Major property portals now dominate the market, leading to property agents becoming dependent on their services, according to a rival portal.
Why are the major portals so dominant?
Established property portals such as Zoopla and Rightmove have grown massively in the last decade, partly due to estate agents providing them with more and more content to host. This in turn drives traffic to those websites, allowing them to charge higher rates to agents.
Consumers now expect to find all property listings on the major portals, further increasing their dominance of the market.
“This scenario has led portals to increase their listing costs, meaning agents are now spending more than ever before on the same listing service,” says Babek Ismayil, Founder and CEO of OneDome.
“Portal costs for agents are also rising due to a lack of competition in the marketplace.
“There is a lack of new listings websites for several reasons, including agents being protective of stock which results in a high start-up cost for a new business,” he continues.
“By being protective of their listings, estate agents inadvertently make it more difficult for new businesses to enter the market and compete against the larger portals.
“Instead they further empower established portals and help cement their market monopoly, which then allows those portals to charge agents more,” says Ismayil.
How can agents reduce their reliance on big portals?
Ismayil says that agents should reduce their dependence on major portals by supporting competing smaller brands and embracing other marketing alternatives.
“More competition between portals can help to reduce the dominance of the established sites, while providing agents with more channels to promote their clients’ properties,” he says.
“If the major portals no longer have the monopoly on listings their influence over consumers will diminish and therefore their stranglehold on agents and their ability to keep increasing costs will also suffer.
“What’s more, agents can benefit by being more proactive in using alternative marketing solutions such as social media to generate exposure for listings,” Ismayil continues.
“The influence of social media continues to grow, with more consumers using platforms like Facebook as a place to buy and sell things and property will be no different.
“Agents should consider getting ahead of the curve now and advertising properties through social media while it is still a differentiator.”
He adds that agents can also benefit from focusing on improving their own websites.
“If agents’ websites had a better customer experience, consumers may start to see them as a viable route to search for properties instead of solely using the portals,” concludes Ismayil.