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The new rules for selling your home on Rightmove and Zoopla

Property portals are taking new steps to combat a practice used by some unscrupulous estate agents called “portal juggling”.

February 3, 2017

selling on Rightmove or Zoopla

Selling on Rightmove or Zoopla

Property portals like Rightmove and Zoopla are tightening up the rules for people selling their homes to combat a practice used by some unscrupulous estate agents called “portal juggling”.

This means re-listing homes that have been on the market for a while to make them look new and bump them up the search rankings.

Rightmove has introduced a new rule whereby a property cannot be taken off the site and re-listed as new within 14 weeks of its original posting. If it is re-listed within this period it will keep its original listing date and will not go out in property alerts.

Previously you could re-list a property as new on Rightmove after just two weeks off the market.

At HomeOwners Alliance we support this move, as we think it only fair that home buyers have an accurate picture of the property they are considering purchasing. The more transparency the better.

However, if you are selling your home this is definitely something that you need to keep in mind, particularly if you are planning a holiday and your home is on the market for that period. See below for advice about what to do in these circumstances and read our guide about how to choose the right portal for buying or selling a home.

What do the other portals say?

Zoopla will not reveal exactly how long a property needs to be off the market before it can be re-listed as new on its platform as it does not want its system to be gamed by unscrupulous agents.

Zoopla’s Lawrence Hall explains: “We have always had extensive automated rules in place for both sales and rental listings that require them to be off the market for an extended period of time before they can be re-listed as new.

“This is precisely to prevent this type of practice by a limited number of agents.

“Where any agent deliberately attempts to circumvent these processes and manipulate their listings to mislead consumers, we have a dedicated compliance team whose job it is to identify these rogue agents and remove them permanently from our platform.”

On the Market says it is reviewing its policies in light of the changes made by Rightmove and the industry debate around portal juggling.

Russell Quirk, chief executive of eMoov.co.uk, the online estate agency, believes the changes should go even further.

He says: “I would like to see every portal publishing a full log for each property, detailing when homes were taken on and off the market, when the price was reduced, even when an offer fell through.

“Estate agency is plagued by its negative image of anti-consumer practice and back-handed tactics and transparency is the key to changing this.”

What can I do if I’m going on holiday and my property is on the market?

You could ask your agent to schedule an open day for your return. That way your agent can field all the calls from prospective buyers while you are away and give them the opportunity to view the property all on one day. Read our guide for more clever questions you should ask the estate agent when selling your home.

How else can I refresh my property listing to get new buyer interest?

If you haven’t already invested in professional photography this may be worth doing. Just swapping the original photographs for new ones can have a huge impact on the number of people clicking on your listing as they can make prospective buyers seem your home in a new light.

If your property has been on the market for some time without sufficient interest, it may be time to consider whether your asking price is pitched at the right level. Also consider whether your estate agent is working hard enough on your behalf and consider other alternatives.

Use our estateagent4me tool to find the best agent in your area. Our research suggests it is not necessarily the big national chains that get the best results, what matters most is your agent’s market share in the local area. We found that busier agents get the speediest sales and are more likely to achieve the asking price.

We also found that the 12th day on the market is the optimal point to sell in terms of achieving the best price.


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12 Comments

  1. Hi Ian, You’ll need to go via an estate agent. Online estate agents are the cheapest way of doing this but you pay upfront. See this guide to them: https://hoa.org.uk/advice/guides-for-homeowners/i-am-selling/how-do-i-lower-my-estate-agent-fees-use-online-agents/ or else find a local high street estate agent which will charge you a commission % of your eventual sale price. Are there properties like yours locally that have been sold and which agent did they use? It might be advisable to go with an agent that has sold a property like yours successfully in the past. Read this guide for how to choose an estate agent https://hoa.org.uk/advice/guides-for-homeowners/i-am-selling/how-should-i-choose-an-estate-agent/ And do come back to us if you want us to look at your contract before you sign and be there through the process – we offer dedicated support for sellers. See https://hoa.org.uk/join-us/

    Comment by AKerr — July 18, 2018 @ 1:24 pm

  2. I have a section 106 property that I want to sell and have been advised by the council to list it on either zoopla or rightmove.. How do I go about doing this.. many thanks Ian

    Comment by Ian bendrey — July 17, 2018 @ 11:24 am

  3. Hello and thanks for your query. The short answer is yes, they can sell it before the open day. An open day is a sales tactic aimed at introducing a sense of competition between viewers. Typically then, the estate agent will hold off all viewings until the open day. However, if there’s a buyer out there that’s in a really strong position then the estate agent may well speak to the seller asking for an advanced viewing and so it is possible that an offer is accepted ahead of the open day.

    Comment by Sara Hind — July 11, 2018 @ 3:13 pm

  4. If a property is listed with an open day can a agent sell it before the open day date? If so why have a open day in the 1st place?

