The estate agency group spearheading the Say No To Rightmove campaign has signed its 36 branches up to new portal Homesearch.
The Acorn Group is ”a fully subscribed and paying” customer according to a statement from the portal, which launched to the industry yesterday ahead of a launch to consumers on July 15.
Acorn chief executive Rob Sargent – whose agency remains on Rightmove, at least at the moment – says: “We’re impressed with what the team at Homesearch have done and are continuing to build. It isn’t just a portal, that’s obvious; there’s a lot more for an agent to gain than just another place to list your instructions.
“We know it will take time for them to build up public traction, but I think they’ve anticipated what UK agents need to not only market their clients homes but also at the same time assist their member agents in stimulating new business.
Homesearch chief executive Giles Ellwood responds: “We are thrilled and grateful to Rob and the whole Acorn team for believing so strongly in what we’re aiming to achieve.
“Everything we are doing is about justifying and repaying Acorn and so many other agents’ faith in our long term vision.”
Homesearch – the new property portal which describes itself as “the future of the property industry” – has delayed its launch.
It was scheduled to go live on May 25; just days ago it reported to Estate Agent Today that it had recruited 14 new staff.
However chief executive Giles Ellwood is now reported to have told a webinar: “We wanted to achieve something radical in two months. Unfortunately it’s going to take us three. Pushing the public release back by four to five weeks will allow us more time to properly onboard agents, more time to integrate further with CRM providers and more time to test.”
The new launch date is reported to be July 1.
Towards the end of last year Homesearch launched a ‘live market’ features to its property data service, which it was running ahead of the portal starting. That feature, too, was delayed in its arrival.
In the past Homesearch has said it invested over £3m in the service and has called itself a truly agent-first platform.
It has said it aims to be: “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.”
Homesearch says around 6,000 branches have registered an interest in its services – it says this is some 32 per cent of the industry.
On May 10 the service stated on its website: “Just six weeks since we announced the plans and started documenting our progress, some 5,600+ branches have become part of the movement. Your contribution to our webinars, emails and messages of support keep us energised and working hard.
“What has become clear from the new conversations we’ve had since we announced the Network, is that the industry does want change. In most cases, and for most agents, their current portal and prospecting costs are a burden to growth and long-term success.
“This letter is a call to action to join the 32 per cent of the industry who have already shown their support.”