Realestate.com.au has stood by its comments that the new fee structure is fairer, despite agents accusing the listing site of price gouging.
Previously, agents have paid a fee based on where their office is located, but now they will be charged based on where the listing is located.
According to Tom Ainsworth, head of sales at realestate.com.au, the change aims to deliver more relevant pricing that is tailored to the property owner.
“If three agents from different areas go in to speak to a vendor about selling a property, the vendor should be hearing that it costs the same to put the listing up on realestate.com.au no matter which agent they choose,” he said.
“We don’t want vendors listing with an agent because they have the cheapest VPA; we want them to list with them for all the other skills the agent brings to the table. So we’re removing that as a way to win the listing.”
However, fees aren’t exclusively calculated from median sale prices in the postcode.
“There are a lot of variables which are taken into account. One of those is supply and demand – we do consider the number of people looking at property in an area," Mr Ainsworth said.
“We look at the spread of house prices across the suburb. We look at the product mix itself – so how many premier, how many highlight listings.”
But agents appeared less than convinced last week when the news broke.
“Let's be clear, the reason realestate.com.au is changing its fee structure is not because it's unfair; it's because it wants to increase its revenue,” one person commented.
“It would seem that realestate.com.au believes the internet is more expensive in expensive areas,” said another. “Based on last year’s number of listings we had with realestate.com.au, they will receive a modest increase of 34 per cent.”
But according to Mr Ainsworth, agents will make a choice on whether or not realestate.com.au is providing value for their costs.
“Ultimately, every single customer of ours has a choice. They have a choice as to how they do business with us," he said.
“We have a range of different contract options and they can choose what’s best for their vendors and their clients – we’re not taking away that choice, so if the customer sees that the product they’re on has a great return on investment and great value to them, they’ll continue to do it.
“If it doesn’t provide great value, then they won’t do it. It’s as simple as that.
“We are committed to supporting and empowering our customers since they are a critical part of the property sale process.”