With Realestate.com.au becoming the runaway leader in portals in Australia, one wonders what is next for the real estate giant. Over the past few years agents have seen significant increases in fees, multiple levels of membership( read, more fees)and an entry into newspaper classifieds.
The CEO of Realestate.com.au Simon Baker has made it clear that the latter Newspaper property guide) is only to test the market and for good reason, it is a very expensive market and cost of entry is high. However they have shown that they are prepared to do almost anything to increase revenues for shareholders. So what is next?
The portal can no longer keep raising agents fees, particularly when the market is cooling somewhat. So here are some thoughts and ideas.
At the moment realestate.com.au has a number of advertisers in the banking and broking arena and this brings in significant revenues for the portal. However I believe that Realestate.com.au might just dip their hands into buying a mortgage broking house and going it alone. They could offer a range of services alongside listings such as “apply for a home loan now” which would be basically a form that has a backend that evaluates an application and can spit out a preliminary offer in minutes. This would give them a large revenue surge. Hey, after all they have more ‘live’ buyers at their site than any bank could ever dream of.
Realestate.com.au could easily buy out some portals in English speaking countries and expand into new markets. New Zealand is ripe for the picking as all the portals in that country are pretty lame. They could also expand into Asia through partnerships but that will be a tougher ask. The US is out of bounds because it is just so cheap and there are already a number of established players. The UK again does not have any portal that is a standout and could be worth a try.
There are so many opportunities out there if they want them and it seems their only threat comes from Sensis and their currently hopeless real estate portal Just Listed. Sensis have bucket loads of cash and are currently reviewing all of their online properties and merging them into one. Sensis’s only problem comes from their complete lack of understanding of the Internet medium and their continued protectionism of their big money spinners (Yellow Pages and White Pages)
All in all I think realestate.com.au have some excellent times ahead, as long as they tread carefully with their member agents.