on my Facebook and Harcourts SA on their Facebook page.

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