Property Observer - Newly launched listings portal aims to shake up the industry

Property Observer - Newly launched listings portal aims to shake up the industry

Dec 12, 2013  - is here, and it's creating a bit of a stir already, despite facing stiff competition from the other big real estate listings portals and other startups.

Looking to maximise on user experience, by providing a more functional search system, as well as an innovative marketing platform, Homely is supposedly the fresh alternative to the current listings sites.

Jason Spencer, co-founder of Homely, said that they've created a way to discover property through simple design without banners ads or page turns.

With more than 500,000 suburb ratings, reviews and conversations, they're hoping it will give property buyers a chance to look at the very local information.

The founders are of fame. 

Local expert profiles and office showcase pages are aiming to build engagement and brand loyalty, while providing another way for real estate agents to market themselves. The site says this will help make choosing an agent like choosing a restaurant. How they intend to tackle fake reviews that have been seen increasingly online remains to be seen.

They note that at launch they have more than 1,700 real estate offices and 100,000 listings, including Ray White, LJ Hooker, Harcourts, Starr Partners, Belle Property and RT Edgar - with more expected next year.

Principals pay for their entire office, so there are no individual listing fees attached.

CEO of Starr Partners, Douglas Driscoll, said that recent research about the costs attributed to property portal advertising finds that Australia is the highest in the developed world.

“The exponential rise in these costs can mainly be attributed to a lack of genuine competition in the digital space. With the full support and backing of the industry, Homely could offer homebuyers a viable alternative to the traditional portals whilst helping agents keep their advertising costs to a more sensible level," said Driscoll.

When using the portal, a slick map appears to the right hand side, which allows buyers to quickly see where the property is located and how the suburb is situated.

The portal caters for both buyers and renters, the site is currently in Beta.