With realestate.com.au suffering from criticism of its new fee structure, its competition has said it’s time for agents to consider shifting ad spend.
Earlier this week, realestate.com.au defended its comments that the new fee structure is fairer, despite agents accusing the listing site of price gouging.
Tony Blamey, COO at Domain said there’s clearly universal dissatisfaction among agents around the country about the fee hike.
“I think the difference [this time] that I’m now hearing is that agents are not only voicing dissatisfaction, but are prepared to act,” said Mr Blamey. “I’m hearing examples where agents are acting by shifting spend, delaying listings, or cancelling altogether, which I think is profound.”
He added that Domain was intent on being a “true partner to agents, not just gouging on price because we’ve the opportunity to do so”.
“Our strategy is simple, growing revenue by adding value, so we are offering more effective advertising options with our products, we’re not just driving up prices, we’re adding value by adding better-performing products," he said.
Petra Sprekos, general manager at realestateVIEW.com, said the speed at which realestate.com.au has moved with the new fee structure has brought about the reaction within the industry.
Ms Sprekos said although she is yet to see anything about the new fee structure in writing from REA, changing something like this “so quickly and dramatically” has definitely “caused a lot of a stir”.
“I think realestate.com.au has been careful with what it has put in writing. I think translating the changes to advertising schedules and so forth, it is a significant jump for a lot of agents on the ground,” she added.
Ms Sprekos said from her company’s perspective, the cost for advertising should be quite affordable for the real estate industry and realestateVIEW.com is delivering value for money at a cost-effective rate that’s not putting the agent in a difficult situation when they’re talking to their vendors.
Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA) president David Airey said agents in Western Australia were very sensitive to business costs as the general cost of living in WA was higher than experienced on the eastern seaboard.
“The feedback I’m getting from members is that overall business costs are causing many of them to review their own advertising and marketing practices," he said.
“Thankfully, it’s a free marketplace and members have choices depending on their budget and expectations.”