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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Rightmove on the ropes? 2,500 branches interested in new portal

Some 2,500 estate agency branches have expressed an interest in a new portal, Homesearch, launching next month. 

Although the Homesearch website lists the branches as having “joined” the new portal, a statement from the two founders refers to the branches as having “signed up to register their interest and follow the development of the new product.”

Homesearch says it has information on Britain’s entire 29m housing stock and pledges to be not just another portal but “the future of the industry” when it debuts on May 25.

The statement also says that while the portal will not directly charge agents for listings or leads, it will offer an optional - and so far unexplained - service called Network which will cost £155 per bench per month, capped until 2025.

Homesearch has been a supplier to the industry since 2017, until now specialising in data for agents.

Co-founder Giles Ellwood, who is the owner of Homesearch, says: “Homesearch is not a portal in the traditional sense. We won’t charge to list instructions, nor will we ever charge to deliver leads. As we approach the launch we will detail exactly how the Network piece will serve agents to deliver buyers, sellers, landlords and tenants from day one.”

And the other co-founder, Sam Hunter, adds: “Homesearch will always be about giving an agent the information and technology needed to connect with more people. Now we’re just giving the public an opportunity to connect back.” 

Agencies registering an interest so far include those from Foxtons, Winkworth and Purplebricks, although the majority appear to be small independents.

The website say that from 2025 the Network cost will be £395 and will rise thereafter in line with the Consumer Price Index "which is circa 1% to 2% per annum."

It also adds: "We'd be open to discussing how members of the agent community could participate in our board meetings as an added layer of transparency."

You can see it here.

  • Andrew Stanton Proptech Real Estate Influencer - Analyst - CEO Proptech-PR

    Homesearch are getting a lot of traction in a very short space of time.

    Giles Ellwood and Sam Hunter have been really clever realising that anyone looking to beat Rightmove is on a failed mission, as Rightmove is arguably already two decades out of date.

    Homesearch are creating in 2020 a model based not just on listing stock, but empowering agents in a forum marketplace where growth of businesses can be nurtured not put under annual financial pressure.

    Rightmove has had 18 years and an army of account managers and sales-people to get clients. In contrast in lockdown mode, over 2,500 people have sought Homesearch out in 11 days- there is a reason.

  • Andrew Goldthorpe

    Who owns the data? Homesearch. By all means correct me if I am wrong, but I cannot see anything on the website about the initiators of the data (vendors, landlords etc.) or their intermediaries (the agents) retaining ownership and control of all the "digital oil" agents are unthinkingly pumping into these so-called "free" portals.

    This is the key point about all these "free" portals. They are all "limited by shares" and are jumping on an opportunistic bandwagon and their shareholders, not agents, will get the benefit.

    Agents need to realise that the only way they own and control their data and costs for ever is by supporting the only mutual - PropertyMutual.

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    The Homesearch product is excellent and gaining a lot of traction but there's a part of me here that thinks they're trying to run before full working out walking. Without COVID-19, were they thinking about a portal? Then I read they are looking at a CRM system option too. Build a huge data monster anyone? The industry should be wary of putting all of their digital eggs in one basket.

  • Andrew Stanton Proptech Real Estate Influencer - Analyst - CEO Proptech-PR

    Property Pundit - some very valid points, I think Homesearch were not thinking let's spend lots of hard cash to build an alternative to Rightmove, but public opinion and sentiment within the agency community has voted - we need a better or alternative solution.

    As to build a huge data monster - well that is probably a model that many forward thinking entrepreneurs are thinking about - and maybe a talk with Gary Keller would be enlightening he started that journey some years ago.

    I think that Covid-19 is making everyone in business sit up and pay attention to the inefficiencies in the businesses, the solutions that are out there and the big gaping holes where solutions need to exist and quickly. So Homesearch are being brave and are striking out to fill one of those holes.

    Perhaps, and not related to Property Portal Wars - the biggest black hole, is cash flow, or rather the time it takes from getting a client to say I will (buy this property) and the marriage (exchange) to take place. With rigid costs eating into residential agents pockets, when the industry gets out of the blocks, maybe getting to exchange in under a month will be a better cause than any other.

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    ‘Mainly independents’ will be, because the guys at Homesearch, are the first person I’ve ever spoken to in 10 years of this industry, 5 years of running my own agency. That CARE about the little one man one office set up, in the same way as the guy with 20 branches and 100 staff.

    Something rightmove forgot about years ago. I’m yet to meet another supplier/provider like it.

    Huge fan of the Homesearch guys, massive respect for them, and have helped me more then most people in this industry.

    Rightmove, zoopla and on the market, should be concerned. If they aren’t, they are kidding themselves.

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    So..what all these turkeys forget...number one and number two have value.
    Why..consumer mindshare.
    In the UK you need more than 10m us to even start to matter....and half of them are robotic...so let's see what OTM has struggled for years.

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    In my view, agents need to do what we are, slowly pulling away from portals and encouraging more direct registration and the have a site that can be scraped by crawlers if they wish. Portals only account for about 40% of our sales but about 95% of the cost!

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    Yet ANOTHER wannabe portal, these things come along more regular than my local bus.

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