Lure listings found in 40.7% of 27 companies surveyed for online rental listings

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The Metropolitan Area Real Estate Fair Trade Council announced on Sept. 29 the ninth “Concurrent Internet Rental Advertising Investigation Report,” according to a press release (linked below).

Between May and June 2021, Council surveyed a sample of rental listings on the four nationwide Japanese-language real estate portals that make up the Council’s “Portal Site Advertising Optimization Sub-Committee”;

AtHome Co. Ltd.

Chintai Co., Ltd.

LIFULL Co., Ltd. (owners of Homes.co.jp)

Recruit Co., Ltd. (owners of Suumo)

Based on “some logic” as stated in the press release, the Board extracted 342 properties deemed “very likely” to be decoy ads, left online after the property was likely to be contracted in. as part of the real estate advertising company’s effort to get the tenant. ask for information.

The real estate agent who left the advertisement on the real estate portal would then inform the tenant that that particular property has just entered into a contract and proceed with the presentation of other similar properties.

Of the 342 properties retrieved, 25 ads (or 7.2%) were considered decoy ads. Of the 27 real estate companies whose 342 advertisements were sampled, 11 companies (or 40.7%) were found to deploy decoy rental advertisements.

According to the Council, the 11 companies which have deployed decoy rental announcements will be subject to “certain measures” according to the press release.

The Council also stated that follow-up on the matter would be ongoing.

REthink’s comment on the results

For a country with a high-tech image like Japan, the real estate sector is archaic.

This is especially true when marketing real estate for both sale and rental. A much higher volume of leasing transactions means that the lure lists are more pronounced; what was available today may well not be available tomorrow.

Decoy ads are not the result of malicious intent to fool a tenant, but rather a symptom of outdated technology stacks fueling existing marketing practices.

Right now all data is managed manually across multiple systems and when agents are busy the first thing they ignore is their online list curation.

What the industry needs is a central place to manage lists that are syndicating in real time across all platforms. While steps are taken in this direction, the solution is still far away.

Is all of this the fault of the consumer? Absolutely not, however if you have to rent an apartment you will have to work with the system as it is and not get carried away by the way things should be.

So what to do? As the survey data illustrates, recognizing that there is a good chance that the property you found online is no longer available is the first step.

Rather than searching for a specific property, tenants should use the portals to find an agency that works in the targeted area, advertising a property similar to the one you want to live in.

Once you’ve identified that agency on the portals, check the agency’s website, usually linked to the portal, to confirm your first impression.

If the agency shows one image of itself on the real estate portal but another when you visit their site, it is a danger sign and you should avoid that agency and move on to the next one.

If the image of the company matches both on the portal and on its own site, which means that it seems to have continuity in what it is promoting in the region where you wish to live, contact the agency.

Engaging with one or two appropriate agencies instead of finding out about dozens of listings posted by dozens of companies is more productive in getting what you’re looking for.

Further reading

Real Estate Fair Trade Council press release (Japanese only; September 2021)

Born of Necessity: Social Media Lead Generation for Tokyo Property (REthink Tokyo; Aug 2021)


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