Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Handbags at dawn?

Predictably in the wake of Viva Estates new listing policy and the subsequent closure of the Interagency MLS there has been an entertaining amount of mud-slinging.

Initially Viva Estates launched their 2% + 1% marketing campaign, with Chris McCarthy explaining it in detail to members on the SpanishPropertyInsight Forum. The reply from the disgruntled IN membership was a 2 page advert in one of the local papers, questioning the motives and wisdom of Viva's new approach.

An article has also appeared in OPP documenting the spat. Martin Dell of Kyero, ever a sage voice, states:

"The reaction of other IN Network members is understandable from a business perspective, Viva was the majority shareholder and the single largest property lister of the IN Network. Without their involvement, the other members of the network must restructure and, where previously agents cooperated within the Network, there will now be competition between the new network and Viva."

So on it rumbles, a vitriolic email here, a press article there. The good thing though is that buyers and sellers are emerging as the winners out of this mess. The new IN is now operating at 5% in line with most other agents in the area, whilst those who feel brave enough to cough up the non refundable deposit can enjoy Viva's shiny new 2% (or is it 3% ?!) commission structure.

Presumably by early next year we will know if Viva's strategy has worked and more agents reduce their commission levels. Personally, though (and from purely anecdotal evidence) I would be concerned about the numbers of staff who appear to be jumping ship. Are they just greedy salesmen, or do they know something we don't?

Stay tuned...

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