Will OnTheMarket go OffTheMarket?
The feisty start-up is facing an early death within the industry, due to the growing discontent of clients and legal threats.
Well-established companies Zoopla and Rightmove have enjoyed great success in the property industry, thanks to nationwide support from the majority of UK-based estate agents. Both companies have seen profits soar and slowly changed the way the house-buying public searches for potential future homes.
However, when a small collective of established agents formed Agents Mutual in 2013, they had a master plan to disrupt the online property market. Their launch of OnTheMarket in January 2015 was initially seen as a huge success, encouraging many estate agents to sign up with the promise of discounted subscription rates for early adopters. However, there was one caveat – upon signing up, they must remove their services from either Rightmove or Zoopla. At the outset, many considered the ultimatum a worthwhile option, especially when taking into account the financial upside from the discounts provided.
A year on, the tide appears to have turned, as UK property buying experts are sounding the death knell for the plucky start-up. But why? It appears to involve broken promises on both sides, starting with OnTheMarket’s failure to uphold the promises it made to early converts regarding fees, by offering greater discounts to those who joined later on.
For many agents, the terms of the original five-year contracts have been broken and as a result they are no longer obligated to continue paying fees, or adhering to the ‘one other portal’ rule. As a result, Agents Mutual has dispatched a number of letters with the promise of legal action, enraging those within the industry further.
Iain White, a successful property consultant well respected within the industry, claims that over 200 estate agents have already been in contact seeking advice over the situation: “They were unhappy with its results and with its customer service so they chose to take action and give notice to OnTheMarket… [and] they later received legal threats,” he said, regarding three clients who tried to leave the portal.
Zoopla took a greater hit than Rightmove, when OnTheMarket launched last year, but its numbers have since recovered and its investors must be more than happy to hear about Agents Mutual’s recent problems.
For many looking for a quick house sale, the limiting of estate agents only listing their properties on two out of the three major portals has increased the time their houses stay on the market due to their lack of visibility. Meanwhile, property buying companies have enjoyed helping those in difficult situations by offering cash for any home, as well as a faster, more efficient service without additional estate agency fees.
Not getting enough viewings on your home? Why not ask National Homebuyers for advice, as we buy any house. Call 08000 443 911 or request a call back to find out how much you could get for your property.