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Online head's "old men" jibe at OnTheMarketThe head of an online agency has mocked the old men running the forthcoming OnTheMarket portal for banning online agents while allowing what he calls high-charging traditional agents some of which have dire customer service.

The chief executive of OnTheMarket, Ian Springett, has said he will not allow online agents' properties to be listed on the new portal - formerly known as Agents' Mutual - and has accused them of being a bit of a con and parasitic.

Now Adam Day, director of online service Hatched, says there is not the fundamental difference between online and traditional agents that Springett makes out.

We have fully trained employees that visit and meet with clients at their properties, face to face. They measure up and take photos at every single property we market. We arrange the viewings, we get feedback, we negotiate to get the best price for the client and we see the sale through to the end. We just charge in a different way, which allows us to save clients around 80 per cent compared to a traditional estate agency claims Day.

We are members of the National Association of Estate Agents .... We are also recognised as estate agents according to the Estate Agents Act he continues in an open letter.

Day concludes by saying: It's about time the estate agency market had a shake-up. And it's about time the old men in their shiny suits, flash company cars and fat tie knots step aside. There's a new, modern, 21st century wave of estate agents around.


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    I've asked and heard from my customers about how they find a new home, there are only ever two websites that'll get mentioned so with millions of people already happy with them I'm looking forward to seeing how to remove Rightmove/Zoopla from the equation. It's not impossible, the chances of being able to replace the brand leader with a like-for-like is always going to be a challenge, it'll take years and stacks of money, although I guess when you're charging thousands maybe this isn't that much of a problem. Like it or not, the public is more than happy to use the main property search engines, so the easier solution would probably be to accept it and maybe try to look at a long term alternative if it is such a problem. Looking at E-commerce and search engines, getting established and shoving the usual names out of the way takes a lot of time, money, IT know-how and effort to get a site that overshadows the competition, more so when they're already way ahead and planning their next move. Estate agents overall seem to have forgotten the customer's opinion within this equation. It's still a profession that is viewed with cynicism and suspicion, all this does is further fuel the online vs. high street debate in the online agent's favour and furthermore shows just how detached from the customer the high street estate agents really are. What I can't understand is why they aren't concentrating on the areas that they can win over with, after all although the fee charged is a bit disproportionate in my opinion, if they wowed me with customer service and managed to achieved all they claim, perhaps online estate agents would have a lot more to worry about. But then again, maybe it all boils down to a greedy business model happy to do as little as possible whilst still charging a fortune for the privilege.

    • 01 August 2014 11:38 AM
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    Let's not forget that Mr Springett see's 'On The Market/Agents Mutual' merely as a 'Bet on the future of high street agents'

    Not at all a confidence inspiring comment from the top man! Perhaps the online agents are well off out of it!

    • 25 July 2014 12:44 PM
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    I meant scarred by them:)

    • 24 July 2014 17:43 PM
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    Of course on the market will fail. It is being run by people who it took 10 years to realise that Rightmove was a risk to their business. Therefore we can safely say that they have no commercial nous whatsoever. E-commerce is a whole different ball game and it really isn't easy to change consumer habits. The arrogance and ignorance of these people is a disgrace to all of those in residential property sales.

    • 24 July 2014 14:22 PM
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    OTM just don't seem 'get it.' For a start, if your launching a new customer facing portal the online versus traditional debate is just pointless. Its old news and actually customers don't really care. They just want to buy/sell a house in a in a world where digital is just part of the experience. Online portals are a marketing evolution as are Onlline agents, or what ever you want to call us/it/them!
    For the OTM concept to succeed however they will need a value added differentiator to appeal to the customer (the house buyer) who, in the main currently doesn't have a problem finding any property quickly and for free. To actively 'exclude' a current, growing and credible supplier of stock is very short sighted.
    Personally I feel this mutual nonsense just smacks of old school glory days gone by. 'Traditional' agents (your definition, not mine) allowed Rightmove and the like to gain its dominance. Over the last 10 years you have plastered their banners on your house details, on your boards, in your newspaper advertising, you even allowed them to link from your web site to theirs. Its no wonder they gained the high ground so quickly and in my opinion set to maintain it for a long time to come as I cant see anything proposed so far by OTM that is both funded and customer focused enough to shift the house buyer away from what they know based on what the industry has them to do for so long.
    I shouldn't think Mr Day is loosing any sleep over OTM arrival, I'm certainly not ! (www.houserevolution.com)

    • 24 July 2014 08:16 AM
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    Like the other lad with the cow website who also got upset about it and wet himself in public hatched have to accept that OTM doesn't want them at the party so haven't invited them.

