REA building a one-stop shop for homebuyers

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Moving up the property ladder
By Caroline Faucher, contributor. 17 January, 2017
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The REA Group recently joined forces with the NAB to develop an integrated digital home loan experience on their flagship website, realestate.com.au, hoping to catch a share of the mortgage market in Australia.

Set to launch later this year, the new digital solution will offer consumers a REA branded white-label finance product, a suite of NAB home loans and options from a number of other lenders.

A seismic shift in the home loan landscape

The initiative will be the first in Australia to marry property search and finance in an end-to-end digital experience. With this five-year partnership, REA and NAB want to create an innovative solution to deliver a seamless and stress-free home buying experience.

While details of the full product are yet to be announced, the initiative could be a game changer for the industry. “We will be assisting home buyers throughout their entire property journey, whether that be buying, renting, investing or selling,” REA Group CEO Tracey Fellows said. “The digital experience we are creating in partnership with NAB will make realestate.com.au not only the best source of property insights, information and inspiration, but the place where people can achieve their property dreams more quickly and easily.”

This could mean that property buyers could eventually secure a home loan straight after finding a suitable property through online listings and all without leaving the comfort of their couch.

The gap in the market

The move by REA to enter the home loan market comes as little surprise given the hiring of mortgage veteran Andrew Russell in 2015. Mr Russell was responsible for launching Virgin Home Loans in Australia and will now lead the project team at realestate.com.au. According to REA, Australians want choice and being able to combine property search with property finance is a natural next step for realestate.com.au. This new partnership also marks another important strategic step for REA, who recently launched what they call ‘a property news powerhouse’ with News Corp Australia. Since December 2016, real estate news produced by News Corp Australia’s publications is hosted here on realestate.com.au, strengthening the website’s position in the media sphere.

The initiative will be the first in Australia to marry property search and finance in an end-to-end digital experience

What it means for other lenders

As part of the partnership, REA will receive funding from NAB to develop and roll-out the solution in addition to commissions from home loans settled. Currently, home buyers looking for a property on realestate.com.au have to make direct contact with mortgage brokers or financial institutions in order to obtain a loan. This could change when the new solution is launched later this year, and is expected have an impact on the number of leads financial institutions receive from the site. REA acknowledges the importance of mortgage brokers and other financial institutions and is in discussions with existing partners regarding their new plans.

Now offering a customer journey of property listings, property market news, and now home loans, realestate.com.au is set to become a one-stop shop for Australian home buyers. Dedicated teams will be spending time to get the experience right to give consumers what they believe will be the digital solution home buyers are looking for. Further information about the REA and NAB partnership is anticipated soon.

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Caroline is a Canadian-Australian writer and online communication strategist with over 10 years experience in media, not-for-profits and government. Now based in the seaside city of Newcastle, she enjoys the variety of topics a freelance life offers and the challenge of turning complex ideas into simple messages.