In a completely stunning move the REIQ has delivered its own death blow to its fledgling property listing website at reiq.com by imposing a $25 per sales listing fee and a $10 rental listing fee on all members. With no cap placed on these fees some offices would be expected to pay more than what they do for realestate.com.au.
The news of this fee was being rolled out was 4 or 5 paragraphs deep in a letter from REIQ CEO Anton Kardash. There was no highlighting. bolding or any indication that the letter represented any sort of proposed fee for realestate agents let alone hundreds or thousands of dollars every single month. You could be excused in thinking this was just a typical covering letter filled with waffle but this letter is putting members on 30 day notice that they will be invoiced for every listing appearing on the REIQ website. I have no doubt that most recipients just discarded the letter and read the other contents in the envelope. In fact I would go so far as to suggest that the information was hidden on purpose.
In search of a platform the REIQ contacted REIWA whose successful REIWA website is the poster child of Institute sites in Australia. As virtually every Western Australian agent I have spoken to has told me, the REIWA site delivers as good or better than the top tier commercial subscription portals.
The REIWA brand is more than 10 times the brand of the REIQ. With half the population in Western Australia they generate about 5 times the search traffic volume of the REIQ. REIWA are getting a lot of things right when it comes to their public awareness and exposure so I and many other Queenslanders were excited when they started talking with REIWA over cloning their website.
But something somewhere went wrong. I have been reliably informed that the REIWA code base is not being used. It was scrapped and the performance of the REIQ website seems to have been effected as it has been completely underwhelming. They actually boasted the other day of sending out their 1000th email enquiry. This is after a huge campaign they have converted just 1000 enquiries across the whole of Queensland, hardly something to be crowing about.
Internally the REIQ seems to have been turned upside down with a massive turnover of staff with many blaming the REIQ.com website as being at the core of the realignment of so many careers. An institute has to be profitable but not everyone of its operations needs to be profit making.
Talking with other REIQ members there seems to be two camps of people. There are the members that know about this new charge and are removing their property listings and then there are the members who know nothing about it.
Essentially the REIQ is asking for agreement of the new terms by our silence, hardly enforceable.
Now, dont get me wrong. I think the REIQ should charge, but with no monthly cap in place some offices are going to be hit with massive bills. Its not unusual for medium offices like our office at Nerang First National to do 30 or 40 new sales listings every month. That would mean we are paying about the same for REIQ as what we do for realestate.com.au. What about large offices like Ray White Surfers Paradise which would do hundreds of sales listings every month?
The pricing structure is wrong and is specifically weighted for smaller offices.
I think given the results provided by the REIQ website, which are virtually nil I think $10/$5 would have been fairer with a cap at $200 per month for an office. If you look at REIWA which is very strong brand in Western Australia. They charge members but they deliver enquiries just as well as realestate.com.au and for many members even better. But the highest a REIWA member has to pay is $380pm because it is capped.
I believe that the per listing charge of $25/$10 is massively out of step and that omission of a cap is wrong. I think if the REIQ lowered the per listing charges to say $10/$5 and then set a cap at around $199 most of the membership would be in favour. The charges could be increased in following years as the performance started.
The current structure is is going to place a sour taste in the mouth of many members when they send those invoices out which is not what the REIQ or out industry needs.
Starting tomorrow the 1st of October the REIQ shall be charging for these listings and I for one would suggest when those invoices get sent out that the receptionist be given danger money as members from right around Queensland start phoning to vent.
So who is to blame for this mess? Who should be held accountable? Anton Kardash as Managing Director and CEO of the REIQ?? or the current board? Both?? Let us know what you think in the comments..
In a funny twist of fate it’s the members who may get to have the last laugh as today, just a day before the new charges are implemented, the ballot paper for the new board members arrived. The existing board members looking for re-election like Paul Curtain, Robert Honeycombe, Deborah Duff and Jonathon Blocksidge might have good reason to be little nervous that the membership will take out their frustrations and vote elsewhere.
I have spoken or corresponded with many of the new candidates running for the board position and I am yet to find one that is in support of these new charges imposed by Anton and the old Board.
I for one will be voting for a change of guard as well as stopping our feed to the REIQ.com website until this is fixed and commonsense prevails!