Property Portals

Volume of portal listings carrying virtual viewings surges during pandemic

Volume of portal listings carrying virtual viewings surges during pandemic

There’s been a very significant increase in the number of listings carrying virtual viewings, accelerating during the period of the Coronavirus crisis and lockdown.

An analysis of Rightmove listings conducted by virtual tour provider Made Snappy shows that the pandemic has expedited agents’ uptake of visual aids in portal listings.

Between mid-November 2019 and mid-May 2020 the number of lettings adverts on Rightmove with virtual tours increased by 179 per cent. Meanwhile, the number of lettings listings with videos increased by 280 per cent during the same period.

Between mid-April (when lockdown measures were at their most severe) and mid-May (when market activity started to resume) the number of lettings listings with virtual tours increased by 44 per cent, rising by 63 per cent when it comes to listings with videos.

On the sales side, the number of property listings on Rightmove with virtual tours increased by 77 per cent between mid-November and mid-May, while the number of adverts with videos increased by 50 per cent over this six-month period.

Over the past four weeks the number of sales adverts with virtual tours has increased by 19 per cent alongside those with videos increasing by 26 per cent.

“The lockdown has understandably forced more agents to embrace virtual tours, particularly on the lettings side. Our analysis also reflects the quicker restart of the lettings market compared to sales, which will be much slower to get started” says Mark McCorrie, software director at Made Snappy.

“With the market now up and running, we expect the number of portal listings with virtual tours to increase even further as more agents will be operating at full capacity over the coming weeks.”

The government, in its official guidance on the resumption of the housing market, says: “We encourage people to do the majority of their property searching online … To support this agents may ask home occupiers to conduct virtual viewings.”

And in relation to new-build property sales it advises: “Where possible, developers should promote virtual viewings.”

Made Snappy says it anticipates a 75 per cent reduction in physical lettings viewings while social distance measures remain in place.

“We know of letting agents who have used virtual tours to filter down applicants, subsequently achieving a 100 per cent success rate on the physical viewings – we expect this trend to become the norm” says McCorrie.

OpenBrix The property portal for the new generation

Following an online meeting with Adam Pigott, who is the Chief Executive Officer of OpenBrix, I wanted to express my thoughts on this new, innovative portal.

What makes OpenBrix any different?  Here are a few key points:

OpenBrix has set out to be sustainable and easily affordable for Estate Agents, where the client are the decision makers  controlling the price: data and transactions. Everything is community run and done for the benefit of everyone.

Through the OpenBrix platform, you’ll have the tools needed to retain all your applicants, meaning that you will never have to buy these needs again.

Following an online meeting with Adam Pigott, who is the Chief Executive Officer of OpenBrix, I wanted to express my thoughts on this new, innovative portal.

What makes OpenBrix any different?  Here are a few key points:

OpenBrix has set out to be sustainable and easily affordable for Estate Agents, where the client are the decision makers  controlling the price: data and transactions. Everything is community run and done for the benefit of everyone.

Through the OpenBrix platform, you’ll have the tools needed to retain all your applicants, meaning that you will never have to buy these needs again.

You can even add your current managed tenants to the OpenBrix platform so that they can take advantage of its benefits straight away, as well, users have full transparency and access to their account and property transaction history.

Tenants can increase their credit score through rent payments: they can also gain loyalty points with their favourite Brands

All other portals offer the same centralised service of listing your property, but can they be trusted not to raise the price?

Can you trust them not to sell your data to the highest bidder?

This is the problem with centralised portals they can start off with low fees but they can change their policy is terms and conditions at any time

 

  • OpenBrix is going to be completely different
  • It is a decentralised portal
  • Completely run by its members

 

OpenBrix is using block chain technology because it makes it impossible to raise prices or sell your data.

 

  • These decisions are made by the community which is you
  • This means that there is no need to worry about OpenBrix suddenly raising prices or selling your data
  • They will attract millennials and generation Z with rewards from Major Brands
  • It’s very simple you simply sign up auto upload your properties and begin selling

 

The property portal for the new generation

 

The OpenBrix Press Release

 

There is light at the end of the tunnel for UK estate agents in the form of new  challenger portal OpenBrix!

 

Spring and summer are often cited as the best time to buy a property, with the warmer weather        encouraging more people to put their homes up for sale, but with the Government having all but shut down the UK’s housing market, buying, selling and even renting has been incredibly challenging during the lockdown – the situation not made any easier by the giants in the property portal industry and their lack of support to those on the ground who are struggling the most!

We’ve all seen and heard the revolt against Rightmove and Zoopla who have collectively managed to alienate the majority of agents across the UK at a time when they are already on their knees. Thankfully help has arrived!

 

After over two years of development the challenger property portal, OpenBrix has finally landed!

