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Startup Frontier: Tips for finding that little house down the street online

  • Mariel Grazella

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Tue, February 24 2015 | 06:28 am
Startup Frontier: Tips for finding that little house down the street online Property listings websites, like online retail and airplane ticket sales, are taking off in Indonesia, a country that 250 million people call home. (JP/PJ Leo)(JP/PJ Leo)

Property listings websites, like online retail and airplane ticket sales, are taking off in Indonesia, a country that 250 million people call home. (JP/PJ Leo)

Lamudi Indonesia marketing director Karan Khetan said that while local GDP growth was cooling, the appetite for purchasing property, especially among middle-class consumers, remained sizable.

'€œThere is still a part of the population that needs to buy a house,'€ he pointed out.

He added that to meet their demand for housing, people had increasingly turned to online listings that feature multiple properties for an assortment of tastes.

'€œThe [online listings] market as a whole is going up,'€ he noted.

Searching for home-sweet-home on online property listings might be a little easier if these tips are observed.

Reach out to customer support

Online listing websites usually offer customer support for users in need of help.

Moini said out that Lamudi had a call center that users with limited Internet access could contact. The call center staff could search for properties according to your specifications.

'€œThose who call are usually older than 35 years old, and are conservative customers,'€ he said.

Gaw says that users of Rumah123.com coan contact the website'€™s area specialists, who are property agents specializing in a particular geographical region.

'€œ[They] boast an in-depth understanding of the market area, prices, availability, proximity and other factors that may influence your decision on which property listings to go for,'€ he said.

Name your price

Property listing sites have filters that help you narrow your search. Used smartly, these filters could produce just the right house to call home.

Rumah123.com general manager, Mario Gaw, said that a search should '€œbegin with a location in mind'€, followed by knowing your budget.

'€œA good tip is to set a maximum price filter and a minimum land size filter to ensure that your living space requirements are met,'€ he said. '€œAt the same time, doing so will not limit opportunities on finding larger spaces at better prices below the budget.'€

Filters are essential, given the extensive list of properties that listing websites have.

Lamudi co-founder Kian Moini said that the Indonesian website, which has been around for roughly a year, had already amassed at least 180,000 listings, and has signed up more than 5,000 property agents.

The breadth of property prices is wide as well, starting from approximately Rp 200 million up to Rp 18 trillion, such as for villas on Bali, according to Kian.

'€œThe popular price range is the one around Rp 1 billion, and a lot of developers are pricing their property around that range,'€ he added.

Paint a good picture

Gaw encouraged agents to post as many good pictures of their property as possible.

'€œBuyers would like to have a complete sneak preview of the house'€™s rooms, exterior and other relevant features before spending time on a physical visit,'€ he said.

He added that agents should brighten up rooms with good lighting and clever staging of furniture or other decorative pieces to '€œelevate a property'€™s value and improve the likelihood of a sale'€.

'€œAs mentioned before, a picture is worth a thousand words,'€ he says.

Watch your words

If a user is looking to advertise a property instead of buying one, website operators suggest providing all details about the property on offer.

Moini says that if an agent wants a house to rank higher in the listing search results, all the necessary data fields must be filled in completely.

The more information an agent puts in, the more the search engines have material to work with. In addition, richer information will help users as well.

'€œOur algorithm sorts information from a user'€™s perspective,'€ he said.

Gaw also said that property postings must have well-written and unique titles. This, he said, would differentiate the listing from those of other agents, in addition to strengthening search engine optimization (SEO).

However, he pointed out that agents must not post misleading information that could cause disappointment in the consumer, and hence, mar the agent'€™s reputation.

'€œYou want to build trust, not lie your way to a sale,'€ he added.

Pour over agents

After clicking search, website users will be presented with a list of properties to peruse. Once a user finds an appealing property, it is time to give the property agent a call.

However, Gaw recommended that users focus on big-name agencies.

'€œ[Big names] have quality and training standards that ensure that their agents act professionally when dealing with potential property buyers,'€ he noted.

He added that experienced agents '€œcan go a long way in helping customers find their ideal home that not only meet their needs, but also their budgets'€.

Khetan says that when reaching out, people should note how responsive the agents are. He said that Lamudi would sometimes call agents and pretend to be potential buyers to check on their responsiveness.

'€œIf we get negative feedback on the agents, we'€™ll even deactivate them,'€ he said

 

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