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You're about to miss out on the biggest development in estate agency since the invention of the Camera.

I'm sure some of you have heard about 'the secret', otherwise known as 'the law of attraction'. The idea is considered to be mumbo jumbo by many, Einstein however was a believer. The fundamental concept is based on the idea that you can literally imagine something into existence and that the universe knows what we really really want and it somehow gives it to us, good or bad.

Anyway, during what has been a tumultuous year for estate agency, I have become a major dissident voice in the great Agents' Mutual (AM) debate. One of the points I have tried to make is that signing yourself into an exclusivity agreement of any kind is madness given the speed of technological change. I think many of you agree with me but those who have signed up with AM may have underestimated how soon truly disruptive change will occur.

What I have said is that notwithstanding the bad press, the public outcry and the unwelcome regulatory attention, that something will come out of the blue that makes all other portals redundant and it looks like it has arrived in time for Christmas.

Before I tell you about 'Houser' in more detail, I feel I need to bring in a few other more pedestrian issues, so this is my attempt at killing several birds with one stone, never easy but Christmas is coming so needs must.

The other issues are the relationship the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) has with Agents' Mutual, the potentially collusive behaviour of AM supporters in agreeing, amongst other things, to dump Zoopla en masse and the transparency and motivation of the board members of Agents' Mutual.

Let's start with the NAEA

I tried to have a chat with Mark Hayward, Managing Director of the NAEA, about its support for Agents' Mutual. Surprise surprise, he wouldn't talk to me so on November 27 I wrote to Lansons - the NAEA's PR company - posing some pointed questions, this is what I sent:

Hi Sophie,

As I mentioned on the phone, I have been trying to contact Mark Hayward in order to have an informal chat to get some background for an article I am writing which, amongst other things, will consider the NAEA's relationship with OnTheMarket/Agents' Mutual.

As Mark has refused to speak to me, or even to respond to my approach, as suggested I am writing with some questions I would like Mark to answer.

Firstly, can Mark explain why the NAEA and ARLA have a seat on the AM board

Does the NAEA support all the aims and goals of AM

How does the NAEA counter claims that the AM exclusivity rule is anti-competitive and creates a conflict of interest between the estate agent and their clients

What is the NAEA's response to recent negative press articles in relation to AM and in particular to criticisms of the exclusivity rule

How would the NAEA recommend AM agents go about ensuring their clients understand the effect of the restriction they have agreed to on the marketing exposure of their clients' properties Should this be recorded and open to scrutiny

Has the NAEA taken its own legal advice in regard to possible infringements of competition legislation

What advice can the NAEA give to members who are thinking of joining AM in relation to taking their own legal advice

Does the NAEA see any conflict between an AM agent and an asset manager who needs to show whole of market exposure to sell distressed property assets

Does the NAEA see any danger that the AM exclusivity rule could bring the profession into disrepute

What is the NAEA's reason for supporting AM when AM does not allow certain NAEA members (agents without high street offices) to advertise with them

What difference does the NAEA see in the service provided by high street and non high street agents

How can the NAEA claim to represent the whole industry and support an organisation which sees itself as a subset of that industry, out to protect its own interests, that of high street agents, over and above the interests of the interests of the industry as a whole and in particular of non high street agents

I am hoping my article will be published next week so an early response would be appreciated

All the best

Simon

Initially I was told that Mark Hayward was on annual leave but my questions would be prioritised for him to answer on his return.

Then on the 12th December I got this:

Apologies Simon, Mark Hayward is unable to comment at this time.

Best wishes,

Sophie

Make what you will of this refusal to comment but my bet is that the NAEA does not know how to answer my questions so it has taken the equivalent of the Fifth Amendment.

In terms of collusive behaviour, a source recently forwarded me an email which was circulated to a group of agents in the south west.

The update on the approach to OnTheMarket detailed that the consensus among the group was to keep advertising on Rightmove and for all the agencies to give notice to Zoopla.

The email went on to reiterate a plan that had previously been discussed by the group's members at a marketing meeting. The plan is to delay loading new properties to Rightmove until three days after they have appeared on the agent's site and OnTheMarket.

The group members are also planning to have only a basic Rightmove subscription, with no premium listings or additional extras. The strategy behind this is to be in a position to dr Rightmove completely in 12 months. The message concludes by encouraging other agents in the group to cease promoting Rightmove in offices and to focus solely on advertising OnTheMarket, in order to build its profile.

So decide for yourself what you think of this behaviour and how the Competitions and Market Authority is likely to interpret it.

Even assuming you still think that 'something has to be done' about the existing portals, let's look at the issue of motivation and transparency of Agents' Mutual.

It has been rumoured that Ian Springett's salary is £500K. I texted him asking him to confirm or deny this rumour, he didn't respond. How would you feel if the leader of a start up using your money was earning that salary when £100K would be more like it in the open market More to the point, shouldn't you know what his salary is without having to ask or speculate

It has also been rumoured that a disproportionate amount of Agents' Mutual's marketing budget is going to go on upmarket publications like the Telegraph, is this true I have also heard it rumoured that Knight Frank won't be coming off the Country Life website, is this true If so, what's the difference between the property section of the Country Life website and a property portal

It has also been rumoured that when it was suggested that premium advertising positions on OnTheMarket were going to be auctioned off to the highest bidder, there was a near revolt by members leading to a swift retraction of the whole idea.

The question is though, what does this tell you about the real raison d'tre behind Agents' Mutual Is it really a way of elite agents securing their hallowed turf using money from non elite agents, after all And, where in any of these opaque machinations is there any consideration given to the interests of the consumer, like why they should use the new portal in the first place, given that all the properties will still be on Rightmove and Zoopla

Moving back to the main point of this article: rapid decisive change. A few weeks ago I was approached by Rocky Mirza, please Google him, he is an interesting character. Basically Rocky is a serial entrepreneur and maths genius who made his money initially from registering thousands of domain names at the dawn of the Internet. Since then, he has forged a reputation as a disruptor of established businesses and an innovator who uses data in ways that we mere mortals cannot even imagine.

A tech maths genius who is also an entrepreneur, a rare combination indeed and one which is, in my view, going to create the perfect storm for change in estate agency portal marketing.

Rocky has turned his attention to the property portal market and will be launching his challenge to the status quo called 'Houser' in early January ahead of Agents' Mutual's own launch.

Having been shown Houser, I felt it is vital that given the timing of the AM launch that agents have a chance to see it first, as it may well change their point of view completely. To this end I have persuaded Rocky to make his site accessible to anyone who wants a preview, that way you can judge for yourself if I am blowing smoke or not, take a look at: http://demo.houser.co.uk/, using the login: demo and the password: d3mo@hous3r (only the first 500 people will be able to view the demo).