    Also these online offerings don't charge less because they don't have rent, well an A2 retail unit rent they charge most of the fee up front rather than on completion, and on that point purple bricks are a slow burn aren't they, have a gander on rightmove, not exactly going as the early chat from them suggested, be interesting to know how quick they are burning through their money, pretty fast I'd say

    • 23 July 2014 21:37 PM
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    It will fail without question....Why...because RM and Zoopla show every agents property so there will be no need to visit OTM....Old school hierarchy like the high street Estate Agents. Online is the future www.redhomes.co.uk

    • 23 July 2014 20:49 PM
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    Couldn't agree more @ChrisWelch, it seems like a silly and risky business strategy to restrict yourself before even starting up. Online agents are still trained agents they can just charge less because they don't have the expenses for renting offices that traditional estate agents have. They offer different packages rather than always taking a cut to allow people more freedom. I don't think that's a bad thing.

    • 23 July 2014 16:32 PM
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    I don't like using online agencies but that is just my personal preference. I do think however, that a portal denying good business is a ridiculous sentiment and Mr Springett should seriously reconsider this frankly stupid business decision.

    • 23 July 2014 15:57 PM
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    @Simon Shinerock - Answer to "..so why be scarred of them": Because they can spell ;)
    @Chris Welch - Well said.

    • 23 July 2014 13:17 PM
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    Mo is absolutely right. Onliners for reasons best known to them, seem to have decided that there will only be one option in the future, theirs.
    It seems ludicrous to me to suggest that the High Street option is way out of date and must go when really what they should be saying is 'ok, we have an alternative and here it is, customers, make your choice'.
    It's like saying computers are dead, we must have a tablet. No, you can have one or the other and you'll pick which one fits.
    On-Line will work for some, no question, but to constantly bang on about it being the death of High Street is delusional at best.

    • 23 July 2014 12:30 PM
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    Not being an "industry veteran" I do find it extraordinary that this is even a debate. Online is a channel to market, it offers significant benefits to operators from a cost and operational perspective likewise to an increasingly internet savvy audience it will deliver benefits,likewise the best high street agents are a channel to market offering largely the same service but at a price premium to cover the higher operating costs. The gaming industry where I come from the retail operators ladbrokes, Hills etc embraced the internet as a channel alongside their retail operations. Pure online operators like betfair and bet365 are also successful.
    To say the high street agent is finished is too simplistic but no doubt it will need to adapt to survive. Online is here to stay and as more established brands like [b]easy[/b] enter the market it will grow even more,but it will thrive only if the consumer buys into the proposition. Banning online agents reminds me of King Canute trying to stop the tide,its pointless and you end up looking rather silly when your feet get wet.

    • 23 July 2014 12:13 PM
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    Unbelievable. They're setting themselves up for a complete failure! May as well stop all news stories on them from now on because the portal is dead before its begun!

    • 23 July 2014 11:26 AM
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    I'm kind of inclined to agree with Mr. Day, as I too got the impression that On the Market are a stuck in their ways. I just don't know why you would say no to incorporating online estate agents when that's clearly where the industry is headed!

    • 23 July 2014 10:21 AM
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    I guess as Zoopla and Right Move are happy to take "on line " agents money - why would they be in the slightest bit worried that On the market will turn them away
    OTM are just missing out on revenue

    • 23 July 2014 09:37 AM
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    Stupid move and more playground silliness from Springett and OntheMarket. They're really not doing themselves any favours with their constant attempts to belittle and sully the name of online estate agents. More tiresome slanging matches are not going to help their cause.

