‘Facebook for real estate’ launches to tackle ‘undemocratic’ property listings market

A new social media platform for property and real estate has launched in Australia.

Called Housenet.com.au, the ‘Facebook for real estate’ platform is the brainchild of Darren Moffatt, who says his new venture offers a way around Australia’s “undemocratic” online property listings market.

“Australians love property, and they love to talk about it. So it seems really unfair that the vast majority of portal users – consumers – are actually locked out of the content creation process. The portals either ban home owners from directly listing their properties, or they charge a prohibitive fee to do so,” Moffatt said in a press release.

“We think this is undemocratic, and we’re just crazy enough to do something about it. On Housenet, anyone can create an awesome property listing for free,” he said.

Moffatt said that while the big property listings operators like Fairfax and REA had a presence on social media, users were not able to interact within their portals. “Is it about control, or just a slowness to adapt?” Moffatt asked.

Darren Moffatt

The Housenet site enables users to create a profile, advertise property for rent or sale, chat, discuss issues in forums, write blogs and ‘follow’ property agents.

“Real estate agents across the land complain long and loud about the ever increasing fees charged by some portals. Whether these fees are ultimately paid from their profit margin, or by vendors, it’s bad for home owners and for small business,” Moffatt said.

We’re making online property fair, fun and free,” he said.

Housenet has plans to run digital campaigns to promote the site in the coming weeks, with a ramp up to come in new year.

Comments


  1. Renter
    21 Nov 12
    4:03 pm

  2. I went to the homepage.

    I am looking to find a new rental – what do I do?

    I don’t have to sign in do I? I hate signing in to sites when I just want to hunt for a new place to rent.

    I wish you well and I would love to see you take on REA group and Domain – be good to understand how I am supposed to use the site though.

  3. Darren Moffatt, Housenet CEO
    21 Nov 12
    4:31 pm

  4. Hi Renter!

    It’s easy to join; just use FB connect or your existing Linked In or Twitter account. No more password hassles! You can drop us a line on info@housenet.com.au if you get stuck, and thanks for the words of encouragement!

    Cheers, Darren
    CEO

  5. Dave
    21 Nov 12
    4:56 pm

  6. Hi – just a tip Darren. You’ll probably get way more people browsing your site, if you can just type the url and browse. Even connecting via facebook or linkedin or twitter is (a) a hassle and (b) gives you some of my personal data so you know i’m in the market for property and you or someone else can potentially advertise to me which i don’t want. You may not be planning on doing that, but every time i’m asked to sign in via a fb/linkedin/etc account i get suspicous. And I’m not alone.. just make it free to browse and you’ll have a lot more take-up

  7. Braden Walters
    21 Nov 12
    5:00 pm

  8. It is a great site for real estate agents as well. Buyers or sellers can ask real estate experts their opinions and get an insiders view to the process of selling or buying. A great site.

  9. billyc@gmail.com
    21 Nov 12
    5:10 pm

  10. Searched for a house in a Melbourne suburb. Got listings in NSW and WA. Not sure this has been thought through.

  11. Darren Moffatt, Housenet CEO
    21 Nov 12
    5:18 pm

  12. Hey Dave, nice one & thanks for taking the time to write. Yes, can do – anyone can actually browse the http://www.Housenet.com.au without joining – its’ an ‘open social network’ in that all content that is not marked private (vast majority) is available to view by anyone. Give it a go.

    BUT the real fun of social media sites happens when you share, chat, engage & people need to create a Housenet account to do this, just like on any other site. There is a deeper pay off for this. But yep, we agree keep it open – and we have!

    Cheers, Darren
    CEO

  13. Darren Moffatt, Housenet CEO
    21 Nov 12
    5:31 pm

  14. Hey thanks Billy C.

    Because we’re a REALLY new site we have not yet reached critical mass with listings, so we have our search results for listings set wide, hence the other properties in your search. As we grow and get more listings, they will narrow down and accord strictly with the search request. We feel this is a good way to support early adopters who want to expose their property on Housenet.

    Cheers, Darren
    CEO

  15. Alex
    21 Nov 12
    6:02 pm

  16. Seems like a good concept and having worked for Domain for a number of years i think this is very much the way forward.

    My questions is how this is going to be funded?

    If you don’t have to pay to list, and there appear not to be any ads, where is the revenue stream for the publisher?

  17. Billy C
    21 Nov 12
    6:55 pm

  18. I get what you are saying Darren and obviously it will take time to build up your database. But lets be honest, it would be more useful for the user who is searching for a specific suburb to be told that there were no results than give them results which were in a different state and were completely irrelevant.

  19. Peter Lynch
    22 Nov 12
    1:16 pm

  20. Hi Darren

    Love the concept. I run community papers and sites – should we discuss how we might make this work locally?

    Peter

  21. Jimi Bostock
    22 Nov 12
    1:36 pm

  22. really really bad home page – took me a while to find listings – too much time spent talking about the site – predict a fail

  23. Darren Moffatt, Housenet CEO
    22 Nov 12
    1:55 pm

  24. Hi Jimi, thanks for your words of encouragement!

    Seriously though, I value your feedback – we will make it easier to find listings. Got to make this point however: Housenet is a totally new concept, we’re doing things that are radically different from any other site so the home page has a crucial role in educating new members & site guests on functionality.

    Once we feel people have a got a good handle on it, the home page design will no doubt change/simplify.

    Thanks again for taking the time to write. Cheers, Darren CEO

  25. Darren Moffatt, Housenet CEO
    22 Nov 12
    1:57 pm

  26. Hey Peter, can you post a link here to your business, or send an email to info@housenet.com.au so we can talk. Cheers, Darren CEO

  27. Rob
    22 Nov 12
    1:57 pm

  28. Few bugs in the system still, or should I say Fireflies… Went to a block of land listed Mobbs Ln Firefly (near Forster Mid North Coast) and the map was showing me the old Channel 7 site in Epping (also a Mobbs Lane)…. But I like the concept.

  29. Sam
    22 Nov 12
    9:05 pm

  30. The homepage isnt user friendly. Tried going there to click on the category for renting that says “Tenants” but there is no clickthrough link. Finally worked out you have to click on the tiny link in the word “Marketplace” at the top in order to search for anything. This is really odd.. the biggest area of the homepage is filled with 9 boxes that you cannot click on. Yet the main functionality of the site is hidden away behind one obscure word. A seriously bad job.. the homepage needs a complete revamp so you can go to it and click on a category/action and it takes you straigt to what you want

  31. yep
    23 Nov 12
    8:23 am

  32. Darren said “portal” :-)

  33. Darren Moffatt, Housenet CEO
    23 Nov 12
    11:00 am

  34. Hi Sam,

    Thanks for the feedback. We agree this could be better and are now working to activate links from the panels to key parts of the site – should be done by lunch. Thanks again, this is very valuable feedback!

    Cheers, Darren

  35. Anna Colnan
    26 Nov 12
    3:23 pm

  36. Hi Darren,

    Nice to see the site all up and running! I’ve seen so much media coverage on it already, its really impressive!

    Looking forward to seeing how well it continues to go!

    Anna C.

  37. Darren Moffatt, Housenet CEO
    27 Nov 12
    9:31 pm

  38. Hey Anna! Thanks for kind words, we’re giving it a read hot go. Hope all good for you, Cheers, D