Portals battle intensifies as Rightmove releases new figures

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We are still watching in earnest and with an open mind, just wanting to share everyone’s opinions. I have spoken to quite a number of our clients over the last week and not one of them that I can remember has even heard of “On The Market”. Interesting addition by Phil Spencer too! Read on…

Exert taken from Property Industry Eye, 30th January 2015

http://www.propertyindustryeye.com/battle-portals-new-rightmove-analysis-shows-market-share/

“Rightmove yesterday analysed the total number of properties being marketed and which of the three main portals they are displayed on.

It estimated there to be just over 1m homes on the market in total, of which 170,000 are in London. The figures include sales and lettings stock.

Rightmove broke down the count of properties on Rightmove, Zoopla and OnTheMarket, and insists its research is accurate.

It said that Rightmove has 973,951 properties, including 161,043 in London.

Zoopla has 674,683 properties, including 137,981 in London.

OnTheMarket has 311,721 properties, including 59,640 in London.

The analysis, said Rightmove which will be presenting its figures shortly to the City,  excludes overseas and new homes stock, and includes available stock plus those that have been sold subject to contract or are under offer, or let.

Zoopla last night said it has 850,000 properties, as listed on its home page.

It claimed that traffic to OnTheMarket has been “anything but exciting”.

It also claimed that “numerous” agents who cancelled their Zoopla subscriptions are inquiring about coming back.

Quoting web monitoring firm Hitwise, Zoopla said: “On its first day the OTM website attracted only 23,000 visits, with many of these coming from industry participants interested in seeing the website for the first time.

“Since then traffic to OTM has halved daily to 12,000 visits on Tuesday and less than 6,000 visits on Wednesday. This compares to an average of 1.5 million visits per day to Zoopla Property Group’s (ZPG) websites, giving OTM an audience currently under 1% of that of ZPG.

“The data also seems to suggest that those agents who are promoting OTM heavily in place of their own websites in their offices, emails and press ads are not just missing out on a huge audience for their brands from having dropped one of the major portals but are also starting to see their own website traffic hit by effectively diverting their audience to their competitors.”

Lawrence Hall of Zoopla Property Group said: “Our audience and traffic has remained unchanged since the launch of OTM and whilst Mr Springett seems to be taking aim at ZPG as he sees this as the only way for OTM to get a foothold in the portal market, he will soon learn that delivering great products to consumers and excellent value to agents is the only recipe for success in this space.

“Given the hype and media attention surrounding the launch of OTM this week the audience figures to date are remarkably weak when you consider what he has asked his members to give up.

“We are a very data-driven business focused on the value that we deliver to our members. So, rather than making unsubstantiated claims and promises as others seem intent on doing, we will let the numbers speak for themselves as we have always done.

“And we are already seeing numerous agents who cancelled to join OTM inquiring about coming back to ZPG as they are starting to understand the costs of giving up our services.”

OnTheMarket poured cold water on Zoopla’s claims, saying it was “yet another weak attempt” by ZPG “to intimidate agents who have chosen to remove all of their properties and their corresponding advertising”.

OTM added: “The tactics being employed by Zoopla Property Group smack increasingly of a business running scared in the face of a huge loss of support from independent agents.”

Separately, a video featuring Phil Spencer has been released, warning the public to beware of agents who limit or delay marketing.”

 

Initial verdict about “On The Market”

“I can only conclude that such a consumer unfriendly approach is really all about protecting the old school estate agency elite and the easy money that they have been used to earning,”

 

 

We are certainly up for embracing new things and have been watching the chatter going on behind the scenes about this new site which is to be “for agents, by agents.”

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The main point that they are driving home is cheaper advertising for agents but I haven’t been convinced yet that it will be a better exposure for our client’s properties. I’m still sat on the fence on this one and always willing to look at new and exciting ways of expanding the business. We did enquire about costs etc. but got an abrupt answer as follows;

“Dear Roy

Many thanks for your interest in Agents Mutual.

Unfortunately we have not been able to progress with your registration due to your business model not meeting our listing criteria.

Best Wishes”

And that was all we got. Someone else in the property industry had visited the Agents’ Mutual registration page to find the following statement:

“Only bona fide, full service office-based sales or letting agents should register”.

Well, as far as I can see we tick all of that and more. Now I don’t know the advertising world that well as I have never worked in it, but would have expected a bit more of an explanation about what criteria they were referring too, it’s called customer service don’t you know? Without wanting to bore you too much, and after about 10 emails with a completely unhelpful staff member there, I got nowhere at all other than saying it’s because we aren’t a High Street agent. Totally ridiculous especially as another agent I know in Ashford was joining them and they aren’t High Street based, not forgetting the original quote above. The end result was a phone call from a very nice lady who is a field sales agent and she explained it’s because we are in a business unit and therefore don’t qualify at the moment. Oh well, looks like we will spending any money we considered for their advertising on Rightmove. After all, it is the biggest and best out there? She feels that once the site has been running for a few months that they will consider agents like ourselves, gee, thanks for that as a second thought. Considering the fact that one of the largest selling agents and ourselves as one of the largest letting agents in the Ashford area are based in specific business parks kind of tells you that the High Street doesn’t work like it used to when I started back in the late 90’s and we have certainly moved with the times and set a new standard?

