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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Portals: How much does YOUR branch pay?

The big question for the industry at the moment is the cost and future of portals. 

This is especially key for agents facing rising overheads, the prospect of costly regulation and training in the future, and a stagnant market with little prospect of significant improvements in the year to come.

Earlier this week the Federation of Independent Agents argued that its members should secure more favourable fees from Rightmove; last month industry consultant Iain White urged agents to consider using a wider range of PropTech tools to prepare themselves for ‘life after portals’; OnTheMarket’s original ideals, now by the wayside, were aimed at putting agents at the heart of an alternative to Rightmove and Zoopla.

With this increased interest in portals and with agents reporting paying a bewildering array of different charges, Estate Agent Today has asked the ‘big three’ how some agents appear to pay different fees to others, and why.

So we have asked how Rightmove, Zoopla and OTM discounted fees to some agents, and whether this was done on the basis of their status, or their size in terms of branch numbers, or whether they can simply ‘barter down’ their fees by individual negotiation with their local reps?

A Rightmove spokesperson says: “Agents pay per sales and/or lettings branch, and also for additional virtual branches if 50 per cent or more of their stock is outside a 100,000 radius of their branch, so that agents are charged consistently regardless of their business model. Agents have the option to pay for three different packages – Essential, Enhanced and Optimiser. There are discounts available for an agent’s core membership fee depending on their product spend, for example with the Optimiser package an agent doesn’t pay anything for their core membership, all the spend goes on the products that they choose to use to grow their business.”

And Zoopla’s chief commercial officer, Andy Marshall, says: “Zoopla offers value for money and a tangible return on investment. Agents know this, which is why 2,000 branches have joined Zoopla this year – led by some of the biggest names in the industry. We work to deliver the very best possible service to customers, and while it isn’t our policy to offer discounts categorically, our pricing structure is designed to support agents, enabling them to maximise every opportunity.”

A spokesperson for OnTheMarket says"We continue to convert agents to full-tariff, long-term contracts with share issuance. Over 3,000 agent firms operating over 6,000 UK agency branches are  OnTheMarket shareholders, increasing the strong core membership around which we are building OnTheMarket. We have recently supplemented our offering to agents with the introduction of lower-priced, shorter-term offers, with the aim of maximising the number of paying agent customers and shareholders, migrating all to full-tariff contracts progressively. In addition to the period of commitment, paying contracts vary primarily according to agents' size in terms of branch numbers, their location and whether they operate in sales and/or lettings." 

We’re interested to know what YOU pay for your portal charges if you are willing to share this information.

If you are happy to share, please leave the details in the form of a comment below: we would prefer it if you left a ‘real’ estate agency name as this adds authenticity, but we understand if you do not want to divulge this commercially-sensitive information on the record. 

Alternatively, if you would prefer to email us details of how much you pay, you can of course do so confidentially via press@estateagenttoday.co.uk - we will completely respect you and your company's identity but we may use your information and comments anonymously in future stories.

Thanks for reading this, and we hope you will take part.

  • Murray Lee

    What a good idea. I have always felt we are "shortchanged" being a small 1 office independent based in London.
    Rightmove:- Basic Pack £1230 plus VAT (increases year on year regardless!)
    Zoopla:- Basic £572 plus VAT (1st increase for sometime last year)
    On the Market :- £199 plus VAT (Was free for past year Just Agreed a 6 month trial at this rate- or would have left)

    As you can see RM are over double and its hard to justify why.
    They have no interest in listening to our complaints on annual price hikes.
    Eventually they will price us out of the market. I guess being so huge they wont care about 1 or 2 small fry leaving.

    Sad state of the business

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    Two grand for you to have the privilege of supplying them with the content without which they would not exist. What a crazy industry estate agency is!

     
  • Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies

    It’s good to see graham that you read my posts on this subject, maybe this is the start of agents becoming a collective and getting a portal price that is fair, rather than late joiners bearing the cost for multi branch corporates. I somehow feel that you will not be getting too many CEO’s giving you the rate they pay, maybe there is need for a website where agents can post there charging rates, that would really get the momentum going, perhaps OTM will be seen in a new light, no-one likes to pay over the odds or subsidise the costs of competitors.

  • Algarve  Investor

    I had no idea Rightmove charged so much more than Zoopla or OTM. I knew there was considerable frustration at the fees charged by Rightmove, but I always assumed it was a pretty level playing field with the other portals.

    But in reality Rightmove are charging fees considerably higher than the others. Unless I've got that wrong?

