The first use of social media as a specific platform for the proactive selling and letting of residential property is set for launch this month.
Entrepreneur Sohail Rashid has created a property application on Facebook that enables home owners, agents and landlords to advertise property for sale, rent and room-share via their Facebook profile.
The app is due to be launched later this month and is currently available in a beta version (see the link below), which Rashid says has already attracted more than 50 agents to sign up.
More agents seem likely to respond, via a database of 6,500 from Guardian Media Group, which produces best-selling estate agency software Vebra.
Rashid, 26, a former conveyancing lawyer turned marketer, said he got the idea for a Facebook property page after reading the OFT’s Home Buying & Selling report, which called for more innovation and transparency in the UK property market.
Rashid says he saw this as an opportunity to come up with something new by integrating the property searching process with the features of social media.
The beta version of Property Place already has over 400,000 properties on it, supplied by agents and also private landlords and sellers.
Rashid said that he fully expects the launch to be controversial, with agents objecting to being on the same page – literally – as private sellers and landlords.
He said: “I am expecting feedback from agents, although I have not had this so far. Agents have their heads in the sand that it will always be agents who sell and let properties, but the OFT report suggests differently.
“Rightmove will go the same way, through their Rightmove Places.”
He added, however, that his Property Place app will not challenge Rightmove – by being very different.
He said agents should accept that homes will be sold and let privately.
He said: “The whole point about Property Place is that it is a social networking page, available for all. It is an open network for both consumers and property professionals.”
The new service will charge £75 for private sellers as an ‘entry fee’ and will insist on property photos. It will charge agents no entry fee, but £50 per month to list up to 15 properties, and £150 to list up to 150 properties.