Momentum gains for Irish online estate agencies as Moove.ie raises €200,000
Irish online estate agency MoveOn.ie has successfully raised more than €200,000 on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube in what is another step forward for the online/hybrid estate agency model in Ireland.
Move On headed up by founder David Madden, is an online estate agency following the hybrid model as exemplified by the likes of Purplebricks in the UK. Moove offers homeowners the opportunity to sell their home for a fixed fee, rather than paying commission fees as high as 2% to traditional high street estate agents.
Madden was impressed by the fast growth of Purplebricks while working in the real estate industry in London and watching as it quickly grabbed market share. It inspired him to move back to Dublin and bring its business model to Ireland.
The crowdfunding campaign on Crowdcube met a double objective for the startup. Not only has Moove reached its fundraising target of €200,000 which will be used for marketing activities, the development of a mobile application and redesign of the website (which is currently underway), but Madden told the AIM Group that the campaign has also resulted in a spike in property valuation requests and listings from new customers due to Moove’s offer to list and sell a property as a reward for those investing a sum of €500 or more through the fundraising campaign.
National media coverage of online estate agency model.
The startup soft-launched in mid-2016, with a full launch in August 2017, and since then has worked hard to gain much needed first listings. It has featured in a number of leading news publications including The Irish Times and SiliconRepublic.com. MoveOn.ie, and others operating in the space, have not only had to build awareness of their own brand but have also had to educate people about the online estate agency model itself which is not yet well known in Ireland.
Less than a handful of startups have made good progress in positioning themselves to take advantage of what is still a growing market in Ireland. And although Move On’s main competitors are the traditional high street real estate agents, where as many as five different brands of well-known estate agencies can be found on the same street in certain parts of Dublin, Move On also faces competition from Moovingo Since its launch late last year, Moovingo has also enjoyed national media attention and last month handled the sale of a well-publicised housing development in Dublin which was the focus of a VR and media campaign led by KBC Bank, Daft.ie (the leading property portal in Ireland) and TheJournal.ie, a leading online Irish news publication.
Moove.ie and Moovingo.com seek out USPs as both strive for No. 1 position
To help build trust in the brand and this new product offering, MoveOn.ie has also opened a walk-in office in Dublin which customers can call in to, just as they would with a traditional estate agency.
Move On’s entry price for sellers is a fixed fee of €1800 in return for which they will provide a property appraisal, assign a dedicated local agent, provide professional photography and 3D floor plans, place online listings in leading property portals in Ireland and the UK, and see the sale through to completion.
While David Madden has recently said in an interview with Dublin South FM that 80% of their customers have selected this package and have carried out the viewings themselves, Move On can also carry out the viewings on behalf of the seller on top of all the above services for a fixed fee of €2500.
With either platform, sellers can communicate with buyers via a personalised dashboard on a 24/7 basis and from there can manage much of the process themselves such as scheduling viewings, accepting or rejecting offers, and reviewing sales/lets agreed (though Moovingo does not currently offer lettings).
Once a sale/let is agreed, the agency will draw up the contracts, work with solicitors who specialise in conveyancing, and progress the sale through to completion.
In response to criticism relating to what some have called high fees relative to much cheaper offerings from the many hybrid agencies in the U.K., Madden said that the startup made a strategic decision not to offer too low of prices as his aim is to ensure the company remains profitable and viable in the long-term.
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