'Facebook' for housing market launched by mortgage broker Darren Moffatt

'Facebook' for housing market launched by mortgage broker Darren Moffatt
'Facebook' for housing market launched by mortgage broker Darren Moffatt

Finance broker Darren Moffatt has launched a beta-version of his social networking property site Housenet.com.au

The website bills itself as Facebook and Twitter for the property industry and is aimed at linking property owners, vendors and estate agents in an online community.

Moffatt says his aim is to get 20,000 members signed onto Housenet.com.au by January.

He said the estate agent response has been strong, but consumers and investors are now the fastest-growing sector of the user base.

“The number of listings has exceeded expectations at this early stage,” he says.

Housenet's features include a "property people" page where estate agents, mortgage brokers, developers and anyone involved in the industry can create a profile of themselves, connect with "friends" in the industry and link through to their property listings in the "marketplace".

Other features include an industry directory, blogging platform, forums and industry discussions groups.

Current users include property commentator, author and investor Jane Slack-Smith, McGrath agent for Ballina and Byron Bay Daniel Parker and regular Property Observer contributor and Richardson & Wrench agent Robert Simeon. 

The website, which is based on a year of development and talking with people in the property industry, allows members to control their Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn profiles from their Housenet account.

All content created on a user's Housenet profile can be distributed to their various social networking presences simultaneously.

Moffatt says this aspect of the website is revolutionary and cannot be done anywhere else.

Housenet also includes a marketplace, which provides an opportunity for Housenet.com.au members – be they consumers or estate agents – to list property for sale, rent or available as share accommodation as well as the opportunity to sell household goods.

Businesses and organisations can also create a profile on the website, and there is also an events calendar for open for inspections, open houses, industry events or social drinks.

 


 

Century 21 Australia, eChoice Home Loans and a number of Elders Real Estate branches have pages on Housenet.

Estate agents can upload statistics about their sales – prices, clearance rates, types of properties sold – which are then turned into charts on profile pages.

The site provides for the ability for others to rate and comment on listings, but also for the ability to switch off this function.

A basic subscription is free for both industry participants and consumers.

A free subscription includes the ability to join via Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, list property for sale with up to four images and create a profile page for a house or rental property.

Add-on features for consumers are charged at $20 per month and include the ability to create a featured listing with more photos and video content and send emails to others Housenet members.

A full industry sign-up is $79 per month or $49 for more restricted features.

Agents can also create their own ads and purchase traditional banner advertising on the site.

The site includes property news and hotspots features provided by Property Observer, industry news from SOLD magazine, mortgage news from Australian Broker and property information and trends provided by Residex.

In an interview with Greg Vincent of real estate technology site Business2, Moffatt said the aim of the site is to empower real estate agents and other property industry professionals and consumers and bring them all together in a way that has not happened before.

“We are trying to create a new category of social real estate…and bridge the gap between property portals and social media,” says Moffatt.

For estate agents, Moffatt says it’s a way for agents to brand themselves and tell their story online.

He says on the big property portals “everybody looks the same” and it’s very hard to get your own personal brand out there.

“It creates more depth for your digital identity and expands your digital footprint, which will help drive business your way,” he says.

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger was a property writer at Property Observer

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