To read more about REA’s key findings on marketing to tenants, read about their LandLord Research Report by clicking here.
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This long winding, road is symbolising the rent journey. This is the process and how long it takes for when tenants first think, “All right I’m going to move. I’m going to go somewhere else.” Most of it is driven by a lifestyle decision whether they are upsizing or downsizing their families, or whether they want to be close to work or they want to be closer to parks or gyms or the beach, whatever it is.
So it’s about a 3-month process. So, that moment they think, “I’d like to move,” research shows that, on average, it’s 3 months of the whole journey until they get the property. The 3 months journey we are seeing from that – all the people coming back and forth, you see about 9.2 million people visit the rent section of our site every month which is massive. That’s ‘visits’. 9.2 million a month. Right, and then 8-10 sessions is how many times they are coming back. They are 8-10 times per month they’re coming to REA to have a look at property.
But better for REA, I suppose, and for yourself with the whole notifications thing. Exactly like Facebook and Instagram, when someone tags you in something, you get notified straight away, you get a little push notification, you click on it and you can see the photo you’ve been tagged in. REA works exactly the same when it comes to property searches. So when people have the app installed on their phone and what they do is they go for a search, say of ‘South Melbourne’, they’ll save that search. What it does is then notifies them as soon as a property comes up in their price range or their criteria in South Melbourne; they get a push notification. They then click on the notification and go back into the app.
These stats were done before we released push notifications. It’s probably next to double this now, but we need enough data and enough time to tell you what the stats are. Pretty much whenever you put a property in there, they’re going straight back in because it’s meeting their profile.
Whenever you change a price, put an open-for-inspection time or change the copy, they get another notification just so you are aware again. When you add an inspection time, it will get re-notified to them as well. We are constantly pushing property ads to them so they engage to come back, which is better than ever before. Then 9.3 minutes; so, an engaged audience is what you want and every time they’re coming back they are spending on average 9.3 minutes, it’s incredible. I think we still rank as one of the highest website engagement minute rating scores out of every website in Australia. More people spend more time on our site than nearly any other site, which is massive.
The rent journey continues with open-for-inspections. So you can imagine if you’ve obviously done this before, but if you haven’t, you’re constantly looking at properties, saving properties, saving them to your calendars, on a Saturday you are going out there to try and squeeze in as many as you possibly can. On average, most people go to 10 open-for-inspections, so that’s average. Some people are going to 20 or 30 over that 3-month period, so they are investing a hell of a lot of their time. They then shortlist the properties and they start applying on average. Most people apply for 4, they ask for 4 tenancy application forms before they apply.
Some of your forms are 4-5 pages, so they are filling out – again, put yourself in their shoes – they are filling out 20 pages of information over this, so it’s getting painful for them at this point. We’ll go through some solutions of looking at digital ways of doing it. Filling out 3 bits of paper for me is painful for me, let alone 20. The market, or how it’s changing at the moment, is still about 70% of real estate agencies in Australia will hand out tenancy paper applications. There is something about paper that people still love, and 30% are trying to embrace online fully digital and really trying to resist giving out paper, because it helps streamline so many of their other systems.
Where tenants are looking and how they are looking. When it comes to tenants and just generically online, 87% of them said they use online to research the property market. Print and magazine, signboards. While they are still there, it’s obviously a lot less, the main audience is online. Then we asked that same audience how many of you would use REA to Domain to Rent.com, 73% said they would use REA which is a massive stat. It just shows that a lot of the market in the audience is, while they may look at different and multiple sites, REA is definitely the dominant. Again it’s different in different markets and sub-markets, but overall this is the national figure.
A day at realestate.com.au, we said four of that sixty million, so 9.2 million to rent, 60 million to the main site, which is about 2 million a day. The way you look at that down the bottom is visits to the website on the red and then on the apps on the right, so that’s got 620,000 that are just using the apps every day, and then up the top, ‘buy’ and ‘rent’. You can see ‘buy’ still is where a lot of the traffic is going and then we’ve got other sections on the site like ‘invest’ and ‘share’ and all things where that audience is going, but ‘rent’ is still really important.
This is going into now how tenants search and their behaviours of how they are actually physically searching. We get a lot of agents say we are listing a property in this tiny little suburb, it’s next to, I don’t know Sydney that well, but in Melbourne you’ve got like a big suburb like Brighton and there’s a tiny suburb next to it that’s literally four streets by four streets called Gardenvale. Agents, a lot of the time, will think that no one is going to find that property in Gardenvale, nobody searches for it, nobody knows about it. You can see up here 92% of people still include the surrounding suburbs in their search. They are not going just for that suburb, so the property still will get found.