Bear in mind there is additional functionality that will be added at launch, which is currently too sensitive to make live right now. Nevertheless, you will be able to get the flavour of what is to come.

The look and feel as well as the functionality is only the tip of the iceberg, the real magic will come in the way this new site will be able to generate traffic. If what I have been shown is true, it will literally be ahead of Rightmove and Zoopla within three months, no that's not a typo and almost immediately, Houser will be the must-have, go-to site for property for all of our clients.

So how much is this magic going to cost us agents Well, the answer is it is a 'freemium' service so we will get everything we currently get and more for nothing. All Rocky wants is our inventory. Also, we don't have to do anything in order to be listed, by default we will be, if we want to come off, we can. After six hours with Rocky, throwing every conceivable objection I could think of at him, I don't think any agents are going to want to come off this site.

Of course Rocky wants to make money but initially that is not his main priority, he knows that once you have traffic and engagement, the money follows, or as he put it: Creation, Consumption Conversion. Oh and by the way, he is looking at a global solution, he just happens to be starting with the UK in January just before the launch of AM, food for thought over the turkey this Christmas.

Article written by Simon Shinerock, Chairman of Choices Estate Agents. For more information on Simon, see his LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/simonshinerock.

Comments

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    You are right, it is a waste of money using old media as the main way of getting traffic, to be successful the site will have to have ingredient x like Facebook and Google did. My brother is also an estate agent, unlike me his instincts are to go with the establishment and join OTM, howeve he has said no because of the high number of leads he receives from both main portals, he is not prepared to back an unproven portal no matter how auspicious the founders may be. As for me, my position is clear, if OTM succeeds I will eat my hat!

    • 06 January 2015 06:55 AM
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    Whilst I have been quite easily won over by the whole OTM campaign so far, something just came to mind today.

    There is a point that many of the anti-AM guys have been making for a while now about how OTM will fail due to lack of brand awareness and the public's predicted refusal to cease using rightmove/zoopla, as these sites are now so familiar that they have been ingrained into their minds.

    Take a look at Purplebricks. The online agency who have clearly failed to disrupt the property market despite their huge financial backings and ridiculous claims (10% market share by July 2015 was it). Even though they had this huge TV ad campaign, online adverts here there and everywhere, loads of press coverage etc, they have still only managed to achieve stock levels equal to their competitors. And if you check zoopla frequently, those stock levels don't seem to be growing much, if at all.

    This makes me wonder if the reason that OTM could indeed fail is the same reason why online estate agency will never truly take off. Familiarity. If online agency offers so much in the way of benefits for the consumer (not in my opinion I hasten to add) and it has failed to make much impact on the industry, then surely OTM, which offers almost nothing beneficial to the consumer (well nothing new anyway) will almost certainly fail

    This being said I have just watched the OTM video presentation and it is rather impressive. Looking forward to the TV ads . . . .

    It will be very exciting to see what happens.

    • 05 January 2015 16:54 PM
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    @Andy have you actually taken any time to even look at the site Your comment made me chuckle.
    The features on the site include those already offered by others and then some. I haven't seen a more feature-filled property portal as yet.

    I think it's a great move on their part and we really need avenues to create real competition in the market.

    • 23 December 2014 12:22 PM
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    Andy, may I ask if you looked at their demo site If so and you really believe it is nothing new to property would you expand a bit on what you are referring to. My main point is that change is on the horizon whether it's Houser or not and agents who limit their online strategy to two portals may find themselves hamstrung when a game changer does arrive

    • 23 December 2014 12:05 PM
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    nothing new with Houser... regurgitated ideas.... in fact nothing being said here is very interesting, theres no game changer on the horizon

    • 23 December 2014 11:14 AM
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    @Doug.
    Long tail is nothing new. In fact by back feeding own plus other agents listings intk outlets you can gain seo from listings you wouldnt have had. In the USA the Yanks use longtail together with idx (information data exchange/s) MLS to turbo boost longtail to local agents web sites.

    Your right in that zillow and trulia have created a problem. But I also know that MLS's are fighting back. As the property data processors its the mls's that gain agent data first before trulia and zillow. Trulia and zillow also have very deep pockets and have bought in mls bods to help drive trulia and zillow growth.

    One of my good buddies is the CIO of CRMLS the biggest mls in the USA. I cant go into details but collaborating agents there know they have a very important factor. THEY ARE THE PROPERTY DATA ORIGINATORS.

    The US also runs under a multi directional data schema called the RETS data feed. As such local agents lawfully collaborate offering and accessing each others listings. If you take those shared listings and faster show all on fellow agents sites days before Trulia or Zillow, then this creates z and trulia problems.

    Zillow is allowing FSBOs in too which is annoying US realtors. Over here zoopla for instance allows around 200 FSBO models in which is wrong.

    The UK RM feed which UK portals adopt is not geared for a B2B sharing stance.It takes a hybrid solution to allow one agent on a software to e able to work with other agents on other softwares.

    In the US there are around 850 mls's and 1.1 m agents who in their own areas can offer other fellow agents listings. Budget agents can be excluddd as tbeir low fees dont allow enough in the pot to share.

    • 21 December 2014 15:11 PM
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    @simon, Thank you I am grateful for you and how much you care about helping othersall your points are well noted and they make sense. The reality is AM must be laughing all the way to the bank. You have given them more ink time than most others. & you have given them a launch pad to attack you personally. As houser gets more pressin the near future there will be all sort of comments appearing from the so called independent posters about why free model is not going to workjust watch. The truth is estate agents need viable alternative and any site that takes off has my business.

    • 21 December 2014 12:17 PM
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    @Larry Smith how do i get in touch with you

    @ Trevor Mealham
    Sorry Trevor i meant to say MLS did not put up much of a fight in the USA against the portals but as an inventory sharing aspect, it works but they have two agents. one for the buyer and one for the seller.

    • 21 December 2014 11:57 AM
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    @Larry smith
    fascinating post. would love to meet.
    I agree with you on all fronts especially Knowing Houser since they first talked to us in the summer personally and watching this concept start to near launch..I am excited..I see huge Value in their Longtail search and Visual data for the consumer..by far those are the most realistic ways people search and its what they want to see..This is one to watch. This has the potential to be a game changer in the Real Estate industry. I find it interesting that they say long tail searches have been in the works for years for other industries, perhaps the execution was lacking and I believe the vision set forth by houser may be the answer of using long tail searches effectively for the real estate consumer.

    @ Trevor Mealham
    what you are talking about is an MLS sort of system like the one being used in North America. It did put up much of a fight against the portals like zillow etc. in the US.

