Zoopla! is a new online real estate play which more closely resembles a missile guidance system than the usual run-of-the-mill property aggregators. It appears to be capable of zeroing-in on just about every aspect of property, from hard-core buyers and sellers, to more passive casual browsers and ‘tempt me’ sellers who might be lured into the market for the right price. The site is brimming with features including one where you can ‘claim your own house’ and start extolling its maginificent features to the outside world (quite how they will deal with ‘house ID theft’ I’m not sure as yet).
Founded by Lovefilm / ScreenSelect co-founder Alex Chesterman and Lovefilm CTO Simon Kain, Zoopla! isn’t seem to be as single-featured as RightMove or as “meta” as upstarts such as dotHomes or Globrix in listings, says their VC backer Fred Destin (of Atlas Ventures). The for sale market is roughly only one million homes at any one time. Instead they are after the whole damn UK market, all 26 million houses of it.
Tools so far include free pricing estimates for your home (these are usually paid-for or require registration), sold prices, “claim your home” and add granular data, and the coolest “TemptMe!” feature where you set the price for how much you might consider selling for.
There are also features UpMyStreet pioneered 10 years ago, like AskMe! where you check out local information and interrogate locals living in an area. Agents are also allowed a look in, able to list for free and pimp their wares generally.
I tried it out for my area and was pretty impressed. The AskMe feature is clearly going to turn a few sellers white with fear, with one person asking “Have there been any disputes in Weir Avenue?” and another “Why do you think the Zoopla! estimate is lower than your asking price for 49 Monarch Close?”
Atlas’s Destin is certainly keen:
Property is an obsession in Britain and the market is screaming for a good data utility and pricing tool. I think this is going to be naturally viral and drive some passionate debate, as what could be closer to your heart and wealth than the value of your home?
Meanwhile, the rest of the online market is as busy as usual. The latest change is that UK real estate portal Propertyfinder has appointed former MSN UK MD Gillian Kent as its new CEO who has declared that the UK property web site market was “ready for a shake-up”.
She’s not wrong.
Property search engine Extate recently relaunched as Dothomes, with its own property price tracker. Nestoria, recently launched an API for data about average house prices and a sort of Twittervision meets property porn site. Then there is Zoomf (deadpool? they’ve gone quiet), OnOneMap (similarly) and all the other estate agent portals. Ironic, given that house prices are meant to be flattening because of the credit crunch.