Buyers, here’s how to search the entire market and never miss another sale again
With more than two-thirds of South Africans starting their search for properties for sale and rent online, and more than 90% of all properties on the market being advertised on South Africa’s various property portals, it’s a no brainer that the internet has shifted property buying and selling behaviour.
In South Africa, there are a host of portals adverting homes for sale and rental; but really there are only eight main players that cover close to 100% of these properties. They are all household names: Property24, Private Property, Gumtree, IOLProperty, My Property, MyRoof, CyberProp and TPN’s RentBay.
Serious buyers and tenants, however, don’t have time to comprehensively search all the properties on the big portals; and often times they don’t provide enough insight into the buying and selling market dynamics, resident demographics and community aspects of the suburbs in which these homes are located. So while almost all homes on the market can be accessed via the portals, buyers and tenants are not always able to make informed decisions and conduct credible, accurate and up-to-date research before phoning an agent or private landlord.
This all changed at the end of last month when residential market educator, HomeTimes, launched Suburb Intelligence: the most comprehensive, user-friendly and attractive suburb-level data aggregator available in South Africa.
Now, for the first time in South Africa, all of the eight main property portals can be accessed via Suburb Intelligence: so that when you are doing your suburb research, you can simultaneously search across all portals. Now you won’t miss any of the best deals because you are not covering the entire market.
“We wanted to create a resource for ordinary buyers and sellers to consult, use and interact with to help them make better-informed decisions when they are ready to buy or even when they want to sell; the same goes for consumers who are renting,” says HomeTimes director, David A Steynberg. “This consumer-first approach is the same one we took when we launched HomeTimes last September. And the market has been responding well to the site and our Facebook page since inception: we currently have more than 40,600 Facebook fans and grow at a rate of 10,000 new likes a month.”
Suburbs all go through cycles of growth, peak and slowdown. This leads to price changes as demand and supply continually shift; it’s important to know as much as you can about the facts of the suburb from knowing who lives there and what their incomes are, their age groups, how long they have lived there, which age groups are moving out and which age groups are moving into the suburb.
“We have launched with over 100 suburbs and we are adding eight new suburbs every working day,” says Mariette Steynberg, development economist and lead researcher for Suburb Intelligence. “Each suburb has different types of homes and it’s important to track what is happening to median sales in each area, the changing composition of the suburb with regard to one-, two-, three-, four- and five-plus bedroom homes in the suburb, in both sectional title and freehold, and what building activity is taking place.
“Security is a great concern, too. Suburb Intelligence maintains its consumer-first ethos by not shying away from the crime statistics reported and documented by the various police stations that serve the respective suburbs. But we also provide a snapshot of what security features are prominent across the neighbourhood.”
But what about current residents?
Suburb Intelligence is not only a valuable resource for buyers, sellers and tenants, it’s intended to become a part of residents’ lives, too.
“The suburb’s amenities such as schools, gyms, shopping and medical facilities for you and your pets, restaurants, transport infrastructure, police and fire stations, and so on are tracked on the interactive Google Maps-based view of the suburb,” says Mariette. “You can identify the location and distance of these amenities from the homes you are looking to buy or rent in the suburb of your choice.”
Suburb Intelligence is a free public service from HomeTimes and is an essential part of your home hunting activities.
HomeTimes is also offering local estate agencies in each suburb the opportunity to house Suburb Intelligence on their own websites, and which will identify only their properties for sale and for rental on the suburb’s interactive map.
“Equally important are the homes sold by the local estate agency will also be shown,” says David, noting that this will give potential sellers insight into how effective the agent really is. “A virtual ‘sold!’ board is hugely valuable: it can tell potential sellers how long the home was on the market before being sold and how close to asking price it was sold for. This is real evidence of their selling prowess as experts in the suburbs in which they operate – not hot air.
“The agencies I have discussed this with have all said it’s a game-changer. In fact, at least two of the bigger agencies are investigating using it across all their suburbs’ listed properties on their sites.”
Suburb Intelligence can finally prove who sells the most homes in a suburb and back up their statements with visible “sold!” signboards on the suburbs’ maps on their websites.
Local businesses are also encouraged to submit their geolocation and relevant details to assist us in “filling up” the map to connect residents with the relevant businesses across South Africa’s many suburbs.
- Contact David at firstname.lastname@example.org