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The renewal for the realestate.com.au subscription at our agency at Upper Coomera is up again and since we fall due in June and because realestate.com.au has switched to market based pricing method we now have three choices of subscriptions to choose from.   The new market based pricing is so focussed on the price of your home its possible for more expensive properties in the same suburb to pay 20% more than cheaper properties.

stress-hitting-head-on-keyboardBecause we are still on the old style Platinum subscription if we subscribe before June we can still do one more year on that model with the changes being to the monthly subscription price (naturally!!) and the platinum plans now only include 3 feature properties per month, not the customary 5.

Again, if we subscribe before June we can also choose from the current standard Flexi plan as an option. This operates with a based price plus a compulsory add on pack which has volume discounts if you commit to 3, 5, 10 or all properties to have that add on feature applied like Feature Listings or Highlight Listings.

Starting July 1 there is now a third option which is an upgrade to the Flexi system that they are calling “Market Based Pricing”.

Market Based Pricing is essentially the Flexi plans 2.0.   The base subscription fee drops and the per property charges increase.

So How Much do they Increase?  

That is the big questions and will depend upon suburb of the listing.  So instead of one price to quote sellers, if you operate across 10 suburbs you could now have up to 10 different prices to quote sellers across your primary trade area.

When you layer 3 different pricing structures in place along with 30 different discount levels for the Flexi 1.0 and Market Based Pricing that can be applied for the add on component (Feature x 3 for 30 days, Feature x 3 for 45 days, Feature x 5 for 30 days etc etc)  the endless pricing variations appear mind boggling and confusion is going to reign supreme. 

Talking with the realestate.com.au rep as he tried to explain and support the whole mess was interesting especially when resources he had from head office over the new pricing system  contradicted themselves.

Market Based Pricing allegedly uses a few different factors to work out how much Feature, Highlight and Premier pricing will be for each suburb. Apparently some of those factors include the median price of the suburb and the number of enquiries that suburb receives.

My initial impressions are that the pricing also seems to be based on what the agents in that suburb have been selling.  In suburbs where agents have been selling a lot of Highlight upgrades the price of  highlights in that suburb have increased significantly.

I have seen some suburbs where the Feature Property price goes down but the Highlight has gone up, and vice versa.  Of course, there are plenty were both have gone up.

So in essence if you operate in more affluent areas in your city be prepared to start paying more for your realestate.com.au accounts.

In fact in some cases they have even split a suburb in two when there it has two different pricing levels so they can stick the higher prices to the properties worth more than other areas in the suburb.  Let me explain. 

One of the key suburbs we operate in is Coomera which is a suburb of two personalities.   The estate of Coomera Waters is predominately owner occupied and has a much higher median price than the rest of Coomera which is predominately investor owner properties with much lower median prices.    It is important to understand here that Coomera Waters is not a suburb, it is a developer estate only and the suburb for each property in that estate is Coomera.   Realestate.com.au has  a separate listing in their property database for Coomera Waters as though it was a different suburb. It is not.

So the Market Based Pricing (without any volume discount applied) for Coomera is 

Coomera Market Based Pricing Grid
Coomera Market Based Pricing Grid


and the MBP for Coomera Waters is

Coomera Waters Market Based Pricing Grid
Coomera Waters Market Based Pricing Grid


So you should notice that the Highlight Property for the same suburb has two prices.  For the cheaper areas of Coomera it is $940.00 and for the more expensive areas it is $1130.00.   Thats a 20% premium in the same suburb if you want to use the word Waters in their realestate.com.au advert.

Why do they do this… because they can.

What will be interesting over the coming year is to see what agents and owners do with this. Will they choose to pay the extra to be listed under the Coomera Waters section or will they choose to list under just Coomera and put the savings into another marketing initiative.. 

Here are some more examples of just two other suburbs in our primary trade area.   

Upper Coomera

Upper Coomera Market Based Pricing Grid
Upper Coomera Market Based Pricing Grid


Pimpama Market Based Pricing Grid
Pimpama Market Based Pricing Grid


Remember that these are essentially rack rates, RRP, or Casual rates. If you agree to commit for 12 months to book at least three 30 day feature properties every month  you could expect to see a discount of 20%. If you book a minimum of 10 you might get a discount of 30%.

So How Much Will Your Primary Suburbs Be?

So you are probably wondering just what your key suburbs will be increasing by.  Because of the massive complexity of the pricing system now realestate.com.au has released a webpage for you to lookup each suburb.

