From Policeman to Property Market Entrepreneur: An Interview with Nick Marr, co-founder of TheHouseShop.com
From fighting crime to fighting property fees, Nick Marr is the ex-policeman who left the force to pursue his entrepreneurial dreams of starting his own company. Nick has run multiple property websites throughout his career, gaining his estate agent qualification from the National Federation of Property Professionals back in 2010. He was an early adopter of the Online Estate Agent Model and has consulted as an expert on various property websites. His latest venture is the online property marketplace TheHouseShop.com, a platform that offers free agent listings!
He has kindly given us a few minutes of his time to tell us all about his company.
So what is TheHouseShop and what makes it different?
TheHouseShop is an all inclusive property marketplace. Whether you are a seller, renter, buyer, landlord or an estate agent, we will always welcome you at TheHouseShop. I have accumulated 15+ years of personal experience and utilised it to offer a unique experience which is unmatched in the industry. We offer free listing, which is proving very appealing to the agents who may not be able to sustain the prices of the larger portals. Our site offers buyers and renters access to a unique selection of listings that cannot be found anywhere else, creating an alternative audience for online or high street estate agents and those going private.
I have always appreciated the value of estate agents and the foundation that they have created for the property market. However, TheHouseShop recognises that different people have different needs, and, as part of our inclusivity, we want everyone to see the full smorgasbord of property possibilities.
What do you think of today’s estate agents?
I believe that there will always be a place for a professional and traditional estate agent on our high streets. They are a staple of every city, town or village, offering customer service that is incomparable on the property market. They have created the foundation on which our company has been able to build upon and I will continue to respect their business.
I have used estate agents in the past and I am always astounded by their local knowledge which cannot be beaten in this industry. When buying a property it is crucial to have a good relationship with your local estate agent, who may find you a property before it even reaches the internet. Many are adapting very well to current competition by providing similar services, better prices and promoting their personal touch, which is unique in this ever-expanding online world.
Why would a traditional estate agent list with you?
Simply put, listing on our site is free: what have you got to lose? By listing on our website an estate agent has the opportunity to maximise their business with a fresh source of leads and gain ultimate exposure to an alternative audience.
Our site welcomes thousands of potential buyers and sellers every day. By displaying your brand on our site you can make sure that your listings reach their maximum viewership, luring in fresh buyers and tenant enquiries.The biggest thing that estate agents can gain from us is vendor and valuation leads. As potential sellers search our site, they can be quickly introduced to their local professional who can begin to open the door to selling via an estate agent.
Estate agents have the opportunity to expand their business through us in multiple ways. Not only through new leads, but also through the many agency services we provide. Again, our affordable services mean that agents can save their business money, while gaining valuable exposure and clientele.
One of the biggest challenges that we have overcome is some estate agent prejudices against private sellers and landlords. Listing alongside a private seller does actually increase your publicity, as it places you right there in front of potential clients. Our research has shown that 75% of private sellers actually want and need the help of a professional estate agent at some point during the process. Private individuals will climb the mountain of hope and soon find themselves needing a guide and this is where the estate agent comes in. I am all for inclusivity and I want to see this across the marketplace.
So there are loads of reasons an estate agent should list with us, and the reality is that thousands already do. They love the free advertising and the opportunities that come from new leads. For many we have become an essential part of their marketing mix; they consider us their dirty little secret.
Who would you consider your biggest competitors?
If I am honest I don’t see us as having any direct competitors. We are a unique property marketplace that believes in inclusivity and doesn’t discriminate against type, professionalism or budget. We offer a unique property experience and a safer place to list than the traditional classified advertising sites.
In this competitive market, how are you staying relevant?
We are constantly finding new and innovative ways to expand our business and offer our consumers a new experience of the property market.
Recently we launched RentScore, an easy rent collection scheme that rewards your tenants with a good credit rating when they pay on time.
I am really excited about this new product and to be working with Experian a Global leader in credit reporting.
We have also created a new word in the English language! It isn’t every day you get to say that.
This scheme acts as an incentive to tenants who can have their rent payments registered with Experian and recorded on their credit reports. It is also great for landlords, as we remove the stress of rental payments and automatically transfer their income to them within 1 working day. It is simple and advantageous for everyone involved. A win win
What do you see for the future of Estate Agents?
I believe that estate agents have a prominent position in the future of the property market. I see a future where these agents will be sitting comfortably between an online agent and private owners, giving customers the choice they deserve.
We have a solid partnership with the estate agent community and I hope to maintain and strengthen this in the future. I wish to see more of agencies joining TheHouseShop as a place they can grow their business by finding new clients and properties. The aim is to create a symbiotic relationship; where estate agents get new leads and business from us and we get more listings and traffic from them.
There has been a lot of press covering the idea that estate agents are soon to be old news, but I don’t believe a word of it. The growing marketplace and its large variety of options means that competition is rife, but this does not mean that estate agents are soon to be a thing of the past. In fact it means the exact opposite. The influx of competition has made many local estate agents up their game, becoming more malleable in our modern times. The diversity that is out there means that everyone has to be more adaptable and it is changing the way the property market works and I think that is really exciting.
If you want to learn more about the UK’s no.1 property marketplace, head over to their website:
Author: Estate Agent Networking UK
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