It’s not shaping up to be a Merry Christmas or Happy New Year for yet to launch OnTheMarket. The property portal created by Agents’ Mutual is due to go live on the 26th January but has already come under scrutiny from a number of existing industry professionals.
Agent’s Mutual has banned all online agents and restricts the number of other portals on which its members can advertise properties. It will also only give its members the option of listing with either Rightmove or Zoopla, not both.
Back in October they came under fire from property expert Russell Quirk, founder and CEO of Emoov, Britain’s largest online estate agent. At the time he commented “I run a business that’s trying to disrupt estate agency for the benefit of the consumer. Agents Mutual excludes all online agents, which offer lower fees, and I think that’s anti-competitive.”
Now the consumer group HomeOwners have accused OnTheMarket of only being concerned about protecting the agents who list with them and their market share. They have given little concern about those trying to sell their house through them and are attempting to restrict the number of potential buyers a homeowner can market to. It’s believed that as a result they will slow the whole property process not to mention impact negatively on the price a seller can achieve.
It would seem agents mutual have created this portal as a reactive strike against the emerging popularity of online estate agents. Trying to act to protect the stale practice of traditional estate agents and limit the success of the new online model in an attempt to prolong the inevitable, their extinction. It’s not about them changing with the times and adapting to online channels but more appearing to do so to delay or even stamp out this evolution.
Russell Quirk commented “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the ten founding members of agents mutual are acting as a cartel, however it’s more than apparent and rewarding to see people won’t buy it. I was recently asked my predictions for 2015 and one of them was the demise of Agent’s Mutual and OnTheMarket.
Early this month at a meeting at the Langley Hotel Emoov were invited to speak on the future of the online property space in front of a room of property analysts. High level investors who are really interested in the effect Agents Mutual could have on the value of Rightmove and Zoopla, plus also Russell’s view of how Emoov is changing the estate agency model.
Russell Quirk commented “It was a privilege to be invited to such esteemed gathering of financial analysts. Emoov was invited to speak at the event alongside Mark Hayward to discussed the future of the online property market. The room was filled with stock brokers and property analysts from some of the UK’s largest financial institutions. They, like many in our industry, are watching very carefully at the online property space. My view on both the future of estate agency and Agents Mutual has been well documented, so it was a pleasure sharing this insight in this private closed door sessions this morning”.