Created by the founders of Purplebricks, Boomin is the latest newcomer to the saturated property portal market. With a variety of features, including a valuation tool that’s pinned as ‘the most interactive and accurate’ house price calculator available, Boomin claims to be the most powerful property site ever made. Conceived as an answer to the duopoly of Rightmove and Zoopla, can it succeed where OnTheMarket failed, and offer homesellers an innovative alternative? We take a look at Boomin and review their services and tools.
Boomin is a new property portal from the creator of Purplebricks, Michael Bruce. Like traditional property portals, Boomin allows estate agents to list properties that are currently for sale. Potential buyers can browse through listings by area, price range and property type. The website also offers an ensemble of tools for users to play around with.
Seeking to outpace its competitors, Boomin hopes to provide customers with a richer, deeper view of the property market through technological innovation. Some of their top tools include:
Like Zoopla, Boomin offers a free online valuation tool - but with a twist. SmartVal combines a real agent’s valuation with the results expected from an automated service, providing a valuation within 15 - 20 minutes. Elsewhere, MatchMaker and Sneak Peek provide users with ‘exclusive’ content.
Released in July 2021, the SmartVal valuation tool is one of the biggest features from Boomin’s marketing campaign. Online valuation tools are quick alternatives to valuations from estate agents, and mostly cater to people who aren’t committed to selling.
While traditional online valuation tools use algorithms to calculate property value, SmartVal bridges the gap between estate agents and automated services.
Estate agents registered with Boomin will receive a homeowner’s valuation request and have five minutes to accept it, then 15 minutes to provide a property valuation. Usually, in-person valuations take around one hour to complete, while online valuation tools take up to five minutes. SmartVal seeks to bridge the gap with their hybrid model by taking only 20 minutes.
When you use SmartVal for the first time, you will follow a process similar to this:
With SmartVal, Boomin clearly wants to offer homesellers something both fresh and accurate. Does it succeed?
The service is apparently time efficient. Users should expect to wait for only 15 minutes before a valuation from a certified agent arrives in their mailbox.
You get a valuation from an estate agent, not a mathematical algorithm like other online tools.
Here at GetAgent, we always encourage home sellers to get valuations from at least three different agents. With three valuations you can clearly see which one promises the best, realistic outlook for your property. Boomin clearly agrees too, as SmartVal encourages you to pick three.
Can agents really offer a quality house valuation under stress-inducing time constraints? Though in-person valuations can take up to a full hour, this is because there’s a lot to inspect, even in the most plain of properties. With online valuations on the other hand, their five minute automated process means they won’t be as exact as an estate agent’s valuation, but they’ll give a good benchmark. With a time sensitive 15 minute valuation service, Boomin agents might end up making reckless or uninformed decisions in the guise of ‘accurate’ valuations.
With a service that guarantees close to immediate feedback, how quickly will Boomin agents respond to out-of-hours requests? For most people, this is their only free time.
How accurate is Boomin’s valuation tool? While more accurate than an online valuation tool, Boomin’s valuation tool ‘SmartVal’ will never be as accurate as an in-person valuation from an estate agent. Valuations should always take goals and intent into account, because homeowners who want a quick sale might warrant a lower selling price. Valuations without prior conversation with a home seller about their needs, can never claim to be 100% accurate.
There’s a reason that potential buyers attend viewings when they find a property they like. There’s more to properties than photos and descriptions, including all the things that make your house a home. If buyers need to visit a property before making an offer, shouldn’t agents do the same before vendors can trust their valuation?
Your initial selling price is arguably one of the most important things in your property sale. It’s the basis for all future offers. Is it best practice then, to base it on a rushed 15 minute valuation from an agent who’s never been to your property before?
If you’re looking for an accurate house valuation, look no further than our free Agent Comparison Tool. Drawing on data from the Land Registry and property portals, our tool allows you to compare top performing agents in your local area. Once you’ve picked three you like, you can request a free valuation. Fast, easy to use, with zero obligations.
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If a property is in the midst of being evaluated, Secret Properties allows agents to list certain aspects on their website. As its namesake suggests, Secret Properties won’t actually give enough information for buyers to identify the property. Details such as the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, catchment areas however, will be available.
Essentially, buyers can register interest in a property before it comes to market. In theory, these properties should sell faster than standard properties.
Secret Properties: A closer look
On the one hand, the Secret Properties tool is a good way to help sellers assess demand. With buyers registering interest pre-sale, this should help properties sell faster.
On the other hand, if people don’t express enough interest, a feature like this might not only be redundant, but have the converse effect of dissuading people from selling. Usually, these types of features roll out at a late stage where there’s a good deal of buyer interest in your portal - not when you’re only just establishing your brand and people are still unsure of your service.
Matchmaker is Boomin’s ‘property dating service’. Like Secret Properties, it gives Boomin users exclusive access to properties that aren't on the market yet. So how does Boomin’s MatchMaker work?
