Property management – Trade me wants to charge more / realestate.co.nz focuses on more services, not more cost!

The real estate industry continues to be challenged by the most extreme and uncertain economic circumstances. Set against this backdrop of low sales and declining income the last thing this industry needs is cost increases. However property managers will be bluntly faced with this issue from the beginning of May as Trade me increases fees – this time increasing both single listings and subscriptions for property management by 43% and 33% respectively. (The rise is immediate if you are not already a subscribing office).

Single listings go from $69 to $99 and subscriptions for property management offices from $299 to $399 per month – that will be exactly twice the price of a monthly subscription to realestate.co.nz for all your listings. This means that in the space of 3 years Trade me has increased the costs of property management listings by 400% and property for sale listings by 300%.

The rationale for this increase as the trade me communication states is that web site traffic has grown …

“The increased charge reflects a substantial increase in traffic (825,000 Unique Browsers) and enquiries (104,000 email enquiries in February) and also the introduction of a number of new features to rentals, including Google Maps and Street View, and the addition of car parks as a separate category.”

As a member of this industry I am concerned to see added costs lumped on an industry that is constantly challenged by the media as to the value for money the industry derives from this relationship – for years companies have been asked to pay more and more as “readership increases” justified the higher costs. Now newspaper circulation is falling and online audiences are growing so once again the media aims to exploit this opportunity.

However this time the industry has an alternative in realestate.co.nz so let’s examine the situation:

  1. “Substantial increase in traffic” (828,586 Unique Browsers in February) – this is true – as measured against a year ago it is a growth of 21%. Now compare that with realestate.co.nz with 364,055 Unique Browsers in February representing a higher increase of 26% as compared to last year.
  2. But what of traffic to just property management listings? – Surely, not all of these trade me visitors went to rental property? – sorry no data supplied
  3. The rental section of realestate.co.nz attracted 68,439 Unique Browsers in February an increase of 16% as compared to a year ago. It is worth remembering that rental listings on realestate.co.nz total 6,660 which represents just 6% of the total number of listings but attracts 18% of all visitors – this means close on 1 in 5 of all visitors are on the site to look for rental property. However as opposed to property for sale viewers of rental properties tend to be solely focussed on renting not viewing other peoples houses.
  4. “Introduction of new features” – Google maps & Street View. Well realestate.co.nz has been providing Google maps on the site from September 2006 and they are free to use. As for Street View – we went live at 6.45am on the 2nd December last year – the same time and day as Trade me – again it is free to put on any website – so there is no real value there
  5. The addition of car parks as a separate category? – well there are 33 listings of which 32 are private listings, so I am not sure this is a great benefit to professional property managers.

So how then does realestate.co.nz compare.

  1. Realestate.co.nz charges no more for rental listings or business listings or commercial listings – the monthly fee for an office of $200 per month has been fixed for 3 years and is fixed for the next year and beyond. That is because we can as an industry owned site challenge the media owned companies to keep costs under control. One monthly fee covers all listings for an office.
  2. We send any email enquiries straight to the property manager listing that property – rather than trade me which sends all emails to one office email address. In this way realestate.co.nz ensures that you as the listing agent gets important queries straight to your PC or phone 24 hrs a day immediately they are sent.
  3. Your listings appear on realestate.co.nz the next day after you list, this is often 24 hrs earlier than on trade me for data uploading customers, again faster listing, faster enquiries and faster response.

New initiative

We have a new initiative which we will provide in more detail next month – but to give you some insight we thought it would be good to share the details with you. We are launching a rental texting service so interested tenants can subscribe to a free text service to be notified of new properties instantly they come on the site and then they can call you to make enquiries. This is added value – and look no price increase!!

Choose wisely when selecting where to advertise your property management listings and remember in February over 210,000 unique browsers visited realestate.co.nz but did not visit trade me property.

March 09 2009 10:43 pm | Competitive activity and New feature and News

8 Responses to “Property management – Trade me wants to charge more / realestate.co.nz focuses on more services, not more cost!”

  1. Ian Grindle on 10 Mar 2009 at 2:00 pm #

    All very well but you didn’t bother replying to my email to you as to why my office with myself and my wife as the only salespeople have to pay the same an an office that may have 20 salespeople in it to list on realestate.co.nz . If you support the start ups they might have more opportunity to survive.

  2. Alistair Helm on 10 Mar 2009 at 2:28 pm #

    Ian

    Many thanks for posting this question. I have checked my emails and have no record of your email – if I have overlooked it I can only apologise. Let me answer the question here as it is a good question.

