What’s happening to our real estate agents this year? Earlier it was a social enterprise that gave all profits to build affordable housing for in-need women, now it’s an agency promising to pledge 20 per cent of its commission to charity.
Radley Property, which was launched last week, was created to get on board with the growing number of social enterprises and “profit with purpose” businesses.
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According to Radley Property’s founder and director Belinda Bentley, however, while other sectors are being heavily disrupted by these more enlightened business models, the property industry has been slow to act.
“When we looked at our own industry, we were disappointed that not much has changed,” she said.
The company services the inner area of Sydney, and focuses on residential and commercial sales, as well as project marketing for development sites. For each transaction made, landowners can direct half of the 20 per cent pledge to a charity of their choice, which will be made in their name and be tax deductible. The remaining half goes to Radley’s non-profit education partners Room to Read and the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation.
Ms Bentley said she wanted to make it easy for landowners and developers to engage in philanthropy – as simple as selling their property through the agency she runs alongside fellow director Michael Radovnikovic.
“While the business model reflects our values, we are also mindful that our commission needs to be relevant and competitive to the market,” she said.
Part of being cost-competitive comes down to technological advances, Ms Bentley said.
“With technology, there’s no need for a shopfront so we are able to keep our overheads low and create the highest value for our clients and non-profit partners.”
Huge potential for industry adoption
Ms Bentley told The Fifth Estate there was an enormous impact that could be made if other agencies picked up a similar pledge.
For example, the latest CoreLogic Property Market Indicator Summary found that the median dwelling price in Sydney was $775,000. With 5692 properties listed in the last 28 days, an agency commission of two per cent would yield $88,226,000, if all properties were sold using the median price as an average.
A 20 per cent pledge would provide $17,645,200 for charity, while agencies would still receive $70,580,800.
“Another way to look at it is based on the median dwelling price… and assuming two per cent agency commission, we would be giving back to not-for-profits $3100 simply through a property transaction.”