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Marketing your estate internationally

Marketing your estate internationally

Electronic aids and personal touch the winning combo

By Esther de Villiers

, |

Marketing your estate internationally

Electronic aids and personal touch the winning combo

By Esther de Villiers

, |

3 min read

Multi-awarded sales associate at RE/MAX Plettenberg Bay, Bruce Noble, boasts two decades of marketing properties in the coastal Garden Route haven.

While being attached to one of SA’s biggest real estate companies, he says there’s ample opportunity for smaller agencies or estate managers to grab the attention of an international audience.

They will find you

Bruce is in the throes of final preparations to launch a 324-unit retirement lifestyle development in Plett. But with concluding proposals now before Bitou Municipality’s town fathers, more on this exciting project will only be divulged mid-2022.

Considering the demand for retirement living options across South Africa, one wonders if it’s even necessary to market an estate of such magnitude to foreign markets. But Bruce claims it’s RE/MAX policy to spread the word on new and existing properties in its portfolio to a max-capacity crowd.

‘Any development, whether catering for retirees, another niche or wider target market, benefits from inclusion on international property websites,’ he says, adding that there’s no need to ponder at length on choice of country or demographics.

‘When someone in London is looking to buy into a South African estate, the internet makes it easy to direct enquiries to specific types or categories of available properties.’

Changed face of sales

‘In the old days, we would send 1,000 brochures to be distributed by an overseas corresponding office, and negotiate a commission percentage for this service. These days, we still make contact with foreign RE/MAX branches when pushing a particular property, assisted by their local agents and bureaux.

‘If it’s a really big deal, we may send someone over with first-hand knowledge of the property, to set up sales hubs in upmarket centres where our target market converges.’

He says this affords potential clients the luxury of asking questions and getting answers from an actual ‘live’ expert when attending pop-up marketing booths or bigger international road shows.

‘Touchy feely’ pertains

Even within the context of electronic avenues availed by the information age, Bruce says the unique showcase provided by hard-copy printed periodicals should not be ignored.

‘Many potential buyers still want to feel the gloss and smell the glue on our property magazines. Colleagues in other countries take charge of distribution, leaving copies in their office waiting rooms. These mags continue to serve as effective advertising tools.’

Producing such publications is, alas, mostly afforded by the top echelons of property players, taking the prohibitive cost of paper and printing into account.

‘Apart from RE/MAX, realtors such as Sotheby’s and Pam Golding use this medium to create awareness of specifically high-end properties and developments. Readers are at liberty to pore over these pages without staring at a phone or computer screen.’

But, says Bruce, magazines are regarded as a bonus by-product in the marketing process when compared to electronic property platforms. ‘Many top SA agencies are also big international brands, and the majority have various sites enabling a wide global reach.’

Portal to the world

Property portals are the most powerful marketing tools, and Bruce says the international RE/MAX website allows agencies nationwide to feature selected properties.
‘This means that your local office will pay a fee to the group or holding company for the inclusion of properties you want to promote. Add-ons include giving your property its own banner, which draws immediate attention.’

Depending on cost and timeframe, it may be featured for a week or extended over a longer period. And if your estate or agency does not have its own electronic platform, several alternatives exist.

‘ and are the biggest sites of its kind in SA, and focus on the entire African continent. Payment options cater for various timeframes and levels of linking to your own company’s website.

‘Property shoppers can navigate through to the RE/MAX site for contact details of specific offices, and finally access relevant documents or virtual tours of homes and estates. But you have to get browsers in first, and the most effective way is through international partner sites.’

Leading by example

Val de Vie in Paarl is regarded by many as the most successful SA estate in terms of international marketing track record. Visit for an example of how it’s done on a grand scale.

Estate managers who’d like to get on the bandwagon can start by reading ‘Factors to Consider for International Marketing’ by Anastasia Belyh (, for pointers targeting specific countries and consumers.

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