Featured Image_Realestate.com.au Wheels in Another Trojan Horse!

Realestate.com.au Wheels in Another Trojan Horse!

Picture of Stephen Atcheler
Stephen Atcheler


The latest product that realestate.com.au has released is barely even a trojan horse like they used to release in the early days. Over the past 15 years of being in the Real Estate game, I have been very familiar with realestate.com.au. As any sales agent, you will have had to advertise on there and a business owner received their large bill, as a large part of your monthly expenses. This really is a must-read article as you may not be aware of this blatant attack on our industry.


Now, Off-Market is a big fad at the moment. However, it is not a new thing. There are agents out there using it very successfully, as a part of their tool kit, as did we 5-7 years ago. However, there is an issue with it and that is you start to diminish your own value as an agent. It is ok for us agents to do, using our own social, however, it is not ok for the number one real estate portal. If we back this idea as an industry, it will be the final nail in the coffin.

What this essentially will do is create a direct line between buyers and sellers for the masses. Owners do not list privately as it is a hassle. However, how many times have you thrown a property up on realestate.com.au and it sells itself? I get it, we all play a role, but the reality is we would be handing over every buyer straight to realestate.com.au. I really hope you are seeing this picture clearly. They are trying to disconnect us and go direct.

If this is not enough evidence for you in the midst of this COVID-19 crisis, they snuck another blow in there, which the industry should be furious about, but everyone is too scared to pull the ripcord until there is another solution. Well, there is another solution and we can talk about that in a second. But let’s look at another trojan that realestate.com.au slipped in and tries to convince the industry that it is a good thing. They are allowing private landlords access to advertise directly on the site! How is this a good thing? It continues!

What is driving this attempt to cut us off? Is it a bunch of people that want to destroy an industry? The answer to that is no. It is called being a public listed company that must ensure profits, dividends, and a share price increase. They have done this since the beginning and people expect more of it. I am kicking myself that I never invested in them at the beginning, as it would have made me very wealthy. Anyway, that’s hindsight for you. Here is the all-time history of the share price and you can almost see the instant positive effect when they wheeled in every single one of their trojans big or small.

REA Group Limited growth

This truly is incredible growth and you will see this continue to grow unless we make some pretty big decisions today!

(Seriously, to an industry that has been blinded before, you now need to open your eyes and see, or this business will not be around in 5 years!)  

What is the solution and a realestate.com.au alternative?

Well, I do not think the answer is another web portal, as they will all do the same thing. They say they will not, however, I think they are preying on the fact that we have been tricked many times before, so they can trick us again. That puts domain.com.au off the list as they are a very close second to REA and 100% would do the exact same thing, given the chance.

If you were going to push a new portal in some sort of transition phase, then I would look to ones where the owner’s hearts are in the right place, as the industry has supported them in their journey, or ones owned by people in the game. These are two that tick those boxes, homely.com.au as the CEO Adam Spencer is a legend and received most capital investment from the real estate industry. The other portal that is an up and comer is realty.com.au with Troy Rushton and long-time industry advocate, Kevin Turner. These would be my picks, whilst you are getting ready to make some big changes, in the way you advertise property.

The most important part of this article is right here. The long-term solution is to really take a new school method of advertising but apply old school actions. Back in the day, you could control market share by having more listings and signs out there. This is the way to do this. It is to be everywhere, in a way where only your business controls that data. We, as agents, have the most valuable data for many industries and we are too loose with it. You must take control.

In 2020, it is easier than ever to achieve this, if you know how. We have many different social platforms which are one part of the puzzle. However, they will not be the only piece. Facebook and the likes have realised that no one will make a purchase of a house off Facebook directly, so they are looking for ways to encourage Real Estate Businesses to steer their advertising dollars there instead. Can you imagine an industry that spends $2000 per listing on major portals instead of sticking that into paid Facebook ads? This is a win-win.

There is more to this than just an advertising method, as you need a page to display your marketing efforts in an appealing way. Thirdly, a way to generate enquiry. There are manual ways to do this and there are some pretty cool automated ways of this coming out. There will be new types of businesses pop up and a modern way of generating enquiry, but as mentioned, you must play the old school game.

As an agent and business owner, you must go back to the days of building relationships with your buyers and finding out what their needs are. You become the salesman of the past again and you will be making more sales than ever. If you are looking for some companies that can currently help with social advertising of your properties, here are a few.

Spoke logo
Properti logo
property page logo

If you would like to chat with us about putting this plan together, I am happy to discuss it with you as you really will need a proper Real Estate Marketing Plan to make this happen.

I would like to continue with where I first saw the initial Trojan, in my experience. I hope you are still with me at this point or have run off to make some instant changes in the way you advertise properties.

If you control signs, you control listings!

This has always been the way and it will never change. There are new ways of achieving this, however, the principal is the same. If we go back to the day where there were no feature listings and where advertising in REA was very cheap and effective. I do not doubt its effectiveness still, but it is extremely expensive for the part of a transaction it contributes to. If you had more listings on the first page of REA showing you were a high performing agent, this would achieve the same effect as having loads of signs out there.

This is what REA cleverly noticed and they understand the EGO of the agent, wanting to see themselves first. They cleverly played on this, releasing the feature, which allowed us to pay to get ahead and be on first page. Then the agent with more listings would have to play this game as well. This was the beginning of the sneaky tricks to drive profit for the business, however, make it tough on the industry as a whole.

The feature was not the end, as it worked so well. There was more to come as you will see here. They worked out that agents not only will pay, but they will go out there selling it to the vendors, as they got to use their money to boost their own profile.

Next, from here, once the upgrade train was flogged to death, they looked for new ways. They must have been thinking at this point what if they could carve a direct route to the seller? Hmm, another 2.5% of the property price is left on the table for them to snatch up. So, it began!

Postcode banners! At a ridiculous cost to the agents, where those leads would be theirs anyway if they knew what they were actually doing. Paid seller leads through what’s my home worth and more. They have taken this so far that people are coming to the site to buy and sell! Eventually, they will have 100% of both sides of the coin, if we do not watch out, as I have banged on about many times in this article.

If you are on the same page with me here, share the message across your social platforms. In this case, one person can make a difference, one person at a time. Leave a comment if you have some input on the issue also, I would love to hear from you.

About the Author

Meet Stephen Atcheler, the Managing Director of a Real Estate Virtual Assistant Company. Stephen has been working in the industry since 2013 and has a wealth of experience in making outsourcing work for real estate businesses. He fell in love with real estate at a young age and has been working in the field since 2005. Stephen's passion for real estate and helping other business owners thrive led him to start his own real estate business in 2012, and eventually, to establish a real estate virtual assistant company to take it to the next level. Stephen's wealth of experience and knowledge in real estate and outsourcing make him the perfect person to guide you in setting up your own virtual assistant team. Feel free to reach out to him on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Instagram.

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