Rightmove defends 17% fee hikes as estate agent says ‘no option’ but to pay

A two-branch estate agent in West Yorkshire says it is being held to ransom by Rightmove which is raising its subscription fees again this year.

Belong in Honley have been told by Rightmove that they face substantial hikes in their monthly fees when they come up for renewal on 1 August 2023.

The managing director of the firm, James White, who is a long-standing customer of the property portal, was told this week by his Rightmove account manager that his subscription membership was increasing by just over 17% on his current monthly cost.

An email sent to this agent, and others, points out that the costs of their core membership will increase citing the introduction of new tools and features.

White explained: “At a time when their clients are facing pressures in a much-reduced market, and with high general inflation of around 10% from their suppliers, estate agents on the core Essentials package, Rightmove’s standard package, are being hit with an almost 18% increase in annual fees, taking the basic package to £1,385 per month.

“This is obviously a last swipe of the hand from Peter Brooks Johnson, the outgoing CEO as a sad farewell from the man who oversaw the fiasco that was Rightmove’s response to the initial lockdown in 2020.

“The cash cow that is Rightmove keeps moving forwards with it’s outrageous annual increases, knowing that it has largely a monopoly on where the public look first for residential sales listings.”

Message from Rightmove:

Change to your Rightmove costs

We’ve launched a number of new features and tools that are included in your membership which will help to continue to create opportunities for Belong, by James White. On 1 August 2023, in order to help us continue to upgrade the features and tools we offer for agents, the price for your membership is increasing.

In the table below, you can find out more about:

  1. Making the most of the new features (find out more by clicking the links)
  2. The changes to the price of your membership for your branches that are due for renewal


My Updated Bill

Honley  branch 2021 Membership
2022 Membership
Essential Sales Core Package

  1. Branded listings
  2. Rightmove Plus suite of reports, including our new quicker and easier Best Price GuideNEW that can be shared online or on mobile
  3. Live & on-demand webinars now formally certified with the CPD ServiceNEW on the Rightmove Hub
  4. Ofqual-regulated Level 3 Certificate for Estate and Lettings Agents (CELA) with on-demand training, now Propertymark approvedNEW
  5. Automated fall-through process makes your properties available again post-fall through within 60 minutes NEW
1,180.00 1,385.00
Advertising Products 21.00 21.00
Total 1,201.00 1,406.00

When asked if he will agree to pay the increased amount being charged by Rightmove, or if he would simply cancel his subscription, White added: “One has no option in our part of the world but to continue with them as every agent is with them, and as my clients explain to me daily, they don’t see their houses being marketed to the widest audience if they are not on Rightmove, and Rightmove know this.

“Instead, they are invited to either drop their spend on existing bolt-on services or upgrade to an enhanced package and eliminate their core membership fee altogether.”

Rightmove has robustly defended the price rises.

A spokesperson for the portal told EYE: “We’re having conversations with some agents where their memberships are due for renewal. We’re committed to providing agents with the best exposure for their brand and properties to the UK’s biggest home-moving audience, as well as the products and tools to help them win more vendors and landlords.

“Agents can choose which package and suite of tools is right for their business, and our account managers will work with them to make sure the package matches the level of brand visibility that they want to achieve on Rightmove.”


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  1. MrManyUnits

    Certainly a monopoly, I look at nothing else but newspaper advertising was a fortune and generally your local rag abused it’s position.

    Surely there must be a way for Insta and Faceache to take this on.

    1. Louisa Fletcher

      As far as I can see, as social media platforms are currently structured as global conglomerates, there wouldn’t be a credible way for FB, Insta or TikTok to offer a dedicated property listing service for agents that would be workable for the consumer.

      The issue is that a significant amount of specific search parameters, e.g. property type, location, price, search by map etc, would all need to be custom built within a social media platform to enable consumers to search the way that they want (which is, by far, the biggest challenge here…consumer behaviour drives everything in terms of online strategy)  Then you’re looking at a business use case for the social media platform. Why would they go after the UK property sector specifically?  Why not cars instead?  You’d then also have to create a specific version of the FB platform (as an example) just for the UK property market.  And for a global business…never say never, but that probably just doesn’t stack as a business use case.  It’s too niche (in global terms).

