Agents’ Mutual ‘would need £100m to succeed’

Can Agents’ Mutual succeed where corporate giants Google and Tesco failed? That is the question posed in a new report for investors.

It says that to succeed, a new entrant would need “millions” – specifically £100m – by way of a marketing budget.

The report also emphasises that while Rightmove will remain ahead of Zoopla after the latter’s stock exchange debut, both will continue to hike prices.

William Packer, of Exane BNP Paribas, who has written ‘Zoopla & Rightmove: an independent primer’, says the UK property portal industry remains “an attractive investment proposition” and “we see Rightmove and Zoopla as well placed”.

However, the report says that “significant debate exists as to the market share of both audience and leads” respectively for Rightmove and Zoopla.

The report says the debate is important, because it is leads which justify price increases to agents, and therefore drive revenue growth.

Despite this, the report  predicts that both portals will be able to sustain double digit revenue growth over the next five years.

It says: “We see ARPA [Average Revenue Per Advertiser] growth through baseline price increases and upselling to premium packages as the key growth drivers, complemented by estate agency formation.”

Paribas also expects Zoopla’s ARPA to grow slightly faster than Rightmove’s, albeit from a lower base.

The report identifies Agents’ Mutual as a potentially disruptive entrant, with its “only one other portal” rule.

However, it cautions: “We see the likelihood of Agents’ Mutual reaching a critical mass to drive large-scale cancellations as limited. In the event it does gain significant traction, we see Zoopla rather than Rightmove as most at risk.”

It continues: “A successful Agents’ Mutual launch would be a negative for both players but likely more so Zoopla.

“If Agents’ Mutual succeeded in their ambition to attain 2,000 estate agents in the next three years, while maintaining their ‘only one other portal’ pledge, we see a number of negatives.

“Firstly, we estimate around 20% of the 2,000 estate agents would choose to leave Rightmove (rather than Zoopla), resulting in a churn of 400 agents.

“Additionally, in this environment ARPA growth, especially that based on price increases, could be curtailed. We see Zoopla as more exposed to this risk.”

The report does not rule out new entrants, but warns they will have to invest about £100m to build a brand and drive sufficient audience to compete with Rightmove.

It notes that even Tesco and Google both failed to make their online estate agency ventures work.!docExternal.action?cmd=69723238263d6c3d26433d34646137346c316f35757239366f3d313967266736736d3933

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  1. Richard104

    I think these analysts fail to realise the value of the advertising that Agents Mutual agents can create at virtually no cost. Logos in all newspaper adverts, on websites, on for sale boards, in office windows. The value of this (as we all foolishly did for Rightmove) is significant.

  2. Paull

    They fail to see that the stock could be next to nothing if all the agents removed properties, god if only! I would love to see that.

  3. surreyagent

    ok. this is a large IF but please stay with me on this……..

    Agents Mutual launch and all the agents that have pledged to support upload all of their properties on day 1 and remove them at the same time from both of the other main portals.

    Agents Mutual becomes by far the strongest portal in the UK by default and the other 2's share price bombs in the sell off to unload stock at £25 a share or whatever it is as they no longer have the market share or indeed the income.

    that wont take 100 million invested in AM!

    Its all about who controls the data……..

    How long before Rightmove smell the coffee and you start seeing TV adverts offering to list your property privately for £250 plus vat. one of the big 2 has to jump ship sooner rather than later and become the private lister of choice for the great unwashed

    interesting 6-12 months coming up 🙂

    1. Paull

      I dont think they would do private sales, that would kill off all the budget agents, who really will be their only income, in an ideal world.

  4. phoenix

    The comparison made between Google and Tesco against AM is one of apples and oranges. Unless I’ve missed the point completely, AM is the exact opposite in that it’s NOT an on line agency and in fact won’t allow on line agents to advertise. The other key and fundamental difference is that AM have a considerable "take up" already. Regardless of where AM enter the market in the league table, the fact remains that they will enter the market, from day one, with a considerable and meaningful presence…as long as all hold their nerve that is!
    I do however wish that they were marketing the site far more aggressively. With only 6 months or so to go there is nothing in the way of a teaser campaign…

  5. Ric

    it ends…….."It notes that even Tesco and Google both failed to make their online estate agency ventures work"

    An ending which makes me think they have not understood that AM is a slightly different animal to Tesco, Google, eBay, even RM & Z (which may sound odd) but………

    Tesco & Google had NO SUPPORT whatsoever from ANY agent in the UK… why would we, Tesco and Google went out to topple agents not help us! so they had a handful of property with buyers saying sod it, not going back on there as there were hardly any properties, so they thought lets stick with RM and Z that's where the stock is.