    Comment by Mrs Capaldi — July 11, 2018 @ 11:45 am

  5. Yes, write to the case handler in the estate agents, and copy to owner of the estate agent branch, their head office, Chief Exec and complaints department making a formal complaint. Say you would like this removed immediately from Rightmove. You can then forward a summary of the situation directly and asking them to remove your listing to Rightmove. For incorrect listings, you need to email dataquality@rightmove.co.uk. Here is our guide on complaining about the estate agent:https://hoa.org.uk/advice/guides-for-homeowners/i-am-selling/how-to-resolve-disputes-with-estate-agents-a-guide-for-sellers/

    Comment by AKerr — May 18, 2018 @ 12:01 pm

  6. We had our property on the market with a large estate agent but the property did not sell so at the end of our contract we took the house off the market. Several months later we now want to try again with another agent but the original agent is still advertising it on Rightmove despite repeated requests to remove the listing. What can I do?

    Comment by Barbara — May 12, 2018 @ 8:02 am

  7. I disagree! When you are selling any item that belongs to you by right, you are free to advertise YOUR item as YOU want to at whatever price is fair – so long as the sale is honest and accurately described, as many times as you want to without any prior history being available. Selling a house should be no different! By publishing the history of the sale of a house, does not necessarily mean for instance, that it has been up for sale for that whole period. I have had my house up for sale and have removed it once when I changed my mind – that was for about a year, and also each time I have had alterations or decoration carried out on it – but the history shows that my house has been on the market continuously – this is wrong and misleading to the public! The house prices change regularly – a seller should be able to take this into account because when the seller wishes to purchase a new house – that price would have changed also. No other commodity on the market requires the buyer to know the full history of the item. It can be very biased against the seller and is therefore, very unfair!

    Comment by Janet Arbiton — April 27, 2018 @ 12:26 am

  8. Can you tell me when Right Move introduced their policy of price reduction by 2% before a property is shown as reduced? My property has been advertised with a local estate agent who lists on Right Move and has been reduced several times since it was first listed in August 2015 but I was completely unaware of this rule. Had I known about this ruling the reduction could have been calculated accordingly. As a vendor I feel that although my dealings are firstly through my estate agent I also am paying Right Move since my fee to the estate agent also supports their advertising fee and feel extremely let down by this.

    Comment by Mrs J Arnold — April 6, 2018 @ 2:17 am

  9. Sorry to hear of your experience Robin. That’s very stressful indeed. The portal rules do dictate that a property will be ‘refreshed’ as a new listing and will be sent out via their email alerts system if it is reduced by an amount greater than 2% of the asking price. But there are no rules and restrictions on re-listing having to be on the basis of an accompanying mandatory reduction. For an agent to say so is simply not true. You should re-list your property and ask your agent to consider other marketing techniques e.g. premium listing, to give it a boost and quickly so that you can find a new buyer. That is after all what your % commission is paying for. Angela

    Comment by AKerr — November 22, 2017 @ 9:04 am

  10. Six weeks into the conveyancing process our buyer suddenly demanded a 10% reduction in our agreed sale price. We refused the 10% reduction as we were already in the conveyancing process on a property we wanted to buy. We instructed our estate agent to put our property back on the market. The agents told us that, because of new online listing rules, the only way they could re-list our property with zoopla and rightmove was if we were to reduce our asking price by 2%. Why? That represents an expensive re-listing fee to me and adds an additional cost to us that is well over the commission we are paying our estate agents. There is an alternative, we can take our property off the market for 14 weeks and then re-list it as a fresh property. If we fail to sell our property soon we stand to lose out on a property that has accepted our offer to buy. The only reason we are selling our property is because we have found a property we want to buy. Why should we be made to suffer because our buyer suddenly wanted to try and save some money. These new rules should take into consideration special circumstances. It looks like 2 property sales could be dead in the water because of a new re-listing rule introduced to online property selling. It shows just how dependant estate agents have become on the likes of rightmove and zoopla. Believe it or not a week after we originally accepted our buyer’s offer we were informed by our estate agents that there was another higher offer on the table for substantially more money. We declined the offer on the grounds that we didn’t approve of gazumping. Ironically it looks like we may have become the victims of a new phenomena which I am going to label as “reverse gazumping”.

    Comment by Robin — November 17, 2017 @ 9:42 am

  11. I understand why they have done this but this disadvantages those whoses chains have fallen through, through no fault of their own having to put their property back on the market. It retains its original date stamp and makes it look less attractive to prospective buyers because rather than being new to the market it’s now been on 6 weeks old and not generating as much interest because there hasn’t been an alert. Only choice then is to move agents.

    Comment by Matt — February 17, 2017 @ 12:25 pm

  12. The practice of portal juggling just proves that even the most experienced estate agents often have difficulty selling some properties. At the same time, many vendors dictate to the agent what price the asset should sell at instead of pricing for a sale within a reasonable period.

    Comment by Brandon — February 9, 2017 @ 9:07 am

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