One of the highest profile figures in the agency industry - and a past critic of Purplebricks - has come out as a vociferous supporter of the new portal Boomin.
Iain White - who has 30 years experience in the industry, running his own independent agency and working for corporates including Countrywide and Romans - has long been a vocal critic of established portals. In recent years he worked closely with agents who were critical of tactics deployed by OnTheMarket, and has spoken out against Rightmove on several occasions.
However now he says that in the coming months he will be “engaging with agents on Boomin’s behalf” and dispelling myths about the soon-to-launch portal.
White has told Estate Agent Today: “I am now backing Boomin as a much needed challenger to shake up the status quo.”
Boomin - which has announced a string of agency chains as its so-called founder members, and which now claims to have signed up around 40 per cent of the top 100 agencies in the UK - has been set up by Purplebricks founders Michael and Kenny Bruce.
White continues: “I have always been very vociferous in my distrust of the current paid to list portal operators and how in the main it’s dominated by one player to such an extent that the estate agents are held captive as customers in the main against their will.
“I meet lots of agents where Rightmove take more from their turnover than they do themselves and this isn’t healthy, fair or right yet they feel trapped by ever increasing prices and ever decreasing returns. This isn’t sustainable so change has to happen. For me it’s simply not an option to do nothing.”
White says without a credible alternative, Rightmove’s stranglehold will get stronger and the company will have a free run in the long term.
“What I like about Boomin is the calibre of the team behind it, I have been very critical of the Purplebricks model so it may surprise some people as to why I am so enthusiastic about Boomin” he says.
White says there are eight reasons why he’s backing the new service.
1. “Boomin is fair in its charging model and will provide a revenue stream to agents longer term”;
2. “It’s credible, well backed and well organised and can bring much needed competition to the portal space which in turn will reduce costs, increase customer service and force innovation”;
3. “It’s innovative and opens up the passive market which I believe will bring additional movers through old fashioned serendipity transactions which largely died with the newspapers”;
4. “It takes away the barrier between agent and client and promotes deeper more personal contact, putting the skill and relationships back into the estate agency. The best agent wins not the cheapest one”;
5. “I dislike Purplebricks and have been very noisy about the model and its effect on agency. However I can’t deny what it achieved in terms of brand awareness and it is now the largest lister of property in the UK. I believe the Bruce Brothers will achieve the same with Boomin and if they do they give agents agency back”;
6. “I have checked double checked and checked again and grilled Michael and Kenny at length but I can’t find a single reason not to get involved and I believe their intentions are genuine. They are not taking possession of your database, controlling your customers or seeking to do anything other than support great agents”;
7. “The no tie in free period creates a no lose scenario, if Boomin fail to deliver on any level you simply don’t opt to move forward onto the paid period”;
8. “Doing nothing in the current portal space simply isn’t an option for estate agents.”