    This proves, the existing brand name is COMPLETELY irrelevant really, STOCK, PROMOTION and BELEIF from the agents is key to this and this is the difference between AM and any other property portals before. AM has some pretty passionate people and companies behind it.

    AM has mass backing and every AM agent will no doubt do what I/we will be doing, which is ONLY promoting AM. We ditched Z a year ago and have grown market share including an office we opened with good agents already in the village and we are already market leaders within 10 months. More property sold and for sale and a first choice company already in that village. I get asked about Z and it is the easiest site to sell against, even though I have a "gold" member agent trying to use Zoopla against me up until this day! Ironic really as in 6 months they will have a choice to make and change of tune!

    My point rather than a brag, I believe Z is **** and point out if it were so important why are 4 of my 4 offices all market leaders. What I can't understand is gold members who have not ditched Z already! do it now….. see the reaction from your vendors, half will not even notice…… sell their home and all will not even care…..

    hey hoe, 12 months time we will know how this has panned out……

    1. Paul

      Exactly, AM and Tesco/Google is not the same model or did it have the ability to start up as a major force from day one.

      No stock, no business! Same rules apply.

      We can add Tesco and Google to the list of those that have seen it!

  6. oliverslondon

    Are these analysts missing an important point? I will gladly promote a portal I have a share in and one that I see as fair in terms of charges. Rightmove, for me, is the best option right now but I might quickly see it as an unnecessary expense when AM launches. As for Zoopla – I opened my own, small agency, in February and they haven't even thought to call!

  7. oliverslondon

    BTW I was contacted by a RM rep' last week – not my usual rep' mind – who knew very little about Agents Mutual – or made out she didn't anyway! My feeling is they are feigning the fact they are concerned or may feel they are too big to be affected. Either way I'm looking forward to the benefits that real competition could bring to the market.

  8. Paul

    Morning all,

    Interestingly, even the city see AM as a disruptive entrant with its one portal rule.

    The one portal rule is designed to create maximum disruption and provide a proper footing in the market.

    AM does not want to be just another web portal trying to break into that market.

    "A successful launch would be negative for both players".

    The City see it
    2400 signed up offices see it
    And directors selling off shares see it.

    So let's all open our eyes and see what they are seeing and get behind AM!

    1. phoenix

      Could not agree more

  9. chrisc

    I actually said it needs £100m behind it to an AM agent. Concept is great, execution ok but not enough within the industry have heard enough about it, let alone the consumer house buying public. Unless they drive awareness of its launch to the consumer it will drag many agents into dangerous territory, the initial inertia will be cause extremely precarious cashflows , especially if they drop RM (at least for my area), agents that keep RM will prosper and gain market share on competitors that don't. Thus, the exercise will actually strengthen RM rather than weaken it. Also, I do not believe that signing up for 5 years and being forced to drop either RM or Z is enforceable under the Competition Act, sure AM could expel you but would you care if that meant you could go back to RM? I could write lots on why I don't think AM will work and RM (and Zoopla) will get stronger unless a VC enters the frame but then it's about making profit.

    1. phoenix

      You make strong points but the only one I can agree with is that I belive that you are right in that AM have not and are not doing enough to promote the proposition.

  10. wilko

    I agree with all the comments above. Absolutely ridiculous in every way shape and form to make any comparison to the tesco and google models.

  11. MF

    I said it (late in the day) yesterday, and I'll say it again:

    Another name for "Agents' Mutual" could have been "Agents Unite".
    There is no going back now. Agents MUST unite, or face the consequences….

    It is absolutely crucial that agents support AM, and ONLY promote AM – no other portals whatsoever. There must be a unified message across the country that AM is the new Portal we are listing on. Our network of shop windows/offices is a very powerful marketing tool – use it wisely!!

    It's our data, we control it. We need a proxy, a union; a body between us and the duopoly that are ******* us. Agents Mutual is probably the best chance we are ever going to get, and we absolutely must support it.

