Zoopla! launches property command and control system

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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.

  • http://www.zubka.com David Shieldhouse

    Very nice! I can see a lot of arguments between vendors and their estate agents over this – bring it on!!
    Would be good to incorporate some basic questions on planning permission as this can add value.

  • Richard

    UK Zoopla copied US http://www.Zillow.com – somebody got to mention that.

  • http://www.allhonours.ie Patrick Barry

    How do the likes of Zoopla and Zillow accumulate all the existing properties? Is that information available without trawling through local phone books etc?

  • http://blog.kitchentwo.com Gary Reid

    I think the user generated aspect of property sites here in the UK has been dismal in the past so good to see at least one adding it in a serious way, I’m just surprised it’s taken so long. The strategic gap has always been user-generated information because of RightMove.

    It just makes strategic sense for any UK property start-up, otherwise RightMove will always hold it’s dominance (43% of the market – whereas Nestoria has 0.14% from RightMove’s site) as it was founded by the top 3 estate agent chains so had instant access to a huge chunk of the 1 million homes for sale and in essence could keep out competitors, although I’m not suggesting it did.

    Although RightMove’s share price has tumbled since November, but January is the month for the property guys. last figures I saw they had around £30m revenue from agents.

    (declares interest as we have a property app launching soon)

  • VelvetRaven

    Richard: Totally – they even went for the same initial letter…. (well, zed rather than zee but… ;)

    Patrick: Yeps, you can buy the database from the Post Office

  • http://penplese.com Frank Albu
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  • http://www.zoomf.com Mike Carter

    Agreed about the Zillow.com opinion. Looks like a copy/paste to me but I do agree this type of thing is brilliant for the market.

    Who said deadpool about Zoomf?
    Zoomf has gone national adding over 1000 estate agents, we’ve launched our GEO Ads keyword product as well as lots of new map functionality. And I even think we’ve got a sticker or two on the windows of estate agents.
    More to come so watch this space….

  • http://www.mouseprice.net BankHolidayMonday

    Estate agents better start getting together to fight the rightmove hegemony, they can do this by supporting all these start-ups….if they don’t, they will be the ones to suffer Rightmove’s ever increasing fees.

    Here is a site that does what zoopla does, but also lets you see valuations on properties that are not recent sales. i.e. it is not limited to only land registry transactions: http://www.mouseprice.net

  • http://blog.kitchentwo.com/2008/01/22/strategic-gap-hyperlocal-niche/ Strategic Gap - Hyperlocal Niche : Kitchen 2.0

    […] you’re new here, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed. Thanks for visiting!I commented on the Zoopla launch over at Techcrunch UK the other day, mainly commenting how, out of all of the […]

  • http://vproject.co.uk/ Vproject

    Very nice site, but I’m a little bit worried about the private info they collect from their visitors and promise “NOT be displayed on our website or stored by us.”

  • Barry

    Just needs Virtual Tours and then they have a great product

  • mary cunningham

    need to know the value of a property in winchmore hill london n21 1al.
    How accurate will it be in todays market?

  • http://uk.techcrunch.com/2009/01/19/zoopla-raises-whopping-375-million-to-disrupt-older-property-sites/ Zoopla raises whopping £3.75 million to disrupt older property sites

    […] less than a year ago Zoopla now claims to be one of the top five most-visited property websites in the UK according to […]

  • http://www.northwestvideotours.com Micah

    I think zoopa should make sure they allow virtual and video tours. This is the new thing in marketing properties, all website should allow for uploading of virtual tours and video tours. northwestvideotours.com

    • http://www.astutebuyersadvocates.com.au/ Property Agent


  • http://www.yourletting.biz YourLetting

    Private Landlords can cut costs from useing Letting Agents, by useing “Online Letting Agents”. Landlords can not commonly go to Property Portals such as rightmove or zoopla directly, but they can use other services, such as UPAD, Letting a Property, Make ur Move and many more: http://yourletting.biz/advertise-property.html
    Their services and costs vary so its wise to compare and find the most suitable.

  • Dam

    But site with information and not only lists of properties are necessary!
    Example : http://www.propertyuncovered.com/for-sale

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