    @oldbill
    very true, attracting the apple generation is the key for the future. I did the same and had my 20-year-old look at houser. his thoughts outstanding work. Very valuable to consumers, agents and companies

    • 21 December 2014 11:43 AM
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    For me, the biggest lesson I have learned as a result of participating in this discussion all year is how small a part reason, objectivity and logic play in the decision making process of so many people. Equally right and wrong aren't very high up the list either. I now understand much better how fascist regimes gain and hold power by trading off the desire in their populations to oppress minority's and protect or reestablish the status quo. Even idealism has no real part to play in good decision making as it leads to communism which is really another form of fascism. I know we are just talking about estate agency but the actions, aims and goals of Agents Mutual have many of the characteristics of a political party. Thank goodness that most estate agents are saying no to Agents Mutual on principle or taking the pragmatic wait and see approach believing Agents Mutual will fail. I am not taking the moral high ground, I don't have the qualifications to do that but Agents Mutuals exclusion of part of the industry and its tilt at the free market offends my sensibilities. My instinct tells me they won't survive in their current form and I don't think they deserve to.

    • 21 December 2014 06:35 AM
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    On the legislation side and I often get invited to government estate agency consultations. Be it a portal that insists on other portal exclusivity Or a body such as NAEA who supports such a movement. Both will be encouraging a number of agents to breach CPR consumer protection regulations.

    Day 1 launch OTM will not have consumer recognition. As such for the initial period any agent who knowingly takes a clients property off a main first/second place portal and substitutes with a unknown portal will be in breach of UK law as policed by Trading Standards.

    Any consumer who feels tbat they are getting less exposure than agreed would be in their rights to break their agency contract and walk.

    So when I say legislation is a 1/3rd part make up of our industry it could be a hindrance or success of current and future models.

    • 21 December 2014 01:08 AM
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    @Jason

    Okay.... distributing the property data received from agents from a hub back to contributing agents means agents can cross sell one anothers listings. By pooling, collaborating agents can offer listings they wouldnt have had. Use such listings to encourage more B2C enquiries that can convert to tomorrows listings = more back in the group pool.

    Via collaboration agents become one anothers sub outlets so clients gain a larger sales force via main agents.

    Collaborating agents dont all need to be on same portals and thus save portal costs. Jason, if your a tech what im talking about is 'idx' information data exchange.

    If your an agent then im talking old fashioned B2B estate agency as was common 25 years ago.

    • 21 December 2014 00:54 AM
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    The solution isnt tech alone. UK portals have run on the same feed schema since 2000. Changing the way data can flow in the industry would open doors.




    But additionally......... everyone misses legislation. Currently there is a consultation under way which is being carried out by Trading Standards in relation to guidance on CPRs and BPRs. INEA are involved and we have already seen valid ares to recommend change. Change that could better empower consumer rights and agent practice. Its odd changes here and there that pushed TESCO Property Market out 8 years ago

    • 21 December 2014 00:44 AM
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    I have been an estate agent for the past 14 years and the experience has been for the most part amazing.

    The property industry operates like a small kingdom and is dependent on outdated in shop technology, portals keep charging more at will and provide non-existent customer service.
    Just came back from housers breakfast meeting. Before I came to this meeting, I had received a book from houser (how to get more leads), their customer rep talked me through whole bunch of questions I had and they sent me an offer to attend a free breakfast Q/A section. I was very hard on them because how can they do all this and not charge any money. After meeting the founder it all makes sense. No arrogance but amazing understanding of math. The houser system encourages customer service and fast response by using a rating system based on actions that Im sure will work. My conclusion from this morning meeting, houser will change how people look for properties, it will change lives, and increase what we want/demand from other portals. I dont see any reason why press will not be all over them soon. I am hoping AM is just as good and the big two will have no choice but to rethink their attitudes.

    • 20 December 2014 12:58 PM
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    Agent's mutual's attempt to stir up things is endearing. But really, what would be the benefit for anyone to make this kind of choice and take a risk. I think wait and see, lets the 'happy few' who want to risk getting half of their leads cut down and then consider. Making such a preposterous demand when really they have not proven any ability to do anything yet, I would say is very presumptuous. I do identify with their ethos but their approach is uncouth.

    • 19 December 2014 16:46 PM
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    Sorry Jason, the above was meant for David Lendman

    • 19 December 2014 13:16 PM
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    I'm assuming this is addressed to me David. First, Happy Christmas! If you have read my articles you will know the basis of my views, you will also know that I'm not the only one to hold them. I have learned during this debate that it's pointless trying to score points or get personal, I have done it and I am trying to learn from my mistakes. If you have a genuine point to make then please make it, please highlight the part of my argument you feel is most flawed and I will address it one way or the other. Be happy brother :-)

    • 19 December 2014 13:07 PM
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    @Trevor Mealham
    read your comment with interest and kept reading all the way to the end. You made some very sensible points and at the end - left me hanging But additionally. Please finish it. Im sure it will be worth reading.

    The best part of your post is No portal taht replicates the two will beat the system only thing better than that is Changing the way data can flow in the industry would open doors. I love it.

    What I would add to it; is this, changing the way the data flows not only to the industry but also to the consumers. We go where the consumers go and so do our listings. Too much focus from AM is on the power of agents and if houser follows the same route both will end up with, well nothing. The limited access for houser showed promise. Looks nice and easy to use but it is one thing to handle 500 users and whole new world to handle millions.

    Like you said they cant replicate the existing portals and they must find new ways for the data to flow. Whoever does that first and does it right, is going to win.

    • 19 December 2014 12:41 PM
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    Beyond the personal spat there has got to be some other motive for your continued, frankly near embarrassing, attempts at stopping the rollecoaster that is OTM. Did you invest all your sipp in shares of Zoopla Its quite akward reading some of your excuses for arguments against. They are bordering on desperate. Give it a rest.

    • 19 December 2014 11:22 AM
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    Gosh :-) who wants the winning lottery numbers :-) Theres got to be reasons for whay a new solution can at least compete with RM and Z. 100m would be a poss 2nd or 3rd place answer, but beyond that there are three elements that need fusing together to create a new solution.

    In our industry are three key elements: 1/ legislation 2/ front line agency and 3/ technology

    Its rare to find people who understand 2 of the above let alone 3 and most understand one well.

    Creating portals that work and function and use same structures as RM and Z data limitations wise is a game no one has yet pulled off or will pull off. Look close at the 3 industries that make up the one. Re write the rules and remove some of the restrictions or use them where others haven't.

    Z & RM both have corporate agents backing and beyond them interest from groups like Oaktree Capital who don't deal in m's but bn's. No portal taht replicates the two will beat the system, its designed to work in a certain way.

    Now change the rules and dynamics and things can be different.

