Private Sales Now on Realestate.com.au?

One of the advantages Realestate.com.au has always boasted of is that they only accept property listings from real estate agents or developers. No private listings or FSBO sales.

It seems I keep running into more websites popping up giving private sellers the ability to list their property on Realestate.com.au. In each of the cases I have found it is a licensed real estate agent involved collecting no commission on the sale but charging a marketing fee only. That marketing fee covers the Realestate.com.au listing and a sign, probably worth all of $6.00

Happening Real Estate use to offer the “Get on RealEstate.com.au without paying Commission” plan but they have recently renamed it “Market your property on the best portal – realestate.com.au”.  They state that “If you list your property with us, we will charge you a one time fee of $490 to list your property on realestate.com.au and other sites UNTIL SOLD. Included in this fee, we will provide you with an attractive sign, and we will also upgrade your property to “Featured Property” status for the first 30 days as well.”

This is in effect a private for sale.  They provide a sign, and list the property on a couple of websites which is all the private sales sites do.  The fee is paid up front and regardless of a sale so under PAMD (Queensland’s Act) it is not a selling commission but simply a Marketing Charge. An interesting point is that they run the risk of making a profit out of marketing and therefore running foul of the act.

Place2Live offer an Assistance2You plan state “place2live can offer you an extremely competitive listing option, where you will NOT BE CHARGED ANY AGENCY SALES COMMISSION FEE. The formal listing agreement – “Queensland Government PAMD Form 22a” – to be signed by you and place2live will show $0 in sales commission fee and a Marketing & Sales Services fee of only $499 excluding GST ($548.90 including GST).”

Looking at it from a different perspective for a second, even if this is technically inside the rules should private sale websites like Zeroagents be felt hard done by given they are locked out of Realestate.com.au when these sort of websites can offer the same level of service  but because of the website owner has a real estate license they can provide their clients access to Realestate.com.au? Even though in these cases they are not actually using these licenses.

For my mind though, selling a marketing package whilst not charging commission or a selling fee of any sort is not acting in the role of a real estate agent and they should not be allowed to advertise their properties on the portal whilst it is an agent only site.  Maybe the regulators need to investigate them for profiteering from a marketing fees charged to clients. If just 10 clients paid each month there is over $5000 in fees for a little over $500 investment for the month… No wonder there are more of theses sites around!!!

I dont want to get into a discussion over whether Realestate.com.au should or should not allow private sales.  At the moment they dont… do you consider that these cases should be allowed to upload property to the portal.

for sale by owner, fsbo, private sales

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About Glenn Batten

Glenn Batten is the General Manager at First National Real Estate Nerang and Principal at the First National Real Estate Upper Coomera office and has over 20 years real estate experience and a passion for technology. Glenn has been writing from an agents perspective on industry issues and covering a range of topics on Business2 since 2007.

69 Responses to Private Sales Now on Realestate.com.au?

  1. Adam April 10, 2009 at 1:12 am #

    No they should not, realestate.com.au has gone too far acccepting subscriptions from anybody who builds, markets and sells property.
    They need to get their act together as agents all over the country are seeing more and more businesses using this website to take business away from the agents.

  2. max April 10, 2009 at 4:42 am #

    Glen, of coarse they shouldn’t be allowed to be on a portal that says they don’t accept private sellers. And yes, if they are using a license number to pose as a genuine agent to utilize suppliers that only deal with agents I would suggest they could be looked at for profiteering from marketing $’s.

  3. Gaye April 10, 2009 at 10:40 am #

    Well, we the people are expected to give the agents $1.300 to $2.000 to advertise our home, and then and if they sell it after trotting a couple of people through our $500.000 house they get about $13.000…. so go for it private sellers… we can advertise it just as easily as an agent… and yes the advertising costs are a tiny bit more but gee, we can get one hell of a lot of advertising done for the $13.000 agents fees and the $2.000 advertising fees that they charge us..
    All it does is bring people to THEIR office with OUR money from which they can bring people through not only our home but others that they have on their lists just because of OUR money, then because they have the advertising money from us they don

  4. Craig April 10, 2009 at 10:44 am #

    What is wrong with private sales on re.com.au. The only thing I can see is that agents feel threatened that any guy in the street could do just as good a job of selling a house as them so they want to lock them out. If the agent provides value no one will be tempted to advertise privately.

  5. Mick April 10, 2009 at 1:05 pm #

    Glen,

    You can’t compare Zeroagents to the agents you describe who offer these services. Zeroagents do not have a real estate license and are just a private selling website who constantly bag out real estate agents and the industry.

    Just because these agents offer a service which is different to the traditional service offered by agents does not mean they should be barred from http://www.realestate.com.au. Who are you or any other franchise do dictate how a real estate agent should conduct their business? You major franchise groups are not god these agents should be able to run theri businesses how they want.

    I would like to think the “regulators” would think favourably about these alternative services offered by agents. Why? Because they offer better value then what traditional agents do. We know this because if this wasn’t the case then these agents wouldn’t be successful and these services wouldn’t be popular.

  6. max April 10, 2009 at 2:02 pm #

    Adam, by the sound of you post you are lumping developers and private sellers in the some boat.

    Craig and Gaye, the argument isn’t about the merits of selling your own home V using an agents. Its about the support REA got from agents because we were told ‘they don’t accept private sales’…

    Glen, I think you will find they wont be on the site long term.

  7. mainlander April 10, 2009 at 3:06 pm #

    Some credit needs to be attributed as to how a site like realestate.com.au got to its position in the first place, from memory it wasn’t by FSBO adds? After all would private sellers be interested in going on a site that just lists private sales, no, they would most definitely be interested in appearing on a site that thousands of agents have invested millions building.

  8. Craig April 10, 2009 at 3:40 pm #

    I am still bemused by agents attitude towards private sellers. As a professional software developer I feel no threat from amateur computer hacks. If anything they give me more work when they stuff up. But for some reason agents see these ‘amateurs’ as a real threat.

  9. Adam April 11, 2009 at 2:27 am #

    Max, Isnt this is an open blog where anybody interested in the real estate industry and related portals can have their say on the topic started by the author? You should not make comments, like they will not be around for long. This is a forum where anyone can have their opinion, otherwise you might as well have an invitation only discussion amongst yourselves.

