Unique 4, Rightmove 1.
The alternative market is real.
Pretty much across the board, Rightmove is the number one source of enquiries for every single estate agent in the country. It monopolises the portal sector – dwarfing Zoopla, Primelocation and onthemarket for numbers – and is by quite a long way the most expensive of the bunch. It’s also a deal-breaker for many homeowners when entrusting an estate agent with their property: no-one insists on a portal quite like they insist on Rightmove. And with good reason.
But none of the portals cater to anyone who is specifically looking for a unique or unusual home. Not a single portal lists even lofts or live/work spaces in their search options, despite them being high on the list of London’s sizeable population of creatives, freelancers and entrepreneurs. Designers, architects, artists, musicians, writers, directors and more are all forced to sift through thousands of unsuitable homes to find their own needle in the haystack. Bonkers really. And we’ve not even mentioned follies, windmills or waterer towers: anyone searching the portals for one of those needs to block out some serious time!
That’s what drives people to Google things like “unique property in London” and “live work London”: to bypass the mainstream and find a direct route to the alternative marketplace. This shift in behavior is reflected in the number of enquiries we receive direct from our website, sometimes exceeding the levels from the portals on individual homes by a ratio of 4:1.
If you type “property in «insert town or postcode here»” into Google, Rightmove will usually smash it in the search results and appear above all the local agents. It’s a super convenient tool for anyone seeking a typical home of a certain place, from a 30s semi in Surbiton, to a Victorian terrace in Clapham, or a Georgian villa in Notting Hill.
All you need to do is send a single enquiry to Rightmove and your details are distributed to all the local agents who respond, on average, fifty five hours later. Fifty. Five. Hours. Amazing how the internet has sped things up.
But this convenience of conventional property searches is not repeated for someone seeking an actual folly, or a metaphorical one. There’s simply no support system in the mainstream world to buy or sell an unusual home. And that’s where specialist agents come in.
Unique is not the only specialist agency in the UK, but like all the others we’ve carved a certain niche. Ours is based on individuality, others on architectural movements or styles. The quality we all share is being the opposite of what the mainstream market wants you to do: from the type of home you choose, to the location you pick, to the way you’re allowed to search.
Specialist agents are not only a beacon for buyers seeking individuality; they give owners of unusual homes a stronger platform for their unique property. Showcasing homes in a way that amplifies their unique qualities – rather than burying them in a scroll of convention – cuts through all the noise and gets right to the people in search of something special.
So while the marketplace for unusual and unique homes remains below the radar of the mainstream search channels, and given the numbers of buyers bypassing the portals and the high street, taking the specialist route when choosing your estate agent is a demonstrably good move.