Is it time for an independent agents organisation?

I have been talking about this for a long time now. Is it time that all of the independent agents across Australia got together to form a non profit organisation? Yes, will it ever happen? I hope so.

In the Internet economy many things have changed and one of them is the benefits franchise groups have had over independents in relation to buying power!

The current thinking is that if you want to start up a large real estate portal just get all the major franchise groups on board and independents will follow.

But what if the tables were turned? What if the thousands of independent agents across Australia got together and created a board and management team. What if they went to realestate.com.au or domain (both) and negotiated terms for all members.! What if we went to newspapers and told them, this is the linage charges we will pay or we will all walk to your competitor? Ahhh how the tides would turn.

You see…..the success of realestate.com.au and domain.com.au is built upon many things, but the major factor is property listings. For without these they would not get the numbers and without the numbers they would not get the visitors and they would not be able to make their millions from associated advertisers.

So how could it be done? For one I would not include real estate institutes for they have shown their complete lack of understanding in this area for too long now.

But it can be done, it is all about a common goal. It also must be about equal rights for all independent agents.

Some thoughts…………

1. A Board of Management equally represented by each state and territory. This would be a no cost voluntary role. Meetings would be held each month in a different state, of course expenses would be paid, but it cannot be viewed as a cash cow.

2. Each agency has voting rights, so if you have 5 offices you get 5 votes.

3. Each office would pay an annual fee of $495.00 including GST and this would give the organisation enough money to hire a full time consultant and to develop an independent agents real estate portal and systems to export to all major portals. 4000 independents = $1.98 Million Per Annum, but it would take a long time to get to that kind of revenue.

4. Each office would be given 1 share in the new enterprise. Each year any new members would be allocated shares.

5. The role of the consultant would be to negotiate deals with a variety of websites and other common suppliers. It would be a streamlined role.

6. Release a National Real Estate Portal and Systems (simple clean effective) and market this site heavily online. The cost of running a national portal developed well would be around $100,000 per annum, but you would only do this once you had enough members to justify it.

7. Hire a national sales manager to negotiate advertising rates on the portal for banks etc.

8. Deliver a prospectus to all independent agents with an aim to float on the stockmarket.

This is just a idea, but if you could pull it off, I am sure the savings made each year would more than pay for membership.

It would have to be pushed by all independent agents across Australia, it would involve competing agencies getting together for a common goal, but it is very achievable.

And it would be owned by the agents with a charter that basically controlled its future!

Over to you guys?

Independant Agents

SEO For Real Estate
Listing Leads
Agentpoint Real estate

About Peter J Ricci

Peter Ricci is the Director of Agentpoint.com.au, Business2.com.au, Ginga.com.au and ZooProperty.com and has been involved in designing and developing real estate systems and websites since 1997. In July 2001 Peter founded Business2.com.au to help real estate agents better understand the power of the Internet and the real estate landscape in Australia and New Zealand. Since then he has penned over 300 articles on a variety of subjects in the real estate technology industry. Business2.com.au is now the leading real estate technology site in Australasia.

10 Responses to Is it time for an independent agents organisation?

  1. Gabby H September 27, 2006 at 12:42 pm #

    Well all the current Independant things are controlled by a few agents, this cannot happen.

  2. John September 27, 2006 at 6:33 pm #

    Hi,

    There is an organisation that does this on behalf of independant agencies across Australia. irean – independant real estate agents network. It’s basically a buying group for independants. They have just over 1000 subscribers currently.

    George who runs it negotiates buying deals and passes the savings onto irean members. He can save an independant agent an absolute bucket of money and he only charges a flat fee of $25 per month.

    The website for more info is http://www.irean.com.au

  3. H R September 27, 2006 at 7:55 pm #

    Thanks for the advertising John but the facts are this –

    Not one real estate organisation has the capacity to organise a real estate portal that is worth visiting.

    End of story,………….and whilst this remains that case realestate.com.ayu will reap the rewards of industry real estate Internet ignorance.

