THE INFLUENCE OF ON-LINE MARKETING ON REAL ESTATE BUSINESS

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THE INFLUENCE OF ON-LINE MARKETING ON REAL ESTATE BUSINESS


CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY

The growth of the use of the Internet, and in particular the World Wide Web, over the last 10 years has been phenomenal and impacted on nearly every area of life in developed societies. One of the most important aspects of peoples’ lives is their physical living conditions and in Nigeria just like in many other countries. Traditionally Nigeria has adopted new technology rapidly, with the relatively large population of over 170 million and the high demand for housing. Internet use has followed this pattern with World Wide Web access now available to the vast majority of Nigerian homes.

The Internet is still seen as a fairly new tool by many people. With respect to the current graphic-intensive state of the media (multi-media presentations) and encrypted e-commerce (secure on-line purchasing) used on the internet, this technology is very new (Birvin, 1999). However, the backbone of the Internet has roots going all the way back to the Soviet Union’s launching of Sputnik in 1957. In response (to Sputnik), US forms the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), the following year, within the Department of Defense (DOD) to establish America’s lead in science and technology applicable to the military. Real estate listings were part of the fabric of the Internet. Originally, entire Usenet message boards were reserved for listing homes, with eager homeowners looking to cut out the real estate commission which has been in operation in advanced countries (Rosen, 1996). When the Internet started to boom, real estate practitioners got in on the game as well, adding their listings on their own sites. Real estate services also started developing Internet platforms. In 1996, LendingTree.com introduced their marketplace concept. This was the first service offered for real estate that existed only in cyberspace. Many other banks offering on-line loans already existed, but this showed the unique power of the Internet. Today, sites offer a myriad of real estate services in an online environment all over the world. While some of them have traditional brick and mortar operations, many of these new companies exist only over TCPIP (Transmission Control Protocol over Internet Protocol) (Rosen, 1996).

The role of internet marketing in real estate has grown profoundly over the past few years. In an industry that once used print media as its primary form of delivering the marketing message, there is now an urgent need to have transitioned to the internet in order to reach today’s homebuyer. An online presence is a vital component of a real estate professional’s marketing strategy. Because today’s consumers want accurate information quickly and conveniently, real estate professionals must harness the features and capabilities of online marketing to meet these ever-increasing needs. In this study, the researcher will provide information on the influence of online marketing on real estate business.

Real estate is an information-intensive business. Agents connect buyers to sellers through control and dissemination of information. Agents are valued for the information skills they bring to making both listings and sales. Since houses are expensive, not easily describable and infrequently bought or sold, most individuals still feel the need for assistance with this transaction from a professional. As well, these are all factors that tend to increase transactions costs (Williamson, 1981). However, the use of online marketing in real estate business can be used to disintermediate the traditional agent and broker is of focal interest here, as it potentially threatens the traditional relationship between agent and home owner. Disintermediation is the elimination or displacement of market intermediaries, enabling direct trade with buyers and consumers without agents (Wigand, 1997).

1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

Real estate is a promising setting for studying online marketing because it is an information-intensive and information-driven industry; transaction-based, with high value and asset-specificity; market-intermediary (agents and brokers connect buyers and sellers rather than buying or selling themselves); and experiencing on-going information technology (IT) related changes through online marketing. In an attempt to increase popularity, productivity and profitability, real estate agents and brokerage firms are using the Internet to deliver market information to consumers about the residential real estate market. This study examines to what extent has online marketing influenced real estate business.