‘I feel like I’m working to pay Rightmove’, says disgruntled agent

Christina Mallinder

A director who runs her own small estate agency is urging her competitors to come together and exit Rightmove together because of the portal’s flat fees that she states do not take into account the size of a business or level of transaction.

Christina Mallinder, who runs Vario Estate Agents in Norwich, Norfolk, said she pays over £1,200 a month for a basic Rightmove package with extras on top – amounting to more than the rent of her city office, insurance and professional fees combined.

She said: “I feel like I am working to pay Rightmove, then feed myself and my dog. It’s almost double what I can afford to pay myself in wages each month. It is the most expensive part of my monthly outgoings.

“Rightmove costs the same for me (an independent non-VAT registered, low-income agency as it does for a multi-million-pound branch of my competitors.

“It’s a struggle to stomach, but I soldier on. There were months when I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to pay the bills next month and my parents bought me food but I made it through.”

It comes as estate agents, fed up with the hold Rightmove has over them, eagerly await the new fee structure of the OnTheMarket, which last month agreed to be taken over by US commercial property analytics giant CoStar Group.

Mallinder said agents themselves had caused the problem of being too reliant on Rightmove, adding: “We have created the issue with making this platform our go-to and the moment an agent tries to step away from Rightmove, competitors make it their first move in stabbing them in the back and pointing this out. You become the target of other agents who say you aren’t on Rightmove.

“So, will agents ever win? Probably not. Until the mindset changes and everybody supports each other and decides to come off Rightmove together.”

Mallinder, who left a large corporate estate agency to go it alone four years ago, said she challenged the fees she was charged with Rightmove, urging them to offer a percentage-based scheme for agents instead.

“Rightmove informed me that I was on the baseline package that was the same as a corporate with hundreds of people; mortgage advisors and say, 15 negotiators on a team.

“I asked Rightmove to consider altering its business model. For every transaction that is listed on the platform and sold they could take a small percentage just like the industry that supports them, allowing them to potentially make a fairer and broader profit.

“They could look after those agents who are having a tough month with income and outgoings – but as usual, this fell on deaf ears.

“I’ll be watching OnTheMarket closely to see what potential is there.”

When EYE asked Rightmove for a comment, a spokesman said: “Our packages include a range of innovative products and tools to support agents in growing their business and winning more vendors and landlords.

“This is alongside providing the best exposure for an agents’ brand and properties to the UK’s biggest home-moving audience.

“If an agent wants to discuss their options, they can speak to their Account Manager to make sure they have the right package and products to suit their business.”


Rightmove unveils investment plan to accelerate revenue and profit growth



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  1. comment75

    Well you better start doubling your working hours if your planning on using On the Market as well!

    What we need is an agent owned portal that is committed to taking on the big boys……..

    1. Robert_May

      Nah, you don’t comment75. We’re past that now. Reliance on the duopoly is going to begin to wane. Crying wolf on what’s going to happen when Jason has a fighting fund from Costar makes me think you could be Brett.

      This is a very connected industry which has held on tight to technology that essentially emerged when Windows 3.11 was being superseded by Windows 95 that was settled down and widely adopted by agents around the time of Windows ME.

      In spite of your fears, and if you’re not Brett Stone, his too, Jason Tebb is being courted by new technology that’s merging right now. Jason, Morgan, and Costar are a good option for the industry right now

      1. jan-byers


  2. leelee30

    Wasn’t that going to be OTM,
    But look what is happening with them, charging for post code areas for valuation leads.
    Poor quality of leads and waste of time valuations.. mostly these are buyers asking for a valuation on a purchase or some non experienced agents ..
    Yep that’s really true ..

  3. scruffy

    Rightmove’s business model is not compatible with smaller agencies aiming to serve their local communities. Annual price rises of 10% or more, whatever the market conditions we face, maintain RM’s profit of more than 70%.
    Hence it is a stock market darling with investors barely able to believe our industry’s inability to wean ourselves away. Costar’s arrival has given them a shock but it remains to be seen if this poses either a threat to their position or creates a more viable either/or portal choice for agents.
    This is a sad tale for Christina and all operators of smaller, traditional independent firms and has forced closure for many, changing the face of agency. It has also driven many to abandon true professionalism in the search for referral fees.

  4. Hampshireagent007

    Christina, I felt the same 6 years ago and I DUMPED RIGHTMOVE. My net profit has increased and I get the same leads from OTM and Zoopla combined for less than half what RM was charging.
    I don’t understand why agents are so scared to say NO to RM.
    They are a dreadful company who treat their customers – the agents – with utter disdain….
    Have some strength and drop them Christina……. You don’t need them.
    What will happen to OTM when taken over I just don’t know. I hope that we don’t end up with another monster.