  10. max April 11, 2009 at 3:52 am #

    Adam, what are you talking about? I really don’t follow but your post suggests you are offended by something I wrote?

    I am a firm believer in free speech and markets… And I actually agree with Craig and Gaye’s point and think private seller are perfectly fine but, like I said, the issue is REA said they wouldn’t take private sellers ads.

  11. Robert Timsly April 11, 2009 at 12:08 pm #

    I thought I would throw my 2 bobs in and give you an example where a private FSBO worked for me. I listed my property on a no agent website called buymyplace.com and recieved all the help i needed and sold within 5 days at the price i wanted. They didin’t advertise on r/e.com but seem to have their home on order as i had 3 offers and about 20 enquiries. Like it or not FSBO’s are on the move up and i think they dont care if their not on r/e.com.au as they contain unique properties.

  12. Andrew D April 11, 2009 at 1:44 pm #

    Hi Robert Timsly (if this is actually your name), you seriously have to be joking.

    1. Explain to me how you got 20 inquiries when it is impossible for a novice to search the site.

    2. 99% of suburb searches have no results. SO why would anyone go to this site to look for listings when it takes 30 minutes to find a property.

    So spending 30 minutes of this site I came to this conclusion.

    1. The site looks great.
    2. The site is impossible to use effectively as a place to find properties for sale.
    3. You surely work for buymyplace.com.au
    4. There are many better private selling sites out there for private sellers.

    I am an agent on the VIC/NSW border and I have competition from a wide variety of set price agents, private sellers. Some of these do a very good job and some not so good.

    So….
    For people who want professional advice, care and market knowledge.

    For people who want someone who understands market conditions and knows how to price a property that will sell.

    For people that don’t have the time to show people through their house.

    For people that want to market their listings effectively across major portals.

    For people who want someone to answer all email and phone inquiries with patience and diligence.

    For people who want a professional negotiator who has 13 years experience in contract negotiations.

    For anyone who wants to go down the private selling route – more power to them. But the majority still value my service enough to pay me very well for doing a very good job.

    ASs for realestate.com.au and domain.com.au (I think Domain already allow private sellers) know that they don’t sit in meetings thinking about what is best for us, they are all about $$$$ revenues, they will only turn to private sellers when they think they can make a buck (after weighing up pros and cons) out of it.

    So Robert, good luck with your buymyplace.com, it looks pretty, is completely unusable and may one day give vendors what you claim, however in the meantime, I would spend more time fixing the site up and less time making up success stories.

    Peace :: Andrew

  13. Adam April 11, 2009 at 3:15 pm #

    Sorry Max, I got your point completely wrong, I thought you were saying Gaye and I would not be on this blog for long. I apologise for my wording.

  14. max April 11, 2009 at 4:10 pm #

    ah ok got ya and see what you mean.

    I meant I think they (FSBO ads) wont be on REA for long.

  15. anthony April 12, 2009 at 12:20 pm #

    They will not be on for long..when REA start fielding calls from irate agents , they will develop a policy to exclude them… they wont be biting the hands that feeds them

  16. Mick April 12, 2009 at 7:35 pm #

    it would be discrimination to ban these agents from listing properties on re.com.au because they are not charging ridiculous commissions. These agents offer more than just a marketing service they perform most things which a normal agent does. I’d imagine most of these agents are members of their state rei so this suddenly mean the rei will ban them from being a member aswell? This would be further discrimination!

    Instead of stabbing your fellow agents in their back you should stop your complaining and learn from the creativity they have shown.

  17. max April 13, 2009 at 2:03 pm #

    Come on Mick be real. Its people with license numbers back dooring the system to essentially become a reseller of portal services.

    And its not discriminatory. I am sure the REA terms of agreement would have something stated against this practice. Also any private company has the right to refuse business as long as its not based on the purchasers race, religion or sexual persuasion…..I think you’ll find not fitting into a business model doesn’t count as discrimination. Mind you, you could always have a FSBO million man march or hunger strike and see if that draws attention to the oppression they suffer…;)

    Again I have no issue with FSBO, but lets be real.

  18. Paddy April 13, 2009 at 3:01 pm #

    This is a gem… “Instead of stabbing your fellow agents in their back you should stop your complaining and learn from the creativity they have shown.”

    Mick, what are the marketing angles which the FSBO companies use?

    They criticize their ‘fellow agents’ business models, commission structures and imply that they are lazy.

    Why wouldn’t the traditional agent operating a traditional agency model want to reply to the highly critical and inflammatory marketing campaigns of FSBO’s?

  19. Mick April 13, 2009 at 5:27 pm #

    Max, I think they offer more than just a reseller service. Looking around on the Internet I see most list the vendor’s property on a number of different websites, they offer to write the copy, they can take photos, they provide a market appraisal, they handle enquiries, they organize contracts and do other things. This level of service can only be offered by a licensed agent, so classifying them as a reseller and trying to exclude them from a website because of this, is mad.

    Paddy, I agree with you that fsbo companies criticize agents and because of this they should not be able to list properties on any real estate websites. But we are not talking about fsbo companies we are talking about real estate agents who have decided to break away from the conventional way of selling property, opt for a reduced commission and perhaps less responsibilty. It’s these agents who aren’t toeing the line which are being ousted by tradtional agents.

  20. Paddy April 13, 2009 at 7:14 pm #

    Thinking to the side.

    Let’s assume that REA does remove the companies which Glenn mentions above, and further, as Max is suggesting, that these business models are contradictory to the REA terms of agreement.

    If the latter is true… then it makes you wonder what the REA sales person was doing signing them up in the first place. It seems from Glenn’s piece that this is more than a once off instance.

    How did these businesses get signed up if they are not a core customer i.e. traditional agent?

    Either some of the REA sales people do not know who their core customers are, or REA turns a blind eye to signing up anyone they can, and then back peddle when agents complain.

  21. Glenn Batten April 13, 2009 at 7:26 pm #

    Obviously this subject produces a ranges of opinions which is always make for an interesting discussion. I have been away for the past few days and have just caught up on all comments.

