Disclaimer: These comments are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the current opinions and policies of the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia.
Property owners be warned; avoid choosing your agent using http://www.localagentfinder.com.au, http://www.agentselect.com.au, http://www.openagent.com.au or any similarly named commercial intermediary found at the top of a paid Google search.
These are the main operators in digital enterprises known in the industry as “agent referrers”. These groups claim they are equipped to “find the best agent near you”. The reality is they are merely running a web portal and a call centre and are not the vendor advocates they profess to be.
When selling, property owners call in local agents in order to assess which agent they believe will deliver them the service and result they want. Many of these vendors will initially look on-line to assess which agents they ought to call in. In this process it is tempting for future vendors to fill out an on-line form which the intermediary then forwards to subscriber agents inviting them to compete for the listing.
The problem here is that successful agents (therefore the best ones) don’t need to use these web sites to get business. Why would they? The best agents can get business on their merit and are understandably reluctant to hand over 20-25% of a reduced commission to an anonymous intermediary for nothing more than a lead. Consumers need to know that in using these sites, you’re simply not getting access to the best agents just the cheapest and most desperate.
These intermediaries are not there to act in the best interests of their “client” (There’s a fundamental problem with the idea that the vendor is the client yet it’s the agent that pays them a fee). They have their eye on a slice of the agent’s commission. It’s no surprise that the fact they take a slice is hidden from the consumer somewhere in the fine-print.
REIWA has an Agent Finder search on its site that simply provides relevant details of professional local agents in your area for you to choose from which should always be just the starting point for you to commence face-to-face meetings with those agents on your short list.
by Hayden Groves
REIA Deputy President