Homebuyers are online

The internet and retail websites have become a fundamental part of many savvy consumers’ lives in today’s market. A large number of consumers prefer to shop and purchase merchandise online due to its convenience.  Although the retail industry is currently the online leader in terms of volume and the number of consumers, the real estate industry is making significant ground and catching up quickly.

Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, says that in the past, few would have believed that the internet would be the first place potential buyers would look to find their dream home and yet, today more than 90% of all consumers use property search portals as the first step towards homeownership. Consumers have confidence in the internet and the information found at their fingertips. “Homebuyers appreciate how simply online resources have made the process of finding their perfect property and many of the best leads in real estate have been generated through online search portals. The majority of consumers have turned to the internet as their main means of researching for their future property,” he says.

So what impact does this have on the real estate industry and the traditional marketing methods?  It simply means that the conventional sources of real estate information are no longer as important to homebuyers. Before the introduction of property search portals, homebuyers would scrutinize newspapers and real estate property magazines to find property. Today the number of prospective homebuyers in the US who still consult newspaper ads and magazines has fallen to approximately 9% and 6% respectively, and SA has seen a similar trend. Goslett says that although there has been a shift in the industry, traditional marketing tools are by no means dead, they have merely adapted. He says that although consumer online searches have boosted the options for potential buyers and eliminated their sole reliance on older methods of research, they still have their place in the market.

“Although homebuyers are looking for information regarding property and searching for homes online, they will still consult with a real estate agent to supplement and refine their search. The prospect of buying property online has increased; however, estate agents are still very much an essential part of the process. Online real estate search tools have not taken business away from agents, but has instead offered them another perform in which to better their service to their clients,” says Goslett.

He notes that due to the vast growth and prospective opportunities presented by online real estate portals, most estate agents, if not all, have responded well to the consumer change in behavior and have become involved in increasing their online presence. “Real estate agencies have spent time on developing their web technologies to accommodate their clients and the majority of real estate agents have invested in tools such as Smartphones and iPads in order to stay in touch and connected with their growing online network,” says Goslett.

According to, the top ten suburbs based on the highest number of area searches over the last three months are as follows:
1.    Port Elizabeth - Eastern Cape9,177
2.    Pretoria East - Gauteng4,587
3.    Cape Town – Western Cape3,747
4.    Bloemfontein – Free State3,062
5.    Centurion - Gauteng2,987
6.    Gaborone - Botswana2,679
7.    Rustenburg - Gauteng2,465
8.    Witbank - Mpumalanga2,410
9.    Johannesburg - Gauteng2,325
10.   Bryanston, Sandton - Gauteng2,300

Real estate companies that do not have an online strategy will be left behind due to the incredible speed at which technology changes and develops. “The internet is a remarkable tool that has made the world a significantly smaller place. It is incredible to be a part of this era and be at the technological forefront of the modern day real estate industry,” Goslett concludes.

  Comment on this Article

  Please login to post comments

Post to my facebook wall
Characters remaining

    Latest Property News
    • 22 Feb 2018
      An excellent credit score is one of the most priceless assets a potential home buyer can have. This tool has the power to secure favorable mortgage and refinancing rate, influencing everything from the size of the loan repayment to the interest rate on the home loan.
    • 22 Feb 2018
      What do you do if you love your home’s location and the area, but the home no longer fits your growing family’s needs? Do you stay and renovate your existing home or find a home that meets your developing criteria?
    • 22 Feb 2018
      While every owner wants to sell their property at the best possible price, overpricing a home can be the kiss of death for a sale.
    • 21 Feb 2018
      Given the hand they were dealt, government has performed a delicate balancing act which it is hoped will serve to reignite confidence in investment in South Africa, regain our global credibility and satisfy the credit ratings agencies, says Dr Andrew Golding, chief executive of the Pam Golding Property group.
    • 21 Feb 2018
      The real estate mantra, ‘location, location, location’ remains a strong market influence regardless of the prevailing economy, with suburbs like Rondebosch enjoying the buffering benefit of being ideally situated.
    • 21 Feb 2018
      These days most buyers are using online property portals like Private Property when house hunting due to the convenience, up to date information and variety on offer. “The property portals have revolutionised the way buyers shop, but they do need to be cautious – viewing photos online is no replacement for viewing the property in person,” says Bruce Swain, CEO of Leapfrog Property Group.
    • 20 Feb 2018
      Owning a home is a milestone that most South Africans aspire to. Becoming a homeowner is a step towards growing personal wealth and owning an asset that appreciates in value over time, provided of course that the correct principles are applied during the buying stage of the process, says Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.
    • 20 Feb 2018
      The suburb of Greenstone in Johannesburg east came to be over the last two decades. “In the beginning, it was literally just a hill with not so much as a shopping centre,” says Michael Levy, Property Consultant at Jawitz Properties Bedfordview. Today it has plenty shopping facilities and is fully built, boasting high-density, upmarket housing and residential estates, though still has a few pockets poised for commercial development.
    Subscribe to the MyProperty Newsletter

    Last Name  
    Email Address  
    Email Frequency
    Share this Page

    For Sale Property
    Rental Property
    More Options
    Connect with us