    Murray Lee

    No you are 100% correct. And where is the justification?

     
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    Hi.
    My Business is in Ayrshire Scotland.
    We pay to Rightmove £1500 plus VAT £1800.
    Zoopla£350 plus VAT
    On the Market £330 Plus VAT.
    I get more leads from Zoopla than I do from Rightmove.
    The pressure to keep Rightmove up here is competition.

  • icon

    Hi.
    My Business is in Ayrshire Scotland.
    We pay to Rightmove £1500 plus VAT £1800.
    Zoopla£350 plus VAT
    On the Market £330 Plus VAT.
    I get more leads from Zoopla than I do from Rightmove.
    The pressure to keep Rightmove up here is competition.

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    We have also recently questioned our fees to Rightmove as they are currently shy of £2000 per month. When our rep come round they since forward me a breakdown which they have us over a barrel. I asked why a 'one' based office would be paying alot more than co-operates (I have checked) to which she had no real answer and how come our measly up-listing compared to theirs can justify it costing us more, where they have a larger turn over and in some cases multi-offices? I told her that alot of people would start to come off Rightmove as I know some offices have dropped it and she admitted they have lost some business, but confidently sat their knowing their portal is at the moment the strongest, but as I said to her 'for how long'!!!!

    Murray Lee

    100% agree again. There is no division with us and the large firms and in answer to Property Pundit we have little other option but to use them all.
    Over a barrel is correct. If we dont use the portals the Vendors/Landlords wont use us as others do. And where else can we advertise? Newspapers dont work anymore so what else is there?

     
  • icon

    Thanks EAT we needed this open forum!

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    Lets see your figures then :)

     
  • icon

    We have a small independent office in South Wales and are fed up with Rightmove's unfair increases each year and arrogant attitude. We are finding they are still providing us with the most leads (at present) but OTM has overtaken Zoopla and is catching upto Rightmove. We're currently paying:

    Rightmove £1196.50 ex VAT (£1435.80 inc VAT) on their 'Essential' package
    Zoopla £237.00 ex VAT (£284.40 inc VAT)
    OTM £150 ex VAT (£180 inc VAT) for 6 months - just converted from the free trial

    As soon as OTM catches up a bit more to Rightmove, we'll be dropping it like a brick. I'm preparing the ground now by pushing OTM at every opportunity.

    Murray Lee

    This is what I dont get
    All your numbers are lower than ours
    No disrespect to you Debbie but why should they be cheaper in South Wales than North West London? We all upload in the same way and the portals upload for us all in the say way. Why the cost differential ??

     
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    Independent agency in Buckinghamshire, 1 office and usually with a stock of around 20 properties which makes rightmove a scandalous sum of money at just under £1,000 + VAT per month. Zoopla £375 + VAT and OTM £150 + VAT come January. Zoopla and OTM have been approachable about their fees but as we all have experience of rightmove show no desire to discuss their rates. Also we all know that the only reason we stick with them is for fear of losing instructions rather than forfeiting an essential property sales tool, Zoopla and OTM equal if not out perform rightmove buyer leads now.
    If the election does not see a decisive outcome and the market continues to fester in this uncertain quagmire I am coming to terms with the fact I will have to drop rightmove to cut out my biggest expense. I like all of us just need to have the courage to break free from the self brainwashed bubble we have about 'needing to be on the site'
    Rightmove in my view will fail ultimately, a business funded by clients that despise it cannot flourish and survive, they either fail to see or fail to acknowledge that its whole income stream regards it as a necessary evil rather than a partner in success. One doesn't need to be Nostradamus to foretell that the end of this behemoth will be swift unfortunately. Like most big changes there needs to be a spark and when we are financially beaten into the final corner, either corporate entities or independents, the oppressed will revolt and no rat will be left on the sinking ship

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    I run a business in Shropshire/Mid Wales.
    We have a basic package on Rightmove and pay £1809 (inc VAT)
    Zoopla £540 (inc VAT), which includes valuation alerts in 1 postcode (not really worked so far)
    We get around the same level of enquiries whether it be people looking to buy/view or sell from Zoopla and Rightmove.
    Zoopla is far better value for money. Rightmove's fee is totally unjustifiable when you compare the 2 portals!

  • Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies

    IS RIGHTMOVE MAKING THE WRONGMOVE? First published 22nd October 2019

    There are many agents grumbling about the way Rightmove is treating them, and some commentators have actually used the term abused. This seems a harsh term but looking more closely - the real possible abuse that is arguably at play, is the fact that Rightmove possibly charge agents different amounts, for the same service.