      Then there’s a whole other degree of complexity around the diminishing returns from the Meta platforms (FB and Insta) due to the fact that they have had to change their privacy policies in the last couple of years which means that, in simple terms, it’s now much harder to create highly targeted campaigns.  Fold into that the issue that iPhones have created for social media platform owners, as it’s now possible on the later models and OS to turn off tracking altogether on socials – this was a direct cause of a $10bn write down in Meta’s value last year (lots online about this).  Because it’s now harder to create effective targeted social media campaigns if users are turning off the ability to be tracked by their mobiles, and Meta saw a drop off in ad revenue as a direct result.

      Other social media specialists in our sector, such as Chris Watkin, offer very sound advice to agents about building personal brand online and delivering quality, useful, hyper-local content which is all 100% spot on, IMHO, as way to generate listing leads and build a solid local profile.  However, in terms of social media platforms becoming the ‘new’ portals and offering an alternative way to pay for listings that most importantly of all, would drive consumer usage…as I say, never say never but for various reasons I’ve tried to outline here, I’d suggest it would be highly unlikely that Meta would develop a replacement platform/engine specifically for the UK market.

      One final thing to mention, as probably relevant in the mix to all of this…the biggest challenge with any form of consumer marketing is the sheer cost of generating consumer ‘eyeballs’, at scale in a way to significantly drive a change in consumer behaviour. It’s millions per year, across ‘above the line’ (TV and radio) and ‘below the line’ (digital, DM, outdoor media) etc.  But it’s not just a factor of cost, it’s a factor of time – 7 to 10 years, most likely, to generate awareness, education consumers to change behaviour etc, to create the requisite millions of visitors per month, to then drill down to generate useful leads.

      Or, to put it another way, if I need to shop for 40 things for the weekly shop, I’m not going to visit 10 shops to get all of that; as a consumer, I’m going to the one place (a supermarket) to browse everything in one go.  That’s generally how consumers think; what’s the most convenient, and how can I do that in a way that’s easiest.  Sadly, that pretty much applies to every business in the UK, regardless of what you’re selling.  In our industry, which is very much still a ‘people first’ business, the way that consumers first engage is driven by what’s easiest for them.

      Apologies for long post, but it’s not possible to provide a quick answer to that question, although hope that helps somewhat!





  2. Chris Arnold

    Ironic that perhaps one of the agents most capable of leaving RM feels addicted to it.

    Having potential clients tell you that your agency needs to be on a portal in order that the listing attracts greater reach is a false belief. It doesn’t need more buyers seeing the listing, it needs the right buyer and that’s more often local.

    There are few more capable than James at creating awareness and engagement within the local community – do that better with owned media and ditch the child-like dependency on something too many agents find is dictating their business tactics.

    It’s hard to leave if you won’t say goodbye.

    1. Kyle

      Ah Chris, I love your sentiments. Truly I would love to believe it, alas in this industry, certainly in London there is little loyalty, or more perhaps in London, that is. Our agency purchased mini-buses for a local school; a community defibrillator at a local nursery, as well as other general fund raising et al – teachers, seniors and parents at said schools/nurseries would openly go to “corporate” agents for the “name”. And don’t get me wrong, we’re not a s**t agent by any means, we do well. In rural areas, I’m sure this philosophy works, I would love it if this was realistic here. In London, there is no loyalty. So you’re left with little option other than “playing the game”

      1. jan-byers

        I gave up all that community stuff many years ago.

        People will take you for a total mug.


        1. AgentBen

          There is an agent local to me that gives generously to a charity each year, the charity used another agent as they provided a higher valuation, the property has sat on the market for about six months and the original agent will no longer be donating.

          You couldn’t make it up.

          1. john@goodmanlilley.co.uk

            Yep, we sponsor a local cricket club and the Treasurer who we deal with used another agent.. Sponsorship deal has now ended but so frustrating as we do like supporting local community but seems all one way at time!

