Google Maps launch property listings - is this the beginning of the end of the property portals?
Having your property listed on a online map has become an essential part of the property marketing process so its little surprise really that Google have joined the party launching their latest addition to Google Maps in the UK – property listings. Any property portal, estate agent or even individual seller/landlord can list their property as for sale or for rent to be displayed on the property maps when a search matches the properties specification.
Listing properties on the map is free (Google have funded the new functionality through advertising placed around the maps) and it is this fact has caused a lot of unrest with the UK’s major property portals such as RightMove, who provide a similar property listings maps but which agents have to pay to advertise on. However, other portals including Zoopla, Zoomf, and Property Pal have chosen to jump on board with this latest free online marketing tool and have formed partnerships with Google to list their properties on the maps. Many other independent estate agents have also taken advantage of the functionality with Google now saying that within 24 hours of the maps being live they have hundreds of thousands of properties listed.
Home buyers and renters can use the maps search functionality, which can be turned on or off by selecting ‘properties’ found under the ‘more’ button at the top of the maps, to find properties to suit their needs. Users can search by city/locality by moving the map and zooming in, or by price range, type of property (detached, semi detached or townhouse/unit), number of bedrooms and number of bathrooms using the tick boxes to the left of the map.
The ideal scenario for any buyer or renter is to only need to look in one place in order to see all (or at least the vast majority of) available properties. It is exactly this position that the portals are fighting to become, with RightMove winning that fight in the residential property market. Google’s move into the property market will only make maintaining their positions as the top property portal list more difficult – something they are understandably nervous about. As for the user – maybe it’s a good thing. It might just force all the portals to improve the service they offer in order to differentiate themselves and retain custom.