South African estate agents are calling for an industry owned portal

Who owns my listing data?

Case in point is the FNB & Private Property listing data saga. A bank launched a competing private sale service by (ironically) piggybacking on the very same listing data agents supplied to get extra traction. This angered agents, and requests to remove their own listings from the bank app, was met with a public press release from industry to keep calm. Agents vented on social media, and mainstream media used the opportunity to vilify agents as overpaid sales people in the wake of ‘disruption’. (The FSBO model launched by FNB is hardly disruptive and agents felt no one stood up for them).

Data is the new oil

More agents are realizing just how valuable their listings, local area knowledge and sales data can be as a collective. (and how valuable this can be to external companies wanting to launch new products/services). From social media discussions, this would form the basis of any potential industry owned portal. Agents want a platform they can trust, protocols to be put in place to protect their IP (listings), equal ownership and a solution to the ever increasing portal subscription fees.

Do you think there is value for agents to create a 100% industry owned portal?

What would you be willing to contribute every month as an individual agent for such a portal?

How do you perceive the pricing models offered by property portals?

Do you feel the real estate industry is transparent enough when it comes to ownership of portals and service providers?

Thoughts and Ideas from agents

The following is some further extracts from feedback received from the survey:

  • A portal that only advertise registered estate agents.
  • Only display mandated properties and a focus on removing outdated stock.
  • The current scenario of open mandates with several prices listed multiple times should be solved. A suggestion was made on displaying one listing with multiple agents.
  • Many feel current top portals are outdated with the same basic suburb search offered and they are not innovative enough.
  • Paying for your listings to appear on the first page is wrong.
  • Industry owned portal can only worked if equal shareholding by all members and not majority controlled.
  • The problem is this portal would have to get up to steam on its own, no agency is going to give up leads while we are waiting for an untried untested portal to get on its feet. We are all very suspicious of peoples intentions in this because of what has gone on in the past. Checks and balances would have to be put in place to balance out domination by individual agencies.
  • Competing Agents will never ever ever work together enough to make a difference nor support a portal enough; no matter the threat. Game over ; portals win!
  • CREA Canadian Real Estate Association has it’s own portal called REALTOR. Consumers use the app or website because they know they will be working with registered agents that are regulated by CREA, and that CREA owns the portal. We need the same.
  • An independent contractor should be appointed by the EAAB (the contractor will be the web master and the EAAB will only pay the money collected from the agents-so it is not run by the EAAB) with no agencies having ownership and no extra adverts and ideas to encourage more money like premium and featured and grouped ads. The payments should be done by listings and fines if not removed when sold. Further if you advertise an unlicensed or intern agent without supporting information you get fined. Search engine optimization needs to be included when calculating the cost of the website. Web manager contract must have clause not allowing the webmaster to take ownership if he is no longer needed or a new web master is contracted.
  • The quicker we get an industry portal the better
  • The portal should be more user friendly and enable the agents to engineer their listings the way they see fit. Not the way the portal insists it should be done. Within reason of course.
  • Happy with what the current portals provide it is just to expensive.
  • Portals should have better ways of qualifying the leads. Perhaps FICA verification should happen before a buyer can enquire. Get rid of the rubbish and time wasters.
  • I think data and even lead from other agencies are passed from private property and perhaps p24 to the agencies that own private property like ‘‘Franchise Name Removed’’. I will support an industry owned portal.
  • Main concern is that who ever gets the power will monopolize again; A new portal would have to be heavily supported by agencies, mass support and all leaving to known portals for it to work.
  • We have the listings - let’s Control our destiny
  • Many, and way to many to be written here :)

Challenges of an industry owned portal

The feedback above illustrates some of the main pain points agents have with current portals, but also presents an opportunity for current portals to address these concerns and realign themselves closer to the needs of agents. This can be challenge though, as shareholders in top portals expected a ROI. New avenues are continuously created to allow agents to spend more.

  • You need buy-in from all agents (100% listing representation) plus subscription fees to support a large marketing budget.
  • The above can only work if service providers open their (agent) listing data to such an industry platform, which is currently not happening.



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Adriaan Grové

Adriaan Grové

I’m the CEO of, I love working with my remote team to solve real estate problems. Questions everything.