    1. Ric

      "Agents Mutual is probably the best chance we are ever going to get, and we absolutely must support it."

      It is the LAST CHANCE we are ever going to get.. time to put up or shut up!

  12. Paul H

    This analyst doesn't seem to rate estate agents much, clearly doesn't think we know how to market ourselves or a product. Dismisses us like brushing a price of dirt off the bottom of his shoes.

    1. Paull

      He is an **** yst remember!

  13. Paul H

    Someone mentioned that Agents Mutual are not doing enough to promote themselves, I think that's a tad unfair considering they the sales reps have only just hit the road.

    It should be US that makes this happen it is after all OUR portal.
    EVERY single gold or silver member or a staff member must go out of their way to find at least one person by the end of the week that hasn't heard of of AM and make sure they know about it and get them to register on the website.

    Not every agent sees this website or EAT it is up to us to help make it happen.

    1. MF

      Quite right!

    2. phoenix

      My point was that whilst I am and will continue to shout the AM proposition from the rooftops to other agents who are unaware of it, promotion MUST be in place to educate the public. We should have a complete marketing pack from window stickers to logos and images for use on our websites, press ads, particulars, email footers …the whole lot. Agents talking about what’s coming is one thing put it’s the public we need to be involved in he conversation.

  14. White Knight

    The reason the analysts don't understand how easily AM will succeed is they have been mislead by Rightmove and Zoopla in order to maintain their share value.
    Without stock they are both just empty cupboards,this time the Agents will vote with their feet.
    Dropping first one of the duopoly then the other!!
    I suggest the analysts talk to the Agents before publishing their reports.
    White Knight

    1. Robert May

      As a practical and constructive piece of advice Sir White. You have to decide which one you are all going to drop. From the vantage point of writing the software that powers the industry I can point out that the portal upload feeds can not be split within a firm that has multiple offices. The single office firm can decide which portal feed to terminate, but a multiple office firm has to align its strategy with each and very other members strategy in order to be cohesive and effective.

      Take Guildford as an example; all the AM agents in Guildford have to come off one or other together en masse or the one other portal strategy fails in Guildford. Competing Mutual agents will be offering conflicting advice at the valuation stage. Vendors will naturally gravitate to the agent that advertises on their preferred portal. It is soon realised that strategy doesn't work for the agent who is losing out to their Mutual Competition .
      All is well if everyone picks one portal to target- however where multiple branch firms have common offices in Guildford once they are being Mutual in Crawley, the opposite allegiance might be in force, giving that multiple office firm a market share influenced dilemma which portal to run with. A separate Multiple office firm, this time with an Office in the other direction , Bracknell might now find the exact opposite market influences at in play. All of a sudden what had been agreement in Guildford is now a difference of opinion.

      Forget fighting the two big portals save your cash on the portal and unite together to fight and control fees and then work together to get both portals to remove the demonstrably greater influence on your company profits, that of giving your data to the competition Mr Springett describes as parasites, those agents that are causing fees to drop from an average of 1.5% down to in one case I have seen 0.4%!!!

      I am sorry but I have run out of time this morning, but I do have more to say on this.

  15. JungleProperty

    With just months to go AM need getting out of the blocks with the website and marketing so that we can start getting a feel for the site, start promoting it and AM hits the ground running from day 1 with plenty of stock

    1. MF

      I am confident that AM have an extremely well thought out plan for launch. After all, everything they have done up till now has been well thought out.

    2. phoenix

      100% agree. They will miss a trick if they do not.

  16. Robert May

    William Packer- I am sure you are very smart chap and in the context of what you know you might be right however you quite obviously do not know or understand this industry or its stakeholders. Even if Agents Mutual stopped working on the portal at 9:30 this morning the outcome is already determined and you obviously do not understand why.

    It is quite an obvious attempt to support share prices and confidence in the main portals but I would advise anyone who listens to this advice has it in writing that Mr Packer or his firm will personally underwrite their losses.

