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Written by rosalind renshaw

Agents Mutual has passed a milestone after recruiting its 1,000th gold member office – the threshold it needed to reach to achieve start-up funding, with £3.6m pledged.

It means that the funded-by-agents portal venture can now proceed to implementation. The milestone has been reached two or three months ahead of expectation. However, Agents Mutual says it will continue to recruit more gold agents to build up its war chest.

The gold members are the firms that will provide the start-up funding for the new portal via subscriptions and loan notes totalling £3,600 per office. In return, they will receive substantial discounts on the listing fees for a fixed period and 15% interest on their loan notes.
Ian Springett, who leads Agents Mutual, said: “The level of support for the creation of a new, 100% agent-owned property portal has exceeded our expectations and the founders are extremely pleased. 

“The company anticipated getting to this stage towards the end of this year and calling in funds from hold members to start work on the portal at the start of 2014 for delivery at the end of that year. 
“The basis of this rapid growth in support is founded on agents of all sizes recognising the growing threat to their businesses posed by the dominance of the two large portal groups. They regard Agents Mutual as being a necessary development to protect and further their interests.”
The founder agents are Savills, Knight Frank, Chesterton Humberts, Strutt and Parker, Douglas & Gordon and Glentree Estates, and they have been joined by large brands including Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward, Thamesview Group, Winkworth, Jackson-Stops & Staff and Carter Jonas.
Strong backing has been gathered from London firms including Acorn Group, Featherstone Leigh, Bective Leslie Marsh, Stirling Ackroyd, Statons, Re/Max and James Anderson. 
What is currently missing is the ‘big three’ – corporates Countrywide, LSL and Connells, all of whom are shareholders in Zoopla, currently mulling a stockmarket launch. Their absence from Agents’ Mutual could be seen as a plus by the independents looking for a marketing edge, or a minus if they see it as an important goal for the new portal that it has maximum property inventory.

However, Agents Mutual says there has been  good progress in recruitment outside London and right across the country. Springett said that more than 55% of the offices signed up are outside the M25 and that it has the support of many of the most prominent regional agents in every territory in which it has actively recruited.

Examples include:
Scotland: Corum, Rettie & Co, CKD Galbraith.

North-West: Hackney & Leigh, Gascoigne Halman, Thornley Groves, Ryder & Dutton.

North-East: JW Wood, Andrew Craig, George F White.

Yorkshire: Dacre Son & Hartley, Manning Stainton, Dale Eddison, DDH Residential.

West Midlands: Hunters Group, Andrew Grant, John German.

West Country: Stags, Webbers, Greenslade Taylor Hunt, Marchand Petit.

South: Henry Adams, Choices, Curchods, The Frost Partnership, Simon Miller.

East Anglia: Beresfords Group, Bidwells, Bedfords, Mullucks Wells.
Springett said: “Agents Mutual now has strong momentum and is discussing its proposition with some large multi-brand groups and pan-regional companies, more regional firms and large numbers of small agencies.

 “We have also been given a platform to help reach agents from some of the largest and most prominent affiliate networks. We are receiving many invitations to present to groups of agents as well as running our own schedule of London and regional presentations.”
Springett said the Agents Mutual board believes there is potential for substantial further growth in gold members.

It will now make preparations for moving to the next stage, including creating the formal legal documents it will be asking firms which have given letters of intent to sign. 

It will, in parallel, continue recruitment activity over the coming weeks with the aim of maximising the number and spread of gold member offices before funds are called in and the current terms available for gold membership come to an end.
The objective is to move to implementation stage on the original timetable, leading to the launch of the portal by the end of 2014, but to do so with a still higher level of gold member support.


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    when RM and the others have no properties to offer where do you think the public will look?

    • 02 January 2014 14:36 PM
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    Most new businesses challenge the market leader by offering more benefits or unique featues to the consumer.

    As far as I can see Agents Mutual believe the consumer is the estate agent when in reality it is the home buyer and indirectly the home seller who benefits from the massive name awreness and traffic that RM and Zoopla have established.

    No matter how many agents sign up, no matter how many properties are listed, no matter how much agents 'save' on RM fees - that won't drive traffic to Agents Mutual.

    Even masdive advertising might not work because Joe Public will take some shifting from their habit of using RM or Zoopla when AM can offer absolutely nothing different.

    I hope AM works - but I doubt it will.

    • 06 October 2013 15:56 PM
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    • 06 October 2013 15:41 PM
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    Wilko- If you think that Zoopla are going to come begging to the obvious nutters who have aborted a portal because quite frankly "they were ordered to " is preposturous.
    I agree, that losing a very small amount of agents will not have RM or Zoopla quaking whatsoever because they will all return when Agents Mutual fails ....
    Those clever agents who have been lured in by greed - making 15% returns are idiots- if the company goes under- what will happen to your investment.
    even the newer portals are sensible enough to let agents try then out before they commit.