    1. Norfolkandgood

      I agree with Hampshireagent007 we left about 4 years ago and have never regretted it once. Zoopla and OTM give us plenty of leads. We have lost two possible instructions but the £1400 a month for 48 months saved go a long way to get over these vendors who will not listen. Probably not the best clients to have anyway. Jump now ! People said it when I was making up my mind and I have not regretted it once. Particularly when looking at the bank account.

  5. Mary Whitehouse

    Well done to the lady for speaking up, lots of us have been and are in exactly the same position and it’s not good.
    Hopefully, one day in the future there will be some major event to bring them tumbling

  6. EAMD172

    Although I don’t particularly like what Rightmove do with their fees, we are all in the business where we would like to charge as much as possible. Our main issue as a business is that we have driven our own fees down so far that a quality product like Rightmove Becomes unaffordable. When it comes down to it we all want to be on Rightmove as it supplies us with the best leads we have ever had. For agents that sell a high volume of properties, it looks not bad value for money. However, I fully appreciate that smaller agents see it as a much higher percentage of turnover with less reward. A charging scale that is results focused would be more palatable for most agents, however, you just know that all it would actually mean is an increase in revenue for Rightmove. Let’s hope that CoStar invest in the right areas to make OTM a serious alternative. Once we get real competition, then we will see prices at realistic levels. The bottom line is that property portals are good for our business and agents that drive fees down the cause of our problems.

  7. james

    Take your business to EXP or IAD

    They will provide you with portal coverage and no worry

    Many are doing so… you can work part time too if you like

    The corporate you are competing with will only be paying about £300 by the way

    1. Robert_May

      Christina is probably not competing with the corporate agents, she will be competing with similar agents paying a similar figure and those who are paying less because they are part of an affinity group who’ve negotiated a non-geographic or pay per listing subscription.
      Typically there are 3 agents who share about 80% of the instructions on any given patch, then there is a lot of agents sharing the remaining instructions between them. It’s hard being in that part of the market but so many of us have been there. I still wear red sock on Sunday to bring me back down to earth once a week as a reminder of what its like to be commission only attempting to sell homes in a challenging market; 89-94

    2. Mary Whitehouse

      thats fine for some people, but others want a shop / office

  8. DHJ

    I do feel for the owner, but a minimum wage job on 40hrs a week would pay £1,800 gross each month. if the RM fee of £1,200 is “almost double what I can afford to pay myself in wages each month” then I suggest another career or the business might have folded by the time this has gone out.

  9. iainwhite87

    Rightmove have a right to charge what they see fit just as estate agents decide their fee policy to clients . Where this all goes wrong is the agents don’t exercise their right not to do business with RM . If you don’t like the costs or their way of doing business don’t do business with them . The balance of power is with the Estate Agents they just need to exercise it .

    1. Mary Whitehouse

      But you have to be tougher and more resilient than most of us are, I did it for a short time and at first clients were understanding….but then if it got marginally quieter it was something to beat you with and eventually you give in and return.

      1. Hampshireagent007

        You MUST NOT GIVE IN. Yes, agents use it as a stick to beat you with. They give that stick to your clients. Its a little painful at first, but you have to explain that buyers google for properties in YOUR AREA – they dont all go straight to RM, regardless of what is said.
        Be strong.
        Until RM have a fee structure that is FAIR and volume led, then they should not be supported.
        Use OTM and Zoopla and you will get the same applicants.
        I have been off RM for 6 years and my NET PROFIT has gone up each year…..

        1. Kyle

          Easy to flex your muscles and dine out on your success story, but every area is different.

          Sadly in our area, agents need to be on RM.
          On our High Street alone there are 8 agents, including ourselves, and with half a mile a further 6. Those few agents in our area that are not on RM you can see a stark contrast on their levels of stock & market share.

          Unfortunately, we need to listen to our consumers. I’m pleased dropping RM works in the regional markets, as it’s always good that Rightmove swallow an L in at least one location, however where we are we have to grin and bear it.

          We dropped RM during a buoyant period, and enquiries dropped dramatically, which I am loathed to admit.

          Our account handler changes more often a year than the seasons, and each time we discuss rates “computer says no”.

          Sadly, RM are see you next Tuesdays that don’t care about their clients, but what can you do? The government has been s__t for years, this is just the equivalent.

          Maybe Boomin will come back and save us

          1. Hampshireagent007

            Be Bold Kyle… Be a leader… Dump RM. I was the first, and others have followed – not all. Sadly, I think your experience is something you would have to stomach for a little while before establishing a new normal. If RM is a small fraction of your marketing budget, then so be it and you will clearly continue with them, but I cannot deal with such a horrendous company whose attitude stinks and they feel they have you in a position you cannot escape…
            Go for it. You wont regret it. And all the others out there should too.

            1. Kyle

              Thanks mum

  10. Mike Robson

    To the author, it really feels like your business is not functioning properly. Please please seek out a business coach!
    The first thing I’d do is go VAT registered. Your Rightmove bill will drop 20% over night

  11. Hit Man

    Jeeze… what is wrong with people Brainwashed agents stay with Rightmove because RM have them thinking that if they leave their competitors will steel their business and to resign will cost more that the current rate… If you fall for that then you are a fool, you don’t need RM there are Thousands of agents that don’t use them.

