A few years ago, we thought it would be a great idea to give the property world what it needed, a not-for-profit, not-for-sale mutual portal that would take back control of online property marketing from corporations and return it to the property industry. A lot of people agreed with our vision including institutions, federations and professionals.
In fact, a group of estate agents used parts of our idea to launch a quasi-mutual portal, encouraging members to remove their entire inventory from one member of a corporate duopoly, which only served to increase the dominance of the larger corporation. Incapable of delivering a long term solution for an entire industry, we believe that group serves the few, not the many and, significantly, has preserved the means to cash out their new ‘LocationPrime’ should it become either too tempting or fail to deliver as promised.
Believing that our equitable mutual business model was designed for all, we created PropertyMutual back at the start of 2014 without any member funding. From the outset, we rejected regressive and disingenuous distractions like different classes of membership, member loans, high interest payments, and corporate level rewards for a few founders. In particular, we rejected anti-consumer measures like banning online agents and developers from advertising with us; anti-competition restrictions on our members’ ability to advertise where they choose; unfair discounts for some but not others; and loopholes permitting the sale of the business.
We believed that if we had used such methods, we would have inadequately addressed the challenges of an industry, already concerned with image problems, needing to flexibly adapt to a rapidly evolving, consumer-empowered business environment. So we designed PropertyMutual for the future, not the past, to cater for all types of property and property professional, and to treat all members equally. We also believed the public desired a comprehensive and unrestricted overview of the entire property market in a single portal, and would not be told by an agent where they could and could not advertise their own property.
PropertyMutual is modeled on other tried and trusted mutual businesses like the John Lewis partnership and NFU Mutual. PropertyMutual recognises that there has to be something in it for both sides of the market. It is structured to listen to our members whilst never forgetting we have to give the consumers what they want. So we encourage the public to support the mutual and thereby feel comfortable leaving listing their property in the hands of the experts, whilst recognising that day-to-day control of the business has to be in the hands of our professional members.
Our vision includes organic growth within our means, over a realistic timescale, including promotion to the public via our member’s premises and websites. We can take the long view, as we are not restricted by investors with an exit strategy, or founders requiring repayment of interest bearing loans from company funds. We see no merit in making overblown promises of market dominance within a year, overstaffing, paying outrageous salaries, nor going on spending sprees of our members’ investment. Our type of vision requires time, patience and commitment from all parties.
In order to better serve the consumer, we accept listings from all businesses marketing property on behalf of a client, which includes traditional and online estate agents as well as developers; and we list residential, commercial and agricultural property for sale, to rent and for auction in a single portal. To better serve our members, we place no restrictions upon their business, nor tell them where to advertise their clients’ properties.
If an agent's properties are currently listed for free listed on PropertyMutual, they have been supplied by our partner DataExport. If the agent remains content to be listed, they don’t have to do anything. All we ask in return is a graphic link to us on your website home page which will assist in the SEO and marketing of PropertyMutual (we will be in touch to supply the link).
If a property professional wishes to more fully commit to PropertyMutual, which requires funds to cover our running costs, development and growth strategy, we invite offers of financial support by subscribing to PropertyMutual.
We also seek applications for Board membership from subscribing businesses and individuals who share our vision and wish to help us take PropertyMutual forward as a going concern. A property background is not a pre-requisite for Board membership as we have other areas requiring input and leadership including IT, publicity and marketing.
PropertyMutual offers property professionals a long term vision.
1. Membership of a nationwide, not-for-profit, member-owned and run portal guaranteed never to be sold.
2. A UK wide, sustainable long term vision of online marketing for the entire property industry and all property professionals, free of founders, restrictions and loopholes.
3. Cost effective management from virtual offices nationwide.
Why waste money supporting the next ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ portal funded by founders, investors or ‘entrepreneurs’ with an exit strategy?
CREVALA Ltd is the company behind PropertyMutual.co.uk. CREVALA is an acronym derived from Commercial Rural Estate Valuation Auction and Letting Agents.
