Andrew Rechtman, Executive General Manager of REA Group, says the philosophy behind the program is to invest in customers and helping to strengthen the real estate industry for the future.
“The philosophy behind the program is to assist agents to keep growing and for us to give back to the industry that does so much for us.
“The core principle is that agents are the foundation of a successful industry.
“In order to advertise on realestate.com.au, you can only do so through an agent. Individual agents cannot advertise on their own. We believe fundamentally the agent is the most important source of marketing for vendor and the best way for the vendor to market their property.
“We are thankful for the support agents give us and in return, we want to support the industry.”
The Advantage Program is made up of five key pillars:
1. Community grants: customers can apply for grants of up to $2,000 to help support community or non-profit organisation.
“Agents are really active in the community and in some places a real backbone, whether it’s sponsoring the local nippers or hospital programs. The community grants give a profile to agencies but more importantly supports the communities. We’ve gotten a lot of good feedback from agents and it feels very aligned with the core philosophies of real estate agents generally,” Mr Rechtman said.
2. Corporate agreements: Through Advantage, REA Group can sponsor customers at a group or franchise level. This includes sponsorship of events, partnering on innovative projects supporting the digital upskilling of their networks, or targeted Head Office Visits.
3. Industry partnerships: We also sponsor major industry events such as AREC, and in each state, we also support the institutes (REIQ, REINSW, REIWA, etc).
“We do seminars on how to become a better agent, improving digital footprint and others in partnerships with institutes across some states. These are particularly useful for agents who don’t have access to the same resources in regional areas as their city counterparts.”
4. Events: REA Group events include large-scale events like the AREAs and Momentum, educational Masterclasses and Webinars with key influencers in the industry, and hospitality.
70 customers per week will have access to a realestate.com.au branded ice-cream cart to use at auctions, open for inspections and their own events.
“We encourage activation, particularly in Spring. It is good branding for ourselves but it’s to engage buyers at auctions or open homes. People having access to a coffee cart on the day can be low key stuff that can make a difference on auction day to ensure there is a good atmosphere, good crowd and good vibe that can contribute meaningfully.”
Aside from the Advantage Program, REA Group has other innovations up its sleeve to ensure agents are getting the most out of their partnership with realestate.com.au.
Mr Rechtman says the group is constantly innovating the site to ensure there are better ways for vendors’ properties to be seen on the site.
“We are moving to really increase the visibility of property for vendors. We have an audience maximiser product which takes the listing from the website and uses our data to ensure it is shown to people even when they are not on realestate.com.au and surfing Facebook or things like that and surfaced to potential buyers.”
The rental property space is another area that Mr Rechtman believes the REA Group can bring its innovation to make things easier for tenants and property managers.
“We believe there are better ways that allow consumers to apply ahead of time to apply for a rental property on rea.com. We think we can streamline and work with partners and property managers making it easier for PMs who have a tough job and for renters.
“Airbnb has shown how important a good digital experience can be. We want to be part of the trend and move towards digitisation. This will help save property managers a lot of time and aggravation and create a better experience for consumers.
“We’ve seen in last year or 2, businesses like open agent, local agent finder move into seller lead generation space. We think there is a better way to do lead generation.
“Realestate.com.au is the number one way people come to see property, so we think we have a role to play in responsibly and fairly providing information on agents to vendors and help vendors find the right agent for them.
“We want to use data and insights to help vendors make right choice in a way that doesn’t intrude on the traditional economics of the commision agents earn. We make sure we are in no way intruding on commision which rightfully belongs to agents.”