Established almost 10 years ago, Property Finder has grown to become the largest real estate portal in Qatar with a wide range of residential and commercial properties for sale and rent. In an interview with Qatar Tribune, Property Finder Qatar Country Manager Afaf Hashim spoke on various issues concerning the property portal’s impressive growth over the years and the various initiatives that set Property Finder apart from the competition in Qatar’s real estate market. Excerpts:
Q: Property Finder Qatar has established itself as one of the most prominent property portals in Qatar within ten years of its launch in the country. How has the journey been so far?
A: It has certainly been a journey of growth. Not only from a business perspective but also in terms of the lessons we have learnt. As market leaders, one of our strategies is to listen intently to clients and solve the issues that they face in the market, as these obstacles have empowered us to find solutions for them, which in turn, created the property platform that so many people use today.
In terms of business growth, our client base has increased by over 300 percent, which also indicates a surge in property listings, and of course, website visits. The website itself has continued evolving as the company continues to invest in technology, the interface of the website has continued developing. The addition of features such as 360 tours and other functionalities is a testament to that.
For many, Property Finder Qatar is probably one of the first options that come to mind when they try to find a place in Qatar. What sets Property Finder Qatar apart from the competition in Qatar’s market?
One of the main things that set Property Finder apart is how quickly we adapt to market trends and end-user search behaviour. For example, when we noticed that WhatsApp has become one of the easiest and most convenient ways for people to communicate with each other, we added a WhatsApp feature to propertyfinder.qa that allows end-users to easily speak to agents. Another example would be the addition of ‘virtual tours’ on our site, which was introduced during the height of the COVID-19 restrictions, which allowed end-users to view properties via video on our site, and gave companies an additional tool to promote their properties. We are a data-driven company, which has enabled us to understand end-user behaviours, and adapt and mould our products accordingly, which has resulted in delivering more leads to our clients. It has also allowed us to publish our bi-annual Trends report, which is available to both clients and end-users and offers a significant amount of data and statistics on market prices, end-user behaviour and more. Due to a large segment of our traffic being on mobile, we have adapted our interface to be exceptionally mobile-friendly. Speaking from a statistical standpoint, what sets us apart from the competition entirely, is the sheer number of traffic we receive on a daily basis.
What are the average monthly visits and views on the Property Finder Qatar website?
We have approximately three million visits to our site every month and deliver over 125,000 leads to clients on a monthly basis.
What are your plans to increase traffic further and make the website more interactive?
Our search engine optimisation is something that we are constantly improving to ensure that Property Finder remains the go-to website for both end-users and brokerage/developers. Our organic search results are also consistent; when searching for a “three-bedroom villa” in Al Waab, for example, search results from propertyfinder.qa will almost always be at the very top. Our top priority is ensuring that our clients’ properties are seen first and that users get the most accurate results according to their search. We strive to understand the pain points of end-users and adapt our website according to how users are searching; this guarantees that the end-user journey on propertyfinder.qa is efficient and seamless. One of the latest additions to the site, just in time for the 2022 World Cup, is short term listings, which allows clients to list properties using weekly prices, and for end-users to search for properties using a weekly pricing option.
What is the current share of Property Finder Qatar in Qatar’s property finder market and what are plans to improve it further?
We can say that our share is over 85 percent of the market, and will continue to increase that figure as well as build long terms partnerships in the market.
How important is the Qatari market for you and what are your expansion plans for this market?
All our listings are local listings as we only list properties that are located in Qatar. We have also recently started working closely with The Real Estate Department at the Ministry of Justice, which are highly focused on FDI and regulating the market. To that, another new feature that we have introduced to the portal is verified companies, which are brokerages who have finalized their licensing process with the Ministry. As market leaders, we are working hand in hand with the Ministry of Justice to ensure that transparency is implemented in both the rent and sale sectors of the market.
What new products and services are you planning to launch in the near future?
We are currently focused on the end-user pain points to ensure that our traffic grows exponentially and that we continue to generate leads for our partners. We use data-driven initiatives to ensure that we constantly improve the end-user experience on our site for ease of use for both end-users and partners.
What is your general outlook about the property market in Qatar?
It will be about consistent growth. Of course, with the 2022 World Cup approaching, we have seen a boom in the market. Beyond that, as Qatar makes its way towards bringing the 2030 vision to life, more investment will be pumped into the market, both locally and internationally. We can clearly see that the sale market has gained momentum over the past 16 months, and will continue to do so, as new locations become available to buyers, with very attractive incentives as well.