    The solution isnt tech alone. UK portals have run on the same feed schema since 2000. Changing the way data can flow in the industry would open doors. But additionally

    • 18 December 2014 14:14 PM
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    Darren:

    I don't really see any point in your response, your still expressing views that i'm clearly going to disagree with. So whilst we're making assumptions about each other, here's mine; you're someone who thinks that we should all allow the internet to dictate how our businesses are run. You seem to have the attitude that if a business does not become the internet's bitch, then they are not viable in this day and age. Your opinions and thoughts are those that I have heard/read a million times before; 'the internet is coming to take your business so you'd better shape up'. I don't think the internet is the be all and end all of business, and nor should we allow it to be.

    And yes, customer service is key, so whilst Amazon, Thompson and Thomas cook are busy employing extra staff for their complaints departments this Christmas, the small independents will continue to offer a dependable service and satisfy their customers.

    I'm glad that i've clearly struck a nerve judged on your rather OTT response. Merry Christmas.

    • 18 December 2014 13:51 PM
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    I have a solution for all this madness. AM should buy houser. Think about it, houser already has the technology and support of more than 4,000 agents. AM has support of few thousand agents also. take a page out of zooplas book. To compete with RM, The merger between Zoopla Ltd and The Digital Property Group Ltd was the key. That is what made zoopla the second biggest portal in the country.

    Even before the merger, zoopla was growing on its own but merger provided that missing piece. Zoopla and rightmove has managed to do what NAEA, couldn't/wouldn't, create a unified marketplace for all things real estate. Sad, so many saw this slow motion train coming down the tracks yet with all the road blocks its still coming.

    Anyone who has seen houser would say if AM and houser were to come together, possibly with hybrid business model of the two the property portal war would have a new winner.

    • 18 December 2014 10:40 AM
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    Valuation shortcomings on sites like zoopla present an opportunity for agents to demonstrate their knowledge of the market and why consumers need agents. Changes in the way business is done is hard for some to accept. But with change comes unforeseen opportunities. Zoopla or Rightmove are not not going away anytime soon. In fact, with the upcoming launches for Houser and AM, the big two will put lot more money in to advertising to maintain their power as a consumer based website for real estate. On advertising strength no new site can compete with the existing big players.

    The money alone cant do it. It is true the biggest threat to the dominant players in the market are the new startups, someone with that new idea to give the consumers what they are looking for. The question is this, is it Houser or AM, which will produced something that makes the consumer go WOW. After seeing the Houser site yesterday I would have to admit they are ahead of the big two let alone AM. If this is their site without the secret ingredients we have not seen yet, I cant wait to see it all. I have been a big supporter of AM and felt their was a big opportunity for the taking but from what I have seen so far, there is lot of smoke and not enough fire.

    What AM should have done and it is still not too late to do is to get agents involved in the development stage. Let us play around with the solution being developed, let us provide our feedback on the tools and let us get others involved. Only thing I hear so far is we are a site for the agents by the agents and give us your money. I feel we are very good at doing our jobs and we know what our customers want.

    Houser has a tester and idea group and guess who is in it Agents. I was approached also but decline to participate due to my loyalty with AM, after seeing houser, I regret my decision of not participating. The one you didnt see coming is right, while we AM supporters have been creating smoke, houser has been building without the limelight. Now AM has to develop a solution that is not only better than Rightmove and zoopla but also houser. I supported AM because I am fed up with the amount of money I pay to the big two and the service I receive in return. I have no issue with houser and feel their growth may actually get the big two to smarten up. In houser I see another hope and so far they are touching all the right buttons.

    AM top dogs, it is still not too late. Let us test it, who cares about one vote each if technology being developed is not good enough. Just like houser provided access to people, AM should do the same. I have signed up to houser yesterday because I can see what they are bringing and AM needs people like me to commit but first let us see what we are buying into. More and more of us are becoming frustrated with not being involved and that cant be good for the business. You can disregard this or you can actually take steps towards correcting it.

    Anyone who has survived a few business cycles in any business know products, services, and technology all must come together to serve our clients. Smart business people watch the trends and use the tools that are working for their market at that point in time. please AM, let us see the tools.

    • 18 December 2014 09:41 AM
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    There is something else that has been bothering me about this issue that has crystallised overnight, perhaps it was eating too much Jamon Iberico that did it but whatever the reason I feel I want to share. EAT is known as 'The Voice of the Industry' which implies it speaks for the whole Industry. Yet, since the advent of AM, it has become clear that one publication can't speak for the whole industry anymore because AM has polarised it into three camps. The first camp are the AM supporters, comprising the old guard and their followers, these agents don't believe in the free market and want to raise the drawbridge on the invading hordes. The second camp, the majority I feel, are the silent types who just want to get on with making an honest living, they are not joining AM at this stage and I suspect many object to AM on principle. Finally we have the new breed of non high St agent excluded from the AM fold, some may seek entry but only to prove a point, not because they actually want to be part of the AM culture. Anyway, I guess it's a bit sad really, the fact that the industry has been so divided over this issue, I will however say this for EAT. At least they had the self respect and principals to seperate views like mine from news, a journalistic principal burned into them from the start, ironic when you think about it. In any event, I would like to think that as its Christmas the three camps should declare a temporary truce and perhaps take part in a football match, assuming that is we can all agree which side we are on.

    • 18 December 2014 07:26 AM
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    The world changes. Rightmove was the agent of change. Change or die! RightMove won because there are more incompetent estate agents then competent ones. We never caught on that the world changes and the consumer has to win, not us agents.

    Many estate agents and Franchises are equally responsible for the incompetence in the Agent population. As long as some view the success of a franchise or agency by agent or shop count, far reaching incompetence will remain.

    The Consumer deserves competence in our industry....
    Oh and one last thing. To all the agents out there. If you'd answer your dang phone and return phone calls all of these internet portals would NOT be having the tremendous success they are. It's cause and effect. It's a sign that agents need to stop Watching Eastenders all night and start answering their phone in the morning like the rest of the business world does... mostly. This also includes me. Now the portal debate:

    it would be a disservice to our Sellers not to list their property on all of these major real estate sites, although AM would disagree.

    Rightmove keeps increasing prices but we have no choice
    Zoopla does the same, once again we have no choice

    Both sites have the right to charge but be fair.

    Houser wants to jump in the battle with the giants. A true David Vs Goliath(ss) battle.

    The truth being from what I saw so far Houser has a better mouse trap in an imperfect real estate world where estate agents have the correct data but is run by a slow moving slugs.

    RightMove and Zoopla are the most heavily trafficked real estate sites in the UK. Why Because consumers love it. Forget about the inaccurate house values. Forget about inaccuracies in property status. Consumers LOVE these sites and that is the reason that they dominate. It's not about the agent. It's about the consumer. From what I saw with Houser, consumer are going to love it and if that happens .us estate agents have no choice but to embrace it. Better sooner than later.

