The rise of the social searcher.
There’s a nice upturn in the numbers of buyers registering for property across London and the South East at the moment. Clearly Spring is in the air, but the increased activity in our inbox has come from our recently launched Facebook campaign aimed at people wanting a unique home. The response has been great, generating more enquiries than we’re currently getting from Rightmove and Zoopla. So why is that?
Well, if you’re searching for a conventional home on the standard property ownership trajectory – studio; two bed flat; three bed terrace; four bed detached, etc – then portals are the place to go. Your phone can ping and vibrate with alerts of countless new instructions, all reassuringly similar to the previous and next listing.
But if you are looking for something unique or idiosyncratic, then a portal is of little use. There is no facility, button or tickbox to search for something special. Most people who contact us don’t really know what they want, and we mean that in a good way: they’re not driven by the need to house 2.2 children within 450 metres of an Ofsted ‘good’ rated school.
Many, many people who buy a property through us do so through happenstance, rather than circumstance. “I just happened to see…” is one of the sentences we most commonly hear. Steering clear of the deluge of homogeny from the property portals and high street estate agents, these free-thinking freewheelers seek inspiration elsewhere. And elsewhere is where we court them.
Social media, of course, is the perfect platform. Scrolling, liking and pinning images and videos are the modern day looking in estate agents’ windows, where pictures of property are now often replaced by cans of coke and Sky News – apparently far more useful for the modern home hunter.
We’ve had umpteen responses to videos and slideshows on Instagram and Facebook, garnering hundreds of likes, comments and shares as the viral nature of the Internet carries our posts around the globe through international networks of friends, families and colleagues as yet unknown to us. And we’ve agreed sales and lettings directly to people we’ve never spoken to before, often on the other side of the world, who we’d never have encountered through regular property marketing channels.
So here’s to the social searchers: long may then reign.