Yet another 'sell your own' portal, Hablib, is launching on Friday 6 November and Property Portal Watch interviewed the founder, Anton Kreil, today.
Whilst Hablib has yet to fully launch it was mentioned a while back that the business model was an attempt to marry social networking and property. Someone was always going to give this a go and I love anyone who is prepared to break new ground. That said, I can't help but question how this marriage can work.
How does social networking associate with house purchase? Why, if I am selling/buying a house, will I want to socialise on a network. Notwithstanding I already belong to more networks than I can manage, why I am going to want to network with others during this process? I guess the standard response is to make the sale/purchase easier as I will be communicating with potential sellers/buyers, but do I really want to? Does it make the process easier? I doubt it. If I am selling privately then I will have my hands full dealing with enquiries (hopefully), arranging HIPs, conveyancing etc etc Indeed, even working on the remote basis that I want to network, I am only going to be active for the short time period I was involved with the sale/purchase and therefore of little use for revenue opportunities outside of this window (perhaps).
I do like the principle behind this, but as Anton concedes, they will need stock. Hablib is probably the fifth 'sell your own site' to appear recently and comes some time after Sarah Beeny's Tepilo. Sarah appears to have stepped up her marketing recently and I am seeing many Sarah Beeny articles where she is mentioning Tepilo. One has to wonder whether she has stolen the march in this very small market?
I wrote a while back that the sell your own marketing was growing slowly, but was still a very small percentage of the total market and the more competition within this niche would of course reduce market share. A very tough channel to crack and dominate in my humble opinion.
Anton says that '...The estate agents industry is like a casino...' Now I know a thing or two about casinos and perhaps a better analogy is that all the portals are the casinos. The agents are the croupiers and the punters the gamblers. The more casinos, the less punters there are to go around so you get empty tables, out of work croupiers and portals that sit there doing very little. The old established casinos hold their own, new ones come along with a flash offering, some punters will go and have a look, but soon realise that the casino doesn't have any other players (any atmosphere) and soon runs out of chips so they go back to the old casino. This is a great analogy if our punters are habitual gamblers, but they are not, they are only gamblers once every few years so will go back to the old familiar casino with atmosphere.
Anyway, I am off to put all my money on Black.