So, what did we find today, Monday 26th January 2015?

Under the search agents in Ashford with “On The Market”, we found that only 4 Ashford based agents have gone on the market with them, 31 on Rightmove. In Folkestone which we fully cover, they show 13 agents but only 2 are in Folkestone itself, they showed one in Orpington and a few in Maidstone, Rightmove has 26. Now I know this is a new site but surely you would have expected a much better rate of take up if it was going to be that big? My feelings are that at the moment, if your agent has jumped ship, make sure they haven’t ditched Rightmove please or that could really scupper your chance of exposure in this competitive market place!

Go and have a look at the site, see what you think, make your own mind up. Once you have had a play, go back and have a look at Rightmove and Zoopla’s sites, hmmm, very similar I think!

One report stated that it’s clearly diluting the second place market, Rightmove being the clear leader, but feel that it’s purely to save the agent money rather than get you more exposure.

I fully understand where they are coming from but there are more quotes to support this as follows;

“This is not the first time that estate agents have set up their own website. In 2001, a group of 200 firms started Primelocation, which is now owned by Zoopla.

Experts are concerned that home sellers won’t be told if their agent signs a contract with On The Market and is forced to drop one of the giant websites.

Analysts at investment bank Jefferies recently released a report which said: ‘Home sellers want to secure the best price for their home, and so marketing on all the major websites is in our view a prerequisite to achieving that aim. We therefore believe that those estate agents who choose to not renew their Zoopla or Rightmove contracts will be trying to win future sale mandates with one arm tied behind their back.’

Its research found that 70 per cent of consumers wanted their homes listed on both the major sites.”

And the following;

“I can only conclude that such a consumer unfriendly approach is really all about protecting the old school estate agency elite and the easy money that they have been used to earning,”

Which was a really interesting comment!

Well, let’s see how this war develops. I do remember Globrix, now owned by Zoopla and also “Need A Property”, now in receivership. Come to think of it, the “Need A Property” website does also look like “On The Market”!!!

Let us know what you think and we will keep you up to date with our views and experience.

 

USEFUL DATES FOR YOUR DIARY!

Having noticed the following in a publication, we decided that we should update you all with these important dates if you are required to complete a self-assessment tax return.

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31st January 2015

The online filing deadline for your 2013/2014 self-assessment tax return

31st January 2015

Final deadline for paying your 2013/2014 self-assessment tax liability

31st January 2015

Due date for making your first “payment on account” as an advance payment towards the 2014/2015 if applicable

28th February 2015

If you miss the 2013/2014 payment deadline and do not pay your tax by 31st January 2015, this is the deadline to avoid paying a penalty of 5% of the tax owed

30th April 2015

If you miss the online filing deadline of 31st January 2015, this is the deadline for filing your 2013/2014 self-assessment tax return in order to avoid the £10 a day penalties

31st July 2015

Second due date for those who are liable to “payments on account” as this is when the second payment is due towards the 2014/2015 tax year

31st July 2015

The deadline to renew your tax credits should this be applicable to you

5th October 2015

Should the 2014/2015 period be your first reporting year of rental income, this is the latest date you should register for self-assessment if you need to prepare a tax return for the 2014/2015 tax year

31st October 2015

The filing deadline to submit your 2014/2015 tax return if you opt for paper

The above is offered as a reference guide to help you ensure that you comply with HMRC and ensure that you are not penalised by them. We would advise you to consult with an accountant to ensure all the above are carried out correctly.

Congratulations Michelle!

I wanted to shout it from the top of the office here, chickened out though as its quite high!

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So I decided to shout it out from our Blog instead which is much safer, warmer too as threatening to snow again outside!

On a serious note though, Michelle has received a promotion to “Senior Lettings Consultant” and I’m sure anyone who has dealt with her will agree it is well deserved! She has worked tirelessly for 2 years with me now and needs a medal for putting up with me too!

Well done Michelle, thank you for your hard work and here’s to many more years of it!

Now, were did I put that huge list of jobs……………

 

So, what do we think?

As promised, I called in to the show home this morning and met Geraldine and Tina.

 

We discussed the up and coming area, Taylor Wimpey’s build program and prices. I must say, for an investment, this really is one to be investigated! The apartments have balconies or patios, parking and an en-suite shower room. What really makes these stand out though is that they are going to be opposite open grass areas and should be nice and light without feeling claustrophobic. These are due to be ready for later in the year but don’t wait and find their all gone, get down there now and have a look. The show home is open 7 days a week and the ladies are a real pleasure to deal with.

If you need any information with regards to the letting of any properties on this superb development, then just contact me and I will be more than happy to help.

http://www.rightmove.co.uk/developer/branch/Taylor-Wimpey/Bridgefield-134645.html

We have ours, do you?

Huge thank you to Kevin from Clive Emson Auctioneers for dropping these off this morning!

 

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Our good friend Kevin dropped these off to us this morning and if you are on the look out for a good buy, a refurb, a home, in fact any kind of property, then this is a superb place to start!

Lot 47 is of particular interest, in Hythe Road and a cracking little flat in Dover which is Lot 62.

Doesn’t hurt to go along to the auction on Monday 9th February and meet the team, learn about bidding, see how it all works. Let us know how you get on as well!

Good luck!