Just like buyers in the U.S., buyers across the world tend to begin their search for the perfect home online. However, in many cases these buyers are in countries that might not use the same listing websites commonly used in the U.S. It is easy for us to assume that what is familiar is ubiquitous as well, but this is simply untrue. These websites, known as property portals, are your link to global buyers. What sites are worth your time and how do you assess them?
To start, it is always good to remember that U.S. agents are at an advantage thanks to the MLS. In the U.S. any property entered into the MLS will also appear on realtor.com and realtor.com/international, which syndicates listings from 46 different countries and attracts over 1 million monthly visitors from outside the U.S. While this is impressive, it still does not guarantee global buyers are seeing your listings. To ensure you are reaching buyers abroad you must cover all your bases. You can start by simply asking the right questions:
Who are your buyers?
Identifying what country your global buyers are coming from is the first step. If the answer is not obvious, there are reports and studies that can help. The recently published NAR 2016 Profile of International Activity in U.S. Residential Real Estate is a great place to start in researching who makes up the global buyers in your area. Another helpful outlet are statistics released from realtor.com/international on a monthly basis. These statistics show the most popular search locations in the United States and what countries these searches originate from. Click here to view the most recent report.
What property portals do they use?
Once you identify these buyers, have a look at what property portals are commonly used in their country, and market yourself there. What websites are they searching for listings? Are there any sites that are favored in their country? Do these sites also promote international listings? It is easy to forget about the basics in this day and age. We are always trying to think of new and creative ways to put our listings in front of buyers, and while this is certainly a good idea, we must also keep in mind the property portals that may be less obvious to the American eye. To help get you started, below are the top 10 property portals from around the world:
- No. 1 property portal in the United Kingdom
- Roughly 1 million residential listings
- Estimated 17.5 million visits/month
- Companion sites display over 40,000 commercial properties and more than 95,000 overseas properties in over 75 countries
- Germany’s largest real estate marketplace
- Roughly 512,000 properties (limited overseas listings)
- Over 12 million unique visitors/month
- Owned by Scout24 Holding GmbH, which also operates AutoScout24 (vehicles) and FinanceScout24 (financial services) and licenses other Scout24 marketplaces
- No. 1 property site in the Netherlands
- Over 230,000 residential properties, plus commercial, agricultural and limited listings in other parts of Europe
- Estimated 4.2 million visits/month
- Leading property portal in Spain
- Nearly 1.3 million listings (buy/rent/share), both residential and commercial. (International properties powered by ListGlobally.com)
- More than 5.5 million unique users each month, viewing over 140 million pages
- Australia’s No. 1 property site
- 3 million unique visitors/month
- Owned and operated by REA Group (which also operates realcommercial.com.au, as well as various affiliated international sites)
- No. 2 property portal in the United Kingdom
- Over 660,000 properties displayed
- Estimated 8.7 million visits/month
- Zoopla Property Group also owns and operates uSwitch, PrimeLocation, SmartNewHomes and HomesOverseas
- No. 1 property portal in Canada
- Over 260,000 residential properties displayed
- Estimated 5.2 million visits/month
- Includes links to two other sites: over 80,000 commercial listings at ICX.ca and international listings at Worldproperties.com
- Leading property site in the Czech Republic
- Over 190,000 properties from more than 2,700 real estate agents and individuals
- Estimated 2.7 million visits/month
- Poland’s leading property site
- Over 170,000 homes for sale, and more than twice that number of apartments, plus nearly 40,000 commercial listings (also displays extensive rental opportunities)
- Estimated 4.3 million visits/month
- Largest property site for Moscow region
- Originally launched for rental housing; property sales added in 2009
- Estimated 4.4 million visits/month
Once a potential buyer finds you through the property portal it is vital to creating an impressive first-impression. Don’t let your efforts on property portals go to waste by having a less than impressive website. Proudly display your CIPS designation on your site so potential buyers know you are a global expert and are capable of handling their business. Additionally, ensuring your website is user friendly is just as important. Does your area serve a large amount of Chinese buyers? Having a website that is easily translated to Mandarin can help attract these buyers. Having presence on property portals is important, but creating a lasting impression afterward is what will win you their business.
If you are interested in more tips on property portals, click here for our feature in Global Perspectives.