The name is intended to show that, whilst our primary market is
the residential property sector, we believe the consumer would benefit from an all-inclusive, intuitive property portal covering all sectors of the
UK property market. We are therefore bringing on board commercial and rural property in addition to residential property.
We are legally structured so we can never be sold to enrich founders or shareholders. Why is this important? Ask John Lewis, NFU Mutual, the Co-operative. These are similar, member owned businesses, started with no exit strategy. It means we invest all profits in the mutual and we intend to be around for many years to come, serving the consumer but also looking after the needs of our members. We invite all property professionals and developers, whether online or traditional, residential, commercial or agricultural to subscribe.
CREVALA Ltd is a company limited by guarantee to ensure it can never be sold to enrich the founders, shareholders or members. Some businesses, claiming to be mutual, even before launching have arranged their constitution to allow for a % member vote to permit the sale of the business, thus destroying the original concept and ethos of mutuality along with any credibility. Any loophole permitting the sale of such a business simply transforms it into another commercial property portal with an eventual exit strategy benefiting the founders.
CREVALA Ltd t/a PropertyMutual guarantees to provide a trustworthy, long-term mutual property portal that will never be sold. The CREVALA directors have many years combined experience in property, finance and information technology and sit on the management Board of PropertyMutual. Their presence ensures the needs of the professional membership, represented by the four elected PropertyMutual Board members, are translated into deliverable results.
PropertyMutual is legally structured to be never-for-sale in order to be a member run and funded digital marketing partner for property professionals and developers. We are the only portal where property professionals and developers can confidently subscribe, in the certain knowledge that we will never sell out, float on the stock market or change our business structure. Such practices have pushed up property marketing prices to the detriment of our members and their clients, and for the sole benefit of portal founders and shareholders.
‘To be recognised as the ethical and equitable mutual property portal, operating in the best interests of members and consumers, setting and enforcing professional standards of property listing, and delivering innovative property related services for all’.
PropertyMutual believes that the UK consumer, whether house hunting for purchase, rental or sharing, is either unaware of, or indifferent to, the property industry debate about a corporate duopoly dominating the industry and imposing upwards-only pricing on property professionals.
The British public will not be told where they can and cannot market their own property. Nor do they want to be made to go to a multitude of different property portals, some allowing only High Street Agents and excluding online agents, some allowing developers and others excluding them, all due to the anti-competitive and discriminatory whims of a clique of 'traditional' estate agents stuck in the 20th century. The British public demands to be supplied with what it wants, namely -
This means that a property portal must be focused primarily on the needs of the consumer, whilst providing a trustworthy, cost effective and permanent property marketing partner for its members. These professionals members have to be unafraid of competing on their own merits in a free market and open portal in the 21st century.
It is estimated that there are at least 15-20,000 estate and letting agents in the UK regularly listing property with the big two portals. This does not include property developers, or commercial and agricultural agents. The maths is simple and transparent. Only 1,000 subscribing members gives us a minimum turnover of £1m, 50% of which is committed to marketing; 5,000 gives us a turnover of £5m etc. We have no loans or interest to repay, no IT start up costs and no property portal to build from scratch.
Placed alongside the marketing budgets of the duopoly our ambitions are lofty but we believe the industry is crying out for a credible mutual guaranteeing that it is never-for-sale. With a motivated and committed membership advertising PropertyMutual in their windows on the High Street, and through word of mouth and targeted media advertising, we firmly believe there is sufficient scope to grow PropertyMutual as the only trustworthy, transparent, and not-for-profit property portal so desperately needed by both the consumer and property professionals.
David Cameron welcomes new competition from PropertyMutual in online property marketing.
- PropertyMutual - The Independent & Equitable Property portal where no members can be 'more equal than others' -
London 14th January 2014: The launch of PropertyMutual.co.uk, the UK’s first ‘mutual’ property portal has been welcomed by Prime Minister, The Rt. Hon. David Cameron MP for Witney.