It is no surprise to any of us that the housing market, although picking up a bit in recent months, is still suffering from the dreaded R word. Many first time buyers have been struggling to get mortgages from banks and even long term property owners are finding it costly to sell. Well things might be on the up as some clever little chaps (which I met recently) have come up with a new concept on private property sales and buying or renting for that matter.
Bethemiddleman.com does exactly what it says on the tin, it allows the user to be in control of the sale (etc) of their property. It describes itself as:
“a brand new property portal aimed at the private housing market. Whether you want to BUY, SELL, RENT, LET or ROOMSHARE, Bethemiddleman.com makes it easy.
The service is free to use and could save you thousands depending on how much your property is worth. The guys who created it aren’t bothered about you marketing your property elsewhere, so on the face of it it looks like a win/win.
Gary Hartley, co-founder of Bethemiddleman.com told me:
“BeTheMiddleman.com aims to provide the housing market with a cost saving alternative to estate agents. With more than 90% of home buyers looking online when searching for their dream home it makes sense to provide a property portal that empowers them with the tools they need to buy and sell their homes. We promote their properties on a network of other property portals for free too, allowing them to reach millions of potential vendors.
“We are advertising regionally offline initially to forge some traction, then we aim to move to national advertisements once we are more established. Social media in particular plays a pivotal role in us maximising our audience reach. We’re using our blog and Twitter stream to forge strong relationships with other property experts. We’ve kept our whole strategy transparent, opening the site up to Beta users first and often replying directly to feedback to find out exactly what they want. For us it’s not about huge marketing spend, it’s about interacting with the right people (our users) and building the right relationships to create a fantastic service.”
Now to be honest it’s a very new concept and the site has only been going a few months but its already getting serious amounts of internet traffic. However, personally I do think it needs more properties on it in order for it to get to that all important tipping point.
The site uses several social tools such as it’s blog, which provides tips on how to market your property, Twitter and to a lesser extent Facebook. To be honest most of its marketing strategy seems to be completely focussed towards organic search and social media and I think the team should be commended for getting it right. They are listening to what their customers want first rather than creating something people don’t want use. If a company uses its feedback properly and engages with its customers it is usually onto a good thing.
Is this going to kill the regular high street estate agent? In my opinion, not yet, but it is a great concept and if they manage to obtain critical mass it could come become THE site for selling or buying your home. After all it’s free – what do you think clever idea or not?