    First of all…

    Mick .. I have to concur with some of the others.. your comments seem a little unrealistic.

    You said “Who are you or any other franchise do dictate how a real estate agent should conduct their business?”

    huh? I am not dictating anything. I have no power of REA or any regulator in any state. This is a discussion forum when contributors write pieces of fact, opinion or both and you are welcome to comment on.. Which you did.. I dont see anybody suggesting your dictating!

    You said “You major franchise groups are not god these agents should be able to run theri businesses how they want.”

    More of the same.. and its interesting how you seem to see this as a personal attack… but just one problem in your argument.. I dont actually work for a franchise. First National is a cooperative, not a franchise.

    You said, “I would like to think the

  22. anthony April 13, 2009 at 7:32 pm #

    private vendors should be allowed to go on … but they should be paying significantly more than agents who are a mass user and hence should be getting a discount..thats the way it works in print media, an agent who advertisers weekly gets a much better rate than a fsbo who uses it once every few years

  23. Glenn Batten April 13, 2009 at 7:34 pm #

    Paddy,

    Both businesses also offer a discounted brokerage service where they do provide a limited set of real estate services. Because of this, the companies have a genuine reason to hold a realestate.com.au account.

    They both have decided to take advantage of that access and offer these plans and it is just these plans that i personally have an issue with.

    I cant see REA limiting accounts to bricks and mortar agencies anyway but obviously another thing is that they may have been a traditional agent in the past who has been effected by the current market conditions.

  24. Glenn Batten April 13, 2009 at 7:50 pm #

    Anthony,

    Thats an issue you have to take up with REA.. They have chosen to be an agent only portal and thats why they got the backing they have to date. I can’t see them openly reversing that decision with an extreme level backlash from the agents around Australia.

    There is also another side to it and that the operational concerns of opening up their database to private sellers. Keeping those listings up to date and accurate would certainly be a challenge and you only have to look at the number of FSBO sites to see that.

    I reckon that the new chiefs at REA would have at least considered the option as it would go part way to counter the drop in subscriptions the current conditions would be having on them. But to pull the trigger on that decision could have some serious ramifications and right now they need stability.

  25. Paddy April 13, 2009 at 7:58 pm #

    Glenn – you offer some reasonable comments as to how the companies in question may have been gained access to REA.

    But I think we concur that their subsequent use of and REA subscription is questionable, and therefore should result in them having their subscription canceled.

    I maintain that REA has dropped the ball, either at signing up, monitoring the listings, or keeping in contact with their customers so that they know that the agents circumstances have changed, and that they therefore may be in breach of the REA terms and conditions.

    After all, they are the ones running the site. Aren’t they?

  26. max April 13, 2009 at 9:37 pm #

    Paddy and Glen,

    before we go throwing mud at REA account managers have a look at your contract….all you need is a license number and you’re away.

    Now, I could sign up tomorrow as MAX POWER REAL ESTATE (like the sound of that) with my license number and no one at REA would know I was really going to start MAX POWER REAL ESTATE DIY and start slipping private sellers onto their site.

    To be honest, last time I spoke to someone about it private sellers and FSBO services made up less than 1% of all transactions. Given REA haven’t let the Major players on its likely to be something well under .5% of REA listings that are problematic.

    I really cant see there to be any solution other than people like Glen letting REA know who’s doing the wrong thing…..

  27. Glenn Batten April 13, 2009 at 10:30 pm #

    Paddy,

    I would think that the first course of action is realestate.com.au decide if this is inside their acceptable use of their site.

    If it is, then you can’t blame the agents in concern and the fight then is with REA. The agents are working within the rules (actually, they might still be breaching the legislation in each state but that is up to each state official industry regulators to decide.. ).

    If realestate.com.au decide that this is outside their rules then they need to start issuing warnings like they always do with breaches. They will only cancel an account for repeated breaches and thats after an escalation of warnings and suspensions.

    Unfortunately I have to confirm that realestate.com.au has known about this tactic since August last year when a senior representative referred it to their quality assurance team. Since then all has been quiet and the only thing that is happening is that more discount agents are offering this option to private sellers. If they continue to fence sit or officially ok this then expect to see more and more agents offering “realestate.com.au listings” to private sellers. Even traditional agents may see this as an opportunity to earn a few bucks and a bidding war may ensue..

    If you personally believe that allowing agents to offer a marketing plan only to private sellers to get them on realestate.com.au is something that realestate.com.au should stop I suggest you take it up with your REA rep soon. I know I intend to fire off an email tomorrow asking the question.

  28. Glenn Batten April 13, 2009 at 10:35 pm #

    sorry. I misquoted. realestate.com.au have known about this since October last year, not August.

  29. Robert April 13, 2009 at 11:48 pm #

    Hello Glenn and Peter.

    Changing the subject. Who do you think has the best and easiest data base system for collecting buyers and keeping them up to date with the agents/offices listing etc,etc. I am interested in working with one of these systems. Your suggestions and your readers suggestions would be very much appreciated. Thank you.

  30. Paddy April 14, 2009 at 12:28 am #

    Max

    I do not mean to make a claim against all REA account managers. But I do ask what some of these account managers are doing for this situation to arise in the first instance.

    If the account managers in question (not all account managers, just those servicing the companies we are talking about here) adhered to the company terms and conditions, then these companies would not be listing on REA.

    Here are some excerpts from the REA terms and conditions which I managed to pull through now.. I am sure there are other relevant clauses.

    “Reselling the Service or its contents
    4.1.12. Reselling the Service or its contents to any other person is not acceptable. ”

    References to third parties
    4.1.15. Publishing advertisements with the Service that contain a reference to a third party (for example, the Vendor). Advertisements must only refer a viewer to the Real Estate Office of a licensed real estate agent that is a subscribing member of realestate.com.au.

    ( http://www.realestate.com.au/cgi-bin/rsearch?a=v&t=ao-wel&id=822&cat=ao:Terms%20and%20Conditions&ag=&cu=)

    In the instance where a company only offering marketing services was signed up, then I think it is fair to say that the REA account manager in question would be at fault, as their (REA) terms and conditions clearly state the boundaries.

