If the new breed of buying agents takes off, what would this mean for portal prices?

Buying agents have traditionally been niche in the UK – to serve only those wealthy enough to pay for them out of their own pocket.

In the US, the seller is mandated to pay for the buyer’s agent, as the ‘conveyance’ is done by licensed real estate agents on both sides.

It would be a fundamentally different experience if there was someone experienced holding your hand while finding a home. Like a Homie.

No, that wasn’t a typo. A fast-growing service offers people the help of your very own Homie to find a home and move you in.

Right now the service focuses only on rental properties across central London and costs consumers a very reasonable £88, guaranteeing to get them a property.

For agents – from whom the service would take a cut which I understand is not large, and is described as an introductory fee related to the value of the rental  – Homie promises to ‘pre-qualify’ applicants and help improve the speed and quality of getting a letting completed.

Its website states that agents use Homie to “minimise the risk of drop-outs and no-shows by adding another layer of qualification”.

The only thing more annoying than a no-show viewing is an applicant who offers and then pulls out or fails to qualify.

It stands to reason that as services like Homie become more prevalent – because, let’s face it, as they expand it’s a no-brainer for consumers to make use of them – that agents will prefer dealing with buying agents or Homie style renter agents.

But if buying agents are bringing the best applicants, why would selling agents continue to pay Rightmove?

The answer, I suspect, is only if it’s cheap enough to broadcast what stock is available. Right now, Rightmove costs most agencies less than half of a member of staff.

And Zoopla is even cheaper.

You can see where this is going: if portals are less important in bringing in the buyers, then price will become an important consideration when it comes to the annual portal renewal increase.

I’m genuinely excited by anything that provides consumers with more certainty and a better experience.

Having someone’s hand to hold provides jobs and makes people happy. Homie is a ‘good news’ story.

Find out more about what Homie does for agents at https://www.gethomie.com/agents/

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6 Comments

  1. MJL17

    A really well-positioned MVP here and a neat and tidy brand. Suspect they would need to creep up the value chain at some point to ensure they can scale this.

    Traditional agents could quickly become glorified key holders.

     

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  2. Woodentop

    Another venture popping up, saying they can help the job be better. Agents just need to remember YOU need to get to know your customer and retain control.

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  3. Trevor Mealham

    Dual representation could be a very positive thing.

    If selling agents dont open up all omissions, a buyer could be at risk.

    A good agent will travel the oceans whether the property is solid or distressed in parts.

    With buyer agents on board less sales might fall through. Equally bad sales would be more likely to fall earlier.

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  4. 123430

    Sounds like another movebubble. Failure almost assured.

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  5. Property Paddy

    There is some chopped logic going on in this article. Homie is for renters ? or buyers ? surely the market is different as is the client base.

    As a buyer would I want to pay an agent to find me a home to buy? Well yes if I was 100% cash and looking to maximise value by getting my agent to drive down the price or if my requirements were so unique I would need an expert to find me that special place.

    But a (lets say) normal buyer leveraged to the max with a mortgage who not only has to find his deposit but stamp duty on top im not sure how much they would spend paying an agent. £88 would be too low and no confidence the agent would do anymore than I could do myself.

    As a renter it makes sense with over fussy landlords looking for quality tenants it probably would increase the selection to the keen tenant.

    Or do I have this all wrong?

    Feeling a little hot and confused as I write this !!!!

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  6. ringi

    If I was buying or renting in London I could see myself using a “buyer agent”, as it is very hard to know what areas to look in, given that for example your travel time can be lower if you a greater distance from work, but near a station.
    Estate agents can’t offer useful advice as they cover too small an area and don’t make money if they recommend a property with another branch, also unlikely to know much about other areas in London.
     
    But up here in Stockport I don’t see why anyone would want to use a “buyer agent”, unless they worked in the centre of Manchester  and did not care where they lived, provided it had a good commute and was nice, along with meeting their needs (hence a very large search area).

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