    So a new agent that wants to use Rightmove, pays more than an existing client for the identical service, and though it would seem sensible to discount to a multiple branch enterprise, many agents would be staggered at how little some agents in their town, village or city are paying, when they are paying substantially more for the same service.

    Now Rightmove can use any model they choose - if agents are unhappy - well they can choose not to list on Rightmove, but this economic advantage/disadvantage plays fast and loose with agents who are at present under considerable financial pressures.

    Maybe agents should set up an anonymous forum and post how much they are charged per branch/office and what level of service they are provided, I think this would be enlightening for all. No-one minds paying for a product or service, but some argue that the many customers at Rightmove may be subsidising the minority.

    Personally, I think that within three-years Zoopla who are re-aligning their model and who are substantially cheaper than Rightmove, may well offer 'self-listing' for the general public. As one of the online property portals jockey for market share and domination.

    Given the cost, I think many agents would 'eat' the fact that they are listing on a site with the 'self-listing' general public, as Zoopla's cost base is much lower than Rightmove. If Rightmove tried to launch this iniative, it would possibly cause a rebellion as agents would not want to pay a premium rate and compete with self-listing vendors.

    Estate agency, and by this I mean the whole property sector - is undergoing a period of change, just as other industries are. New technology is pushing this along and the customer or consumer is king (or queen) once again and they want service at the click of a button. And if enough of them want to market their own homes, because it is easy (obviously I know it is anything but easy) then this sentiment may change things.

    Lastly, the imminent departure of Scott Forbes , the present Chairman of Rightmove, who has been in place for nearly a decade and a half, may be the sign that things may not stay on the up for Rightmove for ever. Maybe, producing profits of over 65% a year, can not be sustained, especially in the property sector where many agents are trading on a margin as low as 3 or 4%, and in some cases a serious minus number.

    Paul Barrett

    Self-listing is already effectively here!
    Not perhaps in the most structured way but FB provides sufficient listing exposure for vendors and purchasers.

    I have experienced a similar situation with
    vans for sale.
    The usual media wasn't sufficient.
    FB had far more listings..Admittedly a lot of them were from those who used to pay to list.
    FB means no more listing fees.
    That undermines the portal business model.

    I am going to try sourcing tenants on FB.
    It WON'T cost me a penny and I know FB is used as much as the main property web portals.
    A
    All
    it would takeis for Google to offer a free self-listing service and that would very effectively wipeout most the EA/LA industry

     
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    My Business is in the Northeast
    We WERE paying Rightmove £1125 plus VAT £1350, we left at the end of September.
    Took on Zoopla £281 plus VAT Gold Membership on a 6 month introduction rate but wont be renewing as not enough sales leads.
    On the Market £132.75 Plus VAT. Best value for money.
    All our Letting leads came from OTM, level with RM on Sales leads however, when I asked RM what the cost of sales only would be they told me £1500 + vat. "That's more than I was paying for sales and lettings", hence reason for leaving end of September, sick of getting Ripped Off. Zoopla poor for sales OK for lettings, So if any agent are using RM for Lettings then there is no need, I know loads of letting agents that have left RM because they don't need them.

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    Going up to £1250 + vat for Rightmove sales and lettings.
    Zoopla - £250 + vat just sales.
    OTM - free still.

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    Federation of Estate Agents are right, you don't need Rightmove don't be scared to leave, RIGHTMOVE = RMEXIT

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    Family owned single office in the NorthWest:
    RM £1245 +VAT
    OTM (original Silver member) £265 +VAT

    In terms of sales leads RM is better than OTM by about 30%, but certainly not 5X better which virtually what the difference in price is. When you factor in that we get more rental leads from OTM than RM it certainly isn't.
    We are currently arguing amongst ourselves as to whether or not to give RM the heaveho and go back to Zoopla, but Zoopla's sales leads were never very good.

  • Kristjan Byfield

    We are a single branch agency in London- primarily lettings. We typically have around 3 sales listings live and around 10 lettings at any one time.
    Rightmove £1936.50 + VAT - awaiting latest fee increase announcement (last year we had a 22% increase)
    Zoopla £975 + VAT - generates double the revenue that RM does for us
    Not with OTM
    Aside from anything else I have found RM's stance immensely arrogant. With each increase there has been no negotiation, no give and take- even when escalating matters to exec level. We have been told bluntly- pay it, downgrade your package or leave, those are your options.