  17. Robin

    I am absolutely loving the enthusiasm and confidence being shown by most of the posters on this site. However, I am unable to understand the short sighted views of a few posters who seem intent on trying to gain an advantage for themselves by remaining loyal to Z and/or RM whilst many other independent agents try to make AM work (which would surely benefit everyone in the long term). It is blindingly obvious to me that if enough agents do not join up and fight these 'monster' portals they will continue to raise their prices until they begin to squeeze the life out of the traditional high street agencies. By that time they will definitely introduce their own form of direct advertising for private sellers and the on-line sale of residential property will become the norm. On the other hand, if all independent agencies in the country seize this opportunity and do not try use it to make short gains over their immediate competition, we can not only put RM and Z firmly in their place as 'also rans' but we can also make it very difficult for the huge corporate agents who put profit before service and are, in the main, responsible for giving this business a bad name.

    Yes – the message is taking a long time to disseminate, and Yes – AM do need to pull out all the stops to recruit the critical mass of members, but those of us who have a decided to invest and support the proposal also have to put some effort in to contact our competitors and spread the word. This project will only fail if enough of us do not take it seriously and then just watch those portal fees go up, and up, and up – they even boast about how their turnover is going to increase year on year; isn't that enough arrogance for those RM and Z fans out there?

    1. Paul H

      Robin….Post of the decade!

      I got the email through from Agents Mutual two weeks ago asking for help to arrange meetings, now that the reps are on the road. I then booked a nearby meeting room, got on the phone and spoke with/emailed not only some other agents I know but also some local agents, people I have seen out and about but never ever spoken with. I would say 60% was not aware of AM. I had 7 companies attend and spoke with 5 others who could not make it. But I've not done yet, i'm going to make follow up calls today and make sure people know about it.

      We may well sometimes compete for properties but on this one we have the same thing in common. It is US that must make this happen, we must make the intro and give a foot in the door for the AM reps.

      Get on with it everyone don't be afraid just pick up the phone, you'll feel much better for it.

      1. phoenix

        I'm with you. I've got an email drafted ready to go to all local agents to me in the absence of AM organising anything…this said I have literally just had a call from an AM rep so. fingers crossed, the ball is rolling.

        1. Paul H

          You will be amazed at how many people tell you that they have had enough of rightmove and zoopla, for some I spoke with they were genuinely pleased that I put in the call to give them the heads up.

          1. Paul

            Nice one guys, this is exactly what is needed. Great post Robin!

            The Taxi Drivers made a statement yesterday and brought Central London to a standstill. An example of what can be done when people get together and act as one.
            Whether you agree with them or not is not the point, what it does show is that they are prepared to do something about a threat to their business. Win or lose they won't just roll over and rely on the other guy to do it for them.

  18. Trevor Mealham

    Google didnt fail – they made a commercial decission – their comment at the time was that it wasnt the right time. ……

    TESCO obviously had way more in the pot than £100m. TESCO Property Market fell due to Estate Agency legislation. I was in talks with TESCO as to a model that supported independent agents. The proposal included TESCO gaining mass branding on every other street corner by having their logo on independent agents boards and agents listings would tap into the TESCO stores and database. We chose not to tell TESCO that removing the agent and doing a FSBO model put them under PMA restraints. On launch INEA took the legal flaw to OFT, TPOS and newspapers.

    Any RM/Z clone would need around £100m in the pot. Simply as both could throw £10-20m in making mass advertising and vendor offers for consumers around agents offices who abort either. My gut feeling is that RM or Z could offer to pay a number of vendors or landlords agents fees, like a prize draw each month for 2 lucky winners in postcodes if the agent was subscribing to RM or Z.

    My guess is that they won't worry about 1-2 office branches, but may go for big Prince agents. Why behead a porper when a Prince beheading gets better noticed. I think a bigger independent or two for showing AM support will pay for the privilege.

    Any RM / Z Clone would need £100m – or a different USP

    As Countrywide, LSL and Connells have various interests in Z and RM, many 10,000's of thousands of those listings wont appear on AM

    I wish AM well though – its being will create an interesting twist on the UK evolution of estate agency over the two Golliaths.

