Ask the questions that matter
Most property sites ask the user to pick where they want to live and deliver results using distance. This isn’t effective for generating house hunter leads because it assumes:
- They can travel as the crow flies because results are calculated as the direct distance from point of interest straight to the property
- They’re not willing to look outside of their selected location, but house buyers could have multiple locations in mind
- They know where they can to buy before they begin searching – this is not often the case if the buyer is buying somewhere they’re unfamiliar with
What your site needs to be asking is how long they’re willing to commute from work, where they work and what transport mode they use. See great examples here (both reported an increase in conversion from distance based searching by 300%):
Deliver relevant results quickly
Your customer’s patience levels are low online, which is why the first page of Google search results enjoy 95% of the search traffic. There’s also significant drop off rates within the page as well as from page 1 onwards. To deliver a great result, you need to deliver the best properties you have for them immediately.
Because everyone’s different, you need to filter these for each individual, making sure you strike a balance between too many options and too few. Commute time is a key part of our everyday lives, which is why it’s paramount to include it in the house buying decision.
Appealing to the masses
The most common household size in the UK is 2 people and 74% of the owner occupied market houses 2+ people. When there’s more than one person the list of requirements will increase. Give couples, families and cohabiting buyers the ability to select the best location. It gives parents the option to accept slightly longer commutes if it shortens their children’s school run.
Be the local expert online
If local knowledge is what the buyers value, give them relevant information online too. The majority of property site search tools show where schools and other services are using miles radius – but when was the last time an estate agent said the local school was only 1.6 miles as the crow flies? Telling someone the nearest catholic school is only 10 minutes walk is far more relatable than a distance based figure. This can be the case not just for schools but GP surgeries, train stations, local parks and more.