A property portal that describes itself as free-to-list has launched today, taking the industry by surprise - however, at least one agency cited as being a 'partner' of the new website says it knows nothing about it and is considering legal action.
PropertyHeads says it aims to help streamline the homebuying process and assist estate agents’ marketing campaigns. Little is known as yet about those behind it but the website says: "PropertyHeads Group Limited is an Essex based company founded by Ben Davis in 2018."
Its launch statement quotes Emoov, one agency listed as a partner, as describing the portal as an example of "disruption, innovation and competition" in the industry.
The portal says homebuying will be helped by on-portal processes such as Deal Groups, a secure online forum, enabling estate agents to invite all parties involved in a property transaction to coordinate communication.
“This tool will improve the transparency of activity throughout the buying process and help highlight outstanding requirements. Users can also store documents such as mortgage offers, surveys and searches on a secure platform” explains the introductory statement launching the platform.
It claims its 'social platform' will also empower estate agents to win new instructions and sell more homes, by enabling them “to maintain control of their brand by networking with their clients directly, posting content and managing buyer and vendor enquiries.”
Homebuyers will be able to search the database - said to contain approaching half a million homes for sale and rent - as well as commenting on and sharing information with others.
Users will be able to find tradesmen and property services recommended by their network and they can also access a price comparison service for products such as mortgages, energy providers and home insurance.
In its launch statement Ben Davis, named as chief executive of PropertyHeads Group, says: “We are delighted to be launching PropertyHeads in partnership with so many leading estate agents. Our mutual partnership with estate agents will essentially underpin our success which is why we will always offer free property listings.
“However, we are much more than a property listing portal, consumers will be using our site to find tradesmen and property services and save money using our price comparison tool all whilst building their social network. These added services will help drive the consumers to the portal. In addition, we offer innovative tools for the professionals which will help improve the homebuying process. There is a great appetite for an all-encompassing interactive service to aid the homebuying process and we have been hugely encouraged by the response to our exciting venture.”
The launch statement also quotes Emoov founder and chief executive Russell Quirk saying: "Over the last seven to 10 years, we've seen the technological disruption of the property selling process in the UK but the great thing about innovation is that it's ongoing. Further disruption, innovation and competition is inevitable and can only ever be a good thing for both agent and consumer alike. Home sellers and buyers want convenience, whether that be ease and variety when communicating or the availability of additional services to help streamline the homebuying process all under one roof. With PropertyHeads now providing this in the property portal space, and with no charge to the agent, the company is set to establish a very strong foundation in no time."
You can see the portal here.