  4. Paul September 27, 2006 at 9:18 pm #

    I like your posts Peter you are a visionary. Very enjoyable to read.

    It pains me to see realestateview.com.au is failing which is a shame because the guys behind that site are very willing and able but are held back by a board that just doesn’t understand what the people want or the technology behind.

    I just don’t see it happening, the media companies have been robbing real estate agencies for years and nothing is going to change any time soon. The agents want results and only results are going to get them to change their marketing strategies. Its a catch 22 situation with the portals too.

  5. Peter September 28, 2006 at 8:10 pm #

    Paul, I understand, but again realestateview.com.au is owned by some independant agencies as well as industry and that is dumb, the structure is so important. I would have hoped it was a better set up, maybe they should just start again.

    A new independants site should be complimentary, it is not about dumping realestate.com.au or domain, but it is about placing some pressure on them with regards to pricing. Many people here comment on how some of these portals are evil and so on, but they only charge what they know they can charge, realestate.com.au can charge more because they have more users and they get (in the majority of areas of Australia) better results.

    If anyone was to propose an new portal it would be for the good of the industry and no oplayers should get more than others, that is why I think a per office initial share offering could work.

    It is also important that the organisation owns the technology and the technology suplier gets paid for what they do, not royalties etc….

  6. Nick February 18, 2007 at 1:12 pm #

    If australian real estate agents were serious about such a ‘union’, as I see it, their biggest obsticle would be getting a half-decent property-listing application developed. Would cost a lot of money for agents initially, take a lot of time, and require a lot of testing.

    My company has spent the last 3 years developing a multi-agent, multi-site property network and its now being used in-the-wild – with considerable success – in the fringe Real Estate sectors we’ve targeted (Management Rights and [unrelated] Student Housing).

    Listings can be input and output via XML / FTP, ensuring true inter-site syndication, so it could easily populate any number of sites such as Agent’s direct sites, RealEstate.com.au, Domain.com.au, etc. Also supports all the usual things you’d expect… proximity search, mapping, image resizing, etc, etc.

    If agents were serious about forming such a union, I’d be happy to volunteer our software and development skills to such a cause – in return for a modest shareholding in the union and at fees agreed to – permanently – by the union.

    The software’s written for exactly this purpose – would be reasonably straight forward to roll-out such a site. As I see it – it simply needs the industry to embrace the idea.

  7. Peter February 18, 2007 at 1:36 pm #

    Nick

    I am sure your software would be great, however companies like mine (and my competitors) would also offer this type of deal…

    I don’t mind these types of posts, but be careful not to over promote your company.

  8. Nick February 18, 2007 at 8:47 pm #

    Peter your site has a lot of integrity and your advice is spot-on in my opinion – Respect ;).

    Certainly not my intention to exploit your site as a billboard here, I was careful not to actually mention my sites – I just want to make it known if agents are serious about an industry union portal, all they need to do is front the numbers, software development needn’t be an issue for them.

    We can’t expect agents to put their competitive differences aside for this cause if we, as developers, can’t do the same.

    Compeating with other developers and portals is of no interest to me whatsoever. I want my products to compliment the existing landscape, not own it. I’ve intentionally steered our company into specific neesh sectors of the Real Estate industry that aren’t being explored by anyone else… Reinventing-the-wheel is the same fundimental flaw in just about every REAwannabe out there, and not what we’re about.

    We are actually planning to promote some of your articles and sites in our next publication if thats ok with you.

    PS: I emailed you a couple of days ago about possibly reselling / integrating your software into our network, did you get that?

  9. Peter February 18, 2007 at 9:05 pm #

    Nick Thanks for that, yes I have your email. I have been re developing my system and are ready for the launch of that and a few other products on March 31st…

    Will call you tomorrow…regards Peter

  10. Nick February 18, 2007 at 9:07 pm #

    Sweet – PS: site looks hot :).

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