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Agency websites still visited by buyers despite portal dominance - research

Property portals remain the predominant route for finding a home among buyers but many are still following traditional methods, research suggests.

A survey of 1,500 recent homebuyers by YourBusinessNumber found property portals ranked top, highlighted by 52% of respondents when asking how they went about looking for a property to purchase. 

An estate agents own website ranked second among 16% of respondents, while 13% said they looked at a branch window.

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Just 7% said they rang round multiple agents and only 4% inquired after seeing a For Sale board.

Reputation also remains key, with YourBusinessNumber finding that 66% of buyers would avoid purchasing a property from an agent with poor customer feedback. 

When it comes to methods of communication, the preference for a mix of old and new was less prominent. 

When asked how they primarily communicated with an agent during their most recent property purchase, the majority or 47% of buyers opted for email, although communicating by phone remained a firm second favourite at 32%.

A fifth used instant messaging services such as WhatsApp.

George Lineker, co-founder of of YourBusinessNumber, said: “Digital marketing channels have massively disrupted the way we buy and sell homes, but despite this, today's homebuyers still value some of the more traditional tried and tested methods. 

“It’s interesting to see that the physical branch window and for sale board are still standing firm when it comes to attracting buyers.

“At the same time, we’re seeing new channels such as instant messaging become as important as phone and email, while social media is rarely utilised despite being a ‘new age’ comms platform."

Thinking about your recent property purchase, which of the below did you do when looking for a property? (Tick all that apply)
Answer Totals
Searched the property portals (e.g Rightmove) 52%
Went directly to a local estate agent's website 16%
Looked at an estate agent’s actual branch window 13%
Rang around multiple estate agents to enquire 7%
Contacted an estate agent after seeing a 'for sales' board 4%
Replied to a marketing email from an estate agent 3%
Contacted an agent based on word-of-mouth recommendations 3%
Contacted an estate agent after receiving a leaflet 1%
Contacted an agent after seeing a TV advertisement 0.4%
Contacted local agents by post 0.4%
Contacted an agent after hearing a radio advertisement 0.2%
   
Would an agent with a poor reputation prevent you from purchasing a home they were listing?
Answer Totals
Yes 66%
No 34%
   
When purchasing your last property, how did you primarily communicate with the selling agent and/or seller? (Tick all that apply)
Answer Totals
Email 47%
Phone 32%
Instant message (e.g. WhatsApp) 19%
In person 1%
Social media 1%
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