    • 17 December 2014 18:02 PM
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    Sorry for the silence, it's not shock, I have been driving from Santander to Toledo with no Internet. Just so you all know, I'm not saying Houser is going to replace RM and Zoopla but what I am saying is they might and they are illustrative of the speed with which technology changes the game. I spent hours with Rocky and I'm a great big sceptic but if he delivers the functionality and reach he promises Houser will be a game changer and you will want to be on board, very slow connection so that's all for now other than to thank everyone who has constructively contributed to this vital and interesting debate, 2015 promises to be a fascinating year, Happy Christmas everybody :)

    • 17 December 2014 17:05 PM
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    This has to be an interesting enough post to disturb my vacation in Dubai to comment.
    I like the concept of free listings. Rightmove and zoopla are buyer-centric. They come into play for listings when you tell a seller that their home is going to be all over the place so that every buyer in the UK or possibly even the rest of the known Universe will know their house is for sale.
    Houser needs to compete on the buyer front and should also look at how the estate agents can get good seller leads.
    We have been crying for viable alternative and i am putting my support behind it. It is true, alone I cant do much, I am only responsible for one location but Im sure the collective power of people like me adds up. if Houser doesnt cost me anything to try it, Why wouldnt I
    The site looks great and I love how they show the outside of my listing. Very neat. The speed seemed to be slow but maybe it is the internet at the Wild Wadi Water Park.

    • 17 December 2014 15:26 PM
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    @P by the way what does the P stand for I have my ideas but you can explain it better.

    Correct me if I am wrong, You are one of those people who look normal but have a genuine selective hearing/reading disorder. You read my whole post and only processed what your limited IQ can process. Most travel agents who are left today are the good ones. Same will happen to the estate agents, rotten eggs will not survive while the good ones will flourish.

    You talk about RM similar properties nearby is useless. Good thing they did not ask you before adding it to their site. Since you seem to be new to the internet, Amazon has done very well with similar books links.

    If you have an issue with RM similar properties links, you will for sure have an issue with housers Who is the target market for my listings and how to get to them section. Which I find interesting, did anyone else play with that

    Also just so you know Human contact and individual service as a buzz word means nothing. What you are trying to say is, exceptional customer service is the key and yes I agree.

    • 17 December 2014 14:57 PM
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    You're right Oldbill. We can't stop technology, no one has been able to do so for very long anyways. Change and innovation are inevitable and the best thing to do is to keep up with it. Whether its AM or Houser, I welcome all new portals and will evaluate them based on their offerings.

    • 17 December 2014 14:26 PM
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    The change is coming and all anyone can do is to be prepared, innovate and enhance our core business values. Use every tool possible that makes it easy for us to provide the best possible service to our clients. All my sellers want to sell their homes for as much money as possible and do so in the shortest time possible. Any website that is going to help me satisfy my clients, Im all for it. I am 52 years old and most of the time my 18 year old daughter Julie is the best promoter for my listings. I get leads from snapchat, twitter, facebook, pinterest and many others. This morning first thing I did was to get Julie to look at houser. Her response was nothing short of amazing. She loved the one touch integration with some of the sites she already uses.
    I am too old to do it myself but I am smart enough to know, its the apple generation that will be leading what real estate demands are in the future. You want to find out if houser is going to grow, put it in the hands of your teenagers and let them tell you. our children will only say it as they see it. As we grow, we develop biases. When AM launches, I will let Julie be the judge ..tick, tick, tick to an interesting Jan 2015.

    • 17 December 2014 14:20 PM
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    Darren:

    You moron. We don't work for the buyers we work for the vendors to achieve the best price possible. You are basically suggesting that the real estate industry should be flipped around to work solely for the purchaser and not the vendor.

    The availability of all this online data will only serve to cause difficulty for vendors when selling their properties. Too much data (look at Rightmove's new feature, a 'market info' tab which diverts people to other similar properties nearby) is bad news for the vendor.

    Another point; you talk about efficiency and convenience. What about human contact and individual service You talk about travel agencies 'innovating' (going on line basically- nothing to do with innovating), but you fail to realise that there are still bookshops and travel agents in every town in the country.

    Just because it is your opinion that these more 'efficient' services should be the future, you can not speak for the entire British public, the majority of whom still prefer a personal and complete service.

    • 17 December 2014 13:58 PM
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    @So funny are you a paid poster by AM I don't get what you're so wound up about.

    • 17 December 2014 13:52 PM
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    This whole post, the official endorsement as well as some of the fake posts today are genuinely hilarious. It's like looking at allagents.co.uk to see Choices estate agent at the top of the listings thanks to so many great reviews.

    "I signed up to Houser because....."
    "Now we have Houser and Agents Mutual....."
    "I will definately try this website over Agents Mutual...."

    I'm genuinely lost for words....hilarious.

    • 17 December 2014 13:42 PM
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    @Larry that's quite a post mate. What do you If you're an estate agent let's get connected.

    • 17 December 2014 13:32 PM
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    @Nora Viewers are not really loyal to any portal or website. They go where they find value and info. If Houser gives value, it will get viewers too. Long gone are the days when big corporate giants had virtually no competition.

    • 17 December 2014 13:28 PM
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    I have been sitting on the sideline for a while and I thought it is about time I share my thoughts.

    RightMove (RM) and Zoopla (Z). They both have the exact same business model and are publically listed companies. They essentially charge estate agents listing fees, which they then use to run their business.

    Since they have a duopoly and their names are well known, the fees they charge are regularly increased and agents have no choice but to pay up.

    New kids on the block
    1. AM and
    2. Houser
    Agents Mutual (AM) is a venture formed by a number of estate agents who have come together in a bid to disrupt the online property hunting marketing the UK and divide and conquer the current leaders RM & Z.

    Disruption, in the context of radical change due to the introduction of a new idea driving a different way of doing things, is a revolutionary change.

    Can Agents Mutuals concept and business model disrupt the industry Keep reading to find out.

    Things that AM have done right so far:
    They created a pre-marketing hype/momentum, mainly with the estate agents
    They got some agents to lend them money
    They got good press coverage, and to date have been covered by a number of different reporters and their coverage has started heated debates on both side of the table
    They got some signups from agents, where the estate agents agreed to only list with one other property portal (the assumption here is that the choice is between the two market leaders rather than other real estate sites).
    They are actively participating in the comment sections where article about them are published. In most cases, just to cause noise and have nothing valuable to offer

    There are a few questions still unanswered though, like:
    Can an agent pick RightMove over Zoopla, and then also go along with Prime Location
    Is the agent allowed to advertise on Google or does Google fall under the one other portal rule
    Can the agent put properties on free sites like Houser.co.uk or Gumtree
    What about Facebook and other social networks
    What about the international arms of Zillow or other similar services in the USA
    What about their business model
    Is the business model any different than the current market leaders

    From what has been available publically, the business model of AM is exactly the same as the business model of RM and Z. They charge agents to list their properties, but on the upside, RM and Z do not put any restriction on who else you can advertise with, and by far have the most traffic.