    Thousands are tied into long term contracts and defend RM because they are brainwashed and tied in. Proper agents sell property without RM, Listers are behind the times and have no forward thinking…

    I agree with iainwhite87 if you don’t like the cost then just leave, there are loads of better and cheaper ways to get business and to sell properties. I’m sure Iain White can advise you.

  12. AcornsRNuts

    The annual lightbulb moment for agents is early this year!

    Either leave Rightmove or stop moaning about their charges. Nobody is holding a gun to your head or twisting your arm. I recently sold a flat and chose my agent on reviews and recommendation, not who they advertised with.

  13. FindProperties

    I feel for Christina and others like her. There was a video on here a few weeks ago with arrogant agents suggesting they get “ROI” and indicating that RM fees shouldn’t be an issue for “good” agents. Complete rubbish. Some agents sell property in less affluent areas, with consequently smaller fees. And lower volume. There are different dynamics up and down the country.

    Regardless of whether OTM get traction after the proposed sale, and/or whether they keep their fees low or increase them, the sad reality is that agents up and down the country will still be beholden to an external, privately owned platform to market their properties.

    This was one of the reasons I didn’t buy into a franchise model years ago – I just wasn’t happy with the fact that I could build a business over several years only to be reliant upon an external system that I didn’t own, and was essentially forced to pay the subscription fee (a fee that was not negotiable) .

    There aren’t many more opportunities for agents to wake up.

    1. Property Ear

      Your comment about ‘arrogant agents’ is dead right regarding RM shouldn’t be an issue for good agents, These arrogant types haven’t a clue, it darned well is, no matter how good they are – resign from RM and they’ll get slaughtered. Having said that, RM collectively is a greedy, mercenary pig!

      1. Moi

        This is what I cannot fathom!
        Why do agents complain about RM high charges?
        Without agents listing on any property portal (including RM) they don’t have a business.
        It’s quite simple.
        I’m yet to come across where it says RM have agents under lock and key with a double-barrel gun pointed at their temples that they must list!
        This is ludicrous. RM is not the only game in town. One would have thought that agents should have worked that out by now.

        1. Hampshireagent007

          I wonder if you are an agent, Moi? You are correct, but there is a lot to this….. Believe me, as an ex RM advertiser, its a big decision to come off the teat, but my goodness its well worth doing. But you have to be a good agent to do it. I think poor agents who have little experience do not know what it was like in the old days when you had to actively sell, not just ‘list on RM and it will do the rest’.
          Would relish a chat with you about it one day……

          1. Moi

            been in the game almost 20 years.
            Never looked at Rightmove twice.
            Still thriving!

            1. Hampshireagent007

              Not that it matters, but I have 35 years under my belt ‘man and boy’! I am glad you have posted.
              I am ashamed that I, and very many of my colleagues, created RM and allowed it to become this monster. But I wish more agents would have the courage of their convictions. Anyway, enough of this – I have houses to sell! All the best to you…

    2. Hit Man

      Yes the 4 Muppets on the pod cast bleating about themselves, full of their own importance with no idea of the real world.

      If Rightmove is the devil, why have so few agents banished it?


  14. Jonnie

    Articles on RM do get the posts and opinions going, quite rightly.

    I know we have the expected ‘Bin them, my business has never been so good since I did’ people and the mix of other views but Im going to focus on the business and owner that has come out and said what they think without an alias and all that, Christina.

    Christina seems (based on RM listings etc.) to have set up a nice little business that doesn’t need big volumes, currently she has 12 listings with 9 under offer and 3 for sale, I’m going to assume she lives in Norwich and is part of the community that she works in and I’ll stick my neck out a bit that she is working alone (except the pooch) and has low costs with her own salary being the big one…..salaries are the biggest cost for all of us no? – I sort of envy her a bit so far.

    With everything I see about her business my question is why bother paying for it? Leave and focus on you, your local reputation, Google reviews, social media, recommendations, personal connections, and a snazzy sign written Fiat 500 and so on. Damn it, turn leaving RM on its head and if any of the select number of vendors you meet ask why you’re not on it tell them it’s not how you work, is didn’t benefit your clients and you have so many other personal ways of marketing their home and getting them the right buyer at the right price you don’t need it.


  15. letstalk

    Another who binned them off years ago here… no regrets. Still playing with the big boys and girls in my area and more profitable. Do we lose some listings now and again from short sighted people? 3 this year… but all of them were not our ideal clients anyway to be honest. Looking forward to seeing what OTM does next, but hoping they have learned that RM is more hated than loved these days and a more sensible price point means a lot more loyalty long term and longevity of business.

    As for RM I hope they learn the lesson that the toe you step on today might belong to the…. (you know how it goes)


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