Going beyond charging for listing publishing

I like to believe that portals are not just about making money. Helping customers to make the right decision, providing transparency about the market and avoiding shady practices should be the goal as well.

But obviously, it’s a business. So on this article I’d like to review some of the options to monetize them, trying to diversify the income sources. Leaving aside publishing packages and the usual featured, super-featured and ultra-featured listings ;)

1. New Project Marketing

Feasible in markets where developers are regularly launching new projects, or those in a situation of over-supply, where is specially difficult for them to sell their existing stock. The idea is to offer developers an agency-like marketing service. Targeting also real estate agencies who get the exclusivity to market a new project.

Makes sense since portals have direct access to an in-market audience and also have the specialized marketing knowledge to make the best of it. Including the ability to search for new alike audiences local and abroad through digital channels.

2. Disintermediation

Remove the middleman and go straight for the transaction process between buyers and sellers. Bold and tricky move, since we would be clashing with the real estate agencies, currently the most important clients for a portal. But I wouldn’t be surprised if we start seeing this in the upcoming years, together with the rise of commission free services.

3. Auction System for Top Positions

The idea is to get the biggest benefit possible from the top visibility positions in our portal, offering them in auction instead of fixed price. Could make sense in cluttered portals within very mature markets. When we have many real estate agencies fighting with each other and willing to pay big for certain locations.

4. Feature Sales Agents

Take advantage of the fierce competition between sales agents and offer them a way to be featured on the portal. Agents could be interested in improving their personal brand, something that is gaining importance everyday. Plus getting some extra leads.

Doing it on every location level and allowing brokers to easily pay for it online with their mobile phones, since that’s their main business tool.

5. Business Intelligence

Similar to what happens with marketing, portals usually have the data and people with skills to make the best of it. While data-backed decision making is not so common among traditional real estate agencies.

So the idea would be to offer then actionable reports: Them vs competitors vs the market, where should they focus their product acquisition based on demand, which of their properties might be overpriced, which areas have the best rental yield, investment reports to present to clients and so on.

6. Property Showcase Services

Targeting real estate agencies or individual agents, offering services like professional photography, videography, 360° panoramic tours, luminosity reports and such. Probably through a commission based partnership.

It’s something that could help to improve the quality of the listings on our portal, so definitely worth encouraging ;)

7. Post-sale Services for Customers

The most common option is to have a bank as mortgage partner. But there many other services involved around the process of selling/renting a home: Insurance, moving, painting, furniture, storage, internet providers, repairs, decoration, security, …

Always trying to integrate it in a natural way within the customer journey. We could create an automation flow to advertise the services at the right moment, with follow up emails based on the customer interactions.

8. Targeted Display Ads

Traditional way to monetize any site, feasible if the portal already has a decent amount of traffic and page impressions to sell. Targeting real estate agencies for branding, developers for new launches, related services providers or anyone willing to pay the right CPM. But ideally not random ads but well targeted.

Ideally in website, email communications and mobile app. Technically easy to implement, just need to have an ad-server like Google DFP (now part of Google Ad Manager) or OpenX.


I’m not an expert in monetization and some of these ideas might be not worth implementing. But I believe is common sense to try to find alternative income sources for every business, trying to target every role in our industry and surrounding ones.

Not all the options can be applied everywhere, depends on the maturity of the market and how educated are the real estate professionals and customers. So we need take care of which products to introduce and how to do it, also trying not to upset our existing clients.

Any other idea to monetize a property portal? Please let me know below!