04 Oct
Posted by Jose M. Arrando

Sales &Telemarketing


This is part 3 of ' So you have thought about building your own property portal', if you want to go to part two click here.

You now know how you are going to get your Property Portal built so it is competitive and you will be able to offer your potential clients benefit from visiting it.

That's great and means that with the marketing effort we'll see in chapter four money from publishing agents should come pouring in.

Will Agents come to me just because I'm good and have lots of visitors?

If you have a good portal and you have a good amount of Potential final clients visiting your Portal you will potentially have something Property Agents could die for. But these agents won't know you are fabulous unless you find them and tell them, if you don't tell them then you won't have publishing agents. Even if you did manage to get yourself 100000 visitors a day the first week the Property Agents won't know this and will never come to you with open wallets begging you to take their Properties in for publishing.

It might sound a little sad but that is the honest truth. You are going to have to follow these Agents and tell them how good you are, show them the great potential clients that visit your site and make them see how much profit is going to come to them if they publish with you. And then, and only then, will they start to open up their wallets.

This might sound like common sense but if you do not have a plan to go after these Real Estate agents and get them to publish with you then your Portal won't make money and you'll get nowhere.

So what will I have to do to the the Agents listing on my Property Portal?

Like it or not all property portals' sales are still based on just calling prospect Agents and getting them to subscribe to your portal.

All European portals that I can think about do this, all the big names from Kyero to Rightmove, they will always call you up and get you to sign into that special 'introductory or post-introductory' offer. This is the way Property Portals get their clients and you will have to do the same to stand any chance of even getting just one subscriber

Mail shots and social marketing are also widely used but the one that really closes deals is the good old phone call.

So, basically, if you are not willing to hire Telemarketers or are not willing to do it yourself then you will not get any new contracts and your property Portal will be just another Portal in the dead sea of Internet Property Portals.

30 Sep
Posted by Jose M. Arrando

Developers vs Ready Made Solutions.

This is part 2 of 'Thinking on doing your own Property Portal', you may want to read part one first if you haven't yet, to do so click here please.

Continuing on from part on we were stated we needed Developers, Sales, Telemarketing, admin staff and Website Marketing activities done to have a property portal we will focus on the development part of the Property Portal. 

First let's see how we could define a Property Portal

Property Portals are basically Websites with lots of functionalities built into them and a very extensive administration panel that lets you handle and manage the Properties the publishers have on the portal and the clients that subscribe to it.

A respected Property Portal and one that wants to compete with other Portals in 2015 should, at least:

  • Allow clients to browse Properties fast, it should be faster than a regular Real Estate agent Property Website and it has to be faster having lots more Properties and options that a regular Property Website.
  • Have facilities to allow the agents to upload data via XML feeds. Gone are the times when a Real Estate Agent is going to go into your portal and import their portfolio manually.
  • Have various data exports so that your Portal can collaborate with other Property Portals and it must let you pick sets of Properties for Promotion on other Portals, Magazines, Newspaper ads, Craiglist ads, etcetera.
  • Should be Active in Social Media. This does not only just mean that your pages can be posted on Facebook but that they should show up well on the Social Media Platforms. Some standards have to be met for this (for example Open Graph for Facebook) and they have to be implemented by the software, sometimes on-the-fly using up processor cycles.
  • Have a solid Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system incorporated. The Portal will handle client data and it must go beyond what normal Property Software gives us.
  • Good Real Estate Portals should have a way of letting clients be introduced by subscription so they can be contacted if matching properties that agents have added into the portal are found.

This Last bullet point  is very important because that is where you are giving good value to the people who search for Property in your site. If they can't find a property then the system saves their requirements and e-mails them when the property is found. The system should contact these clients automatically and then send them back to your Website so they can fill in a contact form. Effectively this is  like having one more person in your office matching Clients to Buyers and then contacting them.

So what's the downside of having these features?

