In the latest blog from Gott Realty’s Tips for Selling Your Home series, we reveal why search engines on online real estate portals are so important.
Many real estate agents use tricks to have a property appear in searches that they typically shouldn’t appear in.
But this can work for and against you achieving the highest sale price. Steve Gott explains…
Why real estate portal search engines are so important to sellers
Search engines in real estate portals and their filters are important to both buyers or sellers, as they allow you to shortlist properties based on the number of bedrooms, property features, or by location.
These search results can then be used for general knowledge on house prices or as a guide to what your house may be worth before placing it on the market.
How to use search engines on the real estate portals
When you go to the portal (eg. realestate.com.au), the home page displays the filter options.
As you can see from this example of the realestate.com.au home page:
- The row of filters you can choose to either buy, rent, sold, property value or find an agent.
- The middle is to filter the suburb of choice.
- The bottom row is the real interesting row of filters. Property type is either house/flat etc; bedrooms is self-explanatory; price min and price max and surrounding suburbs allows you to broaden your search to nearby suburbs.
How to use the filters to find a property in your price range
When an agent lists a property, that agency has an option to either use a fixed price (eg. $550,000 or offers over $550,000) or a worded pricing structure (eg. For Sale Now or Submit all offers).
With the fixed pricing method, the search engines are automatically set at $550,000.
With a worded pricing structure or “Fake Pricing Structure” the agent must complete an additional box and insert a price (eg $550,000).
It is at this point of the listing process that some agents take the liberty of lowering the price in this box to attract more buyer interest.
Spot the out of order priced properties
When you perform a search like this you would expect that all the properties listed in the filtered search would come up in price order. But does this happen? No.
Why not? The reason a price order search does not happen is that some agents manipulate the search engine price on the back end of the portal.
This can be done by using a pricing method eg For Sale Now or Offers Over strategy.
By not filling in the pricing filter with the price nominated in section 3 of the POA form 6 (see NOTE 1 search criteria) as per the directions of the seller and using a totally random price that is usually well below what the seller wants.
NOTE 1: We have used Real Estate Australia or realestate.com.au. home page as an example page to illustrate how to use search engines pricing filters. It should be noted that Real Estate Australia has adjusted their portal to address the issue of price manipulation used by some agents.
NOTE 2: In Victoria the State Government acted against agents manipulating search engines by introducing legislation that now requires all agents to submit a CMA with 3 examples of similar past sales attached to the listing on the portal. This legislation has virtually reduced the number of properties being offered for sale without a price to only a few.
Is this an ethical practice?
My belief is that it is an unethical practice. All agents should be working for their clients who are the sellers not the buyers.
The only beneficiary in this practice is agents wanting to make a quick sale. Buyers have enough data available to them from past sales in an area on many web portals to gauge the price of similar homes that have sold and or are on the market.
NOTE: Make sure that the section 3 below of your POA Form 6 is completed correctly.
Tips for Selling Your Home – Why Search Engines are so Important
When it comes to selling your home, you can’t go past the expert team at Gott Realty.
If you want to know how much your home is worth, give us a call on 0419 777 577 or send us an online enquiry here.
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