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.