With a growing number of house hunters now starting their property search online, more internet savvy vendors are turning their backs on traditional high street estate agents as they seek alternative ways of selling property, it has been claimed.
John Candia (left), CEO of the iProperty Company, the private sales portal which offers consumers the ability to buy, sell or rent property without having to pay commission or any fixed fee, said: “There is growing interest in online property options and it is clear that consumers are increasingly turning away from the traditional way of selling property.”
The iProperty Company, which is supported by Barratt Homes, Persimmon and Taylor Wimpey, along with other big property firms, has announced a fresh £2.5 million investment drive to fund its future expansion following a successful launch six months ago.
The firm is seeking £500,000 via the crowdfunding site Seedrs.com and £2 million via traditional venture capital. The company has a valuation of around £8 million.
“Seedrs was an important part of our investment strategy because we want to offer everyone, especially our community of users, the opportunity to invest directly and earn a share in our future profits,” Candia added. “2015 will be a year of disruption in the UK estate agents’ market and there is great excitement about this within the investment community.”
Chaired by Brian Blake, the former Managing Director and shareholder of Swinton Insurance, the iProperty Company offers a ‘Buyer Guarantee’ that means the purchaser will always be contacting the owner directly – no agents are permitted on the site. Revenue is generated by offering a range of optional property related services.
Blake (right) said, “It’s exciting to think that having spent only a modest amount on test marketing we have properties listed in around 20 countries and have more UK listings than any online agent. Most of the new funding will be spent on marketing so the impact we make will be significant.”
Thomas Davies, Chief Investment Officer of Seedrs, commented, “Seedrs is delighted to be offering this unique opportunity to investors.
“The iProperty Company is still a fairly new enterprise, but the number of listings and high calibre partners it has already attracted, demonstrates that this is a viable business model in an industry undergoing dramatic change.”