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Listings on Funda have become more transparent for consumers

14-09-2016

The order in which the search results on Dutch real estate portal Funda are presented no longer depends on the trade association with which the real estate agent is affiliated. As a result, the real estate listings on Funda have become more transparent for consumers. In late-2015, Funda revised its website and search engine. The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) had previously urged Funda to treat real estate agents equally. That is why ACM in recent months evaluated how Funda’s measures work in practice.

ACM has come to the conclusion that, in the search results, the listings of real estate agents affiliated with Dutch real estate agent’s associations VBO Makelaar and Vastgoed Pro no longer structurally appear beneath the listings of agents affiliated with rival association NVM. Instead, the consumer’s search criteria determine to a larger extent the order in which the listings are presented, irrespective of the specific trade association of the individual listings’ real estate agents. ACM is positive about this change.

What was the problem?

NVM is the largest trade association of real estate agents in the Netherlands, and is also the owner of Funda, the biggest real estate portal of the Netherlands.  ACM’s market scan of 2012 revealed that listings of NVM real estate agents were always displayed higher in Funda’s search results than those of non-NVM real estate agents. As a result, homebuyers were less likely to come across the listings of real estate agents affiliated with Vastgoed Pro and VBO Makelaar.

Prompted by the market scan, ACM in 2013 reached an agreement with Funda, where Funda would inform the visitors of its website that the listings of NVM real estate agents are always presented first in the search results. With the revision of its website, Funda is no longer required to display that notification to consumers. However, the real estate agents are still not treated completely equally by Funda. For example, real estate agents that are members of Vastgoed Pro and VBO Makelaar still need to pay more in order to have their listings displayed on Funda than do NVM real estate agents. A lawsuit over this practice has already been filed. That is why, ACM currently sees no reason to investigate this practice further in the meantime.

Visit multiple websites for a complete overview

Some of the listings cannot be found on Funda, or are only presented with limited information. This is especially the case with homes that are offered by real estate agents that are not affiliated with any trade association, and with homes that are sold by the owners themselves without the help of a real estate agent. In order to get a complete overview of all listings, consumers would have to consult multiple sources such as: Jaap.nl, huizenzoeker.nl, huislijn.nl, marktplaats.nl, jumba.nl, hoomly.nl, or social media.