An agent has given up Rightmove after working out that each viewing request cost over £90 and has called for the industry to support OnTheMarket which this morning announced it now has listing agreements with over 10,000 branches.
Sean Jones, of Jones Estate Agents in Stockton-on-Tees, told EYE: “Half of the leads we were getting from Rightmove were simply asking for more information – or even more pictures.
“Leads are important but only when they generate actual business.
“We discounted the half of leads that were just requests, and carefully analysed those that resulted in viewings and what they were costing us.
“Given that we are mainly a lettings business and, in the market we’re in, charge a fee of £350 for a tenant-find service, then £90 per viewing is too much.”
His firm gave up Rightmove in May.
Jones Estate Agents has been an early supporter of OnTheMarket, and says that by the time it quit Rightmove, OTM was supplying more leads.
The firm was then offered a “really good deal” to list on Zoopla, and now markets its properties on both Zoopla and OTM. Jones says that he probably has slightly more leads through Zoopla than he did on Rightmove.
He says his firm has noticed no drop in business, and has had no complaints from sellers or landlords.
He said: “I think agents believe that they have to be on Rightmove, but we’ve proved that really doesn’t have to be the case. Agents should be brave.”
Jones has now posted this testimonial on OTM’s site: “In recent months, the leads we received from OnTheMarket outpaced those provided by Rightmove.
“Each day, we received around four to eight leads from OnTheMarket compared with just two a day from Rightmove.
“With the latest price hike of 39% presented to me by Rightmove, I worked out that each viewing request cost over £90 which was too much, so we removed our properties in May and rejoined Zoopla.
“When it comes to selling itself, Rightmove pushes its number of visits to the entire website, but for agents, it’s the number of genuine leads which are generated which is important.
“I was only receiving about 60 leads a month from Rightmove and believed the quality was poor. Most people only wanted more information which was already on the website.
“As agents, we need to analyse portal leads and remember it’s not just about the number provided, it’s also about the quality.
“It’s untrue that agents need Rightmove to survive.
“There is a certain fear factor at play but I’ve not had a single complaint from a vendor or a landlord that I don’t advertise on Rightmove after I explained the lack of enquiries.
“Now is the time to support a portal that is majority-owned by estate agents.
“Competition is needed in any industry to ensure customers get a fair deal.
“It is no mean feat to take on the market-leading portals and OnTheMarket has come a long way. It is providing us with an ever increasing number of quality leads and that is exactly what we want.”
This morning, OTM announced to the stock market that it now has over 10,000 branches on board, which it believes represent around 54% of the market.
Its announcement said that since floating on AIM on February 9, it had grown membership by over 82%.
It added: “The growth in OnTheMarket’s agency branch base to date has been predominantly from offering free listings under short term introductory trial offers, with a view to converting these to full tariff contracts when the value of its offering has been demonstrated.
“As a key driver to success in rapidly building its agent base, the company continues to invest in expanding its sales team: at Admission, the field sales team numbered 15 employees; as at 24 July this had more than doubled to 31; and the plan is for the team to have grown even further to 35 by the end of the summer. The team is continuing to see encouragingly high levels of agent support and conversion to signed contracts when it presents the opportunity of listing on an agent-backed portal.”
OTM also said that traffic to the portal from February 1 o the end of June was 56.6m visits, more than double that of the same period last year.