The House Shop is an exciting, innovative growing online portal that helps would-be tenants and landlords, buyers and sellers, agents and developers around the UK with their Property Sales. Online property portals know that to have any chance of competing with the gigantic, web portals with up to 15 years of business model optimisation, any new competitors in the industry are definitely going to need to offer innovative new tools and services. Portal search preferences combined with perhaps for consumers with a specialised, niche USP (adapted housing, converted churches and coastal homes) are but a few such examples. Innovative designers can now create ingenious search options, such as your commuting distances, proximity to a desired location or your lifestyle preferences.

With such ever-changing rules and growing competition, LNReview wanted to learn more about the evolving online property market. The introduction of free to list classifieds such as the House Shop will no doubt see a game change and boost accessibility over the next few years. Huge names such as Zoopla will have to renew their business model to keep the innovation going.

The House Shop’s founder, Nick Marr, explains his brainchild, the business of becoming a major player in an already huge online expanse, while laying out his vision of the future.

What Made You Decide To Start Your Own Business?

“In 1998 I had a hobby that was creating websites, writing blogs and learning how to get a website to rank in Google. I created a website and listed a friends home who was struggling to sell. The website generated more enquiries than his local estate agent and he sold the property. To my surprise he paid me a fraction of the commission he was due to pay an estate agent. The first time you take money from an idea that you created is very rewarding experience. I went on to list others and suddenly my hobby turned into a viable business”.

 How Did You Become Involved In The Property Market?

“By listing homes locally on behalf of owners and agents I started to learn more and more about the property sector. By speaking regularly to expert estate agents I started to gather an expertise. I also studied with National Federation of Property Professionals to learn more about the legal side of the estate agent’s role”.

What Has Been The Biggest Challenge You’ve Faced Along The Way?

“Creating websites are expensive and growing them needs a really good development team. Finding the best team to do undertake your tasks that keep a business profitable is a challenge. Relying on Google for organic traffic means that an online business can be vulnerable to algorithm changes. One of my earlier challenges is to maintaining good search engine optimisation without over optimisation and falling foul of new updates to the algorithm”.

What Is Your Biggest Challenge Currently?

“Increasing traffic from social media to any website is a potential goldmine, my challenges today are to increase this source of traffic”.

What Is The Most Important Lesson You’ve Learned?

“People are the most important asset to a business, allowing them the freedom to generate ideas and taking advice is crucial. Always employ people that create a mix of skills and experiences, and always avoid employing others because they’re ‘just like you’. Never surround yourself with ‘Yes-Men’ as they will never challenge your thoughts and processes, enough”.

What Do You Do Differently To Your Competitors, Or Is It A Question Of Matching And Exceeding The Competition?

“We have actively focused on offering our clients both choice and transparency. While many of our competitors try to push their model as the ONLY solution, we offer an open space where consumers can compare all their options in one place. As we have evolved – as a company – we have really honed-in on a type of money-saving and comparison based model, and by working with individual homeowners, online estate agents, High Street agents, property developers and service providers we’ve been able to really expand our horizons. We’re now able to offer a unique and inclusive service which really stands out when compared to the likes of “agent-only” Right Move and Zoopla”.

For listings in your area, head to The House Shop for a comprehensive, free service.