Zoopla is to offer its members a range of options which effectively mean that those agents who wish to can offer a ‘hybrid’ service of the kind currently operated by Purplebricks.
Mark Goddard - former chief executive of the Property Software Group, acquired by Zoopla Property Group in the spring - says the options will exist by the end of this year.
“There’s obviously no compulsion but we know from research that some agents want to operate both traditional and increasingly-online options to offer to customers” says Goddard, who is now managing director of ZPG’s property services division.
“But by the end of December we’ll be giving agents the choice of, firstly, working as they are and have been for many years; or secondly, working purely as an online agent, using their own portal and Zoopla and Primelocation to display a property being sold by one of their clients with their clients doing all of the other work; or thirdly, any hybrid option the agent wishes to operate in between those two extremes” he says.
Goddard has told Estate Agent Today that the pure online option will not be open to ‘for sale by owner’ individuals - it would only operate through agents.
“But if an existing high street agent wished to create an online option allowing an individual to upload details to their agency website, then we’d carry that if they wished” he says.
There will also be opportunities for vendors as well as agents to log on to the Zoopla site and see chain-progression information relating to their property, including information and feedback from viewings. Access will be controlled by the estate agents, depending on the service and fees-package they have agreed with their individual vendors.
The idea has already been piloted and researched with a number of traditional agents on Zoopla, who now offer - or intend to offer in the future - a range of services to its vendors from online advertising-only right up to full service.
“Purplebricks has clearly made the concept of ‘hybrid’ acceptable, with vendors paying a low basic cost and picking and chooisng what other services they want based on cost. But in many ways this has always been around. Even before the internet there were always low-cost agencies, especially trying to break into new areas” says Goddard.