Date Published 18 November 2013
Whathouse, which is set to launch into the estate agency property portals market in mid-January, is due to unveil a valuation service today.
Prospective vendors will be able to fill out a request form on the site.
Last week, in an initial announcement of the new service, Whathouse specified in a press release sent to EAT that it would be a Spicerhaart agent who would get in touch to arrange a valuation appointment.
As this appeared to be a potentially powerful instruction-getter for Spicerhaart, we queried whether there was a commercial arrangement between Whathouse and Spicerhaart.
EAT was then asked to hold off publication.
The reason we were given was that `there has been a deferment in developments and matters still need to be agreed as part of the agreement. Apologies for sending you the release prematurely.`
Nevertheless, the original release appeared exactly as we had received it, a day later on a site called Property Portal Watch.
When we queried this, we were again told it had been released by mistake, and again we were asked not to publish the release – which, for the first time, was then described as embargoed.
A second announcement was subsequently issued by Whathouse, this time making no mention of Spicerhaart at all, simply saying that `a local agent` will contact the seller to arrange a valuation appointment.
A spokesperson for Paul Smith, CEO of Spicerhaart, told EAT: `There was no contract and no terms of agreement of any kind. We knew nothing of this press release and clearly didn`t sign it off.
`What happened was that Paul was approached by Whathouse and all he did was agree to give it a trial.`
Whathouse is also today due to publish Land Registry house price data on its site, so that prospective sellers can research local sold prices.
Daniel Hill, managing director of What House?, said: `We are making it quick and easy for property sellers to obtain a valuation on their property from a leading, local estate agent that has expertise in property in their area.
`With the property market speeding up and people eager to sell and move, we`re making it a simple process for sellers to get on to the property market as quickly as possible.
`It`s also a completely free service and will remove the stress of contacting several estate agents and organising appointments.
`Additionally, we`re offering the house price data so that sellers can research and be better informed about selling and buying prices during their moving process.`
On January 14, What House? is due to become the latest entrant into the estate agency portal market, and says it will offer a competitive, low-cost alternative for agents to promote their properties in the UK.