If you’re thinking of selling, you can make an advert about your home to gauge buyer interest. You enter a few details, including key features and ballpark sale price, then your advert goes live. Interested buyers can click on your advert, and Boomin will ask if you want to progress with an estate agent.
If you’re a buyer, you can choose from a number of property preferences, including ideal moving locations, approximate budget and must-have features. These affect the type of properties that appear - much like a dating app. Your ‘advert’ then gets published, and you’ll be notified if there are compatible sellers in your chosen areas. You can then choose which properties you’re interested in.
MatchMaker: A closer look
While an interesting idea, MatchMaker could be seen as going against the nature of the property market. The reality of property transactions is compromise. While you might think your house is worth a lot of money, the reality is that it’s probably worth a little less. Likewise, buyers will likely create adverts for homes that are out of their budget.
Matchmaking buyers and sellers might create unrealistic expectations that opposing parties can never meet. Property transactions are about tempering dreams to meet realistic expectations.
Once a Boomin agent has been instructed, they can offer a ‘sneak peek’ at the property for a period of 14 days before it’s fully listed on other portals. In practice, Boomin users get early access to properties before they are listed on Rightmove, Zoopla and OnTheMarket.
Boomin Sneak Peek: A closer look
While framed as a helpful service, it’s hard to see how Sneak Peek actually helps homeowners, when it actively restricts the amount of marketing exposure they get. It feels like an attempt to capitalise on exclusive properties, with less service to homeowners, and more for Boomin’s portal.
Boomin is free to use for home sellers and buyers. If users buy products and services through agent instructions, such as project management utilities, Boomin will earn referral fees.
Like traditional property portals, Boomin charges estate agents a basic fee to list their properties, plus additional fees for marketing services.
Like the online agency Purplebricks, Boomin charges different rates for London and the rest of the UK. These base rates for agents are divided into three categories:
Boomin’s fees for these categories are:
|Category||London fee||Rest of the UK fee|
|Sales & lettings||£499||£399|
Currently, Boomin.com has a 3.7 score on TrustPilot from 166 user reviews, indicating an ‘Average’ rating. Most of Boomin’s poor reviews appear to stem from complaints around usability and poor agent performance. On the other hand, Boomin’s positive reviews praise the website and its overall performance.
Across the web this gives Boomin an average rating of 2.5/5
In an article published on June 7th 2021, Michael Bruce told Property Industry EYE that “The portal industry scores poorly on reviews. I am determined that Boomin will break the mould and that our leaders will be visible, available, responsive and deliver on our promises. Our reviews over time will no doubt reflect this ambition. In the meantime, we will listen and act.”’
Boomin wants to upstage the current major property portals. So now, nearly six months after its April launch, how is the newcomer faring against Rightmove?
At the moment, Boomin’s 3.5 score hedges Rightmove’s 3.2. However, Rightmove has received reviews from over 600 users, whereas Boomin has only received reviews from 166 users. Most of Rightmove’s recent complaints centre around their Integrated Tenant Referencing feature, with many claiming agents were ‘unresponsive’.
Popularity and Reach
Reviews aside, success is measured by popularity. Over the last 12 months, Boomin has a record of 49.5K monthly searches in the UK. Rightmove on the other hand, dwarfs by comparison, with 13.6 million searches. This goliath sum matches its 80% share of the market. Listing your property on Rightmove will likely allow you to reach more potential buyers than Boomin. But, with a number of useful features with which buyers can elicit interest, Boomin buyers might be more inclined to buy.
Due to the wide variety of people interacting with property portals, there’s a number of ways you can measure usefulness. Agents use portals for business, while sellers and buyers use portals to either monitor their listings, or browse available properties.
Ultimately, one of the best ways to measure a portal’s utility is to measure the number of agencies currently advertising listings. They directly affect:
In their annual report from 2020, Rightmove announced its agency numbers were 19,197, a decrease of 3% from 19,809 in 2019. Boomin, on the other hand, has 6,300 registered agencies. As it’s only been six months since launch, whether Boomin can increase its numbers and truly threaten Rightmove, remains to be seen.
While Boomin has potential, it may not not be a good choice for home sellers right now. Without a bigger market share, using the portal might limit the number of potential buyers you can reach through Rightmove and Zoopla. This could lead to you getting less money from your house sale.
A few years ago, OnTheMarket attempted to uproot the property portal market. While OTM are still going, they have not been met with the enthusiasm they predicted. All of their founding agents have since returned their business to Rightmove and Zoopla. This begs the question, why would the industry need another property portal? What else can Boomin do to change the tide?
The problem seems to be that, rather than offering useful services, Boomin strives to distinguish itself from its rivals by offering exclusive content to buyers. Even with their micro-ingenuities, there isn’t enough stimulation to encourage an exodus of users from the duopoly of Rightmove and Zoopla.
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