Two new portals set to launch despite Coronavirus chaos

Two new portals set to launch despite Coronavirus chaos

Two property portals insist they’re going to launch this spring despite the Coronavirus chaos effectively closing down much of the housing market.

OpenBrix has been 18 months in the making and says it’s finally launching at an unspecified date in early April.

It says it’s seeking to address what it describes as agents’ frustrations with the current leading portals – lack of control, price hikes and “the uncomfortable feeling that the agents hard acquired and costly data is being sold without benefit to the agent.”

It says its structure is reliant on a database shared across a Blockchain network of agents, rather than located at one central point.

Its structure is similarly devolved – it says each agency brand, irrespective of size, will have one vote in determining strategy and policy. It describes this as “community control” and pledges that “all price increases will have to agreed and voted on by the community.”

And it adds: “If the UK agents want control of a portal for the first time, then this is the solution.”

Meanwhile Homesearch, a relatively new supplier to the industry that has until now specialised in data for agents, says it too is to launch a portal – this time on May 25.

The company says it has information on Britain’s entire 29m housing stock and pledges to be not just another portal but “the future of the industry”.

Creators Giles Ellwood and Sam Hunter say on their website: “We have self-funded the business since 2017 and have reinvested over £3m in data and engineering. Last year alone our software delivered over a billion pounds worth of market appraisals to the agents using our services. Over the past few days, with help and honest truths from agents closest to us, we believe we have engineered a long term solution. Not just another portal, but the future of the industry. A platform that networks you, the agent, with every home and client in the country.”

Calling itself a truly agent-first platform it describes itself as: “A network where consumers can interact with your agency and your instructions, as well as placing your agency in front of them for every other property they search for in your market. Everything will lead back to your website and the phone numbers and links will be yours, not ours.”

It promises agents will “not ever pay to list instructions” but property developers and house builders will; half of those charges will go to homeless and social housing projects.

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