Google’s vast network of websites and apps reaching 2 million+ sites and over 90% of people on the internet has made understanding audience behaviour through their analytics software much easier these days.
When it comes to demographic characteristics in real estate, Google Analytics tells us that more women visit the bayleys.co.nz website each month, and in discussing with major real estate companies, it’s an industry trend.
Whether a woman is looking on behalf of just herself, or on behalf of a partner and family, using new technologies for pre-purchase research and buying online is rising. So, whatever the consumable, whether it’s as small as an item of clothing or as large as a house, women more often than men are heading online to check out the options.
While few would buy a house online, sight unseen, the proliferation of real estate websites and property information sites makes it much easier for house-hunters to equip themselves for open homing or negotiating a property purchase.
For sellers and agents, it means that buyers are fronting up very well-informed. They may know more about a property than the seller – its full sales and valuation history, what school zone it’s in, zoning changes, future infrastructure developments in the area, and more. They will often have firm expectations about the property, including what they want to pay for it.
Much of that research, it seems, is being done by females. Says Bayleys Rodney North Manager Debbie Jones: “I find that the woman of a couple tends to do the pre-purchasing research, not only when it comes to property but across all sorts of markets. They seem to be more active in this space and more likely to drill down into the detail. Woman peel away the layers before making decisions.”
She has also observed that woman are often the instigators of life changes like buying a house, or in the case of the Rodney district, driving that lifestyle change decision. Men seem more content to stay put, and not agonise about the details or the desire for change.
Her agents have noticed that the gender of enquirers changes during the day, with more enquiry coming from men during the day, and more from women during the evening. At open homes, it tends to be the woman who leaves her mobile number as the main contact.
Bayleys Regional General Manager Eastern Bays, Rachel Dovey, agrees with the motivation of women browsers. “Women seem to be doing the initial scouting to make sure a property fits the family criteria in regard to size, style, position, school zone etc.”
When it comes to marketing to this growing number of female online browsers, it’s easy to make stereotypical assumptions about what women are looking for when buying a house (the flash kitchen, a mega walk-in wardrobe), and therefore how a house should be marketed. But property marketing hasn’t changed just because more females may be seeing the listing.
Says Debbie: “We choose a hero shot that defines the essence of a property, rather than whether it be the man or woman looking at it.”
Carina Dick, the owner/shareholder of Bayleys Marlborough, says that the new breed of well-informed buyers has lifted the professionalism of real estate agents across the board. “Agents need to be 100% prepared because buyers have already done their homework. It’s a whole new level of knowledge and professionalism.”
She and her teams haven’t changed the way they market properties because, “we’ve always demanded a very high standard anyway. Everything that goes out from signage, flyers, advertising or online has to be the best it can be. First impressions count. There will be no photos taken on a grey day coming out of our office.”
Rachel takes the same view: “As a general rule, women in our area, which is mid to upper market, are very visual so the presentation of a property is very important. We might have a property home-staged, or partially staged with extra art, or cushions. We make sure the photography is high quality, including atmospheric images like night shots.”
Certainly, the digital age has bought a new type of house-hunter – whatever the gender - who is happy to educate themselves for what will be one of the biggest purchases of their lives. No matter who kicks off the process or who does the research, buying a home is a decision for everyone involved.