MEGAWORLD ADVISES

‘Use caution in online property searches’

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Although online real estate listings are considered the best way to start a search for a new home, the vast amount of information available may not always be clear or correct, an official from developer Megaworld cautioned.

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In a report released last week, online property portal Lamudi Philippines said that developers, brokers, and sales agents were increasing their internet marketing efforts to take advantage of the large online population in the Philippines – estimated to be over 43 percent of the population, or about 46 million people – and the popularity of social media in the country.

A screenshot of Lamudi Philippine’s online property search service. While real estate sellers and buyers alike are increasingly turning to the internet to either market or search for properties, a real estate executive cautioned that buyers should confirm online information with the developers to avoid confusion or misunderstandings. LAMUDI PH PHOTO

“According to internetlivestats.com 43.5% or almost half of the Philippine population are using the Internet. Imag-ine being able to tap even just a fraction of that number,” Lamudi said.

Lamudi cited the effect of magnified word-of-mouth advertising through social media as one reason internet mar-keting is considered particularly effective.

“For instance, a nice new place complete with residential and leisure components that becomes an instant hit to social media users can effectively help a rising condo in that area,” Lamudi said.

Lamudi quoted a licensed real estate broker, May Clare Dino, to further stress internet marketing’s effective. “I just posted pictures and shared the advantages of the properties and I successfully closed deals, then it occurred to me that there is more to Internet marketing,” Dino told Lamudi.

Other real estate professionals pointed out that the use of social media also helped to develop leads more quickly, as at least some useful information about prospective buyers was already available through their online profiles.

“If a buyer comes to us through a Facebook page, for instance, we can learn a little bit about that person from their public profile, depending on how much they share,” Grace Mendez, a licensed real estate broker in Cavite, told The Manila Times. “The more information we have, the better we can present properties that suit the buyer, which saves everyone time and attracts stronger interest.”

Harold Geronimo, Vice President and head of public relations and external affairs of property giant Megaworld Corporation told Lamudi, “Almost all segments of consumers in the Philippines are on social media and we want to be where our target markets are. With the growing competition of real estate in the country we are utilizing the online space to spread our creativity and be ahead of other companies.”

In an earlier conversation with The Manila Times, however, Geronimo said that not all of the information available online might be accurate or officially sanctioned by the developer.

“Anyone can make a website or a Facebook page,” Geronimo said, explaining that the control his company could exercise over independent agents or brokers – who may be handling properties for a number of developers – was limited. “They may not have all the information about a particular project, or it may be out of date.”

Developers Robinsons Land and DMCI confirmed Geronimo’s observation. “That’s how it works for everyone, I think,” a broker for Robinsons Land said. “Updates about projects are shared with the developer’s in-house sales people first, and then filter down to the independent agents. Also, you can’t really tell how well people keep their sites up to date, sometimes they fall behind.”

Geronimo stressed that only the developer’s official website should be considered completely reliable. “Our offi-cial website, the only official website for Megaworld, is www.megaworldcorp.com,” Geronimo said. “It’s always a good idea to double-check any information you get from elsewhere with our own website.”

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