App an agent of change

11/05/2016 - 14:46

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More than 800 Western Australian real estate agents have signed up to join followit, an app designed to bring a social media-style interface to property advertising.

App an agent of change
INNOVATIVE: The followit app is designed to put real-time sales and listings information in the hands of consumers.

More than 800 Western Australian real estate agents have signed up to join followit, an app designed to bring a social media-style interface to property advertising.

The move signals a potential challenge to existing online platforms such as realestate.com.au and reiwa.com.

The app works by allowing consumers to follow a specific area, a single property, a street or a range of suburbs, with a Facebook-style news feed displaying the most up-to-date transactions, auctions or new listings in real time.

Agents pay a monthly fee to upload information to the app, which is then filtered to prospective buyers.

The agents are told how many people are following a property or suburb they have listed, however, the identity of the followers remains anonymous until the consumer decides they want to make contact.

Followit executive director Michael Sheargold said the app was launched for beta testing in Sydney in January, before being rolled out to other states in recent months.

Agencies to have come on board include some of the biggest in BNiQ, such as Caporn Young, Realmark, LJ Hooker, Acton Group, Professionals Australia, Century 21 Australia, REMAX WA, Harcourts, Peard Real Estate and Raine & Horne Commercial.

Mr Sheargold said he considered followit to be the biggest advancement in real estate advertising since property ads went online.

“A good example … if someone tells you that a particular part of Perth is really a good investment, with the traditional sites you have to go back and re-search to find out what’s happening in that market,” Mr Sheargold said.

“With followit, you can literally choose to follow the marketplace, and see new listings, price adjustments or sales that have occurred in that area.”

He said the followit app was designed to give agents more control over how they communicated with prospective buyers, which was a key concern for chief executives of the major real estate franchises in Australia.

“For the first time, the real estate industry is now in control of communicating with what we call the global audience,” Mr Sheargold said.

“If you look at the traditional print and online advertising portals, they have access to the global audience, but the agent doesn’t.

“With followit, if someone has put in a suburb as a following, whenever that comes up an agency can push information to those followers – it’s significantly more targeted.”

Realmark managing director John Percudani, who was one of the early adopters of the app in WA, said followit was an important step forward for the real estate sector because it was designed from the customer’s perspective.

“Real estate agents need to advance the way we communicate, otherwise we will become redundant,” Mr Percudani told Business News.

“Much in the same way Apple is successful because it is intuitive of human behaviour, I believe followit will be successful as it provides a way for the consumer to interact in a manner that best suits them.

“The current advertising portals don’t operate that way – those models operate on a traditional ‘push’ led functionality.

“followit allows customers to passively discover opportunities or market insights that are curated to their requirements – it’s an attraction or ‘pull’ functionality.

“And that’s a great thing for both the industry and the consumer and sets up a contemporary business relationship.”

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