According to Ray Ellis, the Chief Executive of First National Real Estate, property owners and buyers around Australia are being misled by a range of ‘Agent Finder’ websites.
‘There are a variety of agent finder websites that have inserted themselves as middlemen in the marketplace, claiming to connect consumers with the best local agents for free, but charging agents a 20 percent referral fee’ said First National’s chief executive, Mr Ray Ellis.
“Consumers don’t understand that some of these services simply pay salespeople to find whichever agent is willing to pay a 20 percent referral fee. If the best agent in an area refuses, as is often the case, they call lesser agents until they find one who will pay the fee.”
He says at First National there have been reports of agents being hounded with up to 5 phone calls, demanding they accept the referral of a listing.
He recommended consumers stick to major websites like realestate.com.au, domain.com.au and ratemyagent.com.au, which offer agent ratings, reviews and activity without a vested interest. These websites, he says, provide consumers with insight into which agents are most active and successful in particular regions, without the need to give personal information to a middleman.
‘Agents are commercially competitive by nature when it comes to fees. Even the best agents, those who have worked long and hard to establish their credentials, expect to compete for listings. However, in the same way, that you don’t expect the best agents to easily reduce the price of your house, they’re not inclined to give away part of their fee to somebody who does nothing’ said Mr Ellis.