OPINION: The truth is, as a consumer looking for property in Thailand to rent or buy, you’re literally swamped with property portals to search for your potential new home or investment.
For non-Thais there are at least seven property portals in Thailand competing for your attention. They’re also competing for revenue from real estate agents and property developers through listings, memberships, events, website advertising, etc.
Having spent a short time working with a real estate agency in Bangkok, I can say with authority that agents use a multitude of ways to get their listings in front of you. Some will use four or five portals in additional to their own website and social media marketing.
What this means for consumers is a crowded marketplace with many thousands of duplicate listings spread across these portals. There’s often little to differentiate one portal from the next, except for content or area guides or valuation tools, for example.
But those add-ons are not key to the user experience. Almost all consumers are purely searching for properties to rent or buy, and they rarely venture beyond listings.
There is probably a business opportunity for one “super portal” in Thailand, one that can secure exclusive property listings from agency and developers, and become a dominant and must-use resource in the process.
Will that happen? It’s very unlikely.
Real estate agents and developers will be very reluctant to “put all their eggs in one basket” and put their listings exclusively with one portal. I believe they would view it as too much of a risk.
The emergence of any ‘super portal’ would also likely lead to a price war as current portals will drop prices to keep their existing agents and listings. For most, the number of listings is a massive sales factor for future agent and developer sign-ups.
All portals do their own marketing to various sectors of society, and with varying degrees of success. That’s one main reason why agents will use multiple portals for their listings – to cover all possible opportunities.
I know more portals are targeting Thailand and I expect the marketplace to only become more crowded in the coming months. Already this month one new portal has emerged and I’m aware of at least three more than are looking at launching here imminently.
More portals, more duplicate listings and more confusion for consumers trying to find their next Thailand property.
This article was written by Andrew Batt, a veteran journalist with extensive experience in the Thailand property and real estate sector.