    So who is AM really for
    Is it for some of the estate agents who are truly fed up with the duopoly of the two market leaders and are trying to find a viable alternative or is it for the big agencies who are behind it If the notion behind it is to force the big players to reduce prices, AM supports should be supporting every other real estate startup. Why Because you never know what will take off, all you need is for one to do so. The restriction on advertising with one other portal besides AM creates some viable competitive weaknesses for the agents however. For example, you compete with other agents in your area for buyers and sellers. If your properties are pulled from one of the bigger portals, it will give the competing agent in your area a competitive advantage over you.

    The logic is simple:

    Lets assume there were only two sites:
    1. Zoopla
    2. Agents Mutual

    Let us also assume there are only two agents in the market for your area:
    1. You
    2. Your competitor

    You have your properties listed on AM and your competitor has his properties listed on Zoopla.
    The first month:

    Your competitor would win just because the traffic, branding and eyeballs for Zoopla are impressive and AM is just coming out of the blocks. There is an obvious null period; the day their site goes live, until it starts to gain traffic and momentum.
    Zoopla in the first month will have 1,554,545.45 eyeballs per day and Agents Mutual will have a fraction of this. Your competitor will win over you on all fronts.
    What kind of traffic will AM generate
    There are multitude of factors involved in gaining traction and pulling traffic. To give a simple example we can take the amount of traffic Zoopla has along with the number of paying members, and associate a number per agent as a traffic contributor for Zoopla.
    For example the total traffic for Zoopla is currently more than 513 million users for 2014, according to Lauren Davidson from telegraph.co.uk.
    Zoopla currently has 19,663 paying members.

    If we take the two numbers and assume Zoopla was getting all its traffic from agents only. Each agent has contributed 26,090 uniques per year and 79 uniques per day.
    Assuming at the end; Agents Mutual were able to convince 3,000 agents to abandoned either Rightmove or Zoopla, and 70% of them abandoned Zoopla. The traffic decrease for Zoopla will be around 10.68%. Would that be enough to dent Zoopla If you add the year-to-year growth rate, Zoopla grew more than 70% from 2013 to 2014 - the 10.68% decrease is going to be negligible.

    Agents Mutuals own traffic based on the same dynamics would be around 15% of what Zoopla has. This is assuming AM will have same stickiness, same leakage, customer loyalty, brand recognition and repeat traffic as Zoopla. If the actual product is not up to par; the repeat traffic will not be at the same level, resulting in much lower traffic for AM.
    True challenge for any startup starts when it is opened to the world. That is the time when all important things come to the forefront. There are startups which experienced an amazing growth initially but ended up losing it all.

    Why does this happen To answer this questions, we will have to dissect user acquisition for AM (which may be a topic on its own).
    For now lets stick to the comparison between you and a competing agent.
    Assuming 1% of the total traffic of Zoopla will see your competitors listings and 1% of AM traffic will see your listings in the first month.
    1. Your listings will be seen by around 72k people. If cost per mile (the advertising cost per thousand views) was one pound, 72k impressions should cost you 72.
    2. Your competitors listings will be seen by 466k people. If the CPM is 1, the impressions should cost your competitor 466 pounds per month.
    Using the same growth rate as Zoopla the second month your listings at AM will get 76k views and 81k views in the third month. It will take you 24 months to reach 38% of your competitors monthly views from Zoopla. This is also assuming Zoopla has 0% month-to-month growth from the day AM launches.

    As you can see, when you as an agent remove your listings from Zoopla, the competitors in the same area will gain a unique competitive advantage over you. The end users are already familiar with the top two sites, they can simply visit both sites and get all the current inventory listed on RightMove and Zoopla.

    The divide and conquer strategy only works when there is true value for the end users.
    Lets say company A and company B have 10,000 businesses between them and charge them to list their services. The end users come to company A and company B to buy from any of the 10,000 businesses.

    Company C comes along and tells the businesses, We are giving you an alternative to A and B. We will charge you to list your business with us but one of the conditions for listing with us is that you stop listing on either company A or company B.

    Regardless of how that shift takes place, out of the 10,000 businesses, 6,000 decide to list with company A and 4,000 decide to list with company B. The end user can still come to company A and B to buy from any of the 10,000 businesses. They have no incentive to go to company C which has a lot less inventory. Some end users may shift and start using A, B and C, but most would want to have a much bigger incentive for moving.

    Disruption does not take place with restrictions because it is a growth engine of free economy. When it comes to real estate, the launch of AM clearly gives way to the top two market leaders to be able to take a stand. That stand could be in many different ways, one of which could be by allowing the homeowners to start listing their inventory directly without any agent.
    If that happens, would agents be able to absorb the downshift This is one of the many reasons why putting restrictions in a free flowing economy may not produce fruitful results.
    Should an estate agent sign up with Agents Mutual

    Estate agents should use as many viable alternatives as possible. The key is not about which site to use to increase your brand and make more money for yourself the main thing is to figure out what works and do more of it.

    You also need to ask clear questions to find out what you are getting yourself into.
    Is the restriction only for RightMove and Zoopla or does it extend to other sites as well
    If Google is restricted, there goes your SEO strategy.
    If Facebook is restricted, there goes your social strategy.
    If Gumtree is restricted, there goes your free advertising strategy

    Will Houser fly
    From what I saw so far, they have the best chance of competing with the big guys and site is very well done. my one worry was, can they produce a tech solution that can compete with the big boys After seeing it, Im convinced they have already done it. I also thought they would gain initially as free and then start charging me same as the current big players. Their response says, listing is free for the next five years. To me that is long enough period to see if they are the viable alternative. A lot can happen after the five years but at least until 2020 price is fixed at zero. I will list with houser but will also track my results and will post my results openly.

    I am for every site that gets me more business.