    Where an agency changes its model, fair enough there may be some lag time in an account manager picking the change up. But a good account manager with a good relationship with their customer would pick things up pretty fast. If not from the customer direct, then from their competitors down the road.

    So to have these companies still on your site, realestate.com.au, is a little baffling given your terms and conditions.

    Sorry I do not share your views on minor %’s of content/customers being in breach, being an ‘ok’ situation. If only a minor % is fine, then why have terms and conditions at all? A breach is still a breach.

    Glenn, not only do I think it is wrong for companies to on-sell realestate.com.au marketing, it is also against their company terms and conditions. So yes, I think a conversation is warranted.

    Anyone at REA reading this blog, can you please fix the duplicate entry of point 5 BREACHING THIS POLICY at the terms and conditions link above (Duplicate appears at of 7.21pm Monday 13th April 09)

    Strangely, duplicate content on REA is also a breach of the terms and conditions (see point 4.1.6).

    What happens when the duplicate content on the site is generated by REA?

  31. max April 14, 2009 at 3:59 am #

    Paddy, I 100% agree with you.

  32. Mick April 14, 2009 at 9:43 am #

    glen, thanks for your reply. I work in the manufacturing sales industry and have purchased and sold a number of properties. I won’t lie in that I don’t like tradtional real estate agents after an experience I had selling my second property. I decided to sell my next property by myself and came across one of these services you mention, I have now used them twice to sell my properties and I have nothing but praise for them. I will not mention their name as I do not want them singled out on this blog.
    I still don’t understand how http://www.re.com.au can determine which agents they will ban when the majority of these agents offer a traditional service with their marketing services. This has to be a legal nightmare as they are singling out discount agencies. As someone pointed out these agencies make up a tinny amount of listings on this website and are just a starting point in the sales process. I am fortunate enough to have sales experience but as you agents would know the majority of property owners haven’t a clue when it comes to selling their property themselves. I recommended two other people to this service and both eventually sold their property but had to involve another agent because they couldn’t get the contract signed.

  33. Warwick April 14, 2009 at 11:35 am #

    The real estate agents may lobby REA to remove these companies or REA may decide to remove them, however I think perhaps it will actually be the responsibility of the ACCC to determine if this action would be legal.

  34. Ex-Portal Man April 14, 2009 at 12:36 pm #

    First time poster.

    For your ref people, Domain does allow private sellers but the cost to them is at full rate (Qld around $600.00 per property). And they are not allowed to purchase any of the additional products (top spot etc…), and is less than 1% of the traffic/leads.
    Agents use these as listing leads anyway. Its a mute point imo.

  35. Craig April 14, 2009 at 3:07 pm #

    Ex-Portal Man, Domain really needs to allow private sellers while they allow private sellers to advertise in their newspapers. I have never heard of a situation where someone is refused from advertising a house in a newspaper.

  36. Glenn Batten April 14, 2009 at 3:09 pm #

    Warwick,

    I dont understand what the ACCC would be interested in. As far as I knew the ACCC dont decide what is legal, but more deal with breaches and therefore what is illegal.

    I would be interested to hear how you think the ACCC could claim responsibility over the issue. What part of the Trade Practices act or some other act do you think applies.. ?

    I just find the ACCC and the Privacy Act are things people love to quote all the time with little regard to how they apply in each case. The get treated like an all powerful wildcard to be played to cover all sorts of interesting arguments. I am not suggesting you have done that here but its an interesting angle if you can find a valid connection.

    Warwick, again I think its also necessary to point out I am not suggesting they be kicked off all together, just stopped from effectively reselling realestate.com.au subscription. Enforcing the rules that are already in place and that Paddy has so kindly highlighted. If they were kicked off totally it would be because of repeated breaches through an escalating warning process and they would only have themselves to blame.

  37. warwick April 15, 2009 at 12:18 pm #

    Glenn
    There is already a precedent set with a couple of private sale companies curently litigating through the ACCC with a large residential portal on the basis of restrictive trading after accepting their listings on the portal site and then taking them off. Will be interesting to await the outcome of that issue.

  38. Glenn Batten April 15, 2009 at 4:37 pm #

    Warwick,

    Very interesting. Care to share any names involved??

  39. Glenn Batten April 15, 2009 at 4:39 pm #

    Warwick… also.. Do you know what breaches they claim relies upon.. ??

  40. Paddy April 15, 2009 at 5:31 pm #

    Should be an interesting case.

    Just as the REA terms and conditions apply to the REA sales people, they apply equally to (and were designed for the audience of) real estate agents.

    If an agent/marketing firm took out a subscription to any portal, and in doing so, acknowledged that it would abide by the terms and conditions of the portal – only to then not adhere to the agreement, I would find it interesting to hear the ACCC come out in support of the agent/marketing firm in this case.

    It would put a question over every single contract, and what was to be delivered, by whom etc… to all industries and contracts.

    It sounds a bit like naughty school boys being caught out, and then blaming someone else.

  41. warwick April 16, 2009 at 9:38 am #

    Glen
    Not prepared to name names for obvious reasons, my understanding is that the Portal accepted their subscriptions and were aware of the products they used and after pressure from the industry decided that they would no longer allow the companies to subscribe.

  42. Heath April 17, 2009 at 11:18 am #

    Firstly thanks for a really interesting discussion and great article.

    I’m just trying to summarise the reasons why many of the people commenting feel that realestate.com.au should not allow to reselling to FSBO’s. From what I can see there’s two main points:

    1. the estate agents helped out realestate.com.au 14 years ago when they started – and it seems that people feel REA owes them for that?

    2. It’s against the terms and conditions (which may be in place because of point 1- seeing that other sites allow FSBO listings – Domain being the biggest I think)

    I must confess that I’m not an Estate Agent, but have worked for large sites similar to REA but outside of property.

    I must also confess I don’t understand why this is such a big problem?

    REA is just a place to advertise property for sale, rent etc – if these FSBO’s list on REA, then they still don’t have the expertise of an Estate Agent (which is surely why people use Estate Agents – not just because they can place an ad for them….?)

