With more than 90% of house hunts beginning online, Estate Agents understand that the internet is the place to be.
But, as more and more budget online property marketing options emerge, traditional High Street Agents are facing a tough task, to continue to compete.
Sellers Surge Through Portal Loophole Using Online Agents
While the highest search engine ranked property marketing portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla may have originally intended to act as a tool for agents (and indeed still offer listing power to registered agents only and not independent sellers) the ease of setting up an online agency has provided a loophole through which a huge number of sellers have surged – avoiding the selling fees and commission of a traditional agency, while still benefitting from the high level exposure offered by the property search portals.
High Street Property Marketers Fight Portal Power
But now traditional High Street agents are fighting back against what they have labelled the “Power of the Portals” with the introduction of their own online listing service, Agents Mutual, which aims to compete with the market leaders in online property sales, without the need for additional fees for the agents.
The online property search site will work exclusively with traditional high street estate agents, offering an alternative platform on which to publicise properties for sale, as well as upholding the standards of property marketing expected from the bigger players within the industry.
Property Portals Have “Gone Too Far”
Speaking to The Telegraph about the launch of the new, agent-exclusive property marketing portal, chief executive of Agents Mutual Ian Springett said: “The power of the portals have gone too far.”
The new service is now around half way to its target launch figure of 5,000 high street estate agents signed up and committed to the platform for five years – agents will be allowed to continue listing with another portal during this period, but will be committed to promoting their work with Agents Mutual to interested property sellers.
The former Primelocation boss explained that agents who signed up to the new service would be doing their bit to protect the interest of the consumer, who he believes is getting a raw deal at the hand of the discount online agents – whose flat fee service amounted to little more than paid access to the most popular portals.
Online Estate Agency Can be a “Con”
“The online option is a bit of a con,” he warned, adding that internet only agents do a fifth of the property marketing work of their high street peers, and that the house prices achieved often suffer as a result.
Agents Mutual is expected to launch before the year is out, and only time will tell if it has the legs to compete with the existing property marketing platforms, an interesting challenge in the year that Zoopla announced its intention to go public.