Almost two years ago to the day, real estate ground to a halt.
It was the height of “COVID 1.0”, and Our Prime Minister announced a ban on open homes and live auctions.
While these restrictions provided our industry with some challenges, real estate professionals got creative.
The interest and adoption of online auction platforms and virtual tours grew exponentially, seemingly overnight, as agents had little option but to move everything online.
But given this technology was still relatively new in its adoption at the time, the major portals, virtual tour software and online auction platforms were not yet configured in such a way for agents and consumers to engage with these services together easily (and on mass). It was all a bit clunky and disconnected.
At the time, the major portals did provide an ‘external link’ to online auction sites, however, these links were non-descript and did not clearly indicate to buyers what the link was actually for. It certainly didn’t indicate any reference to online auction registration and given it’s against the terms of service with most property portals to add external links in the property description, it was very difficult to generate registrations for online auctions via the major property portals.
REA and Domain do now offer a more user-friendly online auction functionality but it certainly took some time before it became available to buyers and agents alike. While the major portals were figuring out how to implement their own online auction system, many real estate businesses were already building this functionality into their own websites and driving buyers there.
Rather than sending people to an external virtual tour website, online auction website or the major portals, many real estate businesses took COVID as an opportunity to increase their own website traffic and grow their database by providing an experience to buyers they could not get anywhere else online.
Integrating these services into your own website is an opportunity to provide potential buyers with a more personal and streamlined experience, not to mention a point of difference for your vendors!
If you are not familiar with the online auction platforms or virtual tour software available, please check out our Stepps Index:
You can be sure that the major portals and third-party platforms are always looking at ways to keep people on their websites with shiny new features and attractive offers for early adopters. But by putting these features on your website, and constantly looking for new tools to integrate into your own site, you are building an experience for buyers they cannot get anywhere else online.
And the best part about having buyers and sellers on your site? Your competitors, and banner ads, aren’t there to distract them.
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We design and build real estate websites and next-generation website features for some of Australia’s leading real estate brands. Check out one of our recent case studies here >