    • 17 December 2014 13:22 PM
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    Is Houser an agent owned portal like Agents Mutual or is it like Rightmove and Zoopla, in other words, once it's big enough will start dictating terms like the duopoly

    This could make a real difference in my decision making process

    • 17 December 2014 13:15 PM
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    If only the NAEA had listened when I suggested they should provide a free property portal back in the infancy of the web. I suggested they allow non members on the site too, to create the largest marketplace for property. I predicted they could, in future, pass back revenues from advertising to their members to create a revenue stream instead of a cost of advertising, which would give a reason to join the NAEA for agents who otherwise saw no incentive. We saw how NAEA missed the opportunity and tied itself to start-up geeks who failed miserably because they never had sufficient listings to make their site worth searching. If agents stick with OTM instead of being lured by houser's offer of a free lunch, when houser could jack up prices in the future once it has a critical mass, we'll be free from the excessive price increases we've been forced to tolerate in the past. By drpping the rip-off extra services we've seen that OTM will listen when we make our views heard, which hasn't been the case when we've moaned at RM has it At least there's hope that we can trust OTM to hear us, why would you help launch houser, free now but what will it cost in future

    • 17 December 2014 13:01 PM
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    Isn't it not strange that people are putting up figures for agent mutual that they can't cooberate, then hating on a portal that is yet to launch,let's all pray that houser does well, as all I have seen to date, is they are trying to help agents increase traffic without the cost, my site launches in the new year and I will be first in the que to sign up.

    • 17 December 2014 12:49 PM
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    I couldn't log in to houser so cn't see what the big deal is. If OTM has the majority of listings that are split between RM and Z then the obvious place to search the whole market is OTM. I welcome a reduction in property portals so we intensify the following for the main ones. There will always be new start-ups in the portal arena, if we agents keep control of our data we can reduce our costs and offer access to the best marketplace for our clients.

    • 17 December 2014 12:42 PM
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    It would be interesting to know how Houser plans to get viewers to compete with Zoopla and others and how they plan to promote their portal which has been flying under the radar so far while others like AM are doing massive publicity.

    • 17 December 2014 12:37 PM
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    I got a call from someone at Houser a few days back and they actually gave me info and sent a book. There were no sales involved nor did they ask for any money, they just wanted a little of my time and I thought it was a good call. Glad to see them getting positive reviews.

    • 17 December 2014 12:35 PM
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    I visited the demo site linked in this post and it seems pretty decent. There were detailed property breakdowns by area and there seemed to be a good amount of data. Of course we will have to see what happens when this new portal goes online but I will make a note to check up on it again. Cheers for sharing Simon.

    • 17 December 2014 12:31 PM
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    Brilliant, the last throw of the dice By Simon, EAT, Emoov, Zoopla et al.

    I bet the people at Agents Mutual can't laugh loud enough.

    • 17 December 2014 12:23 PM
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    @richardHead
    unless you are in the comment spam department of agent mutual, where comment venom seems to be available in abundance - What is your main worry, Is it because a new site is going to be free
    Guess what else was free, a startup search engine in the late 90s called Google
    A new comer in social network market called facebook was free
    Every single news site you read are all free
    I have been looking for paid viable alternative and will welcome a free one with both hands.
    Just checked the front-page of houser and they already have signed up 3912 agents. How come AM is not publishing their numbers openly I think both houser and AM should add a ticker on the site, which not only shows the number of agents signed up but also show the brand names so any of us can call and check.
    As for your mums church newsletter, I bet you tried that already. How were the results if it worked for you, I would love to follow.

    • 17 December 2014 12:17 PM
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    I am not a lover or a hater of OTM- I am not an agent that has signed up, I am pessimistic of its ambitions and here is why.....
    I do love how passionate agents apparently are about promoting OTM once it launches but my thought is this- why will this work now when it failed so dismally for PropertyLive The NFOPP portal looked to establish itself by offering member agents tiny membership fees (from what I recall it was abput 35 a month). In return, agents were simply required to promote PL above all else, driving traffic there and away from ZPG & RM......but agents didnt. Why
    I remember having a very candid chat with the PL team when they were trying to convince me to do more to promote them however my issues was this- why promote any website where I am listed alongside my competitors Why drive traffic to any other website but my own
    I beleive this is why PL failed and is why OTM will fail too. People love brands they recognise and getting to that point takes time. RM have long since had this, ZPG are sought of getting there but to replace or challenge established brands takes extensive marketing, market leading innovation and more. If OTM is simply a portal with nothing unique to offer applicants other than the list of agents on it, then it simply will not permeate the psyche as a go to domain for property hunting.
    I hope I am proved wrong, really I do, but I am intrigued to actually see things happen now and the incessant mud-slinging from one side to another cease. Many of the Qs Simon has raised are completely valid as the NAEA is, indeed, a representative of all agents. Whether you 'like' the online model or not, it is here to stay and needs to be accepted as a rael part of our industry. It is not the vast threat it likes to think it is, the fact is clients will always prefer the human touch and many simply dont have the time or desire to effectively run a property/portfolio themselves but the NAEA cannot accept memberships and fees from this sector and then actively support an enterprise that excludes them.
    OTM has raised many questions, but one of the biggest issues I feel it has raised is how aggresive we are as an industry to one another. We are all in competition, we all want more market share, better leads, more deals. lower costs, etc. but the attack on innovation, on making choices, on trying things different is all too often made personal, vicious and vile. If we really want to lift our industry up in public perception maybe it is about tme we started treating each other with some respect

    • 17 December 2014 12:15 PM
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    Simon why don't you share more information about 'Houser' with us. Your post says you have asked every possible question and given their answers you believe Houser will work. I for one would like to know the contents of that discussion.

    • 17 December 2014 12:08 PM
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    @Richardhead I really don't understand why you are so vehemently opposing Houser and backing AM. Have you signed up with AM and are upset about Houser Relax mate, everyone is free to choose and sign up with different portals.

    • 17 December 2014 12:07 PM
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    Online disruption will broaden across multiple industries as the cost of technology creates opportunities and big data is used for distribution. It is not far fetched, Travel agencies (expedia), taxi cabs (uber) and books (Amazon) can attest to the wave of innovation. Those in the Real Estate industry should have looked at beyond the property search "layer" and study the buy transaction further. If Houser nails this - From offer to closing, the home buying process relies on the lender, attorney, appraiser, insurance agents to fulfill their roles and obligations. If service is to be improved, innovation to upgrade the levels for delivery needs to be challenged.

    Imagine the need for an underwriting process for obtaining a taxi cab. First the passenger must get credit approval, then have the route approved, waiting for additional parties to review the passenger and route. I think you get the picture. Excellent topic as the Real Estate industry presents a challenge with bountiful rewards.

    Technology will continue to expose the massive inefficiencies in the traditional real estate business model. The portals empower consumers to be able to shop for homes without the assistance of an agent. Buyers love being able to see listings without having to go through an agent. Most of the times people who call us already know what property they want to see and all related details. Houser is free but I think it's very well designed and flows easy. My only concern so far is the speed, I understand it is not live yet but if they improve speed I think they can become real contenders.

