London-based challenger property portal Homesearch has claimed that the company has seen ‘hundreds’ of additional agents signs up after several of the key anti-Rightmove groups championed its service.
Homesearch started out with just 107 estate agents in June last year but, just before the Coronavirus crisis hit the UK, had 4,300 agents from 1,400 estate agencies using its free housing data service, some of whom had converted to paid plans.
Co-founder Sam Hunters says his company had originally battened down the hatches and expected the worst, but says the opposite happened and the company saw a surge in registrations. It now has 7,600 using its service.
This, Hunter claims, is because many of the agents registered with the four Rightmove protest groups including Say No To Rightmove, have been seeking alternatives to the existing portals, and this lead Homesearch to begin developing its own property portal service for consumers.
“These agents started encouraging us to take advantage of our new brand exposure, explaining that portal fatigue was real,” says Hunter (left).
Homesearch says it is not seeking to compete with the big portals, and claims to be built and used in a different way and so, unlike other portals, does not need a mass of agents or portal customers in order to deliver its value.
Industry consultant Andrew Stanton says: “Rightmove has failed to evolve and has become a one trick pony, demanding more and more money each year from agents but never evolving.
“It took a pandemic to awaken agents, and now they are seeking fresh alternatives.”
After initially saying it would launch on 1st June, Homesearch’s property portal is due to go live a month later on July 1st.