Hidden agenda in web leads
When the time comes to sell or lease your property, would-be vendors and landlords increasingly look to the internet to help make a short list of agents who might meet their needs to help sell or manage their property.
Traditional methods of choosing an agent, such as noting the more active agents in your area by number of signboards, perusing newspaper advertisements, listening to recommendations from friends and relatives, and visiting home opens to meet agents, remain effective ways of finding a real estate agent. However, we live in a digital age, and increasingly people want to do their research online.
Caution on intermediary websites
Intermediary websites claim they can find you the “best” agent.
The truth is, they merely run a portal and a call centre where they contact local agents offering them a lead for a property listing in exchange for a minimum 20 per cent of their selling fee.
The consumer then contacts the participating agents, chooses one from the list and is often surprised to learn the agent will be paying a referral fee to the intermediary. Suddenly, the vendor's confidence in their agent is undermined when they discover the agent is prepared to give up a portion of their fee to obtain a lead.
You have to ask, if that agent is now working for less money, how hard will they work for you?
Successful agents don’t need referral websites
The main problem with agent referral websites is that successful leading agents (therefore the best ones) don’t need to use them to get business. Why would they? The best agents get business on their merit and are understandably reluctant to hand over 20 to 25 per cent of their commission to an anonymous commercially motivated intermediary for nothing more than a simple lead generation.
These commercial intermediary websites are not the vendor advocates they purport to be. Consumers need to know that by using these sites, you're not getting access to the best real estate agents, you’re simply being shown the cheapest and most desperate. Hayden Groves is the president of the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia.