Tracey Fellows, CEO of REA Group, parent company of realestate.com.au, said: “realestate.com.au completely changed how we look for real estate. We made it easy to do a first inspection anywhere, anytime with great photos and property information like sold prices.”
“Now we’re extending the way people view properties online even further with innovations like 3D tours, our digital rental application form and wearable apps. Our Apple Watch app does really cool things like notify you when you walk past a house for sale and lets you record voice notes during your inspection,” said Ms Fellows.
The idea to search for property online originated in the garage of Karl Sabljak, one of realestate.com.au’s founders, in the Melbourne suburb of Doncaster East. Along with his wife Carmel, brother Steve and co-founder Marty Howell, the team of four worked on creating an online solution to make it easier to search for real estate.
“We noticed that real estate was a major player in newspaper advertising and we wanted to move that online. It was actually when a home in the Victorian coastal town of Sorrento sold to an international buyer, sight unseen, that agents began to notice the value in listing online as it gave them the potential to reach a larger audience,” said Mr Sabljak.
Mr Sabljak describes that realestate.com.au has come a long way since they first had to individually scan photos and write descriptions for each listing.
“It’s a very proud moment for me to see how this site has grown over the years. We essentially started with very little and worked our way up to the number one position in online real estate.”
“In the next 20 years, I hope to see realestate.com.au continue to be the leader in this industry,” said Mr Sabljak.
Worldwide, internet users have grown from 16 million in 19951 to 3.2 billion today1 as digital technologies become part of our everyday lives. According to Tim Lawless, Head of Research at CoreLogic, property prices have also changed a lot over the past 20 years.
“In 1995 the median house price across Australia was just $123,000 and over the past twenty years we have seen national prices rise by 286% to $475,000. Australians have created enormous amounts of wealth from residential property to the extent that more than half of household wealth is tied up in residential housing and land,” said Mr Lawless.
As part of the 20th anniversary celebrations, realestate.com.au is supporting Australian start-ups with “Out of the Garage” Pitch Fest events in Sydney on 2 September and Melbourne on 4 September. To help early stage start-ups get their businesses out of their garage and make their mark on the digital scene, realestate.com.au is funding $10,000 in prizes for the events.