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By Graham Norwood

Editor, EAT and LAT

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Agents - what do YOU want to know about the portals?

Problems with relationships are usually helped, if not always resolved, by people asking straight questions and getting straight answers.

That’s what we want to help achieve between the three top portals and estate agents.

Currently the relationship is more than a little strained, mostly over ever-increasing fees and over whether all agents are treated equally by portals.

We saw the relationship at breaking point in recent days with our stories about agents’ anger over portal charges.

So, here’s the next step.

Estate Agent Today wants to put some of YOUR straight questions to the portals, in the hope that we can get straight answers.

Please let us know what you want to ask the portals. For example:

- will they ever act as agents in their own right and list properties for sale by owners?

- will there ever be a circumstance where they will cut charges rather than increase them?

- how do they calculate charges and increases? Based on what most benefits sharehold-ers or based on other measures?

- what’s next, in technology terms, for portal development? Or is today’s offer (largely un-changed over the years, some say) as good as it’s going to get?

There will be plenty of other questions you may have on your mind about the portals.

They may not be the sort of question you can put to a portal sales rep on the phone or via email, but we can combine the questions we receive from agents and put them to Right-move, Zoopla and OnTheMarket.

We can’t take up individual agent’s grievances but we hope we can help agents as a whole understand the thinking of the portals, and vice versa.

Please either leave a comment below this story or confidentially send a question to us by email via press@estateagenttoday.co.uk: we will not be identifying agents when we ask the portals.

We’ll let you know what questions we’re asking the portals and when we’re asking them, and of course what responses we get.

Now, please fire away - what do you want to know from the portals?

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    Given the main issue is one of pricing, why not invite the free to list challenger portals to address the same list of questions?

    I think there are several very interesting new portal businesses out there that unlike recent challengers don't need ever rising agent subscriptions to turn a profit. The contrast not just in terms of value for money, but the ambitious use of tech to improve agent and consumer experience would be an eye opener for many.

    Agents dont need to cancel Rightmove to change the status quo. Instead get behind EVERY professional free portal and support these entreprenuerial businesses as they disrupt the traditional portals. Another difference with past challengers is that today at least three of us have access to multi-million pound business development budgets.

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    1. After 20 years of no meaningful innovation and worsening chain times, do you have plans to bring real step-change improvement to the painful process of moving?

    2. How do you expect to remain effective when the technology stack you’re using is at least 10 years out of date compared with leading tech in other industries?

    3. If your current shareholders ultimately control your business, and own their shares for purely financial gain, how can you expect approval for any other agenda but increasing shareholder returns?

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    How do Rightmove justify this abuse of power.

    How do they answer that they charge what they do because they can, rather than what they reasonably should, to make a fair profit to re-invest.

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