A new national online estate agency has launched – just as others have been closing or running into difficulties.
iMOVEHOME founder Amy Dixon says she is unworried by the sector’s woes because she claims her own offering is completely different.
For a start, it has no Local Property Experts: vendors set their own asking price.
She also prefers to call her agency ‘digital’ rather than ‘online’, and the site itself lists no properties – they are all uploaded to Rightmove and Zoopla.
Dixon said: “I registered the domain in 2012 but sat on it for several years because I didn’t think the market was ready to go completely digital.”
She points out that Warrington-based iMOVEHOME has no valuers. Instead, vendors are offered a choice of valuations – top, middle and bottom – and make up their own minds.
iMOVEHOME went live with 35 properties in March and Dixon says it is on track to double the number this month.
Dixon sold her former business Dixon & Co in Stafford to concentrate on her new venture.
She bought the domain name back in 2012 but waited until 2017 to have the site built, and this was trialled last year.
Her new agency charges sellers upfront, from £249 to include listings on Rightmove and Zoopla, but with a choice of add-ons, including EPCs, floorplans, professional phototography, virtual tours, sales boards, and premium listings on the portals.
Negotiation and progression are offered, while viewings are charged at £25 per hour.
Dixon said that vendors have so far fallen into two distinct camps – either opting for the cheapest price, or choosing to buy a package of add-ons costing £444.
No deferred payment option is offered and, says Dixon, won’t be.
She said: “Our customers upload their details, and select how we can help them on an individual basis.
“Each and every customer can assemble their own bespoke service – they can even choose what colour board they have, or if they have one at all.
“Our message to vendors is that we’re supporting their knowledge of their own property.”
Customers can use the valuation tool that is on the site – it gives a range of three possible asking prices to suit different circumstances – or call for an over the phone valuation, or set their own asking price.
Dixon said: “Freedom of choice is our absolute aim. No sales person will call and there is no pressure, just pure old-fashioned service meets top-end proptech.”
Dixon said that as a high street agent for many years, she had become aware that with all the available data, vendors know how much they want for their property.
Dixon said: “I also think that it can be quite embarrassing to tell estate agents that you are perhaps in financial difficulty so need to sell fast and therefore cheaply.
“Alternatively, perhaps you might only be prepared to sell if the property makes the money you want – which may be more than a visiting agent might agree.
“This freedom of choice is rarely given by either online or high street.
“We obviously have our experts cast their eye before we launch it for sale – the asking price can’t be ridiculous.”
The business has a network of 2,000 people in the field, but none are local agents. Instead, they are service providers such as photographers, and suppliers of EPCs and floorplans.
Dixon, whose business currently employs 18 people, said that currently one or two listings are being launched a day, and that about 20 people each day are creating accounts on the site.
Dixon said: “We have many more tech-meets-property plans ahead of us – this is just the first.”
Yesterday on Rightmove, iMOVEHOME had 40 properties listed, of which 29 were available.