New Zealand Real Estate Agency Closes Physical Doors, Opens Up Online

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A New Zealand real estate agency has closed the doors of its real-world office and opened up as a discount online real estate agency.”We found we had two businesses that competed with each other.

We had to make a choice, and we have decided our future in real estate lies with Jet Agent and the web,” owner John Bradley told New Zealand Property Investor.Bradley had run both Totally Kiwi Real Estate in the town of Paraparaumu and Jet Agent at He claimed Totally Kiwi had about 50 exclusive listings on its books at the point of closure but said that poor market conditions made the outlook bad.”

The market will recover in time, but by then the internet will have impacted on real estate and the industry will never be the same again,” Bradley told the magazine.Replacing agents?On its website, Jet Agent calls itself “the agent you use when you don’t want to use an agent.” It is a “licensed real estate agent and a member of the REINZ” and says “we are trying to allow you to personally carry out the expensive, yet simple elements of the agent’s role.”Buyers register for free but sellers pay $20 to list a property and then a commission of 0.35% when a property is sold.

Even if you use a live agent, too, and the live agent brings in a buyer, Jet Agent’s fee still has to be paid while your listing is on the website.On a $500,000 home, the commission would be $1,750, if my math is right.I invite Jet Agent to make their case in the comments section if they disagree with me. But to me, Jet Agent misses the mark.They’ve gotten rid of all the good things an agent does for sellers but kept the commission, albeit in reduced form. Yet, they don’t offer any new benefits to earn this commission.

They don’t even seem to have any web traffic to speak of.The proposition to vendors is downright unattractive. I (the consumer) pay you (Jet Agent) $1,750 (on a $500,000 home) so that you can list my property on a website where no one will see it.I think Jet Agent has gotten ahead of itself. I’d rather use a traditional agent, who I can hold accountable to apply effort and expertise in earning his or her fee.To me, the future seems to belong to those actual human agents who effectively use technology, rather than sites that seek to get rid of human agents. What do you think?

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  • Peter Ricci
    Posted May 2, 2008 at 11:33 am 0Likes

    Hi Dave, good article. I think we will see this happen more and more over the coming years. I do think the commission is very steep for what is essentially an advertising online agency (push marketer).

  • John Bradley, Principal & Founder of Jet Agent
    Posted May 28, 2008 at 11:11 am 0Likes

    Hi David

    I reviewed your comments with interest.

    The points you have made can be summarised in two groups. The first is to do with value for money and the second is to do with traffic.

    In regard to traffic, sure we have low volumes. That is inevitable with start ups. However, we do expect traffic to increase as our marketing kicks in and I invite you to have another look at the site. I note your comments were published on 2 May. At that time we held around 30 listings. Today, less than a month later we have topped 200. So things have started to move for us.

    I would like to point out also that these are listings. Not advertising placements. We can sell these properties just like a real estate agent and collect a success fee (out of the deposit). After all that

  • Dave Platter
    Posted May 28, 2008 at 1:15 pm 0Likes

    John, thanks very much for your comments. Very informative and very interesting.

    You raise a good question in your last paragraph. And the fact that you have 200 listings gives some real credibility to what you are doing.

    Some people believe it’s either/or. That is, either you’ll have services like your that cut services and cots, or services like traditional agents–but not both in the same market.

    I believe there will be room for both in the market. The success of a model like yours wouldn’t mean the end of traditional agents. It would just mean their are more options on table.

    It will be interesting to see how things play out. Would you update us over time on how your business is doing? It will be interesting to watch.

  • John Bradley, Principal & Founder of Jet Agent
    Posted May 28, 2008 at 3:06 pm 0Likes

    Sure David. Will do. I don’t disagree with your latest comments.

    For example, if you were planning a one month trip around South America you would probably use a travel agent. However, to book an intercity airline trip & a rental car you are more likely to use the net.

    I can see that similar principles are likely to be used with online real estate. Already we recognise that many of our listings are property investors and builders who don’t need an agent’s negotiating skills and prefer to do the deal themselves. They just need a wider market and a bit of backup.

    In other words, our initial market is those people who were unlikely to use an agent anyway. You could say that we’re just bringing them back into the fold.

    We have a long way to go but some of the early adopters are telling us its a cool idea.

  • michelle
    Posted July 20, 2008 at 8:03 pm 0Likes

    Your initial comments seem right on the mark, according to the Trade Me message boards the company owes both pay and holiday pay to his staff from “Totally Kiwi” which closed it’s door on the 14th April when that one went under AND also Jet agent staff. Sounds like the company is being pretty economical with the trust to put it nicely when on their site which I went to when checking a listing on Trade Me it clearly said on their site they were seeking a million in investment funds and email us for a prospectus when they didn’t have the necessary legal requirements for having a share float at all.

    Jet Agent For Sale On Trade Me

    Thursday, 10 July 2008, 9:50 am

    Jet Agent the virtual licensed real estate agent has put its website up for sale on Trade Me. Jet Agent was launched by its founders John and Andrea Bradley around Christmas last year and its goal has been to virtualise the role of a real estate agent and provide an online platform for home sellers to sell their home at much lower fees. It is claimed by Jet Agent that the business model is consistent with other developments overseas and the overall trend toward the Internet in general.

    However, the company is now struggling financially due to a lack of working capital and as a final resort to keep the concept alive the website itself has been offered for sale.

    During the past months the owners have not been idle in their attempts to attract additional equity and Mr Bradley said that they had put their energies into preparing a public offer but now this appears to have been the wrong option.

  • Dave Platter
    Posted July 21, 2008 at 10:04 am 0Likes

    Very interesting, Michelle. Thanks for the update.

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