Thursday, 17 August 2017

Agents make a right move in the internet direction

THE UK’s leading estate agents are to launch the first internet property portal run by agents.

THE UK’s leading estate agents are to launch the first internet property portal run by agents.

The founding members of the company behind the portal include Knight Frank and Savills who have offices in Henley, and Strutt & Parker which has an office in Pangbourne.

The new company, called Agents’ Mutual, has hired Ian Springett, the founder of primelocation.com, to draft the business plan and drive the creation of the new site.

Mr Springett said: “Our site will be the first portal fully-owned by agents — this will always be the case — and it will become a serious competitor to the sites already in existence.

“The site will not be driven by the need to maximise financial returns to shareholders — which has driven up listing fees for agents and consumers on some other sites — but instead to create the best high-quality property search service.

“We believe that there is a lack of choice in the market, and we know that agents are very keen to see an alternative to the current property portals.

“The price increases for agents using the existing options, Rightmove and Zoopla, have been very robust and ultimately that cost is being passed on to consumers. In due course, the Agents’ Mutual site will not only offer a better quality of listings, but the ongoing costs will be limited to agents.”

Agents’ Mutual — their company site will be called www.agentsmutual.co.uk — is currently asking for expressions of interest from agents who would like to sign up with the new service. Agents’ Mutual will not be the name of the property portal itself, which has yet to be decided. The new site will offer:

* One share and one vote for each member firm, meaning that agents will always retain control

* Costs will be kept down and profits will be re-invested in the site

* Agents signing up to Agents’ Mutual site will be able to list with one other portal

* The average saving for a one- to three-office firm will be £3,888 per annum

“All agents know that there is a strong market opportunity here as the current options are putting increasing pressure on their costs,” Mr Springett explained.

“Our site will protect the interests of the agents by ensuring low listing costs. Ultimately this will ensure that these costs do not get passed on to vendors, and buyers will be assured that listings are accurate and up to date.”

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