    Getting the public to buy in is key and that takes a different agent pitch to vendors and lots of £1m's

  19. John H

    The analysts make their money (normally salaries), by forecasting using their expert opinions what will happen in any given market place. They say that Agent Mutual will need £100M to make an impact on the market.
    Entrepreneurs make their money by investing their own money (or borrowed money) and gambling it on business investment. The Zoopla guy is going to float early and one of the main Right move guys has sold 50% of his shares!
    If you were investing who would you follow?
    If it was your life savings, who would you back?
    It is interesting to note that city analysts derive their comments from hard data analysis. In this instance (in my opinion), they have failed to do is look at the market and analyse the mood. Right move are an excellent, reasonably well organised established company. However, they are the brand leader and often this market position can to lead to complacency and on occasion arrogance. Right move have consistently hiked their prices up over the past few years charging customers to use their site (quite rightly) then charging them extra to display their logo with their advert etc. yet expecting the customer to display their logos on all of their marketing material and websites at no cost to themselves (not so sure that is ethically right)!
    Zoopla were welcomed into the market place as a viable alternative and competitor, they made several acquisitions and became a viable competitor and the first thing they did was to hike up their prices. They attempted in between 45 and 100% in 2013 and achieved it in many cases. The market was then faced with two companies, seemingly focused on making as much money as possible out of a market sector, whilst maintaining little interest in the market.
    Both of these companies achieved this amazing price (and profit) uplift at the expense of their customers during the worst recession in over 100 years.
    Agent Mutual was simply the result of too many customers being more than overly dissatisfied with the service and pricing from the market leaders. If this “Co-operative / Mutual” style of competitor lives up to its expectation then I believe it will bring a refreshing change to a suppressed market place. Data is the key, the agent holds that data. Should they choose to follow a professional viable alternative, they can and will reform the channels of marketing in this sector. To launch such an audacious attack on two very large and powerful companies is in my opinion a massive culture shift which will realign the way we do business in the future. To achieve this they need three main ingredients; 1) A decent competent and well-managed company, with a website that does what it says. 2) The will of the customers who own the data that populates (and makes) these portals. 3) Exposure in the media which they are getting massively currently in the market media (which will drive more agents to A.M.). As well as national media attention to alert the public (consumers) to the new site which is currently happening with the news stories regarding the selling of Right move shares and the Zoopla Float. This exposure would cost £millions if it was not in the public interest. Looks like the £100M could be more than achieved!

    1. Paul H

      Indeed this report does not include the free advertising that will be given by it's members. The Agents Mutual brand will be pushed everywhere, local press, shop windows, websites, email signatures, twitter, facebook….absoloutely everywhere. This also makes a huge dent into this £100m which is supposedly required.

  20. Gary Sinton

    Trying to be objective it seems to me that most of the agents committed to AM tend to be what we all regard as the "big boys" Savills, Knight Frank etc as well as the leading and most pro-active agents in our own areas.
    This will mean that most of the better properties will be displayed on AM giving rise to the argument that maybe we should ditch both RM and Z.
    As long as AM get their marketing name correct (and we can't really promote anything until this is confirmed) then the public will soon cotton on to the fact that their generic property search site is no longer RM or Z but AM which of course we will all encourage diligently

  21. Cardiff Agent

    Agents Mutual, will be professionally branded, will launch in a burst of publicity, in a quiet news month and receive much free publicity, in the press and on television.

    Ian Springett, the CEO, is not only very able, having created and run Prime Location, one of the nicest portals, but will also make an excellent spokesperson in television and radio interviews.

    The housing stock displays will be substantial and the Portal will be quickly adopted by the public, at the very least, as a third portal they must use. Many properties will only be found there and on one other portal and the remaining independent agents (if there are any) will undoubtedly wish to join at that point. It is up to us, who are members ready, to convince others, friends and foes, of the value of joining and to help the AM representatives in every way. It couldn’t be an easier case to make.

    The more members, the more funding there will have for promotion, but I think the site will establish itself very quickly. As has already been said, this is the last chance to break away from the price increase tyranny of RM and to a lesser extent, Zoopla, so let’s get behind it.

    1. Paul

      Spot on.

      Ian is also a great spokesman and will represent the brand superbly.

      We need all agents, big small, medium, north, east, south and west to get on board. One voice, one vote.

      A key focus of AM is to make sure they have the buy in of agents across the country; thousands of independents. Those agents will have a voice and the voice will be as big and a powerful as the largest agent signed up to AM.

      So next time you bump into your competitor in the high street, pick up keys on a multi agency instruction or try to run them down in the street!