    Also on the first point – many estate agents (including industry bodies) launched a competitor to REA, realestateview.com.au. Surely that gives REA good reason to open it’s doors (whether they be back doors or not) to FSBO’s which are such a small percentage of the market.

  43. Charlie April 18, 2009 at 6:42 pm #

    Interesting stuff – are any real estate agents actually getting stroppy with REA about this?

    I know if we ran any private sellers on our site we’d be hung drawn and quartered by our client (real estate agents), who absolutely gave us a go 10 years ago when we started in the western suburbs of Perth (with 7 brave real estate agencies and 70 listings on launch day). And they’ve stuck by us despite the irresistible power of the large media or Institute backed alternatives.

    Almost everyday we get phone calls from private sellers asking if they can list on our site, and we have to decline. While this sounds a bit mean, if we started competing against our paying clients, we’d be out of business pretty quickly, and I’d feel we’d be betraying them. Public image or not, I’ve found agents to be pretty cool clients, loyal and happy to pay their bills for services rendered. That may not be the accepted public opinion of the industry, but I’ve found no reason in 10 years to dispute this.

    I also feel (personal view, so I suppose this completes the logic loop in my sad twisted mind?) that people get a much better deal/price on their house if they sell/rent it through their local real estate agency. I’d never try to do it myself.

  44. adam April 18, 2009 at 10:19 pm #

    Charlie,

    You are kidding yourself. Follow a proceedure, get creative, and you can save a fortune not using an agent. I saved $24,000 doing it myself in a dullish market. The house next door sold for 50K less around 3 months after THROUGH AN AGENT.

    There is a place for agents in the market, but they are not the be all and end all.

  45. adam April 19, 2009 at 10:03 am #

    Here is another one featured on TV this Sunday morning on Austar. Gets you onto REA and Domain.

    http://www.remoov.com.au/Default.aspx

  46. Paddy April 20, 2009 at 12:55 pm #

    Adam,

    I take your point that in the example you provided there was a positive outcome selling the property yourself.

    However, to really compare the two situations, the properties would need to be identical, being sold at the same time (3 months can span market seasonality, stock market fluctuations, major local/social issues etc…), have the same asking price/reserve, and the same marketing approach.

    It would be good for someone from REA to ‘officially’ post on here and address the issue.

    In the meantime, the length of time the Marketing companies are allowed to display properties on realestate.com.au speaks volumes!

    Seeing that the REA terms and conditions page still has a double entry of Point 5. BREACHING THIS POLICY, it may be some time before REA does anything about this issue (on selling REA Subscriptions), as it has it has been well over a week since REA knew about the fault on their Terms and Conditions pages, and still have not addressed this simple fix.

    ( http://www.realestate.com.au/cgi-bin/rsearch?a=v&t=ao-wel&id=822&cat=ao:Terms%20and%20Conditions&ag=&cu=)

  47. Tony April 30, 2009 at 11:02 am #

    Robert

    On the issue of a data base, I have used ACT by Sage for over 12 years and find that after fine tuning I can now do all my sales through this without the need of a secretary if need be. If you need further info drop me a line at tzorzo@pnc.com.au

  48. paddy May 25, 2009 at 2:06 pm #

    Glenn,

    A very interesting issue evolving RE REA and Private Listings.

    The two key takeaways from the propertynow.com.au case are:

    1. Whilst Propertynow abides by the REA terms and conditions, other companies are not. Although Propertynow has alerted REA to the actions of other companies being in breach of the terms and conditions, REA has done nothing to rectify the situation. Therein placing Propertynow at a significant disadvantage.

    2. REA will gladly signup companies facilitating For Sale By Owner listings.

    This blog is pretty much up to date, and offers the view of a FSBO agency asking for fairness from REA…

    http://propertynow.com.au/real-estate-com/

  49. Glenn Batten May 25, 2009 at 4:48 pm #

    Paddy,

    Yeah, I predicted in the article that FSBO agents would have a right to be upset with REA and for my mind the FSBO guys have a point. I think we would differ on the outcome though as they will want everyone on the portal and we would not want to see them there 🙂

    Whilst I would not like to see them on the portal allowing defacto fsbo sites like what is happening seems counter productive for both agents and fsbo sites.

    Unfortunately to put fuel on the fire I had an interesting call on Thursday or Friday. An online agent here in Queensland last year setup marketing only plans and was confronted by REA on the matter and told to cease and desist. Even though they operate a real estate license they were told that to list property on realestate.com.au they needed to be charging a commission to satisfy their terms and conditions. They then had to stop uploading all properties that were not on their commission plans (they provide a range of services, some of them on a % commission and some on flat rate marketing). As you can imagine they were pretty pissed off that they were specifically told to stop and yet these other companies are now allowed to do it.

    What this proves is that it least was AGAINST policy to allow these listings on realestate.com.au.

    So what has changed? What has caused realestate.com.au to allow online agents to promote private sales like this.

    a) REA salespeople trying to meet budgets and sneek these accounts through ?

    b) Policy change allowing this sort of behaviour, possibly to cover lost revenue due to agents falling off because of the market?

    c) Quality assurance team (who are tasked with enforcing the rules) getting swamped with cheaters and they are just behind catching all the bad guys?

    Anybody want to take a guess…. or provide another reason why this behaviour has kicked off.

  50. real estate June 9, 2009 at 11:48 pm #

    Hello everyone, my name is Andrew Blachut and I’m the owner of PropertyNow.

    PropertyNow is a business which helps people to save money when selling their home. This is not a plug for my business. I’m simply stating this so that you will understand that I am very biased towards Private Sellers, in what I’m about to say and the arguments I’m about to make.

    I have just read and tried to analyse this entire thread…so lets begin.

    I am a Licensed agent and I msy be one of the people Max is criticising ( I think?…Max will let me know )

    Max talks about agents who are ” backdooring ” the system and I have some small amount of empathy with that statement.

    That’s because our competitors are currently ( as we speak ) accepting money to place clients on REA as Private Sellers, while knowing full well the ability to do so is denied by the REA. That is at least where Max and I agree, but he loses me very soon afterwards.

