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Technology focal point in real estate

25 Jun 2013

The continual developments in technology have raised the efficiency of many businesses and also had a massive impact on the way property transactions are handled across the globe.

World Wide Worx found the total number of fixed line broadband subscriptions in South Africa is now outnumbered 8 to 1 by mobile broadband subscriptions.

This is according to Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, who says that the way forward is to tap into mobile internet users. He refers to The Internet Access in South Africa 2012 study conducted by World Wide Worx, headed by Arthur Goldstuck who is regarded as South Africa’s leading expert on internet and mobile technology trends. “The report indicates that broadband access in South Africa has more than doubled in the last two years as mobile operators cut the cost of data and network roll-out accelerated." World Wide Worx found the total number of fixed line broadband subscriptions in South Africa is now outnumbered 8 to 1 by mobile broadband subscriptions.

Goslett says the study also shows that Internet penetration in South Africa is approaching 20 percent and, for the first time, the mass market is embracing digital tools on their phones.

As an organisation that prides itself on enhancing productivity through harnessing progressive technology, RE/MAX of Southern Africa developed a mobi site which is optimised to work on tablets and smart phones to give users an easy way of searching and navigating the website. Goslett says that considering there was a 1 000 percent increase in mobile users between 2011 and 2012, it was imperative for the brand to develop a mobile optimised webpage. “With mobile traffic increasing at such a rate, and predicted to continue increasing considerably in the years to come, catering to these devices with a mobile-tailored web page was essential.”

RE/MAX of Southern Africa has found the dual approach of combining the latest technology with professional service to be highly effective. In light of this, another one of the new technologies recently implemented is the Buffini Referral Maker application and management system for its agents. This system is exclusive to RE/MAX and has been tailored around the brand's programs already in place. The Buffini Referral Maker assists agents manage their work flow, enabling them to better engage with their clients on a one-to-one level.

RE/MAX of Southern Africa has spearheaded technological advances such as satellite training with top industry professionals through their Global Learning Centre to ensure RE/MAX agents remain at the forefront of industry developments and developing one of the top performing real estate websites in South Africa – the first of its kind in the country to implement Google Street View.

Comparing website traffic of their site in the first quarter of 2012 against the first quarter of 2013 shows a 60 percent increase. “The key thing to note about the increase in traffic is that it is constant." He says the growth was not achieved through once-off campaigns but has rather been steady and sustained.

RE/MAX of Southern Africa also embarked on a search engine optimisation (SEO) campaign last year in order to improve its search results on Google. In the first quarter of 2013 compared to the first quarter of 2012, the number of visits to their site increased by over 800 percent. “Real estate is one of the most hotly contested SEO markets, so these statistics are really impressive,” he says.

Goslett says that never before has the real estate industry been in such a powerful position to initiate, drive and direct communication straight to their target markets and this enables them to increase sales. “Technology is also an ever increasingly powerful tool for business-client interaction, regardless of the size or location of the agency. Information is power – access to a rich pool of data offers agents better insight into customers’ needs, buying behaviour, concerns and expectations." He says this gives them the edge over their competitors and allows agents to make smarter business decisions and be of better service to their clients.

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