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Homesearch latest: Acorn Group is first chain to pay for challenger portal

Acorn's Chief Executive Rob Sargent says he believes the platform is more than just another place for agents to put their listings.

Nigel Lewis

Challenger portal Homesearch has announced its first industry coup after Rob Sargent’s Acorn Group has become its first paying estate agency chain.

Acorn’s 36 branches are now fully subscribed and join a plethora of one and two-branch agents who have also signed up to pay for the service, although Homesearch admits it’s some way off persuading the bulk of its 10,000 branches to do the same.

“It isn’t just a portal, that’s obvious; there’s a lot more for an agent to gain than just another place to list your instructions,” says Sargent.

“We know it will take time for them to build up public traction, but I think they’ve anticipated what UK agents need to not only market their clients homes but also at the same time assist their member agents in stimulating new business.”

Rightmove rival

It is now just over 100 days since Homesearch promised agents it would build a service to rival Rightmove, Zoopla and OnTheMarket.

Agents can now preview the site, which on 15th July will throw its digital doors open to the public to find their next home using its search engine, which bears a close resemblance to Airbnb’s.

Homesearch now says it lists approximately half the level of stock currently on Rightmove or approximately 450,000 properties.

“We are thrilled and grateful to Rob and the whole Acorn team for believing so strongly in what we’re aiming to achieve,” says Giles Ellwood (left), co-founder of Homesearch.

Homesearch says its biggest challenge has been persuading the major and minor estate agent CRMs to accept its feed tech without charging them a fortune for the privilege with, so far, mixed results.

“I sincerely believe this is the lone reason so many challenger portals have failed. It makes you want to give up at times,” he says.

“But we’re excited to hear what you think. The good, the bad, and the ugly will all be listened to.”

Agents wondering why the portal’s property pages look so sparse have been reassured by Ellwood, who says that over the coming weeks they will include floor plans, property descriptions and video/virtual tours.


July 2, 2020

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