You are suppose to get it from your realestate.com.au account rep but here it is http://upgrades.realestate.com.au/ 

This whole shift to market based pricing seems a further forcus on getting a share of our commission. If they can align the cost of an internet listing with the price  they are also aligning it with out commission and therefore they only then need to increase that amount in following years to get a bigger and bigger slice of our commission.   Realestate.com.au like to phrase this as a bigger share of wallet.

What do you think of this change? How will it effect you?




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  • Jason Rose
    Posted May 18, 2014 at 8:22 am 0Likes

    Great comparison Glenn.

    How about rental listings?

    • Glenn Batten
      Posted May 19, 2014 at 4:12 pm 0Likes

      I have yet to complete my analysis of rentals but I suspect it will be the same. I dont see many agents using the addons so I did not rush into crunching the numbers but it might be different outside of my trade area.. Do you use the addons yourself Jason ??

      • Jason Rose
        Posted May 20, 2014 at 2:24 pm 0Likes

        If we are doing our job properly and the client is receptive to market feedback, then we do not need add ons. The only time that we are is in some markets were we list a property new today and it appears on page 3 because of over supply in that particular market

  • Darren
    Posted May 18, 2014 at 8:54 am 0Likes

    “Why do they do this… because they can.”

    And because they can they will continue to increase their share of our “wallet.” The truly excellent question is, as agents, how do we change this?

  • Mr black (not my real name)
    Posted May 18, 2014 at 10:10 am 0Likes

    Glenn, REA wouldnt introduce new pricing to lose themselves money now would they? I ran the flexi pricing over our last 12 months figures a while back… Costs would have been 50% more than the standard subscription we use, nothing ‘flexi’ about it…

    • Glenn Batten
      Posted May 19, 2014 at 4:08 pm 0Likes

      Depending upon what suburb you are in, it could jump even higher than that this year.

  • B Wilson
    Posted May 18, 2014 at 10:30 am 0Likes

    Yes, great comparison Glenn.
    Perhaps Rea could engage you to train their reps!
    To make it easier during our renewal in January ( to Flexi……. I shudder to think what we’ll be paying on this new market based model ), I just applied our volume of sales and rea products we used to what we’d done the previous Calendar year . The result ……. A 33% increase. And that off the back of 25% per annum increases for 2012 and 2013………
    I just checked their Pricing guide web page and my core suburb isn’t listed yet…….. I’m nervous.

  • Peter
    Posted May 18, 2014 at 10:44 am 0Likes

    These guys are going to price themselves right out of business!

    • Glenn Batten
      Posted May 19, 2014 at 4:14 pm 0Likes

      I thought that was going to be the case a few years ago.. but they are stronger than ever..

  • Glenn Rogers
    Posted May 18, 2014 at 11:09 am 0Likes

    This gives all the portals wanting a greater share a huge leg up.

  • PeterS
    Posted May 18, 2014 at 12:55 pm 0Likes

    Well this new pricing structure is only fair,isn’t it? REA contributes to my marketing and my time to go out and list the property, then they stand by my side when i conduct open for inspections, they are there to help negotiate with the buyer and sign contracts – so why shouldn’t they take a bigger chunk of my commission?

    They do this because they can. Until there is a ‘real’ competitor out there, all we can do is bitch about it. Bring on the new .realestate domains and see if that changes the face of real estate and puts REA back in their box.

    • Glenn Batten
      Posted May 19, 2014 at 4:10 pm 0Likes

      Fairness is just a measure that depends on your perspective 🙂

      and from my view their prices ranges have always been un-fair

    • michael
      Posted May 19, 2014 at 10:24 pm 0Likes


      • Glenn Batten
        Posted May 20, 2014 at 11:56 am 0Likes

        For what its worth, IMHO your dreaming.

        There are huge amounts of smartphone apps that have complemented websites… ie facebook, yellow pages, linkedin, gmail etc etc etc..

        There has been smartphone apps that have created their own niche entirely … ie Instagram and Whatsapp

        But I cant think of one where a market leading website has been replaced by just a smartphone app. Can you think of one ?

  • michael
    Posted May 18, 2014 at 10:11 pm 0Likes

    Launching at AREC 2014 a tool for agents to list and sell properties before the hit REA. http://www.propertyviewLIVE.com.au ..
    Part of http://www.realestateVIEW.com.au , smart phone apps completely subsides by REV delivered to each REV subscriber!
    Watch this space…..

    • Peter
      Posted May 19, 2014 at 6:45 pm 0Likes

      Hmmm, your post is a bit spammy, unless we are now allowed to blatantly advertise our products and services in the comments section?

  • michael
    Posted May 19, 2014 at 9:58 pm 0Likes

    No, not spammy at all. The beauty of the internet, something new can get a bit of attention. REA have certainly had their fair share. I guess one will never know what they don’t know unless seen amongst topical articles such as this….