    • 17 December 2014 12:05 PM
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    @ Jeff Dixon. What a completely naive post. You say AM is playing a losing hand yet it has over 5000 offices in the UK signed up and say that it hasn't enough data and yet you are supporting something that has NO DATA!! Will the consumers be upset if it takes off, well it hasn't so we don't need to worry about that yet do we. then your trump card, the best thing about Houser is that its free!! Well I will let you into a secret, you can advertise at my mums church newsletter for free as well and you'll get about as much business. I have to be honest I don't whether to be saddened or gleeful that there are people in this industry that are truly clueless.

    • 17 December 2014 12:01 PM
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    @Richardhead I have been following AM closely too but I don't think the exclusivity clause is the way to go forward. Houser says its all free, the don't force me to take sides so I wouldn't mind giving it a try. Both are startups and the beauty of the digital age is that it gives us tons of options. Win win for everyone.

    • 17 December 2014 11:59 AM
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    @Chris. "every start up that made it big had its naysayers" So where do you stand on an article that knocks a new start up with a new start up then

    • 17 December 2014 11:52 AM
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    Ok let me try to sum this up without running into the paid poster by AM or by anyone else. AM guys, Bewildered, John, Chris, Richard head, Newsboy, wowser, would have been interesting if anonymous was removed for all and only people who can comment are the ones who can log in with their full real details.

    Houser supporters: Rebecca, chris, James


    Whats amazing and unreal is about the persistence of this portal paradox is how much real estate has changed in the last two years for everyone except the ones who make everyone money (consumers), with the continued rise to prominence of national real estate portals such as rightmove and zoopla. These portals together are now worth billions.

    There are many factors to their prominence but one of the key they achieved is the magnificent/amazing national destination for real estate data and repository that before was mostly only available through local estate agents or our sites. Their money making customer are the estate agents but the main power these portals have are the customers. I thought initially Zooplas cavalry came for the rescue of the estate agents but in reality they did not lower prices or improve service. AM is trying to play a losing hand at the expense of the estate agents, without realizing the power is in the consumers. The reason I have signed up to Houser is simple. I feel not charging for listings is the right step forward and thousands like me will happily provide our inventory, which currently we provide anyways to the big portals but we also pay them for it.

    My logic is simple:
    Does houser have the potential, from what I have seen so far Yes
    Does AM have the potential Maybe, my main concern is, they will not have enough data to fight in the age, where big data is the key.
    Will the consumer be upset if Houser takes off and us as estate agents are not listing our inventory there (especially when it is truly free) Yes
    Does it cost us much No
    Can AM win Only if all agents big and small support it fully. Can that happen Probably not.

    • 17 December 2014 11:51 AM
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    I got a book written by Houser a while back and when I received a call from their sales team I welcomed it only to realise they weren't selling me anything... it was free, a very interesting model and certainly different to the others I will give them a go for sure.

    • 17 December 2014 11:47 AM
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    I have talked to Houser's representatives a couple of times and they have sent me a lot of reading material. Even though I am skeptical of their growth I wouldn't mind trying Houser to see what they offer.

    • 17 December 2014 11:37 AM
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    Every startup that made it big had naysayers. I for one think there is no harm in a new portal or entrant and I wouldn't mind giving 'Houser' a go because there is nothing to lose.

    • 17 December 2014 11:34 AM
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    I recently received a sales call from Houser and then a subsequent sales pitch on email that was littered with numerous spelling mistakes, gramatical errors and full of complete nonsense.

    Simon, what are you doing mate, you've lost it!

    • 17 December 2014 11:22 AM
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    Oh dear.... ! Where do I start...... I believe Agents Mutual will do well because it will be promoted by agents making it unique. Rightmove and Zoopla have been hiking their prices for too long and ripping agents off with all the extras. The majority of agents will actually be desperate to use and promote agents mutual and for this reason it has a unique selling point. For these reasons i believe it will do well. I am also fairly certain 'Houser' will have no appeal to estate agents as buyers won't use it so without an advertising budget and no buyers using the site, what is the point in agents listing on it... Nobody will have heard of it nor is that likely to change. The above article misses the key points.

    • 17 December 2014 11:19 AM
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    I'm pretty sure Mark Hayward declined to comment because he was too busy dealing with more pressing issues than engaging with a non entity with a bee in his bonnet!!! :p

    • 17 December 2014 11:19 AM
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    I'm sorry Simon but the words sour and grapes and heard, it, all and before spring to mind! The only interesting thing here though is the change of tact, it has gone from it will never work, what is wrong with Z and RM, they bring in more search traffic than Onthemarket ever will. To suddenly there is a free site, with NO BUDGET WHATSOEVER that could be the threat to OTM (but of course they will let me on it). WHAT A HYPOCRITE YOU ARE!!!

    • 17 December 2014 11:18 AM
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    Oh dear oh dear. What complete and utter tosh. Sounds more like an Internet ONLY agent on speed.
    What I can't understand is why you can ever imagine the NAEA would ever feel the need to talk to you. Another irrelevant complainer who fears losing his marketplace when AM moves to only allowing REAL agents.

    • 17 December 2014 11:18 AM
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    Provocative article Simon. I generally agree and would add a point to consider. The business model of organized real estate (estate agents using AM as the primary marketing vehicle for their own self interest rather than the consumers) is broken. Currently the industry knows about it but when the consumers find out the limitations these agents are putting on the reach of their homes, stop this nonsense tipping point will be reached.

    Ask buyers how they found and why they bought a property and the vast majority will say online or by seeing a lawn sign. I've never heard a buyer say they were concerned about who or what company listed the property or seller telling me to limit the reach of their property.

    I always thought, there will never be any material disruption in the real estate until there is a viable alternative with better product, service and consumer traffic. Can this consumer traffic be bought with money, in most cases, No. Organic growth is the key and if houser can get that, there will be a new king in town. The vast majority of sellers at least all the ones I know, still allocate a significant portion of the value of their listing agent (and the commission they charge) in the ability of that agent relative to others to cause a sale.

    Imagine, just for a second, the 'armageddon' of the internet. Consumers certainly wouldn't stop and probably not even slow down their buying and selling of real estate. When the internet comes back up, the consumers will go to a site which has the largest repository of listings. My bet is on houser to be that.

    Full disclosure. I signed up to houser and actually saw what they are bringing when they came to visit our office, all I can say is, its about time.

    • 17 December 2014 11:11 AM
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    'Houser' you actually think this will work! What makes me laugh is that everything thinks they know the property market and 'how easy it is' Dream on...it takes millions and millions to become a RM or Zoopla. AM has 4000 agents/offices signed up, which is great. The interesting thing will be to watch Zoopla and see what they do. Merge with RM or go for the online market

    • 17 December 2014 11:09 AM
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    Houser...don't make be laugh, this is the great white hope proclaimed by Simon Shinerock, just have a look at their site.

    Unbelievable!

    • 17 December 2014 11:08 AM
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