    PropertyNow has refrained from placing clients on realestate.com.au over the past month and the past 3 years. We used to do it and as far as I know we may have been the first. We were asked to stop. I had a 3 hour meeting in Port Macquarie on the issue with Bill Russell 3 years ago ( Bill was the State Manager of the REA at that time)

    Bill said expressly, that we could not help private sellers via REA. I had a frank, open and honest discussion with Bill. I like him, but on this topic we agreed to disagree very strongly.

    We were told to stop and we stopped immediately. I chose to then close my REA account ( 3 years ago ) under considerable duress. In the ensuing time we have utilised Domain, HomeHound and others to help our clients.

    PropertyNow has been offered an REA account on 3 separate occassions in the past 6 weeks, despite the fact that we are the chief agitator to the REA’s position.

    Our position is simplicity itself – we want to have our private sellers allowed access to the site, as others have been allowed, or else we seek the other companies listings removed immediately, while this gets sorted. We asked this of the REA, well over a month ago.

    We have declined the invitation so far based on what we perceive to be the unjust conditions that the REA seeks to impose i.e no private sales.

    Other similar companies to Propertynow ( I presume the backdoor boys Max is referring to ) have chosen to place clients on REA when knowing it’s not acceptable to the REA. PropertyNow immediately stopped placing private sellers on REA when asked to do so 3 years back and we expect others to do likewise.

    Max may yet like to lump PropertyNow into his backdoor category, as we have been placing private sellers on Domain for years, something I’m immensely proud of.

    Max, if I were to distill your arguments above, would it be fair to say that you believe in the rights of Private Sellers, but not in their right to be on the REA portal as private sellers?

    Your reasoning as far as I could determine from your comments, being that the REA prohibits it ( insofar as they may or may not be able to at law ) In other words the REA prohibits it therefore it must be right Max?

    It may yet turn out Max, that the REA may not be right about this at all.

    Max you stated that Private companies have the right to decline business except based on racial and similar discrimination. Humbly, Max I would suggest you may be in significant error in such a stance. I think you will find that there are provisions within sections of The Trade Practices Act that will disagree with you on that.

    Max you use words like profiteering, as though making a profit is wrong or against the law. It’s the connotation you are using that is the problem here.
    If a company does not make a profit it dissappears and with it dissappears the public benefit which it may bestow.

    You also raised the very old chestnut and the idea that a marketer who happened to also be an agent can’t make a profit from advertising. You should be aware that the provisions you are referring to were put in place to prevent the public being ripped off over creative accounting in relation to agents advertising revenues. That is something very, very different to what is being debated here and I’m sure you know that Max.

    I view clinging to such a warped argument as downright embarassing.

    For example Max, you will have a hard time finding a PropertyNow client who feels ripped off. In fact the exact opposite applies. We save the average person around ten thousand dollars in agents commissions. I’m happy to send you dozens of Testimonials to you to attest to that fact. You would seek to limit our ability to do that and blame it on the fact that the REA has ” made their rules and that’s that.”

    Just last week Max, PropertyNow was overjoyed that one of it’s clients had achieved their own Private sale at a price fully twenty five thousand dollars above an agents market appraisal or suggested starting price. What would you say to that client Max, given that the enquiry came from an agent portal which by your argument should not be permitted?

    Max, before I leave you alone, you implied that the agents are supporting the REA because of it’s stance against private sales. Perhaps there’s some truth in that Max but by far the largest reason agents support the REA ( if support is the right word ) is because they are currently the largest portal.

    I once was recruited by the REA as a sales rep and I went out and spoke with many agents in the company of Greg Oddy of REA. The overwhelming feeling I got from agents regarding the REA is very much at odds with your own assertion that the agents love them.

    Sellers ( listings ) would generally go to other agents, if any particular agent chose not to use the REA site.That’s also the same reason that private sellers should be allowed on there. Its a very important site don’t you agree Max? Too important for anyone except agents perhaps?

    Max, in another post you quite correctly stated that Private Sales make up a small percentage ( though not a small number ) of sales right now. The point you are missing is that this is because of several factors and the major one being lack of access to the sites the agents use.

    Essentially agents will claim that private sellers can’t succeed or that if they do sell – they will sell for less. There is no evidence of that being the case.

    But far more to the point, private sellers are disadvantaged at being precluded from the REA website. It’s a bit like the private sellers taking the league playing field with 5 men against 13 on the other side… and then having to listen to agents and agents advocates telling them that they can’t do the job as good as an agent.

    Let me ask you Max and also Glenn….

    If agents were not allowed on REA how do you think they would perform?

    You either feel it would be harder for agents, which strengthens our argument. OR you believe it would make no difference, thus implying that the REA site isn’t important?

    Now to stop focusing on Max for a moment, may I speak to some of your points Glenn.

    I can’t help but get the strong feeling that you are on the side of the argument that keeps private sellers off REA.

    You chose your words carefully but you also take exception with Mick and others – e.g. your comment –

    Mick .. I have to concur with some of the others.. your comments seem a little unrealistic.

    You said

  51. Sal Espro June 18, 2009 at 11:10 am #

    Andrew, may I suggest you try to severely truncate your posts in future. No matter how important you may think the information is, you are just not going to be read – and it may have a detrimental effect on your image.

    You might be interested that there is a blue a brewing in the US of A on a similar issue (Note that their Exclusive agency and Limited agency terms are different from ours).

    http://www.business2.com.au/2009/05/realestatecomau-upgrades-private-selling-policy/

    Sal

  52. Sal Espro June 18, 2009 at 11:12 am #

    Oops! Wrong URL!
    Try
    http://www.inman.com/news/2009/06/17/broker-snubs-limited-service-listings
    (Inman Editor’s note: In this two-part series, Inman News looks at difficulties flat-fee brokers who offer limited services have faced in getting their listings published more widely on the Web)

  53. Disgusted member of the public November 29, 2009 at 2:38 pm #

    Thanks Andrew for a great response. It was long but you had a lot to say.

    As a member of the general public who has bought and sold a number of houses I am disgusted at those who try to force me to use the services of agents to sell my property.

    I am forced because realestate.com.au is currently the best marketing tool for properties in Australia. As that tool is not accessible to me I must use an agent. I know a number of people who would sell privately given the option of using such a powerful marketing tool.

