A UK Property Academy Survey has found 85 per cent of home sellers will make Rightmove their first choice when marketing their property online while 11 per cent select Zoopla.
OnTheMarket was considered most important by 5 per cent of those surveyed with PrimeLocation cited 2 by per cent.
The Home Moving Trends Survey 2015, which was released at the Property Academy’s recent Sales and Marketing Live! event questioned 5,420 vendors about a wide variety of motivating factors influencing their choice of agent, website and conveyancer.
Property Academy Managing Director Nicky Stevenson explains Rightmove has the benefit of being a longer established portal that consumers have used over the years and are engaged with.
“Zoopla, which is part of Zoopla Property Group, is the first other portal in the UK to gain a good level of traction with the consumer,” Stevenson tells Property Portal Watch. Many before them have not gained the consumer awareness that Zoopla benefits from today.
“Many also say that with Zoopla entering the market place, the portal landscape changed from a ‘monopoly’ to a duopoly’.”
Shot in the foot?
Speaking at the most recent Property Portal Watch Conference in New York, founder and former REA Group CEO Simon Baker told over one hundred real estate platform leaders OnTheMarket's 'One Other Portal' rule has only served to entrench the dominance of Rightmove.
"The (One Other Portal) strategy may have backfired by boosting Rightmove's market share instead of growing OnTheMarket," Baker asserts. “It will be interesting to see how this structure plays out.”
Nicky Stevenson adds the question asked in the property Academy Home Moving Trends Survey 2015, was for the customer to rank the portal websites they expect their property to be marketed on from most to least important.
“Looking at it this way, 85 per cent rated Rightmove as the most important, closely followed by Zoopla as the 2nd ranked portal by 68 per cent of those surveyed.
“Ultimately, those with the consumer attention will win,” she says.
Stevenson says the most important take away from the survey for online real estate businesses is the importance of being seen as authoritative.
“Your website is your online shop window and it needs to give a great impression to your prospects, after all, perception is reality,” she says.
“Valuable content is really important to increase engagement with prospects and customers.
“Definitely create a blog if you have not got one already, and create valuable posts that answer your customers problems or needs, which will also help agents appear when customers search their problems/needs on Google.
“Social proof online is also really important, both portals and agents should actively be seeking out reviews and testimonials to include online.”
Sellers select agents by their site
Another interesting finding of the survey is that 55 per cent of people visited an agent’s website before inviting them for a valuation, with only 32 per cent visiting the agent’s office prior to instructing them.
“I don’t think that this behaviour is specific to our sector, in general, buyers of any product or service are more savvy,” Nicky Stevenson asserts.
“The buying process has changed. It is normal behaviour now for the consumer to consult their network via social media, on their intended buying decision for advice.
“The consumer will also consult Google as well as visiting provider own sites amongst many others.
The survey shows that 55 per cent of sellers visited the agents own website, before booking a valuation so it is important for agents to be found easily in search, as well as have the key relevant messages on their site.
“This goes back to the valuable content as mentioned before, and social proof, as prospects are doing their research, and they need to know if they can know, like and trust you, before even inviting you round. And of course, now, this can all be done in minutes from mobile devices.
“70 per cent however are still visiting the estate agency offices at some point during the transaction.”
Lowest fee not always best
Also interestingly 82 per cent of respondents didn’t choose the agent with the lowest fee.
“Our surveys have shown this for years, price is not the most important factor for everyone when it comes to choosing their estate agent and conveyancer,” says Stevenson.
“Consumers are looking for value. In the absence of any differentiator, consumers will shop on price so it is really important for agents to justify their fee, why are they worth more exactly?
“Agents need to be confident in their fee and the value they offer. We have examples of clients in the UK, where fee is more of an issue in the agent’s mindset, than in that of the customers.”
Stevenson says in the UK the portal landscape has changed with the launch of OnTheMarket in January 2015.
“However, as mentioned before, those with the consumer attention will win. We will see how the landscape changes in time.
“We will carry out the survey again later this year, and will be in a position to note any year on year changes,” she says.