All these features come at a cost. The amount of data that needs to be moved is really massive. If we imagine a small Real Estate portal each agent could have an average of 500 properties, if you have just 20 agents you are dealing with 10000 Properties and if each property has an average of10 photos then you have to handle 100.000 photos. If each or some of those properties gets viewed an average of 50 times a month and each property gets a mean of 10 leads a month with 100 people subscribing to the agent then each property will have in a few months 100 transactions where it is sent to clients via e-mail, social marketing, etcetera. You could, with just 20 publishing agents,  be dealing with 100 transactions X 500 Properties X 20 Agents=1000000 (one million) properties sent and promoted to clients daily. You would have one million daily transactions on the servers where properties are being sent and/or promoted to clients. And that's just with 20 agents and not that many clients.

This means that NO, that $100 dollar Joomla or Wordpress software you found on the Internet will not be able to cope with this and NO, that Godaddy (not having anything against them) hosting 'unlimited space' offer for $150 a year won't be able to cut it even if you did have the software.

And we can't emphasize this enough: The Property Portal has to be fast, if it is not then clients will just not use and on top of that the search Engines won't even rank it very well if page load times are slow.

What options do we have for development?

There are only three options that will work:

  •     You buy software licenses for specific Property Portal Software, making sure that the software is properly created, taken care of and is already used in popular Property Portals. Be careful when choosing though as most Real Estate software is just one user software reconverted into multi-agent software, but it really is not meant for Property Portals and will never offer the functionality a Property Portal Does. You could check-out the software the guys at Rivility Real Estate Solution have developed, it is a relatively young company and their software does everything a Portal needs with excellent support too.
  •     The other option is that you hire staff to develop you the software from scratch. This is the most expensive option, then again it has lgood things like, for example, the software will look and behave exactly how you want it too. When choosing developers take care not to throw your money at the first person that comes up boasting experience with Property Portals. Most so called Web Developers are just Web designers that have followed short courses in programming, they will never get the job done and you'll just have spent all your hard earned money on BS. Ideally Developers should have a University Degree in Computer Science, have additional training in the Technologies they say the know and have proven Track Record doing Property related Code development. They are not easy to find but once you do have no doubts they'll get the job done and well.
  •     You could also outsource staff. This is really not feasible unless you are going to be able to plan the outsourced work correctly and divide all the tasks into sub-tasks for the team, you will need experience in managing remote teams and, even then, it will still be hard to manage.

Those are the three options you have for developing the code that your Property Portal needs, obviously make sure that whatever you do you are following the latest coding standards and Frameworks and that the resulting product is easy to update and will have updates for many years to come.

In part three we will talk about the Sales and Telemarketing aspects of managing your own Property Portal.

29 Sep
Posted by Jose M. Arrando

So you have been thinking about building your own property portal?

You've seen them going for some time, you've seen how well some of them seem to do  and you have probably been in the Real Estate Business for some time to know well that a Property Portal is good business.

Chances are that you have even been one of their clients, you have given them your hard earned cash (usually earned through Property Sales Commissions) to put up your portfolio or part of your portfolio on them.

So the next step is obvious for you: If they can do it I can do it too. Just that it's really not all that simple, I'm going to try and shed my view on the points of views and cases I've found through my many years of working with property portals (as a developer and Salesperson) and with companies that want to set-up Property Portals.

First thing's first: Why do you really want a Property Portal?

The quick answer to this would be 'Because I want to become rich running one, property portals seem to run themselves and every month it's just about money pouring down from clients'.

At least half of that previous statement is not true, actually, the only part that is true is the one about wanting to become rich (I think we all want that).

It is the part about the portals running themselves that is specially not true. Running a Property Portal is probably going to require you to work many more hours than you do now selling property and hiring more staff (or outsourcing them, but we'll speak about that later) than you would have ever needed to hire running any other businesses.

They don't run themselves? Really? So what do I need?

You are going to need a lot of things, you are going to need a lot of planning and you are going to need good business partners along the way that's for sure. Property Portal Software like for example that offered by Rivility Real Estate Software and excellent support too.

Apart from that you are going to need Developers, Sales, Telemarketing, admin staff and Website Marketing activities done. We'll be writing about all these things you'll need shortly and we'll identify the possible pitfalls you may encounter and the markets where you could succeed if you are determined to have your own Property Portal.