  3. Woodentop

    There are other options. Consumers only go to RM and alike because you told them to. I know many agents, including ourselves that ditched RM years ago and it hasn’t effected our business, we use the others, our own web site which is far superior to RM content, not advertising the competition (think about it) and relevant to our customers and cost next to nothing and FB has certainly made a big difference with lettings.


    RM are taking another gamble agents will fold and accept their reality, cough up as you always have done.


    Do you really believe the consumer only uses RM? If so, how come the other Options exist? Do you not see the same enquiry from a customer bouncing around from one site to another or do ou only use RM ……… and there lies your problem!

    1. Kyle

      Fundamentally, Rightmove is the better devil.

      Rightmove give little s__t about agents, that is evident. Unfortunately Zoopla & OTM just are not in a position to compete in terms of user experience and general brand awareness.

  4. Highstreetblues

    You can’t defend a 17% increase no matter how many pointless extras they try to justify it with.

  5. BEReal46

    The reason agents don’t leave RM is nothing to do with not being able to find buyers or tenants – it is simply because other competing agents will use the fact you aren’t on RM to win instructions over you.

    And all it takes is one extra listing per month for an agent to cover the increase in RM costs.

    It is an unfortunate reality – and Rightmove know this 🙁


  6. Kyle

    They’re ****** and scum bags.

    A “computer says No” attitude to any sort of co-operation,

    They’ve got agents by the proverbials, and they know this. Honestly, nothing would satisfy me more than some sort of scandal collapsing them.

    The problem too is Zoopla & OTM are content with their position of being the bridesmaid.

  7. Property Ear

    You are spot on. My West Country firm in a very competitive town resigned a year ago, our instructions dropped like a stone.

    Good for those whose locations can wear it, in others it’s commercial suicide.

    Some will refute this but had we not  gone back we would have been dead meat.

    Having said that, in such a dreadful market the hike is cruel.






  8. Gangsta Agent

    there is always a choice, either pay for the service they provide or leave, stop moaning!

  9. Fresh0776

    The fear of leaving Rightmove is in their heads and will not match the reality if they take the step to say no thank you and leave. Believe in your service, promote your brand, promote the portals you remain in (OTM and/or Zoopla). Once you leave you will never look back. As agency we have never been on RM and in our area of Swansea RM is not the main player. Clients rarely ask us about RM as we explain we have great exposure online. As I say this fear is more in the agents head than in the potential clients.

  10. Charlie Lamdin

    The Suited Gangsters of the property industry.
    Answerable only to their USA hedge fund owners with a controlling stake.
    A parasitic pariah bleeding the industry to death, adding no value to the moving process.  
    This is not a criticism of any of the staff at Rightmove, they are doing their jobs, following orders from on high.
    It is an observation of the situation that will be the final nail in the coffin of many smaller agents who don’t deserve it.

  11. Hot Penguin

    I’ve been in this business for over 20 years and have watched the soul sucking Behemoth called Rightmove grow like a fat draining slug that gets ever hungrier year on year. I was on Rightmove until January this year until they decided that they were going to charge me another £700 a month. I told them they weren’t. Goodbye Rightmove – finally! And the massive downside? Errmm – £7800 not sent to the Rightmove Corporate Drain. No dip in instructions on either Lettings or Sales and as busy as we’ve always been. Only ONE person has decided not to instruct us because we aren’t on Rightmove any more and their property has been languishing, unsold, on Rightmove for the past six months. As an industry, if you’re half decent at what you do, you don’t need this monstrous property Mafia. Grow some or pack it in.

  12. GreenBay

    Having read all of the comments above, I have sympathy with both views. ie. we can’t leave as our competition will slag us off and the ‘grow a set and leave’ people who have, I hope done this and found that there is life after Rightmove.

    I am now lettings only, not on Rightmove and doing very nicely thank you! So my point is, why do so many agents put their lettings with Rightmove? Even when we were on both RM and OTM, OTM always gave us more lettings leads. We also focus more, although not enough, on our social media presence.