    We pride ourselves at realestate.co.nz in being an industry owned site and for operating in a transparent and equitable manner. In regard to subscription this could not be clearer – one charge of $200 per month per office.

    Now I hear your comment that to your office $200 per month is considerably more than to an office of 30 salespeople. However just as you rightly feel your subscription should be less the office with 30 salespeople feel you should pay more than they pay! – why?

    Because they have more listings and collectively create a content which attracts visitors to our site which you benefit from far more cost effectively that if you did not have our site.

    The thing to focus on is not the cost – instead reflect on the value – you have a website that can deliver the most effective form of advertising – ask yourself how many viewing and leads come from $200 spent on a newspaper advert – your subscription is working 24hrs per day – every day of the month.

    As a Ray White office which subscribes to Trade Me I am equally surprised that you feel $200 per month for realestate.co.nz is excessive when you would be paying $599 to Trade me per month?

    Let me know if I can be of any more help.

    Alistair

  3. Ian Grindle on 10 Mar 2009 at 3:42 pm #

    This of course is your justification for the charge but is no explanation to the bill payer as they still write the cheque. Another way of saying what you said is a larger office puts more listings on the site thru more salespeople which give them an undisputable advantage of a hit with the possible result of a sale which generates a commission which pays the bill you charge at a flat rate to the user no matter what the size of the office. With regard to Trademe I dont pay $599 per month.

  4. Steve Warburton on 10 Mar 2009 at 6:16 pm #

    As a specialist licensed property manegement office we have been ignored by Trade me, on receipt of email from trade of increased charges I repied immediately as I was shocked at this massive increase. Still no repy maybe we are not importnat enough we only have 20% of avaibale rentals on trade me website at the moment for Tauranga region.
    Maybe time for a change. Wonder if any impact if we take our 60 rentals off trade me.
    Trade me gets results but web site is rather clumsy for clients.
    Decision time coming

  5. Steve Warburton on 10 Mar 2009 at 6:17 pm #

    oops sorry about spelling errors been in office since 7.30am

  6. Alistair Helm on 10 Mar 2009 at 8:37 pm #

    Steve,

    Thanks for your feedback – very interesting to hear your experience. Don’t worry about the spelling – the message comes through and given your commitment to your business your time spent reading the email and leaving a comment is appreciated.

  7. Brendon Skipper on 11 Mar 2009 at 9:30 am #

    Hi Alistair

    In a market where agents are increasingly having to choose just one website to market their properties online it’s no surprise that you would grab onto any opportunity to put the boot into the market leader.

    However, as you know from your personal experience in being censured by the Advertising Standards Authority, it’s important you tell the whole story.

    To be clear:

    You incorrectly state that Trade Me sends all rental emails to one office address. In fact we send emails to the property manager listing the property, in the same manner your business does.
    You incorrectly infer that listings appear on Trade Me 24hrs later than your site, saying that you are faster. This is simply wrong. We accept two software uploads a day from software providers.
    For the time period you specify our increase in traffic was 141,216 unique browsers while yours was 74,281. When you’re working off a low base, it’s easier to focus on percentages.
    We note you have stopped publishing your email enquiry rate. We publish ours every month to let agents make their own judgement. In February we received 104,872 email enquires. Want to show us yours? Go on, let it all hang out.

    Onwards and upwards.

    Cheers

    Brendon Skipper
    Head of Trade Me Property

  8. Alistair Helm on 11 Mar 2009 at 11:42 am #

    Brendon,

    Thanks for your response. I welcome clarity as it is important for this industry to see the operation of the 2 websites. In specific response to your comments:

    1. I have enquired of a number of offices and they told me that all emails come into their office and then “have to be” distributed to agents. This was not one office but all offices I enquired of. I suggest that for your benefit you communicate this change as there are a large number of offices out there that believe that all emails have to come to just the one email address.

    Sending to individual agents is critical.

    2. Again in terms of data transfer I had been told by a number of offices and groups that their data is published 24 hrs after upload. If you have this turn around time that is great – better for agents. I stand corrected.

    3. Your comment in regard to traffic growth is correct as is my assertion I do not hide the absolute growth – in this piece I chose to highlight percentage. I think in my judgment that is appropriate.

    4. In regard to email rate I have never actually published the data, each office receives a detailed report of their statistics – that is what they request of us and that is what they provide. Each office makes a business judgment to subscribe to our site based on the value we deliver, this is based on feedback as well as lead generation.

    I think you deciding to highlight your data is your choice, I do not believe we need to operate in an environment of “your share your data – if I share mine” – this is a serious business and I take very seriously the role I play in working with and for the industry in providing the website for the benefit of the industry.

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