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Mobile messaging apps, the new frontier in real estate selling

More real-estate agents are starting to rely on social media apps as a way to help buyers who cannot take time off and be present in purchasing properties the traditional way.

Owing to work commitments and other unforeseen circumstances, a small number of agents have found success in selling properties purely by using social media apps such as Facetime, WhatsApp and China’s WeChat.

Though the number is still small, it is nevertheless a growing feature that most real-estate agents are beginning to pay closer attention too.

Sydney-based real estate agent Lisa Davies of Belle Property-Lindfield is the latest person to have found success through these methods.

She managed to sell a property located in Sydney’s north worth $3.65 million to an Australian citizen based overseas through FaceTime.

The buyer is a working expat in Hong Kong had purchased the Roseville-Chase property, near Chatswood, after Davies showed the man around the house using the FaceTime app on January 13.

Davies told Elite Agent the buyer had approached her after chancing upon the property on her agency’s website.

She said the FaceTime inspection was just as thorough as a routine walk-through and took about 40 minutes.

“We started the call on the street, walked up to the property and straight through the front door.”

“I walked him through the two-levels, out to the swimming pool, and down a further, 50 or so steps to show him the tennis court.”

“I showed him the property via Facetime and the next day he made an offer.”

Another real-estate agent Matthew Mifsud of Raine&Horne City Living Pyrmont had similar success with an Australian citizen based in Singapore.

Mifsud said he was introduced to the buyer before the two began a Whatsapp communication in regards to a two-bedroom apartment in Pyrmont. The man finally purchased the unit for 1.9 million last December.

The buyer even paid a 0.25 percent holding deposit to Mifsud before asking his friend to inspect the place before finalising the sale.

“This is the first time, I have sold something almost entirely with using Whatsapp,” said Mifsud, who has been a real-estate agent for two years.

Perhaps, the most lasting impression that social media has had on the industry has to be by Chinese-born Ray White agent Sam Guo who is known among peers to have closed a $11 million sale of a summer home on the Gold Coast last July through WeChat.

Guo said the China-based international investor made the purchase without viewing the property first.

“The person who bought summer house was told about it by their friend who saw it on my WeChat page.”

“The buyer was in China and was interested but couldn’t get over to Australia to view the property. I went to the house and called her on FaceTime, walked her through the whole property, showed her everything. It was perfect for her, so I sent her the Contract and went through each page with her.

“The day she picked up the keys was the first day she saw the property in real life,” he said.

To date, Guo sold close to $20 million worth of dwellings in the last financial year using WeChat.

Meanwhile, Real Estate Institute of New South Wales president John Cunningham told News Corp that virtual selling was slowly becoming a norm among international buyers who had an appetite for Australian property.

“Technology is changing the entire dynamic of real estate,” Cunningham said.

“Buyers now have the tools to inquire, view and purchase a property instantly and are competing with a large international market of buyers (who are) doing the same.”

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