Published: 30th October 2008

Rightmove overseas to accept listings from private sellers

Rightmove overseas to accept listings from private sellers
For the first time, Rightmove plans to accept property listings from private sellers based overseas, Globaledge can exclusively reveal. Although it’s unlikely the offer will be extended to UK-based private sellers, the move represents a seismic change of strategy for the UK market leader.

According to our source, Rightmove plans to sell listings to private overseas property owners for £250 for three months. Agents and developers are currently asked to pay £250 per month, with a minimum commitment of six months.

Desperate times…

The change in strategy comes hot on the heels of the announcement that they are shedding 20% of their work force in response to falling subscription levels and tough trading conditions. Bill Jackson, Founder of UK and international agency Jackson International is not surprised. “We know there are 22 agents in Hereford and 70% have pulled out of Rightmove. They haven’t disclosed this [to the market]. It’s obviously a desperate measure to boost profits,” he says.

Commercial opportunity

As the downturn has begun to bite, thousands of overseas properties have come onto the market as second home owners look to reduce their overheads. There’s a glut of property and not enough buyers. There’s clearly a market opportunity, especially as Rightmove are the majority shareholder in which has a large database of private property owners.

Is it worth it?

As anyone who has ever worked for an overseas property portal will tell you, it’s very difficult to make serious money from private sales. Many of the smaller overseas property portals do it but few of them are sunning themselves on a beach in the Caribbean with the profits (to my knowledge). Jake Holloway, Online Director at Overseas Property Centres, says the administration can be a nightmare. “[As well as being an estate agent,] we also sell to private owners but the time it takes dealing with individuals compared to the return makes it difficult to make money.”

With the Rightmove brand, a slick administration system and the Holiday Lettings databases, it’s reasonable to assume that it could become a small but profitable revenue stream. The question remains: is it worth the hassle? And more importantly, isn’t management time better spent on core activity, maintaining and developing relationships with estate agents?