    Kristjan Byfield

    Full audit now complete- RM generated us 5% more revenue than Zoopla this year- but at double the cost! Now we have to decide what we want to do for 2020.

     
    Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies

    Kristjan I think you would cry if you knew what the lowest rate that an agent pays with Rightmove for the volume of business you do, perhaps you should ask them. And if they tell you, ask why you are paying a great deal more - my thoughts are you will not be told the lowest rate for 'commercial and GDPR reasons'.

     
  • Murray Lee

    Hi Kristjan. U ok? WOW those numbers are high although I assume your RM package is the top one? (FYI a local competitor told me he is ONLY paying £1800 plus all in???)
    We find the same with RM pay it or leave us. Take care M

  • icon

    We are a one branch independent estate agency and lettings agency based in Rural Nottinghamshire.
    We pay per calendar month for sales & lettings:-
    Rightmove £1085 plus VAT and price is going up by £65 a month plus VAT in January 2020 – it’s a complete rip-off
    Zoopla £297 plus VAT (we were on £400pcm a few months ago said we were leaving due to fee ban and they gave us a discount and more valuation leads)
    OTM £199 plus VAT – we were free to list for about 18 months and have only just agreed to start paying OTM

    Valuation Leads
    Rightmove – useless – we only get ‘potential valuations’ for people who are already on the market with another agent, usually out of our area.
    Zoopla – between 4 to 6 valuation enquiries per month mostly from people who are ‘just curious’ and often quite hard to get back in touch with
    OTM – One valuation once in a blue moon

    I also subscribe to Zoopla as a consumer and get frequent emails telling me to have my house valued by Yopa.

  • icon

    RMEXIT. Don’t be scared, don’t need RM, collectively agents need to dump them, it’s happening all over but RM won’t publish figures.. RMEXIT.

  • Jill Redmayne

    Single independent agent in the North East
    Rightmove fee £1245 plus VAT
    Not with Zoopla
    Withdrew from OTM November 2016 paying £295 plus VAT
    Joined On The Market as a founder 'Silver member' on the promise NO other agent joining thereafter would pay a lower fee and in the hope of reducing Rightmove's increasing fees.
    OTM promised, no online agents or new builds allowed on the portal. This was also the promise of Rightmove in the early days when they asked agents to promote their site and when their fee was only £500.(2005)
    We survive by building a strong local client base. ( We have sold properties without advertising on portals, and we also use Facebook)





  • icon

    I've suggested before. Agents need to club together to take Rightmove to task over their crippling fees.

    An easy way to do this would be for agents to stage collective 'blackouts' where all stock is made invisible for 24 hours. If RM fail to respond and meet our collective demands, the next blackout is 48 hours, then 72 and so on.

    Stock is critical for RM and any outage of scale would be enough to make them sit up and listen.

    icon

    Happy to get this going with you.. How come they can all just charge what they like. Surely we should start by reporting them to OFT with all the above evidence? Whilst we can not charge anything for anything!!!
    Happy for you to email me if you want to take them to task -- michelle@chaslowe.com

     
  • icon

    Interesting reading, thank you everyone! We are a single branch based in Kent in a very competitive market place. We only use RM for sales our rate is £915 +VAT it's gone up 24% in the three years we have been trading.
    Zoopla £415 + VAT
    OTM we are currently negotiating with.
    I believe the days are numbered for portals, more and more people are turning to other methods to buy and sell their homes, we were working on an exit strategy anyway but the current round of increases and the complete disregard of my challenge of the increases or to enter into discussions with the FIA has meant that we will be parting company next year.

  • icon

    This weekend's leads:
    RM 1
    OTM 6
    Our Website 2

    RM defo needs to go..

  • icon

    That was an interesting exercise, that I should have done well before now..!
    1st Jan - 31st Oct 2019
    Whitegates Website 453
    OnTheMarket.com 2148
    Rightmove 1403
    On-line Chat 252
    Zoopla 1582

    I have supported OTM since the beginning and pay more than most, however I agree with the strategy and the discounts and free listings offered to date.
    Without OTM, RM would have a Min fee of £2,000+ Competition is the only way forward.
    RM now 3rd for me, but still too many leads to drop all together, but as their costs increase, competition gets stronger, it will be an option I would consider. I still like the idea of Agents standing together, but experience shows, don't count on it. That was the premise of OTM that attracted me in the 1st instance, but it has had to evolve to survive and now are actually more than competing in my area.

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