The Say No To Rightmove campaign has set out strategy suggestions for independent agents facing steep portal bills.
A 10-page document reveals that SNTR now has 3,300 branches representing some 1,750 agents and campaign leader Rob Sargent - chief executive of the Acorn Group, a 36-branch company - makes a passionate case for rebels to join his campaign.
And on page eight of the document he for the first time squarely faces the question as to what agents should do if Rightmove fails to offer a long-term strategy of what he calls “fairer fees.”
Sargent warns that doing nothing means that Rightmove will continue its dominance and resume its usual pricing.
“There is also a risk that if Zoopla emerges from the Covid-19 lockdown materially stronger and OnTheMarket is unable to keep up the pace, the duopoly will be re-established" he warns.
Therefore he urges independent agents to:
- leave Rightmove;
- support OnTheMarket;
- list on Zoopla; and
- drive their own brands, websites and marketing.
“A small independent agent adopting this strategy from August 1 2020 would, on current information, pay only OnTheMarket’s tariff fees whilst listing on Zoopla for free until April 2021” writes Sargent in the document.
He continues: "Our assessment is that for OnTheMarket to be a strong player, every agent listing on it needs to be prepared to pay their full tariff fees. From April 2021 onwards, both OnTheMarket and Zoopla fees would be based on the contracts entered into."
Although this is the most precise the SNTR campaign has been in terms of advocating a course of action, Sargent’s document emphasises that the campaign understands this may not be right for every agent - and that there is an element of risk for agents.
And he suggests the course of action may change if Rightmove adopts a different long-term pricing strategy.
But he concludes that SNTR will continue to consult its members “to assess their level of appetite for leaving Rightmove now, on the assumption that Rightmove do not respond to the lobbying of the industry to extend their discount and propose longer term changes to tariff and client relationships.”