Tenant’s search behaviour, how many pages do they go in? It’s exactly the same as Google. When you are searching for a hotel or a holiday or whatever it is, you very rarely go to the very bottom of the page of Google – you know how you’ve got the G and about 40 O’s? You don’t usually go to the next page and go through all the pages. We see it’s pretty much exactly the same on realestate.com.au, you can say 44% on the main site and 55% on the mobile site, they go as far as page two. About half the audience get to page two, which is about 40 listings in, and then they stop. It’s important that you are up the front of the search results. You can do that with different advertising listings that you can talk to your account managers about, but it’s super important that you are up the front.
Days on market is obviously for rental properties. It’s not always that long, but if you are in a market where it’s sitting on the market for quite a long time, you need to refresh that ad and get it up the front again. Tenants come from different devices, so we look at this for each segment of the website. You can see when it comes to tenants or people looking to rent a property, it’s mobile [that] is king. Everybody is on their mobile, so 62% of the audience are mobile, so what are the tools, or how easy are you making for your tenants to engage with all things mobile? We’ll go through this in a few more minutes, there are a few more solutions for mobile but you need to think mobile at your business.
Try and eliminate paper and eliminate anything they have to do that’s painful or involves a desktop even, e.g. where they have to maybe fill out a form that’s not compatible in a mobile and that it’s painful. A bit more tenant search behaviour, when they get the search results, so they’ve searched maybe for Bondi and all the properties come up, 83% of them will believe it, so it sorts by relevance. They don’t really go through and then sort by price and all the different stuff there. 38% then refine the search by price, later on down the track, and then 22% refine by property type. They’re sort of casting the net quite wide first, so they are not saying, “I want an apartment or a house,” they are going, “Let’s see what I can get in Bondi and the surrounding suburbs,” and then they go through and shortlist and shortlist, but they keep it open first, which is interesting.
We’re now going to have a quick look at tenants and their search behaviour online, so you can see the journey and the pain points they feel when they’re looking for properties.
The first one on the left; 43% of people find it super frustrating when there’s not enough photos or the photos don’t show the property in its full light or full detail. We’ll show you some examples of some bad photos that we see on this site in a second. 33% said it’s super frustrating when no address is disclosed. If the property is in a bit of a funny area, you’re better off being honest and upfront and just saying it is in an industrial zone in the copy, or put the address there, otherwise they’re probably just not going to inquire. They’ll just go for another property and skip the listing altogether.
27% said it’s super frustrating when, you know how you can put ‘contact agent’ or not put the price? Again, it’s just a waste of time for them. They’re not going to bother, they’re not going to inquire. Make sure you always have the price in there. I don’t know why you wouldn’t for a rental property. Again, this research is for rental, not for sales, this is what tenants have said.
These are real photos that make it to our site every day. This one you can see it doesn’t show the property very well at all. You’ve got a car in the driveway, you’ve got bins out in the front. You need to sometimes do that really quick sense check and just make sure, is that a good photo? No, it’s not. What am I doing? This one here, it’s got a skip and a toilet. No, you wouldn’t let it get away! It’s saying it’s got two bathrooms, it’s actually got three because it’s got another toilet in the driveway. That’s actually incorrect. Again, a really bad photo for the main image.
I suppose, linking back to before, how they’re doing that digital interview of you online, landlords are going to check out the listings that you’ve got and your photos. If you’ve got photos that look anything like this, guess what, they’re going to go, “That agency takes no care, they don’t have attention to detail, are they going to do this with my property? They probably are, I’m not going to even bother picking up the phone or inquiring.” Your photos and how your listings look are super, super important. It’s like yourself when you go to a job interview, or whatever it is, it’s about your brand and how you’re looking online, and how you dress.
Another one, see on the right, this is their only photo. Like a gym membership for 650 bucks a week, are you kidding me? No one is going to look at this place, no matter how good the gym is. It’s a bad picture of a gym anyway. This one, everybody loves a selfie. It’s got the kettle and cupboard open. Again, these are real photos that have made it to the site. This one here, you can see the smashed window. It looks like someone’s just robbed the property. I know it’s funny, but I just brought these up just to remind you of the importance of photos and your online brand, and how important it is to make sure that the photos are all spot on.
Like you’re just trying to push it out the door, but not quite thinking about the bigger picture, “Hang on a minute, I might be damaging that property, but I’m also damaging the next brand, and the next phone call, and I’m hurting the BDM.” We want to grow this business, but we’re not doing it the right way. It’s taking that extra minute or two minutes of care with your photos and your copy, and how everything looks, because that’s you, that’s you online.