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"Portals should carry private sales plus agents' stock" - claim

An opinion poll of over 2,000 people conducted for The House Shop shows that a majority of people would use a portal displaying listings from agents plus private sellers and landlords, than would use traditional agent-only portals.

The YouGov poll, conducted last week and questioning 2,028 adults - a standard sample for many polls - asked the question: 

“Thinking about searching for a property online (either to rent or buy)…which ONE, if either, of the following statements BEST applies to you?


I would prefer to use a website that only displays properties available for estate agents...

I would prefer to use a website that displays properties available from estate agents, private landlords, private sellers and auction houses...

Neither of these...”

The overall result was that 57 per cent of respondents say they would use the ‘whole market’ portal including private sellers and landlords as well as agents. 

Some 25 per cent preferred the agent-only portal, while 18 per cent would chose neither.

Most interesting, perhaps, is the age breakdown and preference of respondents.

Of those questioned aged from 18 to 24 a total of 70 per cent said they would use the ‘whole market’ portal and only 22 per cent backed the ‘agents-only’ portal. Only nine per cent said Neither. 

For those respondents aged 25 to 34 there was a roughly similar result: 68 per cent for the whole market portal and 24 per cent for the agents-only portal. Just eight per cent said Neither.

When the questioning was broken down for the over-55s (so for those much more used to having dealt with agents, possibly on several occasions over their history of renting/letting and selling/buying) the detailed results shifted somewhat although the in-principle result was the same.

So for the over-55s some 44 per cent said they would use the whole-market portal and 27 per cent said they would use the agents-only portal. No fewer than 20 per cent said they would use neither, presumably indicating they would use either known ‘favoured’ estate agents or use another source of advertising aside from portals.

Nick Marr, director of The House Shop, told Estate Agent Today: "The survey clearly shows that there is a change on the way and that Rightmove, Zoopla and OnTheMarket are not giving the public what they want. The younger generation don't want agent-only sites and that a whole market approach is more desirable” 

He says the current reduction in available stock and the need for buyers and tenants to find all available properties means that they need portals that feature listings from every source including online and High Street agents and those selling or letting privately.

He says The House Shop, which has been operating for 15 years, operates what he calls an “Auto Trader approach to property listings from professionals and private individuals alike. 

“This has created a unique database of listings and a place where agents generate business from those who are considering a direct sale or let. A few years ago this model would have been impossible to achieve, The House Shop work with a brand new generation of estate agents that are accessing vendors, buyers and tenants all from one place" says Marr.

  • Lei Li

    Internet has the biggest power to put everything together

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    Thanks for that insight, Lei....This isn't a particularly ground-breaking piece of research from HS...Given the choice, of course consumers would want the most options available. What is surprising is that only 57% would want the full spectrum of options

  • Fake Agent

    Yes, John, I think the research rather states the obvious. The more options, the better, you would have thought. Although some people may simply be looking for agents only, so have no need to see listings for landlords, private sellers et al.

    @Lei Li - yes, the power of the internet can't be underestimated. It should be embraced, not feared. As the portals have shown, the internet is going nowhere and will continue to have a major impact on estate agency and the property industry as a whole. Most major agencies have entered the modern age with glossy, user-friendly websites, but there are still some agents who seem determined to live in the past. Stuck in their ways, reluctant to change, reluctant to modernise in any way. Unfortunately, these agencies, with no online presence at all (or, in some cases, a website that looks like it's been transported from the late 80s), are the most likely to die out.

  • icon

    I agree that it was surprising in a way not to see more people opt for the whole market option, but I think that is because high street agents do offer a valuable and worthwhile service - hence why they have survived as long as they have. It's not about killing the high street, it's just about offering choice beyond Foxtons vs Savills

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    • R M
    • 21 July 2015 10:12 AM

    What exactly is it the younger generation are wanting or insisting on? There are 90+ property portals, the data the younger generation is after is there for the searching.
    I guess what they are after is that the main property portals built with Agent's data and income from agents are now shared with Agents' competitors. Do think about it!
    The problem with autoradification is just how many people are stealing property data and photograph that does not belong to them and using it to derive an income off the back of Agent's experience and reputation. Once Agents understand how data retention and sharing is damaging their businesses they will put an end to it. The new generation of agents will struggle for credibility and stock. In the 15 years The House shop has been operating (very well kept secret) this new generation of Agents has managed a finger tip grasp on the industry and it is only with mega money being poured into the sector is it's unsustainable presence even apparent.

  • icon

    I would wholeheartedly agree with you Franki. One thing I would say, though, is do consumers really know or care about the difference between private sales/agent listings when looking to buy a property? Surely it is the property itself that is the most important factor?

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    I think there is certainly more of a vested interest for sellers/landlords to look at different routes to market as opposed to buyers and tenants being worried about how the home they want to buy is being sold. But there is an argument to be made that in a sellers market buyers will want to broaden their search to find every possible option, and of course as private sellers can't advertise on RM or Z, a whole market portal may be attractive

  • Kelly Evans

    I'm with you on that, John. I don't think consumers will really care about the difference between private sellers/agent listings when they come to buy. Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think buyers would pay much attention to the nitty-gritty details, they'll just go after the house they like the look of the most, regardless of who is selling it.

  • Kelly Evans

    @Franki Chaffin Edwards - good points. We all know - even the more militant online agents who will insist otherwise - that high street agents offer an excellent and worthwhile service. If we didn't, there wouldn't be so many different branches around, there wouldn't be so many new firms popping up all over the place.

    There is no point in trying to kill off the high street, because it won't happen. I have no problem with online agents existing alongside traditional agents and hybrids, it's only when certain people spout off about the death of the high street agent the new online revolution that I get very defensive. Because it's patently nonsense!

  • Jon  Tarrey

    The high street is dead, long live online agents!

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    John Bamonte, tenants would care because a private landlord would mean that they don't have to pay agency fees. Miss out the middle man etc. As a sales agency, I don't mind the model.

  • Algarve  Investor

    @ david last - good point. Missing out the middle man might be appealing to some tenants, especially given the recent furore over letting agent fees - which are clearly too high.

  • Algarve  Investor

    Buyers, too, might appreciate cutting out the middle man, if they're prepared to do the work an agent would do. Buyers have a lot to do when buying a property anyway, so they might not be too concerned about going through a private seller instead of an agency.

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    Yes very true David - I was talking more about buyers though.

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    |Great piece of overwhelming research - I think not


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