    I know many others like myself who are harbouring an increasing resentment towards the real estate industry for these protectionist practices.

    It angers me that so many agents are actively working to protect their outrageous commissions and deny people like myself the opportunity to sell my own property. I don’t care if you think I will do a better or worse job by selling my property myself. The point is – it should be MY choice of whether I employ a professional or whether I do it myself.

    To those continuing to encourage http://www.realestate.com.au to deny private sales … instead of trying to force progress to bend around your arcaic, outdated business model why not try to open your mind to the myraid of new avenues emerging that will more effectly enable you to assist people to buy and sell their homes … It may just be the best thing that ever happened to your business.

  54. Greg Vincent November 29, 2009 at 9:45 pm #

    “it should be MY choice of whether I employ a professional or whether I do it myself.” That’s right it is your choice & you already have that choice.

    You can use Domain, Google Maps, Social Media, PayPerClick Campaigns, PropertyNow & dozens of other sites to sell your property privately.

    If private sellers were allowed on realestate.com.au then it wouldn’t take long before you’d see a lot more agents uploading listings onto an industry based portal like RealEstateView.com.au. (This site is quite strong in Victoria & is set to expand into other states).

    I’m curious, ‘Disgusted member of the public’, being an industry based site would you feel as strongly that Private Sellers should have access to the RealEstateView.com.au site too?

    Although it’s not owned by one of the real estate industry governing bodies, realestate.com.au is an industry based site & I for one sincerely hope that it stays that way for a long, long time to come.

  55. Disgusted member of the public November 30, 2009 at 12:54 pm #

    Greg. You are wrong. I do not have a choice.

    Realestate.com is the currently the primary search tool for the majority of house purchasers. By denying my right to advertise on that site means that I severely restrict my pool of potentials buyers -therefore reduce my potential returns. Therefore I have no choice but to use an agent in order to access this market.

    It is people like yourself who continue to promote protectionist measures that will be the downfall of the realestate industry as we know it.

    With the advent of the internet, and subsequent changes in the flow of information, new mechanisms will quickly arise to replace existing norms.

    Entire industries have already been wiped out or are suffering because they failed to see what was coming – such as the declining sales of newspapers resulting from the growth of online news sources.

    Those same forces are shortly going to hit the realestate industry with a force that will wipe out those players that aren’t prepared.

    To survive in the new information age it is essential that current players adapted their product offering to suit the needs of the market – rather than their desire to stick to the old way of doing things.

    It’s such a shame that major players in the industry and choosing to resist the inevitable when they could be taking a proactive stance to lead the industry into the future.

    In 25 years time who do you think will be most favourable remembered in the industry? Those who saw the future and turned it to their advantage? Or those who clung to the past and perished when they could have thrived?

  56. Robert Simeon November 30, 2009 at 12:59 pm #

    Disgusted – you should also read the thread here Agents: Remove Old Systems That Are Driving Your Customers Crazy. Some very interesting are raised there and yes – some agents are actually doing it differently 🙂

  57. Disgusted member of the public November 30, 2009 at 1:10 pm #

    Hi Robert, that’s true. There are some agents doing some wonderful work to adapt – some really innovative, exciting stuff they should be applauded for. Whenever I find those people I add them to the list of agents I refer my clients to. Unfortunately, the majority of the major players in the real estate industry seem to regard those innovators with a lot of distrust and suspicion. It’s a shame because some of them have come up with some really clever stuff that will make them very successful as the industry continues to change.

  58. Sal Espro November 30, 2009 at 1:47 pm #

    All been covered before folks. Good agents don’t need protection and poor ones can’t be helped anyway! Let ‘Disgusted’ and their mates advertise anywhere they like. All they’re really doing is advertising the fact that they have a listing available to the first good agent to pick-up after their shocking uneducated attempts.

    Ps ‘Disgusted’, would you like our group to assist with your OFI’s or pass-on some additional enquiry we might be able to get you?

    Pps Canada’s equivalent of the ACCC looks like its opening-up MLS to the public to advertise as it has considered its (‘members-only’) advertising restrictive.

    Sal 🙂

  59. Glenn Batten November 30, 2009 at 5:42 pm #

    Disgusted,

    The article is not about whether Private Sellers should be allowed on to the site. Thats a business decision that realestate.com.au made when it sought the business from agents whilst Domain chose to allow agents and private sales.

    The business from real estate agents has got the portal where it is today. If they chose to open themselves up to private sellers they are fully within their rights to do so. It will certainly upset a lot agents but that is simply customers expressing their opinion. As the customer in that relationship we are allowed to do that without it being considered unfair influence don’t you think? We can even vote with our feet or is that only restricted to non-agents? To satisfy your request they would have to risk upsetting virtually their whole client base and that is not something I can see shareholders accepting that easily. Thats the real reason they don’t take on private sellers.

    In fact if we had the power you over REA you believe we have you can assure yourself most agents would probably focus more heavily on getting the subscription fees lowered first.

    Real estate agents are not realestate.com.au’s only customers. They also deal with property developers. If agents had all this power wouldn’t you think we would be forcing realestate.com.au to stop dealing with developers insisting that they deal through an agent? The potential commission through all the developers is significantly more than a handful of private sales. But developers do not break the terms and conditions.

    Another thing, lets imagine that there was one private sales site that controlled that market and was attracting significant visitors built on the backs of the support of private sellers over the past decade. I reckon you would probably be the first one to complain when they started to take agents listings to capitalise on their traffic.

    What this article was about was a stated policy by realestate.com.au that they do not deal with private sellers and how some AGENTS were flouting those rules. As I predicted many of the FSBO websites took issue with that and Andrew from Property Now was amongst them. Realestate.com.au to their credit investigated the matter and stopped those agents from breaking their terms and conditions. This issue effected the majority of real estate agents and private seller websites.

