Posted by: housingdabble | March 19, 2010

Tesco play down involvement in iSold

After a week or so of panic and speculation over Tesco re-entering the estate agency business it was interesting to see the details published about how the iSold service is going to work and also Tesco’s own view of their relationship to iSold. So it there as much to this marriage made in heaven deal as initially feared? I present you the evidence:-

Firstly what about the game changing product?

There are three grades of service all with upfront fees of £299, £499 or £599 depending on the grade you choose and there is a fee of £700 payable on completion.

The basic package includes a listing on Rightmove and other portals, 15 pictures, floorplans and a For Sale board – but the seller will have to handle all their own viewings and price negotiation.In the premier package, the seller will still have to do all their own viewings and negotiations, but will also get a Rightmove premium listing, local newspaper advertising plus an open house with some marketing materials.

In the top-priced package the seller will in addition get the services of an iSold sales negotiator to attend the open house.None of the packages include a HIP which is available at an additional price of £329.

Nothing particualrly clever or cutting edge. Lots of agents now offer this ‘a la carte’ approach now and you don’t have to be an online agent to do so. Yes the fees are relatively cheap but every town has cheap fees and there lots of evidence that fees are not the most important factor when clients select an agent.

Surely Tesco’s heavy involvement will make all the difference???

Not according to the web site article which tells us:

A Tesco spokesman confirmed that the only presence on  the i-Sold test site is purely a hyperlink to the retailer’s site, a move that follows Spicerhaart acquiring the Tesco property business in 2007.

No properties will be advertised on Tesco’s own site, the service will not be advertised in Tesco stores, and the business is not financially backed by the supermarket.

Whether iSold can become a successful national online estate agent remains to be seen. However the likely scenario is that they will take market share from the weaker agents plus the current online offerings without the Tesco link on their web site and that the existing best agents will continue to win the majority of market share based on reputation, credibility, current similar listings and their ability to negotiate the best price for their vendor.

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