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

YOPA NS

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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