Peet guiding first-time buyers on the property journey
ASX-listed developer Peet has launched a new online toolkit to educate first homebuyers, with coronavirus-related lockdowns creating strong opportunities for the company to digitally connect with potential customers.
Peet managing director Brendan Gore said the initiative comprised a five-step toolkit to assist first homebuyers on all aspects of the property journey.
The kit covers obtaining finance, choosing a location and the type of dwelling they want to live in, through to contracts and settlement and eventually moving into a home.
Importantly, Mr Gore said the toolkit was not strictly a sales-boosting initiative, with genuine connection a key factor in a crowded marketplace.
"There are a lot of guides and checklists, so we really tried to keep it real," he said.
"We use videos of real customers and real experts, and we’re pretty honest so people can relate to it.
"We are confident that it’s not a selling machine, it’s more of an information guide.
"Those are the two things that we set out to achieve - how do we bring the journey together in five easy steps, how do we declutter it and how do we keep it real so it resonates with a typical first homebuyer."
Lockdowns across Australia due to COVID-19 resulted in a major spike in traffic on Peet’s digital channels, Mr Gore said, which spurred the company on to bring forward the launch of the portal.
“We’d been developing it for some time especially on the back of buyer feedback and the experiences we were seeing from the banking Royal Commission,” Mr Gore told Australian Property Investor Magazine.
“We were intending to launch it this year, but with the COVID-19 crisis and with an immediate spike in digital enquiry as the lockdowns were occurring, we felt that now was probably the best time to launch it.
“Everyone was at home and everyone was doing their research, so we fast-tracked it and got it out there as quick as possible, which has been a pretty good success.
Mr Gore said the toolkit was the result of a five-year evolution of the developer’s marketing strategy, which has increasingly moved online at the expense of print media.
“We can measure when they go onto a website, how deep they go into it, and that two-way communication,” he said.
“All of that has had a large spike across the country since we went into lockdown. It was trending up before that, but it’s really gone to another level.
"I think it’s coming back to why did we launch - it’s a new, post COVID-19 structural change.
“People are using this technology more day to day, they are more used to it and it’s more convenient.
"This could be a new way of reaching out to customers and engaging with them.”
Mr Gore said while COVID-19 had slowed transactions across all markets, enquiry levels remained strong in several states.
“At the end of the day, we look at our enquiry levels and they are trending up,” Mr Gore said.
“What that does tell us is that there is a large cohort of buyers out there that are looking to own their own dwelling of some shape or form, whether that be a detached house, a unit, a townhouse or an apartment.
“A lot of people see it as the right time to buy given where prices are, and a lot of people see it as the right time to start preparing so if prices do pull back a bit, they are ready to move.
“The pool is not shallow, it’s not empty, so that tells us there is a market there and it is a timing issue.
“Some people see it as the timing is now, and some people see it as the timing is tomorrow.”
Mr Gore said Western Australia and Queensland were currently the leading states in terms of digital traffic.
“If you look at the markets outside of Sydney and Melbourne, people have been looking at these markets for some time,” he said.
“In their mind, in places such as WA and Queensland, now is probably the time to move.
“They are not seeing prices drop, they’re not seeing the negative press around house prices particularly in those states.
“In contrast, there are probably people looking at Sydney and Melbourne saying ‘gee, it is forecast to drop, I’ll start doing my homework and start getting prepared, so if it does, we can move quickly’.
“In both scenarios, I think this tool is a good toolkit to get people on that journey and prepared to move when it suits them.”