Tuesday 27 January 2015

Onthemarket.com? You mean off the market, surely!

Rightmove and Zoopla and now.... onthemarket.com. Some of you may have heard about the latest brainchild of Agents' Mutual - a consortium of agents that got together with the idea of taking on the great portals - but most of you won't, and that’s my point.

So what's happening?
In essence a few agents have been disgruntled by the annual price hike that presents itself from the big 2 and decided to chance it on their own. Build their own website, do a TV campaign to attract the would-be buyers, job done, surely. Well if everyone thought like that about growing their own vegetables (much cheaper than the likes of Tesco surely) why isn't everyone doing it? For a start the investment required runs into the millions of pounds. They won't see these "savings" for some years to come to say the least. Secondly, the success of any agency big or small hangs on its ability to shift houses. With less exposure on their properties (this new portal cannot possibly get as many hits as Rightmove or Zoopla for years to come) there are less buyers/tenants looking at their properties. This results in less enquiries. Less viewings. Less offers. Less transactions. Less customers that recommend said agent due to poor results. Less income for the agent. Oh look I see a trend.

In the best interests
An agent should always handle their affairs in the best interests of their clients which they represent of course. Drastically reducing the level of exposure that their clients' properties get is arguably not.

The cold hard facts
Let's do a test for our core areas, namely SW4 and SW2.

For Sale
To Let

As is plain to see there are lots more agents that are still on Rightmove and Zoopla than OntheMarket, which is obvious of course. There are never going to be as many properties on day 1. However it will be interesting to see how this changes over time. But bear in mind that if you haven't heard of this new portal, neither will your new tenants or buyers. Even with property listed... where are the buyers looking??

Rightmove and Zoopla, as any other company, make a charge for their services. These prices certainly increase from time to time. Why? Well, there is inflation, a wider range of services on offer and guess what, everything gets more expensive year on year. Remember penny sweets? Right...

Now believe me I'm all for value for money, but to spend millions of pounds to save a few quid is just nonsensical. What's more, it doesn't serve the best interests of clients. So will I be joining? I will be a few hundred pounds better off today, but tomorrow when the sales and lettings don't materialise because tenants and buyers are looking on Rightmove and Zoopla I will be significantly worse off with less customers and less money in the bank. So no, in summary. Has your agent dropped a well-known, established brand for onthemarket.com? With the figures above it is clear where other agents are, and where the buyers and tenants will be looking for their next home.

What do you think?

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