      Ask them, have you heard about AM and are you on board, if not let's get I board.

  22. SJ

    £100M of advertising needed ? Does this cost take into account the army of Estate Agents now coming together to promote AM in their windows, brochures, websites, emails, social media and Newspaper advertising, what cost would they put on this vast amount of FREE advertising generated by the agents ?
    I was at the meeting of the 150 Agents in the North East and it was clear to me that all of these proactive Agents were not only strongly in support of AM, but were very much against RM and Z. The feelings around the room was not just a reflection of the fees or potential fee increases but the service,as customers, we have received from the duopoly. My personal feeling is one of despise of RM, but I have never has a service issue with Z.
    I feel that the only way forward is for all Agents to jump on board with AM and for them to choose which other portal is best for them. Then, and only then, will the duopoly start to understand the revolt.
    I would be interested to see the comments on how those agents that do not feel AM is the best way forward, how they feel about the revenue increases to the duopoly to satisfy their shareholders over the coming years. 15% increase year on year ?

    1. Paul

      This is an extract from a post I wrote a moment ago on the AM isn't a threat story.

      There will only be two outcomes, one is we take control, the other is the big 2 continue to control us and having defeated the only realistic chance of breaking the duopoly, the pain will get worse.

      The actual task ahead is simple, make it work and make it a success.

      Hypothesising about the success of AM is pointless because we do know that it can become a success if we all join.

      So let's put our energy into making that a reality.

  23. phoenix

    Without doubt one of the best exchanges I have seen since the launch of PIE. If the promotion of AM is attacked with similar gusto, it can only but succeed.
    My niggling concern however remains. I’ve just had an AM rep onto me (who didn’t even know that I’d signed up as a silver member months ago) who suggested that the full launch and marketing would not start until October as “anything before would be too early”. I’m passionate about the AM proposition but can simply not fathom why their marketing machine is not in full flow. Reviewing many of the posts today clearly demonstrates that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of offices crying out to advertise AM.

    1. Paul H

      I was told October/November too and I believe this to be the correct decision. AM have to get it right first, it can't go out early and in any case the issue now is the numbers. It is the concept and idea that needs to be put out not so much the website and marketing just yet!
      More importantly why sign up for 5 years like a gold member and pay higher fees go for gold mate;-)

      1. phoenix

        You may well have a point…..

  24. Hound

    Prompted by the post from Cardif Agent, I still can't help wondering where Mr Springett would sit now if Primelocation had done what it originally set out to achieve and become the portal of choice?

    Whilst like most, I begrudge paying Rightmove, everyone seems to be forgetting that they provide a service to the industry, (Which actually costs less than a page a week in my local rag, and brings 50 times the response!) It is their skill in marketing the portal that has made it the 'monster' (to use Mr Springett's words) that it is. Simply, they are the portal that have caught the public imagination, and have seen off the challengers that have tried over the years.

    Will Agents Mutual be able to achieve that without the huge marketing resorces Rightmove have? As far as I am concerned, the jury is very much out on that one. I appreciate the argument that all agents signed up will be pushing it as hard as they can, but they will only be reaching a small percentage of the public, so when Mr Joe Public starts his search, sitting at his PC, what will be his first thought, Rightmove or Agents Mutual? I think we probably all know the answer to that one!

    1. Robert May

      It is madness to propose destroying something that Agents have paid about £544,000,000 over the past 16 years to have built for them. As you point out you still pay the paper more to advertise with them than you do Rightmove and I know why; While Rightmove brings you enquiries the newspaper delivers the instruction that generate those enquiries.

      Hound you asked me on the other thread to explain about why traditional agency will earn more for a vendor than the online passive intermediaries. Now I am not Ampersat get in touch (via Ros) and I will show you how not to give away, in your case based on the figures you posted on the other thread, £300 a time.

      Your anonymity is assured.

      1. PeeBee

        GO ON, Hound – what have you got to lose!

        Worst case scenario – Mr May does a number on you (which I sincerely doubt) – you post it here, there and everywhere and his reputation sinks lower than whale-5h!t.

        Best case scenario – he does you a favour and you big him up.

