Real Estate Talk - A new way to find property
22nd April, 2014 - Homely CEO Jason Spencer caught up with Kevin Turner from Real Estate Talk to discuss Homely. The transcript of the chat is below.
Kevin: You may or may not recall some years ago there was a website called StreetAdvisor. We did something on our program about that some time ago. That’s now slightly changed. StreetAdvisor still runs overseas. We’ll find out a bit more about that more in just a moment, but it’s morphed into a new site which is called www.Homely.com.au. Joining me is the man behind that, Jason Spencer. Jason, thanks for your time.
Jason: Thanks, Kevin. It’s great to talk to you.
Kevin: It’s great to be talking to you again. Tell me what’s happened in the last few years with the progression from StreetAdvisor to Homely?
Jason: Seven years ago we launched a website called StreetAdvisor in San Francisco and Australia. It was set up to rate and review every single street and suburb and neighbourhood in the world initially. To date, we’ve had over one million ratings, reviews and local discussions, and in Australia over ten million people have now visited us.
In December, we launched a new site called Homely, which builds on top of our existing community and adds homes for sale and rent across Australia. We’ve morphed that existing community into Homely, adding over 150,000 listings in just a few months, and just over 2500 real estate offices have signed up already.
Kevin: What would you say your reach is around Australia for those looking at maybe buying or selling a property?
Jason: We’ve got coverage in most suburbs. I’d say it’s approaching 90% coverage, but there are always some harder areas. I’m always surprised to see reviews Far North Queensland. Bottom line: if you’re looking for, say, the best suburbs in Brisbane, Queensland or Melbourne, usually Homely will come up number one with a list of all those ratings and reviews.
Kevin: So you’re in the major capital cities – Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne?
Jason: Everywhere. Obviously from a search engine’s perspective when you go to Google, you’re going to find the major cities very easily, but you would be surprised. I was just typing in yesterday “best streets in Muchea” and Homely had a bunch of information on there.
Kevin: For someone selling a property – we know of the major portals – is it an option for them to also be on Homely or do you see Homely taking over from the others?
Jason: Definitely. At this stage, Homely is 100% free to list for agents, but we see Homely as obviously being very different. We have the largest community of its kind of people looking for where to live. But secondly, Homely is all about creating a very beautiful consumer user experience – one that you’ve probably never seen before in Australia based on our seven years of U.S. experience.
It’s the first that has no banner ads, and the first that has no page turns back and forth. It really is amazing when you browse homes without banner ads that we’re all so used to. It’s such a refreshing experience. There’s nothing to lose, it’s 100% free to list, and we’re finding a lot of people wanting to list their homes, and in fact asking their agents to get their homes onto Homely.
Kevin: And at the end of the day you’ve got to have a model that’s going to make some money, so how will this be monetized in the future?
Jason: We’re very different in terms of the way we monetize. Of course, we are 100% free to list, but we also have what we call a “Homely Pro Package” and that’s a very unique marketing platform that we’ve developed for the United States market. It helps agents engage consumers, homebuyers and renters through what we call “local expert profiles”. That’s all about building engagement. And in-line with helping people find where to live, agents can earn points for answering consumer questions, writing reviews or uploading photos, and it really helps agents interact with consumers to put them in the right position as the premier agent in that area.
Kevin: It’s a bit of a win-win really when you think about it. We’ve got agents who want to reach consumers and consumers who want the information, so you’re really bringing the two together. You’re fulfilling both of those needs.
Jason: Definitely. That’s something we’ve seen over last seven years. It’s been trial-and-error, but we got there in the end.
Kevin: So someone looking at buying (or particularly selling) should contact their agent and ask them to have a look at Homely?
Jason: Definitely. Listing on Homely doesn’t cost them anything and we’re connected with most of the multi-loader software companies in Australia so it’s very easy to get your listing on there.
Kevin: What does that actually mean? Just explain that for a consumer.
Jason: Every real estate company has their own software and they integrate withwww.RealEstate.com.au to get the listing from that software into the real estate search site. Homely is now also integrated with many of those software packages.
Kevin: What that means is if I list my place with Raine and Horne, Ray White, or whatever it’s easy for them to not only load it on those other major sites, but also get it onto Homely.
Jason: Yeah. In fact, it’s good that you mentioned that. We’re already live with Ray White, Raine and Horne, and L.J Booker – most of the major ones.
Kevin: Wonderful stuff. It’s called Homely. You’re going to hear a lot more about it and I suggest you go and have a look at it. It’s a great site. We actually had a look at that and rated our suburb some years ago, and I’m pleased to see that it’s still there. A lot of people have followed us and made comments about it too.
It takes looking for or selling a property to another level where you get to really know the suburb before you actually buy in there, and that’s one of things that in this show we really suggest you really need to get to know that suburb first. So check it out. It’s called www.Homely.com.au. My guest has been Jason Spencer. Jason, thanks for your time.
Jason: Thanks, Kevin. Thank you again.
Agents can now submit their listings for free at http://agent.homely.com.au/submit-your-listings/ with listings being displayed within hours of being submitted. With the current uptake, being on board early is proving a major benefit for the partners on board.
Founded by Jason Spencer and Adam Spencer, Homely.com.au is a free to list, banner-ad free real estate website that helps people find their next home. With a focus on beautiful design, community engagement and innovative marketing platforms for real estate agents, Homely.com.au helps people make better decisions about where they choose to live.
The company is based in Melbourne, Australia.
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