Fury and backlash: Zoopla advise vendors on the best ways to drive down estate agency fees

With demand from property buyers continuing to heavily outweigh the volume of homes on the market for sale, Zoopla is somewhat surprisingly advising vendors to negotiate over selling fees with a view to saving money – at the estate agent’s expense.

The property portal, which charges estate agents to list properties on their platform, issued to the public via their Guide to Selling, the key things to consider ‘when choosing an estate agent’, which includes advising vendors to ‘try and get to a fee that is as close to 1% as possible’.

Zoopla’s top tips: 

Zoopla public guide to selling
Zoopla is facing an angry backlash from the property industry for advising vendors to drive down commission fees if yesterday’s posts on social media are anything to go by. Here are a few of the comments:
Bryan Mansell, PropTech co-founder & CEO: “Very surprised and disappointed to read this advice from Zoopla to the public via their Guide to Selling.

“Firstly, a good fee is directly linked to getting the best price and service from an agent
Secondly, the strategy from Zoopla to provide a service to their paying customers ( #estateagents ) is clearly misaligned
– Let’s charge them for their stock.
– Then screw them on their fees.

“Wow, a dangerous way to keep customers happy WTF!

“How about advice such as
-Ask your Agent what they are doing to help your move be less stressful?
-What technology are they linked to so that moving can be quicker?
etc etc

“If this is what the public is being educated about then nothing will change.

“Crazy, reckless and asleep at the wheel.”

 

David Sansome, MD at Sansome & George: “Who in their marketing dept thought that was a good idea, get next to no Zoopla leads.”

 

Leigh Mellett of eXp: “Wow! Without agents, Zoopla isn’t a thing- crazy article! Pleased to see that it has been changed now but the fact it was published in the first place is concerning.”

 

Matt Baldock, Essex based estate agent: “Did they get the same AI to write it as GetAgent’s article? Just unreal.”

 

Chris Chambers of Curchods Estate Agents Shepperton Office: “Nuts!!!”

 

James Cocker: “They’re also hurting their buyers/sellers that use their platform with that advice too, as the lower the fee doesn’t mean the better the deal, especially if you don’t get the price a top agent would get for your home. It doesn’t look like anyone wins with big portals putting that advice out there – including Zoopla themselves.”

 

David Rigby: “Terrible advice from Zoopla – all the wrong angles – how about advising the seller to ask ‘how will you achieve me the best price’ to start with…”

 

Stephen Pye, team leader KW In Scotland: “This is really poor from Zoopla. Once again, a portal completely forgetting who its customers are.”

 

Gavin Curd, MD at Simon Miller Group: “This will certainly prompt an interesting conversation when I meet with my account manager next week.”

 

Charlie Lamdin, founder of BestAgent: “Proof if it were needed that the US hedge fund overlords are in control and don’t give a hoot about their revenue paying customers’ businesses.

“Astoundingly bad practice whatever the reason. Hey agents! Take a slap in the face, too!”

 

Dan Fells, director at Fells New Forest Property: “Another reason not to do business with ZPG.”

 

Julian O’Dell, owner, Marvellous Training Solutions: “For the sake of balance…

“Advice to estate agents when choosing a portal:

  1. If you’re choosing a portal, try to get a fee as close to £0 as you can.
  2. If you’re handling lots of properties from different outlets, a portal may accept a lower charge (because their return will be higher)
  3. If your portal is trying to build its customer base in your area, they may be willing to negotiate
  4. You may find that non market-leading portals are more open to negotiate fees than others

“Have a marvellous day”

 

Gary Bramall, chief marketing officer at Zoopla, issued this message, in response to Bryan Mansell, on LinkedIn: “Hi Bryan Mansell thanks very much for your message and sharing your feedback. I agree that this missed the mark and doesn’t reflect the service and value agents provide. I’d like to apologise for this and reassure you (and all others who have commented and read the post) that agents very much remain valued partners to us at Zoopla.”

Zoopla declined the opportunity to add to Bramall’s statement when contacted by EYE for additional comment.
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10 Comments

  1. Mike Bidwell

    Ill judged by ZPG to say the least! At least clients in Cambridge don’t need to bother reading the article – we have muppets here that drop their proverbial trousers at even the slightest resistance and charge 0.5% – sometimes even less! The ultimate recognition that they are sub-standard and not worth any more!

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  2. Ric

    Well anyone stuck in a contract with Z, can now exit without penalty.

    Pretty easy to argue that case in a BPR situation… unless you did sign up in the knowledge they would promote “end users” should haggle their [Zoopla’s] customers fees down. I say Zoopla’s clients as the advert is probably more detrimental to the agents on Z than those who are not.

    This will boil some urine, but perhaps Z know those EAs who have signed up to Z are easy to convince they should do something against their better judgment, so they will get a pat on the back from the millions of sellers who say “Zoopla said”

    Before you start… save hundreds using Z over RM, but lose more when Z promote sellers should pay you less.

    (sorry to any of the nice Z agents, out there as there are many I am sure, but Z is just not required surely and this well… urgh!)

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  3. Penguin

    Wow! Are Zoopla still actually a thing?

     

    We stopped using them years ago…..

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  4. Typhoon

    You need to look at the estate agency services package they are offering developers to cut out agents  and offering a CRM system, financial services and conveyancing services as well.  Talk about biting off the hand that feeds them

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  5. jeremy1960

    This will become their Ratner moment, I suspect that users will be leaving in their droves after this!

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  6. WiltsAgent

    Complete contempt for those that provide them with an income.

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  7. Hakuna Matata

    Imagine if we estate agents posted an article for buyers titled “How to negotiate with sellers and get a better deal”… We’d never work again.

    These companies need to remember who their customer is and stop trying to be the ‘friend of the people’ (whilst not even offering decent advice to said people).

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  8. Woodentop

    Outrageous. Zoopla are a marketing web site for agents. This smacks of very, very poor judgement who seems to have forgotten we pay them to advertise, we are their contracted customer and to advise the public audience how to undermine their customers is nothing short of criminal. Someone’s head should roll and a public apology to agents by the MD. Disgraceful behaviour.

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  9. John Murray

    We all should ‘bin’ Zoopla after this, all be ‘On The Market’ as well as RM and then ask the CEO of Zoopla to compare notes with Mr Ratner. An absolute disgrace.

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  10. Paul Travers

    Zoopla’s advice seems pretty on message given who the platform is aimed at.
     
    Zoopla is designed as a cheaper and inferior alternative to Rightmove. It’s not there to appeal to agents who prioritise the best performance to win the best listings – it’s there for agents who put the cost of the service first.
     
    So Zoopla’s advice is probably for homeowners who share the same mentality as its agents – those who want the cheapest option (and probably not the owners of the best homes).  
     
    On Rightmove’s blog about selecting an agent, they acknowledge that fees might be a consideration, but they also make a point of saying that not all estate agents are the same.  
     
    There’s no recommendation to negotiate fees down. I know who I’d rather give my money to.

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