A challenger portal says agents should reduce their reliance on the likes of Rightmove and Zoopla by using smaller rival portals as part of a wider marketing strategy for their listings.
Babek Ismayil, founder and chief executive of OneDome – a PropTech platform which runs a portal of the same name – says major portals are so strong that consumers expect to see their homes listed there.
The more content a portal displays, the more people will come and check listings – and that higher traffic allows portals to charge higher subscription fees to agents, says Ismayil.
“Portal costs for agents are also rising due to a lack of competition in the marketplace. There is a lack of new listings websites for several reasons, including agents being protective of stock which results in a high start-up cost for a new business” he continues.
“By being protective of their listings, estate agents inadvertently make it more difficult for new businesses to enter the market and compete against the larger portals.
“Instead they further empower established portals and help cement their market monopoly, which then allows those portals to charge agents more” says Ismayil.
Instead, he wants agents to use other portals to reduce what he calls “the stranglehold on agents” now held by the major sites, and to use newer marketing methods such as social media.
“The influence of social media continues to grow, with more consumers using platforms like Facebook as a place to buy and sell things and property will be no different. Agents should consider getting ahead of the curve now and advertising properties through social media while it is still a differentiator.”
He adds that agents can also benefit from focusing on improving their own websites.
“If agents’ websites had a better customer experience, consumers may start to see them as a viable route to search for properties instead of solely using the portals” concludes Ismayil.