UK For Sale By Owner (FSBO) portal thelittlehousecompany.co.uk says its listings have been dropped from property search engine globrix.com after mistakenly being included for over a year.
A company statement says thelittlehousecompany.co.uk noticed their listings were appearing on globrix.com in December 2008, but that this month globrix.com has become aware of the situation and subsequently banned thelittlehousecompany.co.uk’s properties.
The FSBO portal says it was the first private sales company to “develop and operate partnerships” with portals such as rightmove.co.uk and propertyfinder.com, but that since 2006 all major UK portals have banned its listings.
thelittlehousecompany.co.uk CEO Nick Marr said:
“globrix.com listed our properties without permission and provided us with a steady flow of business for over a year. These were mainly from people selling their own homes who thought our DIY model was an excellent way of saving on an agent’s commission.
We are met by these restrictive practices not only from property websites but from software companies, for sale board companies and web design companies to name but a few. In fact any business that has a relationship with estate agents closes the door firmly on us in fear of losing business from estate agents.
thelittlehousecompany.co.uk is not anti-agent. We are about offering an alternative and providing consumer choice. Consumers have got to ask what are these huge organisations like globrix.com, rightmove.co.uk and Digital Marketing Group really frightened about with our business model?”
globrix.com has so far declined to comment on thelittlehousecompany.co.uk’s statements.
Discussing a new technology partnership in September this year, Marr explained his view of the role of estate agents in the UK market:
“Estate agents do offer a number of benefits to those selling a property including arranging viewings and following up buyers for feedback, writing the property descriptive details and keeping tabs on the progress of exchange of contracts. But do people actually need someone else to provide these services?
The law doesn’t require any of these functions to be carried out by an estate agent. When an offer has been accepted, the vendor simply passes the details straight to their solicitor who does all the necessary legal work.”
thelittlehousecompany.co.uk is also pointing to a recent study by the UK’s Office of Fair Trading that shows growing consumer interest in alternative methods of buying and selling property. The OFT’s report states:
“While the large majority of sellers used a traditional estate agent, more than a third initially considered selling privately, using an online estate agent, or selling at auction. There is a marked increase in interest in online estate agents relative to our previous survey in 2004.”
“The OFT's research indicates that consumers seek more choice when it comes to selling a property in the UK,” Marr responded. “The major portals however seem determined to keep the status quo by restricting business to estate agents only.”