    If you want RM to sit up and take notice, remove your lettings portfolio and see if that really affects how quickly you are able to rent out property?

  13. Bless You

    Buyers don’t like rightmove ( it still searches by highest price first ffs not most recent as default)

    ( it still says virtual tour instead of video tour ffs)

    Buyers use it because we are all in it.

    If all changed to zoopla tomorrow and came off rightmive , the Buyers would follow..

    Who is the most respected property person in our industry? They need to call it.

    1. AgentBen

      I love the optimism, but the 25 most respected property professionals could all call for it and it wouldn’t make a difference.

      Bereal46 further up in the comments has it spot on, that agents use it against each other.

      Wrangling cats getting us to work together.

  14. KByfield04

    A price increase? That’s unlike them!

  15. HIT MAN

    If you don’t like it and don’t want to pay the simple answer is to Leave, I guarantee it will save you an absolute fortune and your business will do just the same if not more. You don’t need Rightmove is you only selling locally and you defiantly don’t need them for lettings at all.

  16. letstalk

    Haven’t missed RM for the last 3 years… I echo the sentiment above, it’s what is in your head that stops you from leaving and if you did all leave and went to Z or OTM the market would follow.

    I was there three years ago, thinking that it was a huge leap… do you know what difference it made…. zero… None…Nada

    I am of the firm belief that if you do nothing to make the situation change you cannot moan about it.

  17. john@goodmanlilley.co.uk

    The sad news is and one I had with RM earlier in the year, is that you cant trim your package as they quote that you are preferred terms and any changes wouldn’t make a blind bit of notice to our fess for 3 offices. This is the reality, so you cant try and save money as any good business would do with any other supplier, its impossible.

    I have written to RM and suggest others do the same and maybe they might listen, I have cited their unbelievable lack of judgment over Covid and saying they ought not to make the same mistake again and to read the room in the industry where this level of increase after 13% last year cannot be justified. Obviously deaf ears, but maybe if enough of us do it, it may help.

    Its sad the only way to make a RM impact is to shut a branch and trade under the RM of the other one and move staff, which is against what agents want to do on the high street.

    1. Hot Penguin

      John just leave. You’ll save a fortune.

  18. BEReal46

    Does anyone actually like the new Best Price Guide by the way?

    It is rubbish and has take. Away simple features like being able to open properties in different tabs!


  19. Another House

    They will keep pushing the prices until agents go bust. They must realise that these continual price rises are not sustainable. The frustration is that it is not a level playing field between the online, corporate and independent agents. I see few new agents setting up but most I know in the industry are of the age that getting out and selling up is not far away on the horizon. It may be a case of killing the golden goose with the independent agents,

  20. Woodentop

    If you can’t overcome RM, there lies the problem.


    Many have, some may have had to put a bit more effort in on change, but don’t fool yourself that customers only go to RM. They only go to RM because you tell them to. Tell them to go to another provider ….. they follow. Get over the fear factor and communicate to all your customers, many agents have and not looked back. When the going gets tough, the tough get going! If you sit on your backside or can’t drag yourself off the golf course ……… what do you expect will happen. A good agent can turn the situation into a positive that customers can relate to, work at it. Its called positive, clear and meaningful communication.

  21. Russell121

    The first thing everyone can do is take their lettings off rightmove as you ask anyone of us lettings only agents, being on rightmove isn’t important at all. It will hit them in the pocket and prove to yourselves they aren’t needed.

    1. AgentBen

      That is interesting and I would assume it is regional.

      For sales the volume and quality of leads for me is extremely poor compared to the cost. For lettings it is actually great value for money.

  22. Stevie J

    There are some agents that charge people just £49 plus VAT to list their properties on Rightmove. I wonder if I cancelled our subscription and sub-listed through one of these agents instead, would I get away with it?

    I know of a letting agent near me that does this already.

    This would give the opportunity to sell local before actually paying to put the property on Rightmove. If you list 30 properties per month but then sell 50% locally, it’s only costing you £750.


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