The following piece was written by an independent writer for The Irish Times.
No commission, no complications: full service estate agent at a fraction of the cost. Charging a fixed fee instead of a percentage commission makes Moovingo a real alternative for house sellers
Launched in January of this year, Moovingo has given property sellers the best of all worlds: the expertise of an experienced licensed estate agent to guide them through the sale combined with the low costs, high efficiency, trust, and value that technology brings.
“We spent a year researching the market and developing the technology before launch,” says Moovingo co-founder Tony Deane. “We have handled close to 100 instructions since then and have 25 homes currently for sale on our website. That makes us larger than a lot of the smaller estate agents in Dublin already.”
That rapid growth is based on a combination of high-quality service, innovation and value. “We do everything a traditional high street estate agency does but with two essential differences,” says Deane. “We charge a fixed fee instead of a percentage commission and our customers have access to an interactive website which allows them to do things which are simply not possible with other estate agents.”
The Moovingo website gives customers a dashboard where they can exercise a large degree of control over the sale process if they wish. It features a control panel where the sales performance can be assessed through metrics such as time on the market, viewings arranged, bids received and so on.
This offers considerable advantages over the traditional process where viewings are arranged over the phone, often with great difficulties, and bids generally only possible during office hours. “Once the vendor keeps their online calendar updated, viewings can be booked online up to two weeks ahead,” Deane explains. “More than 80 per cent of offers are placed outside of office hours. Customers receive immediate email notifications of all viewings and bids.”
“The Moovingo fee covers the same full service which they would receive from a traditional estate agent. The process starts with an onsite valuation”
All properties are advertised on Daft.ie and MyHome.ie and potential buyers are brought to the Moovingo site when they enquire. Once there, they can get all details of the property, arrange a viewing, make an offer or seek further information. “We also drive buyers to our site via radio, out-of-home adverts and digital marketing campaigns,” says Deane.
For the vendor, the fees are competitive and transparent. “We charge a fixed fee of either €1,500 where the client hosts the viewings or €2,500 where we host them. Those fees include VAT. A lot of estate agents charge between 1.2 per cent and 1.5 per cent, excluding VAT, in addition to marketing costs. If the client is hosting the viewings we help them with a list of the top 20 questions in relation to things like BER, neighbours, gardens and so on.”
The Moovingo fee covers the same full service which they would receive from a traditional estate agent. The process starts with an onsite valuation. “We go out and visit the property as normal and value it,” says Deane. “This is a very important part of the process and is the reason why we haven’t expanded much out of Dublin as yet. We are based in Dublin so can only really provide a valuation service to the Dublin area and surrounding counties such as Louth, Meath, Kildare, Wicklow and Wexford.
“We have a full network of professionals including solicitors, BER assessors, painters, and a photographer supporting us,” he continues. “Our photographer is excellent. That is a vitally important part of the process. If a property has a good online presence with high-quality pictures more people will view it and more people will bid for it.”
He points to a property which Moovingo recently sold for €800,000. “That was an exceptional property and it sold quite quickly in a competitive location. We worked with the sellers over a month to prepare the property and make it stand out, and it did. The seller paid us €2,500 instead of over €15,000 which another agent quoted. That’s a saving of €12,500.”
The business is growing strongly in the greater Dublin area and is eyeing up expansion in other parts of the country. “The other market we are targeting is new homes,” Deane concludes. “We can offer developers real savings and a highly efficient service that meets the demands of today’s buyer. We recently acted for a developer with a small eight-house scheme and the savings generated were more than €30,000.”
What their customers say
Karl and Ali Hickey
“They put in a lot of effort and went above and beyond”
Karl and Ali Hickey chose Moovingo to sell their home in Ballycullen, Dublin 24. “After talking to all the usual high street estate agents, I just couldn’t justify their high fees,” says Karl Hickey.
Moovingo were friendly and highly effective and we were very happy with the end result
“I did some online research and found Moovingo. Jack Brady came out to the house the next day and valued it. They put in a lot of effort and went above and beyond. They were straight-talking but didn’t push us into accepting any offers. Also, the photographer was excellent and the pictures looked great when they went online.”
He was delighted with the overall process which took between four and five weeks and resulted in a price in excess of the valuation. “What I found with the software package was that it allowed me to see securely exactly what was going on in terms of viewings and so on. That was very important as I wanted to keep disruption to a minimum with two young kids around. Moovingo were friendly and highly effective and we were very happy with the end result. I would absolutely recommend them to others.”
Paddy and Ciara Fitzgerald
“You are kept in the loop all the time”
“I had sold a few investment properties in the past and was never particularly happy with the process,” says Paddy Fitzgerald. “I was familiar with the UK market which had been transformed by technology. We were selling our house in Blackrock and all the traditional estate agents were offering the same thing for the same fees and commissions. I searched the internet for low fee agents and found Moovingo.”
What they seem to have done is make everything more efficient on their side
It wasn’t just the competitive fees that he found attractive. “What I liked was there was a lot more transparency,” he points out. “You see things as they happen. As a bid comes in or as a viewing is arranged, you get an email. You are kept in the loop all the time. The valuation for the house was between €780,000 and €820,000 and we got more than €840,000 in the end. That exceeded our expectations.
“When you break it all down we saved between €13,000 and €14,000 on fees,” he continues. “What they seem to have done is make everything more efficient on their side. They have no expensive shop fronts and they cut costs where they needed to be cut. Another thing for me was the time factor. They got us to market very quickly and managed the whole process very efficiently. I would recommend them to others of course.”