Should property portals share listings with others?

Should property portals share listings with others?

That both Absa and Nedbank now have agreements with Property24, one of SA’s biggest property portals, to share their listings on the banks’ respective banking apps have some estate agents worried that another FNB fiasco could await them in future.

Earlier this week Property24 notified agencies that the portal and Nedbank had reached an agreement to share listing data on the Nedbank Money App.

Agents are assured in the notice that customers will be directed directly to them via the portal’s search service. The soft launch of the Nedbank Money App with all the Property24 listings already went live on 20 February and it is anticipated that customers will start seeing the relevant app updates on Apple and Android devices by the weekend.

News about this announcement soon found it’s way to social media platforms where some agents voiced their concern. The main question on their minds was whether Nedbank is building a platform using the agents’ listings, planning to allow clients to transact directly, like FNB did? After the unhappy FNB event last year, some agents were wary of a repeat.

When asked for comment on these concerns, Property24’s CEO JP Farinha initially referred our questions to Nedbank. In response Lephoi Mokgatle, Nedbank’s Head of Home Loans Digital, replied that this initiative is the first of many planned feature additions to the Nedbank Money App to support home-buyers.

“The bank has not created a private sale platform, rather, through the money app, clients have the ability to search for properties listed by professional property agents on the Property24 platform and contact them directly; access property reports and get an indication of the amount they qualify for through the Instant Bond Indicator,” he added.

With reference to Mokgatle’s comments, Farinha was asked whether the portal asked for a guarantee to be included in the agreement that Nedbank won’t later expand their App to include private property sales by their customers. His reply was “There was no need for us to ask for a guarantee from Nedbank since they stated it up front. The service we provide to Nedbank is conditional on their not being a private offering to the Nedbank customer base.”

Property24 already has a similar agreement with ABSA bank and Private Property had a similar agreement with FNB which the portal terminated in early November last year when FNB promoted property sales to the exclusion of estate agents.

On the one hand these agreements offer an opportunity for the exposure of estate agents’ listings to thousands, even millions of potential home-buyers – there are for example more than 3 million customers reported to be using the FNB Banking App. In that regard it could be argued that these initiatives are to the agents’ benefit.

However, there is the risk that the bank later include the service to their customers to privately list and sell their own properties directly on the app, thereby excluding estate agents.

That is what happened last year between Private Property and FNB. Private Property had a long-standing agreement with FNB in terms of which only estate agent listings were accessible on the FNB Banking App. However, at the end of October last year the bank suddenly announced that they will also allow their customers to list and sell their properties directly on the app, thereby excluding estate agents. Following negotiations the portal then terminated their agreement.

At the time Jan le Roux, chief executive of industry body Rebosa, warned that more banks could launch similar platforms but that it would be difficult without agents’ listings. Le Roux is also the chairman of Private Property.

Also read: Are agents threatening to boycott bank over new app?

Private Property removes listings from FNB app

Several major estate agencies were approached for their comment yesterday. Most declined to comment citing that it was too short notice. The only one that did comment, was Adrian Goslett, regional director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, who said: “RE/MAX of SA has opted out of its listings being sent to Nedbank until such time as it has had an opportunity to speak to its franchisees.”

Goslett further commented on Property Professional’s Facebook page that they informed Property24 they expect that most of their franchises will probably opt out. “The wound from the FNB debacle last year is still very much open,” he said.

What are your thoughts about your listings being shared by a property portal to another entity such as a bank? Email your comments to editor@propertyprofessional.co.za.

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