Over 300 offices in Melbourne have joined forces to establish a new collective bargaining group in an attempt to secure fairer listings charges.
The move comes after the country's largest real estate website, realestate.com.au, recently revealed agents will be charged based on the location of the listing rather than the location of their office.
Initially, 12 major real estate groups, representing 150 offices in Melbourne, came together to establish a group in response to the REA fee hike.
Now, it's reported some 62 real estate brands have signed up to be part of the group known as Real Estate Digital Marketing Services (REDMS), which has appointed Aegis Media buying agency Vizeum as a single media buyer to negotiate better rates on their behalf.
Paul Stoner, CEO, Biggin & Scott, one of the agencies involved, confirmed to Real Estate Business that discussions are ongoing and it's hoped the rest of Victoria will get on board with the venture in the coming weeks.
"The process behind it is to get industry to buy as a group,” said Mr Stoner.
He said that while the REA price increase was the catalyst for the move, the creation of REDMS was not entirely based on listings pricing.
"Buyers are coming to us each individually, wondering why we don't have price parity anywhere within the state,” said Mr Stoner.
"We’re looking for strength in numbers for what is fair. We don't want to sit at the table and be at risk of losing a listing because somebody is being treated better than somebody else down the road,” he added.
Mr Stoner said having price differentiation in any particular market is confusing to both the agent and to the public.
"We had meetings to discuss how to get to a stage where we have some impact and control over these price increases," he said.
He confirmed REDMS will be a member group and has invited any other agents in Victoria who want to become a member to get involved.
The Australian Financial Review has reported that some of the other major players involved include Kay & Burton, Ray White, hockingstuart, MarshallWhite, and 62 other large-scale groups.
It has also reported the move will be rolled out in other capital cities in the coming weeks. However, Mr Stoner said he wasn’t aware this was the case and believed at the moment it is solely a Victoria-based venture.