        Dunno about you – I like win:win scenarios…

        1. Hound

          Might just have to PeeBee, at least as a 'Hound' curiosity should not be too dangerous 😉 Heading off for a long weekend indulging my other passion for folk music in Dorset first, so sometime next week………

          I'll keep you posted 🙂

          1. Robert May

            What you have to remember Hound is I am the only one of all the Portal executives who could come and locum while you are away from the office.

  25. Beano

    The internet will continue to grow as those brought up on technology will swerve the traditional estate agency office. This will snowball to the point that the office will largely be irrrelevant in 10+ years time (although still in use).

    Unless agents have control of their data then the costs of running an office will be replaced with the cost of using RM Z. I can see a time in the 'near' future where a one office operation will be charged over £1000 per month. Further down the line and left unchecked you could double that.

    Agents havent blinked on this so far as they have been saving the cost over near redundant newspaper advertising.
    I have been dissapointed that the response I have had when discussing this. One agent says sheepishly that *** is essential and a price they will and must pay. I am signed up and hopeful, but the mentality of some will need to change and they need to learn where we are headed if something if they dont get on board.

    1. Robert May

      The Prudential told me much the same thing in 1986.

    2. Robin

      Yes, the use of the internet by people looking for property WILL continue to grow and grow and many many inexperienced, unprincipled and unqualified people will try to make some money out of it. If we, the property professionals, want to continue generating our income from this business in the decades ahead we must find an affordable, controllable and predictable means of using the internet to generate leads. That is what AM appears to be trying to provide, and as long as this project is given sufficient support from the industry, it will become the tool of choice not just for us but for the general public. I am already spending nearly £20K per annum contributing to the obscene profits Z and RM and now making – Z have doubled their charges in the last two years and RM pushed their charges up this year without even the courtesy of a visit. I don't intend to wait until I have to drop one of them because I can't afford to pay both – I intend to back AM to the hilt.

  26. Ed Mead

    Irritating to hear suits in the City blaring on about their world and heartening to read [most of] the comments. Luckily, and sadly for some investors in their world, we don't and understand that the agents leaving RM/Z will be bringing spend and exactly as we did years ago, with PL and RM, huge cobranding. We'll be able to save newspaper spend and their proprietors will, I'm sure, be happy to reciprocate with some substantial further PR and marketing.
    Those who worry things have slowed a bit are right, Ian achieved most of what has happened so far with one person to help and is now busily staffing up an entire office and has a full complement of regional reps and marketing staff. There are lots of people to reach and the more we all shout about it the more will join. It's a herculean task and has gone a long way with no help.
    Those who wish to see things going faster aren't alone I'm sure but Ian's wish to get things right is laudable and I think correct.
    Marketing spend is mentioned but if Ian starts with his target number of agents, which is looking conservative, he'll have more than half RM's marketing spend already. Not bad.

    City analysts citing Tesco and others are completely missing the point and it's been pointed out above, we have the content. Bit a limp and desperate argument that really and proves how little they understand about our world.

    Make no mistake, these guys are rattled. The City simply can't ignore the fact that at the very least 2350 agents WILL be coming off one or other of the sites and that's got to be a huge worry. City types don't really care, they've just got to persuade people to invest and they take their cut. We do something similar I suppose but the good thing is you can live in a house………..

  27. nicksalmon

    On behalf of Eye may I thank everyone for their contributions to this thread – and indeed many others. It really is gratifying to see that the posts are well thought-out and well-reasoned, and above all not abusive. Thanks everyone.

    1. PeeBee

      Looks like you spoke too soon, Nick – unfortunately!

  28. Beano

    I think you misunderstood my Post Mr May. I was referring to the tech generation those in their teens and twenties now that have a third arm that understands technology like we understood human interaction. They will still use an estate agent, and hopefully a professional one, but will they care whether said agent resides in a building above or below ground level, in or out of town?

    Bear in mind most people SELLING aren't of the generation I refer to, Prudentials predictions were correct but perhaps 30 years too soon.

    The fact surely remains that as time goes on those using the bricks and mortar agent will inevitably decrease whilst those instructing via the internet will increase. That we can agree on?

    1. Robert May

      Sorry Beano, I have been busy on other stuff. I am not going to make comment on that but because the answer contains a strategic detail that I will use to my advantage.
      You are right on some bits and wrong at the same time. If I am allowed to continue to post without a constant trolling I look forward to discussing this again.


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