Julie O’Donohue said low-cost real estate models were the norm in countries such as the UK, USS and Canada, and Australians should move with the times.
“In Canada, one in every four homes is sold without an agent and in the USA it’s one in five,” she said. “While the market in Australia is currently small it is expected to grow significantly in the coming years.”
She said Australians are saving money through disruptive business models such as Purplebricks, and that can only be a good thing.
“If the arrival of a UK organisation is what it takes for Australians to work out that they can save tens of thousands of dollars when selling their property, then that’s a great thing,” she said.
“Other digital disruptors like Airbnb and Uber have showed that Australians are prepared to go with new peer to peer models for doing business.”
“It’s only a matter of time before vendors to realise that the agent selling their property for a $13,500 commission has had less training than the barista who makes their $4 coffee.”
Launched in 2015, Next Address provides a flat fee service for vendors that starts at $279 if paid upfront. Vendors can also defer their costs and pay $779 after settlement.
The portal aims to sell properties cheaply by using a blend of social media selling and online marketing through Domain.
“Our model puts people first, we want to make buying and selling property simple and inexpensive,” she said. “We take the leg work out of searching for property through our matching tool – 80 percent of buyers are looking for homes online and yet agents are still insisting that vendors pay for expensive print and marketing campaigns.
“It doesn’t make sense.”
Purplebricks is a high tech UK agency that launched in Australia in August. The company will charge a flat fee of $4500 – including marketing costs – to homeowners which can save thousands on real estate agent fees but also allow sellers access to a bespoke online platform to track the sale of their home, ask questions of potential buyers, respond to queries and receive offers the moment they are made.