    • Glenn Batten
      Posted May 23, 2014 at 3:34 pm 0Likes

      Actually he was right.. it was a bit spammy. Please dont blatantly promote your own products like that.

  • Ron Bauer
    Posted May 21, 2014 at 7:55 pm 0Likes

    Intesting article, thank you. Frankly, seriously considering NOT renewing the contract with REA. Admittedly Domain.com.au provide healthy competition in our market so an arguably easier decision, but as you have said, the only way we can hold any sway is by controlling the content. Even just 2 meaningful agents in each suburb would make an enormous impact on any website if they chose to remove their content.

    • Glenn Batten
      Posted May 23, 2014 at 3:33 pm 0Likes

      This has been tried in Victoria but getting agents to act in their own greater good is about as easy as herding cats. There was always someone breaking ranks.

      There is a tipping point where the clients losses will outstrip the revenue gains but I dont think we are there yet. You are one of the lucky ones with a great second option. I dont have that in my area.

  • Jason D
    Posted May 22, 2014 at 1:12 am 0Likes

    Whinging about what is effectively cheaper to reach people digitally compared with killing trees.

    It must be May on Business2.com.au.

    • Glenn Batten
      Posted May 23, 2014 at 3:29 pm 0Likes

      Believe it or not but realestate.com.au prices passed print prices in many areas of Australia quite some time ago.

      Example. On the tweed on the Gold Coast you can get a FULL page ad in the local paper for prices like $600. A 1/12th page ad is only about $50. A feature, highlight and premier property options are far in excesss of that and peak at $7000.

      Major city print costs are still high and comparable but online advertising is now not the cost saver it once was for many around the country.

      • Jason D
        Posted May 26, 2014 at 12:16 pm 0Likes

        But can you measure how well that full page ad performs compared with digital?

        • Glenn Batten
          Posted May 26, 2014 at 12:32 pm 0Likes

          I agree, value is really what matters.. I cant speak for the agents on the Tweed but they do a lot of advertising in the papers down there because the price is right.

          As to measuring you can if you want but as you can imagine it will not be an apples to apples comparison of course. You can use a custom phone number for an ad as well as a custom URL. Most people dont go to this trouble though. Most agents have a pretty good understanding of what works and what does not work to generate calls though.

          Jason, I get that you are a realestate.com.au shareholder but you have to understand that the compounding rate of increases applied to realestate.com.au pricing has brought it a lot close to print and in many cases well over the prices of print.

          The argument that it is cheaper than print just does not work anymore. Realestate.com.au have to justify their value proposition and for now I dont see that causing any real issues across the board for the reasons listed in the article, but its a balancing act..

  • Mark
    Posted May 22, 2014 at 12:51 pm 0Likes

    This is actually amounting to a scam. Charging two wildly different prices for the same product on a website because they are in different suburbs? This is akin to selling two cars in the newspaper – each classified ad being exactly the same size, appearing next to each other on the same page, but getting charged different prices because one is a Datsun, and the other is a Porsche. Absolutely no-one would buy it.

    These are pixels we are talking about. Bits of data sitting in a database. One of our Premier property suburbs is over $8000 for 45 days, whereas another suburb is $1200. Same looking ad, same amount of copy, same size. Huge price difference. REA are not real estate agents. They are marketers. These prices are amounting to commission style charging.

    What are our vendors in the affluent suburb getting that the ones in the other suburbs aren’t getting? Where is the difference in value for them?

    • John Stevens
      Posted May 31, 2014 at 6:11 pm 0Likes

      Mark – I think its more akin to someone wanting to put paid advertising on a search team – for example Google Adwords.

      In Google Adwords – incase you are unaware – each classifed ad is exactly the same size, appearing on the page, but getting charged different prices because one is for one search term and the other is a different term. Absolutley everyone buys them because thats the only way paid Google search advertising works.

      Please take this reply as tounge-in-cheek – akin to the term of “scam” in what is an already primed electroic advertising market.

  • Raymond Kuceli
    Posted July 1, 2014 at 10:53 am 0Likes

    Hi Glenn well written and this is a huge issue.

    I have asked for an explanation of our new pricing and am still waiting, they seem to have got our areas totally wrong, our most expensive area is the cheapest and our most cost effective areas are the most expensive. As I wrote to them rather that use their so called algorithms, which they said are accurate, I suggested they come to our remote town of Broome and have a look how our town works.

    I hope collectively we can create a change so we can assist our customers and clients, the same REA say they are working for, to get better value for money.

    Thanks Raymond

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