“This is an exciting initiative where agents may at last have the opportunity to actually own and control their internet presence and future costs,” said View Property Australia CEO Ross Bulman.
“It is time the industry came together nationally to provide a cost effective alternative whereby agents can invest and have meaningful input to provide a powerful web alternative for the industry and the broader Australian community.”
Mr Bulman, who is also CEO of realestateWA.com.au, said the new online listings site - www.viewproperty.com.au - was the result of 14 months of planning and preparation by a group of Australian real estate agents and IT developers.
The site, which will be national, will be officially launched once it has 50,000 listings. It currently has 20,000 listings, although the company said it was confident it would meet the launch target.
“Today agents find themselves in an online dilemma as portals controlled by the major media companies are dominating the space at the expense of the industry and ultimately increasing costs to the public."
The move comes not long after the Real Estate Institute of Queensland’s (REIQ) launched its own online listing website.
“The real estate institutes in each state and territory do a great job but are understandably focused on looking after the interests of member agents in their own states, and they should continue to do that good work. However, this is about providing one industry-owned site servicing the whole country,” Mr Bulman said.
“An industry shareholder model is currently being finalised and details will be circulated at the appropriate time after it has met all statutory and other requirements. Importantly, no one individual, group or entity will hold a significant ownership and the size of share holdings will be restricted.
“The objective for www.viewproperty.com.au is for it to be a national ‘co-operative’ website which is owned and driven by our industry.”
The company said that, only once online traffic and search engine presence targets are hit will agents be charged “a fair monthly service charge.” Sales data, reports and benchmarking information will be provided to agents at no extra charge, and no agent or individual will be allowed to dominate a particular area or suburb.
“The website will provide an attractive and cost effective online alternative, in the same way the agent owned Real Estate WA newspaper provided a new cost effective print alternative for the industry when it was launched in 1997 and it now services a significant portion of Perth.
“As with the newspaper, it is not suggested that members cancel their current online subscription but rather they take collective action to support www.viewproperty.com.au and in so doing begin to control costs and ultimately the long-term outlook."