Rightmove, Zoopla and the rest: which is best?
Whether you're selling your property or looking to buy a new home, chances are you'll use a property portal. With Rightmove and Zoopla leading the way and OnTheMarket nipping at their heels, we look at which is best for you.
Remember when you were buying your current home and you trawled through the property section of your local newspaper and spent weekend after weekend looking in high street estate agents’ windows? If you bought within the last 15 years then no, you probably don’t.
For most of us, when buying a property the very first place we look is online. Why visit every local agent to see what property they have on offer when you can see them all from the comfort of your own home?
Property portals have become central to the property buying process in recent years and for sellers, knowing which portals your agent will market your property through is a crucial thing to find out.
A quick search online would make it appear there are plenty of portals to choose from – but that’s not strictly true.
Essentially there are two behemoths of the property portal world – Zoopla and Rightmove – and the rest are either linked to these, rely heavily on them or have too small a market share to really consider.
The Key Facts and Figures
The most important figure to find out about a property portal differs depending on what you want from the site. If you’re looking to sell your property and your agent is listing it on a property portal (as all agents do) you’ll want to know how many people are visiting that site. The more people viewing your property the more chance it has at being sold.
Rightmove is currently the market leader, receiving 127.5 million visits per month. Zoopla says its websites (including Prime Location) and mobile apps attract over 50 million visits per month.
If you’re looking to buy then you’ll want to know how many properties are listed. Currently Rightmove has 1.1 million properties listed while Zoopla has 927,000.
The Associated Brands
Many of the property sites you’ll stumble across online are actually linked to each other. Prime Location was once a big name in property portals along with the likes of FindaProperty.com and Globrix. Zoopla Group bought all three brands and closed the latter two. And most recently Zoopla snapped up Hometrack, the property information website.
In 2015, Rightmove replaced Zoopla as the exclusive portal partner for London Evening Standard. Indeed, you’ll see on lots of the smaller property websites the term “powered by” usually followed by either Zoopla or Rightmove.
The Agents’ Own Portal
With Zoopla and Rightmove clearly dominating the property market a number of estate agents across the UK came together to launch On the Market – their own property portal. Agents know that avoiding the big two completely would be shooting themselves in the foot – they want to sell the properties on their books and they know that’s where buyers look first. But in order to take control over the situation On the Market agents decided they would only list on one or the other – not both. Properties will first appear on On the Market for 24 hours (the site currently only gets around 7 million visitors so don’t be too surprised if you aren’t inundated with offers in the first day) and will then be posted on either of the big portals.
It’s crucial therefore that when you choose an agent to market your property you find out firstly if they are part of On the Market and secondly, if they are, whether they list with Zoopla or Rightmove.
Agents who are not associated with On the Market can continue to list on both sites.
It’s worth noting, no online agents are allowed to join On the Market. So they are free to advertise your house on Rightmove AND Zoopla
The home buyers amongst you might also like to know about Home.co.uk and Nestoria are separate companies but both offer a similar service: if you don’t want to have to spend time checking several property portals (we’re busy people!) these sites save you the time by collating properties from across the various portals – including each other. They’re essentially search engines for property listings across the web.
Are there any other portals I should know about?
There are quite a few smaller portals around but while we may like to do our bit for small businesses, when it comes to selling a home you want the widest audience possible and there’s no disputing Rightmove and Zoopla are streets ahead on that front.
If you’re a buyer, the total number of properties a site has is a bit pointless to you if most of those properties are in the South East and you’re looking to buy in the North West – so we did a little research of our own to figure out who had the most properties at various postcodes across the UK (results as of 1st Feb 2017).
Which is the most helpful?
Unsurprisingly, both Zoopla and Rightmove have apps you can download, as too does On the Market. When it comes to tools for buyers and sellers however Zoopla edges out the competition. While all three have information on house prices and will link you up with an agent to offer a valuation on your property, Zoopla will also give you an instant valuation of your property (although obviously this should only be used guide).
Zoopla’s nifty tools include one that lets you define search area by drawing on a map and a travel time tool for locating properties that are for sale and, for example, a 20 minute drive from your work address.
Portals v Agents
It’s important to differentiate between online agents and online portals. Estate agents, whether online only or high street, list their properties on property portals. Prospective buyers who spot a property they like on an online portal then contact the agent marketing that property (this can be done via a link on the property portal). Online and traditional estate agents will only list the properties they are marketing on their own websites, whereas property portals feature properties listed by a variety of agents.
Can I list on property portals myself?
Not on Zoopla and Rightmove, no. You have to instruct an agent in order to have your property appear on these portals, however you could save money by using an online agent rather than a traditional agent with a high street presence.
You are able to list properties yourself on some of the smaller sites – such as The House Shop, where you can list your property for free. But bear in mind you won’t be getting the type of reach you’d get from Zoopla and Rightmove – The House Shop says it receives 600,000 visits every month and has over 300,000 property listings.