Property trend: The online effect

Dec 5, 2017 | Local Property, News

“Using social media to sell stock is increasingly gaining traction in the property market”

Recently, a mother of four sold her house on Facebook. Well, so the headlines read, heralding a new era in house hunting where you can log on to Facebook and buy a house.

On closer inspection, Shanty Helim, a British homeowner, sold her house using Facebook Live, showing viewers a 360° tour of her property and inviting them to make offers via Facebook Messenger. On even closer inspection, she used an online estate agent in the UK and insisted that her buyer view the house before concluding the sale.
“It’s possible, but unlikely that a house can be sold solely using Facebook,” says Simon Bray, CEO of Private Property. “There are several barriers to selling a home via Facebook only, including the most obvious: buyers aren’t on Facebook to buy property.” Instead, they visit property portals or Sunday newspaper supplements, for instance, because they can find a wide selection of property in one place. “Also, the chances of finding an interested and qualified buyer within their Facebook circle are small,” says Bray.

While social media has proven to be an effective way to market a property — individually, through an agent’s Facebook page and through a portal’s Facebook page — trends do not yet point to it becoming the next digital marketplace.

That said, if you compare how much digital input there was 10 years ago to today, when it comes to buying property, it will be interesting to see where we are in 2027. Private Property, for example, collates all the properties you might be interested in and offers those options alongside pricing data, property and homeowner advice, affordability calculators and neighbourhood information.

Just think of how far imagery has come: still images were once the only option if you wanted to get a feel for a property. Now there’s video, virtual reality tours and detailed floor plans. Concluding the whole property-buying transaction online may still be a stretch, thanks to the manual nature of the deeds office, but it helps you to promote your stock. And where it ends up taking us — especially in South Africa — remains to be seen.

Words: Bridget McNulty