Facts and Figures

This month, we asked Tim Lawless to give us the lowdown on some of RP Data’s prospecting and marketing tools, talking us through how to integrate some of these into your social media strategy.

Convincing vendors and buyers of our market opinions and appraisals is often difficult. What help is available in this area?

Sometimes comparables sales and historical evidence are just not enough to describe the true market conditions.This is where an AVM (Automated Valuation Model) can become a helpful document that you can use to educate your client about market value and realistic pricing. It acts as an independent third party document and often provides an authoritative price guide.

Another fantastic tool that assists in the process of educating and gaining the trust of a prospective vendor is to provide them with a CMA (Comparable Market Analysis) Report.While you have probably presented the vendor a list of comparable sales, or even printed off the sales report, a CMA is different in that it provides the sales evidence in a structured and well presented format together with complementary information such as median price trends and a demographic profile of the area.Each week more than 20,000 CMA reports are produced on the rpdata.com platform.

Getting the listing is one thing, but how does data help align buyer and seller expectations, which often are so far apart on price?

Two of the best sets of data to benchmark the fit between buyer and seller expectations are the ‘Time on Market’, ‘Vendor Discount,’ and ‘Auction clearance rate’ figures. Time on market data provides an average for how many days it takes to sell a property within a particular suburb. The vendor discount measures the average difference between original listing price and ultimate selling price.

Where a property is taking longer to sell than the regional average it is highly likely there is either something awry with the listing price, marketing campaign or how the property is being presented to the market.

Auction clearance rates are also a great measure of the match between buyer and seller expectations. Generally, when clearance rates are high it means the vendor has set a reasonable reserve price and buyers are competitive enough to bid against other buyers to at least meet the vendors expected reserve price.Where buyers and vendors are out of alignment – either due to vendor expectations being too high or buyer sentiment being low – clearance rates tend to be very low.This exact scenario has played out over the last year when clearance rates were averaging around 70 per cent.In today’s softer market, auction clearance rates have consistently been around the 50 percent mark as buyer activity remains low and vendors struggle to lower their expectations in line with market conditions.

What restrictions apply around the use of your data for marketing purposes, particularly where direct mailing comes into play?

When using direct marketing channels, you need to be aware of the legislation regarding privacy.Not only that, the general sentiment from the market place is that unsolicited personalised mail (including emails) can often be considered an intrusion.

The ownership details held in RP Data vary from state to state.Regardless of the level of detail it not permissible to use these details for direct marketing purposes.

A better way to target aspecific market is to use the RP Data platform to generate targeted lists based on properties that conform to certain criteria.For example, targeting properties that have been owned for a certain amount of time is completely feasible, or making lists of properties where the sale price has been higher than one million dollars.

A good rule of thumb is to ensure any direct mail pieces conform to the direct marketing code of practice, that personalised details are not being used unless you have the permission of the individual, and that marketing messages are targeted and specific.

As an agent, how can I begin to market my properties by using social media networks?

The first step is to set up a business page in facebook and then be prepared to add relevant property market topics at least every week. Next, set up on the rp.connect site, this provides you with a platform to provide information about your business as well as an understanding of what’s taking place in the market in your area.

In addition, you may like to consider a regular blogging platform (a forum to discuss interesting topics about your local area and the property market). A good idea is to make sure you link your facebook site to your rp.connect site. By doing this, you will keep your facebook site up-to date from the one site and also improve your search engine optimisation, especially if you are blogging with key suburb words.You will find that by doing this, it will bring your rp.connect site and facebook up in the search results when people are searching for you or your area.

With your ‘connect and social media’ tools now set up, it’s a good idea to start by reporting on the happenings in your local community.Remember to keep the content varied and not just property specific. Include local issues and community events and remind readers that they have access free property market opinions and reports in your pages and updates.Some of the most successful agents are including content such as interviews with local businesses, maps showing the depth of local amenity such as parks, schools, shops and transport options.Being creative and personable is the key to setting your social profile apart from your competitors.

Once you have your rp.connect and facebook site rich with information send an email inviting your customers to ‘Like your business page’. Most of all don’t neglect your site, keep up a regular flow of information, and most of all refresh your content regularly to keep people coming back.

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Tim Lawless

Tim Lawless is the Research Director at CoreLogic Asia Pacific. Tim has been in the Australian housing market industry for more than 20 years with a focus on research.