Date Published 08 November 2013
One of the biggest chains, Spicerhaart, has pledged its support for Agents` Mutual. The owned-by-agents site, as yet unnamed, is currently being built and is due to go live next year to challenge Rightmove and Zoopla.
Spicerhaart Group is seen as a powerful and key recruit to the venture. It has over 190 residential sales and lettings branches across the country encompassing six different brands, and makes much of the fact that it is independently, rather than corporately, owned and run.
Its recruitment to Agents` Mutual closely follows a deal announced between the new portal and NFoPP.
Spicerhaart chief executive Paul Smith said: `We believe our support for Agents` Mutual will be the tipping point for other leading independents to sign up to the new property portal.
`Agents` Mutual is an essential response to the large property search sites which have favoured its corporate-owned agents over independents for years.
`Their influence on the industry and the prices they charge have become disproportionate to their real contribution to consumers and agents in the residential sales and lettings markets.
`Agents` Mutual provides an opportunity for independent agents of all sizes to regain control of their online advertising costs and their property data, and to provide a better and more cost-effective service to their customers in future.
`We look forward to working with them to create the definitive UK property portal over the coming years.`
Smith, who together with his father built up his firm from just three branches in East Anglia in 1989, will now join the board of Agents` Mutual.
Ian Springett, who is leading Agents` Mutual, said: `We are delighted to have the backing of the Spicerhaart Group whose support further underlines the need for independent agents to act now and the viability of our market entry strategy to create a portal serving all agents across the country.`
Noel Flint of Knight Frank, who is a director of Agents` Mutual, said: `The support of Spicerhaart as a Gold member reinforces our stated intent of creating a mutually-owned portal for all agents and a better service for the property-seeking public.