It is around this time of year that the team at Realestate.com.au deliver their new rates for the upcoming period and then over coming weeks agents complain about those increases. Price rises announcements have always been announced either just before the financial year or just before the calendar year. In the past we have been subjected to annual prices rises as high as 45% but 2016 is going to be very different. Back in 2013 the price rise that year upset agents right around the country which had these sort of typical prices rises : Casual Feature Property – $360 from $254 – an increase of 41.7% Casual Highlight 30 day – $780 from $563 – an increase of 38.5% Casual Highlight 45 days- $900 from $648 – an increase of 38.8% Casual Premiere Property – $2790 from $2057 – an increase of 35.6% This resulted in agents venting their outrage on social media and forums and account reps returned home with battle scars after they visited agencies all day
The team at Squiiz did an amazing job selling themselves and their concept to the industry to become partners in their yet to be released portal Squiiz.com.au . They gained the financial support from most of the national real estate groups and certainly the best wishes from the remainder. Groups like PRDnationwide, Belle Property, Century 21, Harcourts, IRENE (Independent Real Estate Network of Excellence), LJ Hooker, Ray White, Raine & Horne and REMAX became partners in the venture. Because of those connections they launched in Mid November with more than 200,000 properties on day one.. It seemed to me and many others as the best opportunity for an industry owned portal to finally start gaining some traction and thus by default place competitive pressure on the commercial players like realestate.com.au and domain.com.au.
We recently discussed the new Market Based Pricing that new or renewing contracts with realestate.com.au changes to from July 1st, 2014 but how will real estate agents around the country react to the changes? Traditional industry news sites have now picked up on the story and the general feedback both here and on those sites has been fairly condemning and for many businesses that might spell trouble, but realestate.com.au has been there before. As far as they are concerned agents will whinge, whine, complain, stamp their feet, express their anger at their account rep and then forget about it and move on.
The renewal for the realestate.com.au subscription at our agency at Upper Coomera is up again and since we fall due in June and because realestate.com.au has switched to market based pricing method we now have three choices of subscriptions to choose from. The new market based pricing is so focussed on the price of your home its possible for more expensive properties in the same suburb to pay 20% more than cheaper properties. Because we are still on the old style Platinum subscription if we subscribe before June we can still do one more year on that model with the changes being to the monthly subscription price (naturally!!) and the platinum plans now only include 3 feature properties per month, not the customary 5.
In a completely stunning move the REIQ has delivered its own death blow to its fledgling property listing website at reiq.com by imposing a $25 per sales listing fee and a $10 rental listing fee on all members. With no cap placed on these fees some offices would be expected to pay more than what they do for realestate.com.au. The news of this fee was being rolled out was 4 or 5 paragraphs deep in a letter from REIQ CEO Anton Kardash.
Realestate.com.au have changed the playing field with a radical shakeup of how they charge agents and for the most part agents are not liking it. Reactions have been pretty one sided in condemnation of the change and I would hate to be a realestate.com.au rep these days as they will be taking the brunt of managements decision. Instead of the buffet all you can eat style subscription that we have had for years the realestate.com.au management have come up with a great new concept that is more closely modelled on a Nightclub
Realestate.com.au have changed the playing field with a radical shakeup of how they charge agents and for the most part agents are not liking it. Reactions have been pretty one sided in condemnation of the change and I would hate to be a realestate.com.au rep these days as they will be taking the brunt of managements decision.
When will it become morally wrong for an agent to promote print to a vendor? A state manager for the REA Group recently posed this question to all of his business contacts on Linkedin recently. As real estate agents we are constantly called upon to recommend and then implement advertising on properties for sale (and rentals for that matter) that we represent.
As a followup to recent articles relating to the industry revolt and ACCC investigation into RealEstate.com.au, Australian Financial Review journalist Ben Hurley has released another article that takes aim at RPData and their valuation strategy . RPData have been working on a valuation system similar to US portal Zillow in the USA where they provide a valuation to consumers. Naturally this has upset real estate agents and valuers alike around the country
In a followup article to the Front Page Project Rebellion article, Ben Hurley from the Australian Financial Review has published a new story on an ongoing investigation by the ACCC into the activities of RealEstate.com.au and to a lesser extent Domain.com.au . Questions directed at some of Australia’s leading real estate groups have seemed to focus on excessive price rises (see 1 , 2 , 3 and 4 ) of realestate.com.au and the effectiveness of competition in the real estate online classified space. Simon Baker, the ex CEO and substantial shareholder in REA has made some interesting comments on this blog recently regarding realestate.com.au prices : If the franchise groups were serious about competing with realestate.com.au or at least providing a competitive offering, wouldnt they first start internally and attempt to organise group buying of REA subscriptions for their franchisees? Imagine if all Ray White or LJ Hooker offices got together and negotiated as one for their REA subscriptions (and additional products)