A prominent regional agent says the industry owes it to vendors to try competing marketing outlets for property, and not to rely solely on portals - and he’s tipping Facebook Marketplace to eventually topple Rightmove from dominance.
Sean Newman is chairman of Rugby-based Newman Property Experts and a partner of Fine & Country’s activities in the Midlands; he is also an advocate of the ‘associate’ model of estate agent, working with the support of a centralised hub.
Newman is also a devotee of contemporary marketing, using Instagram, Facebook and other social media as well as portals - he uses Rightmove and OnTheMarket.
But he recognises that in a market with rising costs for agents, there is a need to maximise competition to existing services such as the major portals.
“I recognise that Rightmove has done and is doing a fantastic job. No one had heard of it 20 years ago when it started and now it’s dominant. But it now presents two problems to the industry” he has told Estate Agent Today.
“Firstly it could be said to be abusing its dominance by its increasing fees. Secondly, and this isn’t Rightmove’s fault, but it’s made some agents lazy because they think if they just list something on the portal it’s job done - that means they’ve become little more than Purplebricks” he explains.
However, he believes that Facebook Marketplace could become a genuine rival to Rightmove - and it’s free for agents to use.
“Anyone setting up a rival to Rightmove has an almost impossible task to get public awareness and spend enough on marketing, but that’s not the case with Facebook: it’s already known to everyone and isn’t going to close down anytime soon” argues Newman.
“When you first look on Facebook Marketplace you say ‘oh my God’ because it’s got so much more than you anticipate. And that’s why it’s a natural for homes” he says.
Newman believes that in 12 months time, this could become an obvious place for prospective buyers to look - but only if enough agents upload their property details.
OnTheMarket automatically puts its members’ properties on Facebook Marketplace and Newman says agents worried about the overhead of loading inventories could use OTM or other non-portal providers that can do fast bulk uploads at a low cost.
“And most of all, agents owe their vendors an obligation to market their properties as far and wide as possible - and Facebook Marketplace is ideal for that” he insists.
Sean Newman has created a four minute video about the service and he has kindly shared it with Estate Agent Today: you can see it below.
- At a survey of agents attending the Relocation Agent Network on Friday of last week, OnTheMarket asked:”How would you rate your firm’s Rightmove subscription on value for money?” The result was: Excellent 15.6%; Good 28.1%; Adequate 40.6%; Poor 12.5%; Terrible 0%.”