11/04/2017 - 14:35

New site aims to take the mystery out of buying land

11/04/2017 - 14:35


Upgrade your subscription to use this feature.

Developers have a new avenue to sell vacant land in Western Australia, via a recent entrant into the increasingly crowded and competitive online property market.

New site aims to take the mystery out of buying land
Chris Bashall (left), Mark Campbell and Ben Pearse are aiming to provide an accurate picture of residential land supply. Photo: Philip Gostelow

An online property entrant is seeking to establish a niche in vacant land marketing.

Developers have a new avenue to sell vacant land in Western Australia, via a recent entrant into the increasingly crowded and competitive online property market.

New web-based portal Landguide was launched by a group of Perth-based entrepreneurs earlier this month, with the website essentially providing in-depth comparisons of vacant blocks.

Landguide’s focus on vacant blocks is a similar strategy to that employed by rent.com.au, which focuses exclusively on rental properties to provide a niche service.

It is a vastly different approach to that of websites such as reiwa.com or realestate.com.au, which provide a comprehensive listing guide for all types of properties, from established houses to off-the-plan apartments and house-and-land packages.

Landguide director Ben Pearse said the concept was developed after one of the company’s co-founders, Mark Campbell, went through the process of buying a block of land in Baldivis. The other co-founder is Chris Bashall.

Mr Pearse said Mr Campbell’s experience was that there was no real defined starting point for his land search, and the data he found online was fragmented across separate developers’ websites, dominated by house-and-land packages, and therefore was difficult to compare.

“Some people go straight to a builder, which is probably the most common approach in WA, while other people go to a certain activity corridor or a certain suburb, but there is no real way to figure out exactly what’s out there,” Mr Pearse told Business News.

“In Baldivis, Mark spoke to a financial adviser/investment company for advice, and they directed him towards one specific estate that they had a commercial arrangement with.

“He originally got told that there wasn’t much land available down there and the stuff that they had found for him would go quickly if he didn’t make a decision.

“Over time, he realised there was more stuff out there, and he realised he might have been able to get a better deal.”

Mr Pearse, who has a background in civil engineering and land development, said Landguide was designed to provide a more accurate illustration of land supply, while also offering developers the opportunity to reduce their reliance on referrals from builders.

“The commercial arrangements behind that are a little bit murky as well; builders might get commissions from one estate so they prioritise those,” Mr Pearse said.

“We’re trying to take a proactive approach in getting developers involved early, and explaining that the problem we are trying to solve for them is to take away their reliance on the leads that they get from builders.

Landguide presents data provided through developers’ existing internal systems on its website, using estate master plans to show the exact location of each block, relative to amenities like shopping centres, schools and public transport.

“We are trying to add a visual focus, using lots of interactive master plans, overlaid into Google maps, to give people a visual perspective into where they are looking to purchase a block,” Mr Pearse said.

“Whereas before, if you go on realestate.com.au, you probably just see a pin dropped on a map.

“Some of these estates are pretty massive, so we’re giving you more of a locational context as to where that lot sits in the grand scheme of things.”

The website also offers consumers the ability to compare each lot’s sustainability ratings, using independent measures from the Urban Development Institute of Australia and the Green Building Council of Australia.

Frasers Property, Ardross Group, Aigle Royal Developments, Richard Noble, Handle Property Group and QUBE Property Group are among the early adopters of Landguide, which is free to use for consumers, and charges developers a per-listing fee to advertise.

“We’re really trying to focus on things other than price,” Mr Pearse said.

“For us, one of the hot topics at the moment is affordability and sustainability, and we are really keen to promote estates that have unique selling points and can deliver long-term value to customers.

“You might go in and search on price alone at the start, so we’re trying to promote people to think that next level down, and think about what it’s actually going to mean to live there once you have built a house.”

Mr Pearse said the initial focus for Landguide would be to comprehensively cover the WA land market, to demonstrate it could be rolled out in other states.


Subscription Options