 

Unlike its competition OpenBrix is set to completely modernize and progress the experience of buying, selling and renting real estate by cultivating a community led platform wrapped with a spirit of       transparency, collaboration, innovation and integrity.

It is fair to say that agents are looking for an alternative that has their best interests at heart, an alternative that is ‘agent focused’ rather than concerned about stock market prices and shareholder wallets!

OpenBrix is currently in the process of onboarding agents across the UK and is offering all agents 100% free listings until Covid-19 has passed, beyond this their monthly fee of only £100 per agent, regardless of the amount of properties, is a much more manageable cost and easier to swallow in what are difficult times for all.

As a business OpenBrix is geared up to support agents with a decentralized community-based approach, giving power to those that are using the platform, not shareholders and those so far removed from the daily struggles at the coal face.

In addition to this OpenBrix has a whole host of functionality for consumers and agents alike that is not available on any other platform, this includes the ability for consumers to manager their rent payments, maintenance tickets and even credit profile online. For agents, they have an opportunity to manage their entire portfolio in one simple and easy to use dashboard and with additional functionality on the way could even make money from their tenants when they sign up to other home related services!

‘we are incredibly excited to finally be in a position to launch, ‘comments Adam Pigott, Chief Executive of OpenBrix.

The OpenBrix Press Release

‘It’s early days but initial feedback from agents that we have spoken to has been very positive. We are currently registering over 50 new agents per day at the moment, many of whom are in a rush to upload their property for when the lockdown ends and the market begins to pick up’

‘We have a fantastic roadmap of feature releases and updates in the pipeline and to be quite frank it’s about time a platform existed that was actually on the side of the agents and the industry as a whole’

‘It is fair to say we are going to ruffle some feathers over the course of the next few weeks and months but that is exactly what the sector needs, in our opinion it’s about time!’

For further information, to register and to start uploading your property portfolio please visit. www.openbrix.co.uk and/or follow on all social platforms for daily updates!

 

The OpenBrix Platform

CONCLUSION:

We are in the midst of a national crisis, one that threatens to palce the most robust of businesses on their knees. I have joined in many conversations about the existing big three portals over the last few weeks and it has been an education.

During this period I had the pleasure of a long video call with Adam Pigott, who is the Chief Executive Officer of OpenBrix and it was actually a learning experience. I am so pleased to be able convey a brief summary of what this company is about, although Adam had told me a lot more, but I was too busy  listening intensely to take notes!

The greatest common issue with the existing portals is that they were made by the agents, after all, a portal without properties is little more than a few pages of php code, yet how were the very people who provided the content for these portals repaid? They found that their monthly fee has increased exponentially over the last few years, with an almost arrogant response to anyone who has dared to question it.

It is for this reason that the emergence of new portals, with a new ethos, a new strategy and an inherent respect for those who are contributing the very content that will make or break it, is refreshing and one that I strongly support.

The model for OpenBrix will make the members the partners, the decisionmakers and the moderators, which will invariably offer some peace of mind to those who are feeling hard-done-by, after their experience with the big three existing portals.

I hope to speak to Adam again in the future and then I will be able to provide you with greater insight in to this new partner operated portal.

However, in the meantime, if you have any questions, please contact Adam directly:

Adam J Pigott

Chief Executive Officer OpenBrix

 

+44 7770223816

adam@OpenBrix.co.uk

www.openbrix.co.uk

 

OpenBrix Ltd, 5th Floor,

2 More London,

Riverside, London, SE1 2AP

 

Download the full PDF HERE

 

 

OnTheMarket says Covid crisis could be catalyst for change in portals

OnTheMarket says Covid crisis could be catalyst for change in portals

The acting chief executive of OnTheMarket says the Coronavirus crisis could indirectly create a catalyst for change in the portals marketplace.

Clive Beattie – the portal’s long-standing chief finance officer who is currently substituting for the sacked Ian Springett – says that as a result of the virus “we’re seeing a very vocal agency community arguing that this is a time for change, arguing against a return to ‘the old normal.’”

Although he does not refer directly to the Say No To Rightmove campaign, Beattie insists that OnTheMarket is ripe to benefit from that change, echoing the familiar comment that OTM was “founded by agents and founded for agents” and has provided the competition that he claims the portal market had been lacking for some years.

In an interview with the Edison TV business channel Beattie quotes figures dating back to January for the portal with some 13,500 advertisers representing about 12,500 branches and around 1,000 new build advertisers. In that first month of the calendar year OTM enjoyed a record 30m visit generating 126 leads per advertiser on average, he claims.

Beattie did not give any more recent figures – even for the February or March period before   the pandemic – but admitted that when the lockdown was announced traffic was “lower than it was” but had “rebounded” in the past fortnight, albeit not to pre-virus levels.

Beattie – whose performance was markedly different in tone and attitude to that of Springett on similar media appearances – said that future developments in the agency industry generally and his portal in particular were likely to take the form of additional services to agents.