    • 06 October 2013 09:32 AM
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    i really cant see this working

    • 05 October 2013 07:31 AM
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    So let me get this right......

    So far only 1000 offices NOT companies have agreed to this and let's just say there is a 60/40 split in favor of keeping Rightmove not Zoopla, that means Zoopla will lose 600 offices from their 19,000 client base.

    The agents that lose either one or the other, will be tied into a brand that the consumer hasn't heard of and their competition using it against them to win business!

    I think I will stick with what I know works for me until 'Agent Mutual' or whatever it's going to be called can prove they are generating traffic and significant leads to justify leaving a leading portal!

    Common sense right?

    • 05 October 2013 00:00 AM
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    When will you drop Zoopla Wilko? Monday, next month or when the contract is up in ????

    What about the other 999 are they dropping Zoopla too?

    • 04 October 2013 17:42 PM
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    Brilliant....not a coherant post from the doubters thus far...gives me even more faith in this project.
    @ cautious and others ...read the proposal before you post...Cartel..? How exactly can the big boys make it a cartel when it's a mutual...1 company 1 vote? Promise of funds worth 1/10th on the day? How exactly do you know that.?
    This is working and I for 1 (out of a 1000 thus far) will undoubtedly drop Zoopla to start off with...and yes I'll do it before the site is up and running because r/m can sell our properties quite adequately. Divide and conquer.....About £1m revenue annually is about to come off the existing 2 portals when this launch happens....Fact...Lets see what deals Zoopla will be offering me to go back with them as the "other portal" once I and many others have left them.Simples.

    • 04 October 2013 17:31 PM
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    Just how a 'new' portal thinks they can start dictating to agents straight away is beyond me, I spoke to a pal who has heard their pitch, and said it was as clear as mud. Think I'll keep my £3600 in my account !!!!

    • 04 October 2013 16:03 PM
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    Can't see RM quaking in their boots yet so assume none of the 1,000 have told them they are jumping ship in favour of Agents mutua.

    So much hype with another 15 months to wait to see what we'll be joining.

    I could be dead by then.

    • 04 October 2013 15:38 PM
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    I heard they are going tits up, the site was designed about 10 years ago, its all skewwiff, all they do all day is post on here thinking they are being clever.

    • 04 October 2013 13:14 PM
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    Way too many contradictions and actors here

    • 04 October 2013 12:25 PM
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    I doubt aa would sell up that easy anyway. From what I have seen and heard they are doing very well on their own

    • 04 October 2013 11:53 AM
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    I wonder if this rumour was simply "all agents" I mean a "London Agent" trying to gain a bit of spotlight.

    Good Luck Agents Mutual, the doubters must surely realise your plan is so well funded that the hard work is already done.

    • 04 October 2013 11:35 AM
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    @London Agent

    Either a joke or you are the owner of allagents, the name is rubbish as its not all the agents, its just the big boys.

    Any talk here about portals and some twat mentions about they are in talks about buying aa...BORING !!

    • 04 October 2013 11:30 AM
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    I heard on Tuesday they were in negotiations to buy out Allagents and use their domain name for powering the portal. Has anyone else heard this?

    • 04 October 2013 10:59 AM
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    Now Mr S could call it Property Live

    ............ and only spend £2,000,000 and save all those investors £1.6m when rightmove and zoopla take out expensive advertising campaigns.

    A fool and their money. or maybe a 1,000 fools and their money.

    • 04 October 2013 09:24 AM
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    I'd be very cautious that the bigger agents backing don't make this a cartel.

    Promise of funds is likely to be worth 1/10th on the day. £360k wont buy much of a portal. There are other options like needaproperty out there.

    People are becoming less savvy to google rightmove or zoopla. So if cheaper solutions are offered, my guess people search google will find the properties anyway.

    All those posher agents driving flash cars have said a lot of not so nice things about smaller agents and why not to use them over the years. Could be a tought shot getting beyond 1000 agents, and even if they do agents running a portal is a bad thing. they don't understand technology and its moved on since Ian's days many years ago.

    • 04 October 2013 09:20 AM
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    sorry accidental slip of the keyboard for 100 read 1000

    • 04 October 2013 08:03 AM
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    A direct question to all 1000 Agents with letters of intent sent through, which of the Duopoly are you going to withdraw from and when are you going to withdraw?

    Presumably there is no need to wait 15 months for the new portal to be live before implementing the effective control over the big two portals so it will be really interesting to see which if any of these 100 Agents actually have the fortitude to de-list.

    Let's all listen to the embarrassing silence!

    • 04 October 2013 08:01 AM
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