As the major portals continue to increase their listing fees, a new community-based site will launch today, and according to the owner it could be the alternative the industry has been looking for.
The site, Homely.com.au, looks set to shake up the way consumers view real estate portal sites, replacing the banner-filled pages with a sleek design and a new “consumer-friendly” layout.
According to co-founder Jason Spencer, the site, which is backed up by data collected from community review site StreetAdvisor.com.au, will offer real estate agents a different option.
“We see Homely.com.au as a viable alternative to the other major real estate portals,” he told Real Estate Business.
“The site combines area Q&As and reviews with property listings and agent profiles to offer the consumer a full experience.
“The industry has been calling out for something different and this could be it.”
Mr Spencer told Real Estate Business the major differences between Homely.com.au and the other major sites is three fold: no banner ads, a community feel and a clean and crisp design.
“We set out to reinvent what real estate search should look like in Australia," he said.
“We’ve created a new way to discover your next home through beautiful, simple design. No banner ads and no page turns make a big difference to the experience.”
Mr Spencer also said it is free for agents to list on the site.
“We make money through our pro-account, where a principal pays $297 per month for their entire office to ensure their agents are profiled, which includes their own work page and agent profiles - similar to Facebook,” he explained.
Subscription and listing fees have dominated the headlines of late, with real estate agents irate after leading portal website realestate.com.au increased its fees.
A number of major groups, including LJ Hooker, Harcourts and Ray White have already pledged their support for the site.
A consumer marketing campaign will be launched at the end of the first quarter of 2014.