He pointed to a recent deal, announced just before Christmas, in which OTM made a strategic investment for a 20 per cent share in Glanty Ltd the owner and developer of the PropTech lettings platform teclet. That deal was a cash purchase of £797,000, spread over 10 months from December plus an option to acquire the remaining 80 per cent of Glanty.

“It’s no surprise that there may be an acceleration of technical projects to help agents work differently and more efficiently” as a result of the Coronavirus crisis, Beattie claims.

ONEDOME – A breath of fresh air

Ladies & gentlemen, I had the pleasure of speaking to George Lawson yesterday, on behalf of Onedome, an emerging property portal that has really been gathering pace in recent months.

Onedome guarantee to be free for 100 years, laying the foundation for a revolution in property marketing. Having acquired nethouseprices a while back and now in partnership with Facebook marketplace, properties are placed in all three locations, for even greater exposure.

The current crisis has highlighted many issues that agents have with the current portals, with many having faced large overheads, regardless of the fact that their ability to operate has been seriously constrained by the lockdown.

Understandably, there has been mutiny in the ranks, with many agents leaving one or more of the ‘big three’ portals, for obvious reasons.

I have no doubt that any agent willing to make the effort can sell property without being a slave to any portal, I know from experience the we at Fine & Country take pride in our relentless proactive approach to marketing property, but that is not the issue here.

As I see it, amongst all the figures, the overheads, the contractual agreements and the frequent and often justified claims by agents of being at the mercy of the portals, there is one other factor that concerns me more, that is the public.

Whilst it is more than possible to bring property to the attention of potential buyers, both active and passive in many ways, we must ask ourselves, where do the public look first and why?

I conducted a poll recently in the Northants Property Post, the response was mainly local, although being online, there was some response further afield and the results were pretty much what I expected, however, I have no doubt that should I have asked the public a different question, I have no doubt that I would have received a different response.

What if I were to ask the public this question?

“Would you be more or less likely to search the portal with the most property first?”

I have no doubt that the vast majority would say yes and this my friends is the foundation of any portal. It is we, the agents who can and do make or break the portals, it is we who provide them with the very content that drives people to their site, without us, they are little more than a few pages of php code.

For this reason, I was delighted to welcome a portal that acknowledges this fact and has been established with an ethos that appreciates the value of the agent. However, on the subject of the public, I would like to make one final point, the easier it is for the public to search for a property, the easier it is for them to find a property, and that cannot be a bad thing.

If a potential buyer is not aware of a property, because it is not in the first one or two place they may look, they may have missed out on that property, but simultaneously, the seller of that property may have missed out on a buyer and potentially, a higher offer.

Although I have no doubt that we will commence our journey to recovery soon and that we will succeed in doing so, we must not underestimate the severity of the current situation. Therefore, the opportunity to present our properties to the public, collectively and ubiquitously, is an opportunity that we should not be ignored. The property market is in many ways the start of the financial food chain, with thousands of jobs and billions of pounds generated as a result. For this reason, in my opinion, I consider this to be the right opportunity at the right time.

Agents quit Rightmove in new spurt of publicity for OnTheMarket

Agents quit Rightmove in new spurt of publicity for OnTheMarket

Two agents have quit Rightmove and taken to social media to give their reasons.

One is the 12-branch Andrew Craig agency which serves Tyneside, Wearside and County Durham handling sales, lettings, auctions, property management, conveyancing, surveying and mortgages.

In a tweet posted by OnTheMarket the agency – which has quit Zoopla as well as Rightmove – says: “I have cancelled my contracts with both Rightmove and Zoopla to fully support OnTheMarket because we think it’s the best value portal by far and because it’s agent-backed.”

And another OnTheMarket tweet quotes Simon Fisher of the three-branch Absolute Sales & Lettings agency in Torbay as saying: “We cancelled our contract with Rightmove just before their offer of a deferred payment scheme. We decided they hadn’t looked after agents and had become too far removed from what they set out to do.”

The OnTheMarket website says: “More and more agents are saying that OnTheMarket is generating a good flow of quality leads at a reasonable cost. As agents review their portal choices, many have cancelled other higher cost portal contracts and many are signing up to list with OnTheMarket.”

The most recent update on OTM’s members came from the portal in Christmas week last year, at which point it said it had “over 12,500 agent offices” – there has been no more recent update.

The latest defections come as the Say No To Rightmove campaign, set up by Robert Sargent, chief executive of the Acorn Group, has reached some 1,100 branch members.

Sargent’s company has 36 branches across London and the south east and spends close to £500,000 on fees to the portal.

The portal debate has become increasingly heated since the start of the Coronavirus lockdown with disputes over the varying offers made to agents by Rightmove, Zoopla and OTM and challenges by newer portals such as free-to-list Residential People and yet-to-launch sites called OpenBrix and Homesearch.