Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia real estate site goes behind paywall

A popular Halifax real estate website is abandoning its business model and will start charging customers for some of its services.

Viewpoint to charge $29 per month

A popular Halifax real estate website is abandoning its business model and will start charging customers for some of its services.

For the past three years Viewpoint.ca has offered detailed information on properties for sale throughout Nova Scotia.

The service has more than 118,000 registered users. Until now it's all been free, but Viewpoint's owner says the combination of advertising and referrals to their sales agents is not covering the site’s operational costs.

Bill McMullin said users will still be able to access information on all multiple listing services, including prices and property assessments.

Other details including the sales history, price changes and the number of days the listing has been on the market will only be available for those willing to pay for the site’s new premium service.

McMullin said the old business model simply wasn't working.

"The vast majority of people who use our website to learn, to explore and to make an informed decision were not using our real estate brokerage. They were going to their preferred agent to assist them in completing the transaction and when they do that that agent and their brokerage would earn all the revenue and we would get nothing, and of course that’s not a sustainable business model," he said.

Those who want access to the all the site's services will can either buy a daily pass for $3 or a monthly subscription for $29 plus tax.

They'll also have the option of asking their real estate agent to purchase the service for them. The agent would then have to pay a portion of their commission. If the customer doesn’t transact within six months there will be a minimum service fee for agents of $60.

The website started in January 2010. McMullin said Viewpoint is visited 450,000 times monthly and serves 10 million pages of property and listing information.