    • 23 July 2014 09:30 AM
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    Oh! You small minded people who criticise the 'onthemarket' and their current business model. (No, I don't really like the name but time will tell) Think further. WHY is it as it is In my view they have to obtain a certain controlled and enthusiastic 'mass' quickly or it will fail as others have failed. This is their way, good luck to them.

    • 23 July 2014 09:01 AM
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    When are these people..... including Stelios & Cann......... going to get out of the play ground and stop behaving like children. If you have a good product [b]sell it[/b].... don't spend every opportunity to belittle your opposition. The public will see through it all. Would you appoint anyone who constantly advertised their product by "slagging off" the competition

    • 23 July 2014 08:43 AM
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    Seems naive and bit restrictive to me to exclude all online agents. I have my reservations about online agents, but to call them a 'bit of a con' and 'parasitic' is way over the top. Like the traditional model, there is good and bad online agents, and it's being too blinkered and stubborn to deny their existence. Many traditional estate agents now have a big online presence, will they be excluded too Not very well thought out from Mr Springett and OntheMarket. I think they need to re-evaluate some of their strategies, and their PR team isn't doing a great job of making them very appealing or likeable at the moment.

    • 23 July 2014 08:23 AM
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    Yeah, what happened with crowdcube for Hatched It just vanished on about 25k.

    • 23 July 2014 08:22 AM
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    I am shocked that "Online Agents" have been excluded. It makes no sense at all.

    I know several "Traditional Agents" who have satellite offices or attract business via online methods without ever meeting the vendors. Its ridiculous to think the only way to run a good estate agency is if you have an office! Imagine stating you are "real" estate agent because you have an office, nothing to do with staffing or the actual process of marketing and selling a house. Laughable

    If OnTheMarket have any sense they will remove the idea that Online Agents cant list but actually bring light to their real concern which is related to service, or at least that should be what the restriction should be based on. If you only want Agents which practise "Good Estate Agency" then find an actual metric which means something.

    • 23 July 2014 07:52 AM
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    Exactly, so why be scarred of them I welcome competition from misguided entrepreneurs who know little but think they know better. It's even conceivable one may crack it but it will be like paddling upstream instead of downstream, a lot more effort to cover the same distance. And if one succeeds they will have the satisfaction of knowing they have earned less money, brilliant. My prediction is that the best ones will morph into the high st, you heard it here first.

    • 23 July 2014 07:36 AM
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    Ah Mr Day needs some more publicity after his failed attempt to raise money on CrowdCube..in fact the only interest he had seemed to be from his own staffHere Adam here is an extract from an email we received from a client attempting to buy a property from Hatched.no difference.laughable!

    [b]Further to my conversation with ***** as promised here's a selection of my
    favourite comments after my short dealings with hatched.co.uk

    The vendor of the property we hope to purchase did ask me what I thought of
    hatched as this was the first time he'd used an online agency. My response
    is below:

    "Whilst no-one likes having to pay bills, let alone an estate agents
    invoice, our agents have been brilliant would happily recommend them, sadly
    your agents I think are a false economy, you get what you pay for.

    The phone rings, on average, for a minimum of two minutes before anyone
    answers and as long as they don't cut you off when answering the phone you
    will get to speak with someone who knows nothing about the property, the
    vendors or you the prospective purchaser, there is no continuity whatsoever.
    Sometimes the phone rings for so long it either gives you a message saying
    that they're busy and you should call back later or the line just goes

    Having now spoken with ****** from hatched, he has advised that "they don't
    send anything in writing to say that the offer has been accepted to either
    the vendor or purchaser this will be handled when they send out the
    Memorandum of Sale to both parties, and as their vendor has yet to choose a
    solicitor it may not be happening this week, besides, were an online agency
    and were keeping costs down........" I have asked for an email confirmation
    but it would appear that's beyond them.

    With regard to the EPC, he told me to download it from the EPC Register,
    I've told him it's not on there, and his response was, "oh they've been
    naughty and not sorted it out.... I'll have to speak with them......". It
    appears not to be in their remit, as an online agency, to check these
    details and as they would have uploaded the information onto the internet it
    seems a little odd, but then they are keeping costs down..............

    In short, hatched are crap, ******************* are not!


    • 23 July 2014 07:20 AM
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