Major networks throw support behind free listing portal

Almost every major national network has signed up to the new free listing portal website Homely.com.au

The amount of support from both networks and independent offices has astounded Rocky Bartolotto, national sales director for Homely.

“After launching in December we’ve pretty much acquired between 2,500 and 3,000 offices just on three months, which is a pretty good effort. We estimate there to be around 8,000 offices, so we’ve managed to get almost 40 per cent within three months, which is a pretty strong achievement,” he said.

Richardson & Wrench is the latest major network to sign up to the listing portal, joining other national networks such as Raine&Horne, LJ Hooker, Harcourts and Ray White.

Other smaller networks, such as Wiseberry, RE/MAX, RUN Property and RT Edgar are either in the final stages or have since signed up.

“Just last week alone we’ve had one hundred independent offices sign up with us; Thursday was probably our biggest day yet with 42 coming on board,” Mr Bartolotto told Real Estate Business.

When news of the site was announced earlier this year, many agents were dismissive.

“Perfect, just what the industry needs, yet another real estate portal,” said one commenter.

Other agents were concerned the ‘free listings’ were just part of a promotional period until the site grows larger.

“Free. Then comes the completely optional paid version. Then listing upgrades. Then the upgrade above the upgrade to get above the last upgrade. Then we are paying for three portals when the two we already have cover more than enough of Australia,” said commenter Andrew P.

However, Mr Bartolotto assures the industry Homely is not interested in copying the main listing portals.

“At the moment we have no plans to charge for listing content on the website. We’re looking at different models to what current players are doing in the market," he said.

“We have no plans to replicate what is already available in terms of monthly subscription fees and listing fees.

“Once we have a comfortable listing market share, we’re thinking along the lines of premium listings that appear at the top, but agents can keep expecting to not be charged for listings.”

Homely is also in the early stages of planning a consumer marketing campaign to drive traffic to the website.

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