Australian real estate agency startup Radley Property says the wealthy property portal industry could be more socially innovative in terms of philanthropy.
Co-director Michael Radovnikovic tells PPW the billion dollar online real estate industry could learn from the fintech sector which has been actively contributing to the community using its disruptive business models rather than being solely profit-driven.
Radovnikovic and co director Belinda Bentley are putting their money where their mouths are. Their real estate agency, freshly launched this week, has pledged 20 per cent of its commission to Australian registered charities.
For each transaction, landowners individually donate half of Radley Property’s 20 per cent pledge to their chosen charity. This donation is made in the vendor’s name, does not impact their profit and is tax deductible.
Radley Property invests the other half to its non-profit education partners, Room to Read and the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation.
“We want to give landowners and developers the opportunity to engage in philanthropy by simply selling their property with us," says Bentley, who is also the company's founder.
"While the business model reflects our values, we are also mindful that our commission needs to be relevant and competitive to the market.”
Bentley and Radovnikovic have been members of Philanthropy Australia’s New Generation of Giving Program for the past two years.
Both directors have had extensive careers in the property industry and also regularly contribute to various property and arts not-for-profit organisations.
“We were inspired by the social change that was disrupting other sectors through the growing number of social enterprises and ‘profit with purpose’ businesses," Bentley says.
"When we looked at our own industry, we were disappointed that not much has changed.
“We have experienced first hand what it’s like to give back and we want landowners to have a similar opportunity to consider the causes they care about. By promoting philanthropy through property, we are able to reach a greater population without affecting their bottom line.”
In addition the bricks and mortar business employs a lean, high tech model to reduce overheads. Rather than a walk in office, the company operates a private office and travels to its clients' sites for appraisals.
Radovnikovic adds the company carefully researched utilising an online platform, but he believes the proptech market in Australia is still too much in its infancy to prioritise such a move in the short term.
He says the company is likely to move online in the future but currently its key focus is to promote and grow the business in a traditional form.