  60. Interested Observer December 1, 2009 at 4:04 am #

    Interesting footnote.
    http://www.mhifs.com.au – my home is for sale – is currently raising funds in the sophisticated investor market to expand. They are a 7 month old business (so started right around the time of this thread starting) and clearly state they will get private vendors listed onto all major portals (and they do). They charge a flat fee and then a per month amount. They are a licensed agent offering “owner assisted” sales. They also claim that the average fee per client is just over $500 and in 7 months they have secured over 1,700 listings. Nice work if you can get it – $850K, no agents, no inspections, no listing presentations.
    I think the agents on REA may need to start rattling the sabre again as perhaps the focus in the REA business on FSBOs may be lightening up with the new raft of management in place

  61. Sal Espro December 1, 2009 at 7:45 am #

    Again, ‘Interested’, who gives a hoot about FSBO listings? Did you worry when they were in The Age, SMH etc? 1,700 listings in 7 months = 240/mth = 60/wk. That’s a bout 12/wk per 5 states – hardly worth ‘rattling sabres’ over! And I contend a lot of these come ‘home’ to agencies when they don’t sell anyway! (And at a premium commish!) Get a grip and get on with your own sales!

    Sal

  62. Interested Observer December 1, 2009 at 10:13 am #

    Sal,

    You’re missing my point.

    I’m not an agent – hence the interested observer tag.

    There are two key points in this;

    Firstly there are plenty of agents in Australia who would love to be able to generate over $850K gross comm in just 7 months – all without having to manage an inspection, manage an assistant or team of agents, attend a meeting or deal with a disgruntled vendor – let alone being able to do so without having to share it with their principal. I would also imagine that plenty of agents would also be happy in the current market to have an average time on market of just 54 days.

    More importantly if REA allows private owner assisted sales onto the books then you could well see a two stage approach to selling being employed by vendors – particularly if these sites are able to succeed in their aims to raise multi-million dollar marketing funds.

    In the longer run if it becomes easier for punters to get their properties onto REA/Domain then many of them will do so as the first stage of their selling process. They’ll try it for a couple of months – if it sells great (remember they don’t know whether an agent could have secured a premium for them) and if it doesn’t sell they head off to your office and give you a listing that is probably overpriced.

    I say this because that is all that is left. Assuming they have the presentation right the only other determinants are price and promotion. Well on the promotion front they would have run a structured web campaign including listing on major portals, securing feautred listing status, been in an e-brochure and several property alerts. They’ll have a signboard and professional photos. So outside of your database they have marketed the property the exact same way you would have – except for the print ads that we all know come in well behind web and signboards for inquiry. So that leaves price. And we all know how much agent’s love vendors with strong price expectations who have exhausted many of the tools in the agent’s bag of tricks before even getting to us.

    If you don’t believe this scenario could play out go and speak to a company recruiting for staff. You will almost entirely find they advertise on Seek themselves and if it doesn’t work they tap a recruiter. Where do recruiters end up – with the hard roles to fill. What happens – time taken per placement increases, total turnover of placements falls and net margin declines. Not exactly a Happy Days scenario.

    Now you may say that FSBO will always be small. In the UK they represent 15%-20% of listings and have grown every year since the advent of the internet. In mainland europe the number is over 40% in some markets.
    So you just never know…….

  63. my Home is For sale December 1, 2009 at 10:28 am #

    Interesting to see this thread “hot up’ so to speak.
    Just to clarify a few points:

    At no stage does My home is For Sale state that ‘we will get private vendors listed onto all major portals’. Our clients are not private vendors. We comply with the Private Listing Policy of the REA. This means that we must offer and undertake all the services outlined in this policy to our clients.

    This is clearly stated on our website and as licensed Agents; we have the ability to list property on these sites. This comment is mischievous to say the least.

    We are a discount real estate agency who offers all the services of a traditional full service agency however we don

  64. Sal Espro December 1, 2009 at 11:07 am #

    Good luck to you MHIFS. And ‘Interested’, an agent is only worth what they are worth! i.e. Anyone in a commercial World that adds value deserves to be paid. If not. Don’t ask to be propped-up, that’s for the old, sick and education. Get another job.

    All the breast. Sal 🙂

  65. Jimbob May 10, 2010 at 5:19 am #

    The author says “For my mind though, selling a marketing package whilst not charging commission or a selling fee of any sort is not acting in the role of a real estate agent and they should not be allowed to advertise their properties on the portal….”

    What BALONY! A Real Estate Agent is not defined by whether they sell by commission or not. That you might engage a real estate agent on fixed price terms does not in an way imply that they are not a real estate agent. You are defining the terms so that you can then conclude these are ‘private sales’. These agents, who list on re.com.au for me without commission, are simply responding to a new market reality, and providing Real Estate Agent Services to that new market. The agent, through my $150 contract with them to list me on re.com.au, is still acting on my behalf to introduce me to buyers. They are still a third party intermediatory whom I formally engaged. Therefore it can not be said that it is private.

    The internet has changed everything, we don’t need music stores to buy music anymore, we soon won’t need DVD shops to rent movies; and the role of third parties (agents) in property transactions is quickly diminishing.

  66. Steve W June 2, 2011 at 3:40 pm #

    Sal I am not sure what you mean. I certainly read Andrews post and found it excellent truncation or not 🙂

    Thank you Andrew i really enjoyed your input and will be in touch with you soon.

    Steve W

  67. DaVE March 8, 2013 at 2:19 am #

    who cares whether private listings permitted or not, landlords save money and real estate agents lose commission, end of story

  68. John June 20, 2014 at 5:40 pm #

    Every time innovation causes someone with an outdated business model to lose profit its the same response, ban them – stop them from taking my money. Its a similar situation with cinemas vs Netflix vs file sharing.

    Home owners save money and the only ones losing out are the agents, either find a new business model and keep up with the times or move over and find another way to make outrageous commissions.

  69. Graham October 5, 2015 at 9:21 am #

    The problem is that Newscorp has the realestate industry in its pocket.
    The company REA is changing the way advertising appears and is charged for on realestate.com.au. The end result is the vendor will pay more.
    Realestate.com.au is supported by the Franchised networks who obviously have sweetheart deals with REA …and that breaks the rules !
    The Realestate Institute should support its members by promoting its website Realestateview.com.au to compete with realestate.com.au but it does not as the majority members are FRANCHISED operators in Newscorps pocket.
    A new entity needs to be formed ” Independent Realestate Institute ” to promote the interests of independent realestate operators and operate its own portal.

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