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FT declares eMoov "a disrupter of the year"Online estate agency eMoov has been listed by the Financial Times as one of 21 firms around the world that proved the most successful at disrupting old-school business models in their respective industries in 2014.

Other entries include powerful international new brands such as Uber (the taxi-locating app provider), Netflix (the TV streaming service which now creates its own programmes) and Alibaba (China's eBay-style service which has enjoyed $300 billion of sales).

The FT selects eMoov from the wide range of online agents in this country and now overseas because of its business success - homes to be value of £650m have been sold by the online agent in the past four years, the paper says.

The FT says disruption - in terms of businesses trying to upturn traditional business models - is typically destructive, forcing companies out of business and, often, people out of jobs. But it says disruption also presents huge opportunities for consumers, for the disrupters themselves, and for other companies as new techniques such as crowdfunding or big data mining become increasingly understood and available.

It says innovation has always existed but what feels different about today is the range and number of individuals and companies that are upending business models around the world.

The FT's property correspondent, Kate Allen, says of eMoov:

When Essex estate agent Russell Quirk set up home-selling website eMoov. co.uk in 2010, he aimed to shake up his former colleagues on the high street.

Seeing the inroads internet-based firms were making into traditional businesses in other sectors, Mr Quirk realised that the business of buying and selling houses was overdue a transformation. By abandoning the mainstream model of having an office on every high street, eMoov could make cost savings that could be passed on to home sellers.

High street agents charge between 1 and 2 per cent of a property's sale price, meaning their fees can amount to tens of thousands of pounds. By contrast, online agents charge hundreds of pounds and usually allow sellers to pick and choose what they want to pay for, from photography to booking viewings.

Although Mr Quirk was not Britain's first online estate agent Hatched launched in 2006, while TV celebrity Sarah Beeny launched Tepilo in 2009 eMoov has grown to become the biggest, having sold £650m-worth of homes in the past four years.

Now competitors are piling into the market. EasyJet founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou launched easyProperty this autumn, while veteran investor Neil Woodford backed PurpleBricks this summer.

The online estate agency sector is still relatively small, with around a 5 per cent share of Britain's home-selling market, but it is doubling in size each year, Mr Quirk said. Our belief is that the online estate agency sector will grab around 30 per cent of the residential property market by 2018. Traditionally estate agency has been high-cost and low service, but we want to change that.'


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    Based on those numbers emoov are probably selling around 800 properties per year and turning over around 400k. Based on anecdotal feedback, it sounds as though they only sell around 50% of what they list so will be taking on around 1600 properties a year.
    There's no way you can effectively service 1600 instructions and 800 completions per year on 400k. It costs me 250k a year to run one office, only 14k of which is rent. We typically list around 100 properties a year and complete on 70.
    The whole "online agency, no high street branch overheads" USP is utter nonsense. The overheads come from having a good team of people in sufficient numbers to do the job properly, not from servicing a high street office.

    • 06 January 2015 17:49 PM
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    5 properties on the market with Emoov within 15 miles of my home town in the past year. 3 were removed and placed with local agents (1 sold immediately), one has been on since early spring 2014 and has had several price reductions, still for sale. The other has just instructed emoov, however has already been for sale for the last 2 years with another online agent called I Move Estate Agents.

    Not really feeling the disruption.

    • 06 January 2015 12:18 PM
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