Property portal entrepreneur can dent dominance of market leaders

Rocky Mirza Houser
Rocky Mirza founder of Houser

New property portal Houser will “do for real estate in the UK what Google has done for search”, according to the website’s founder.

Rocky Mirza, the Canadian entrepreneur behind the site that aims to be bigger than Rightmove and Zoopla within months of its launch later this month, came out fighting at Houser’s media launch last week.

He told the audience at the Park Lane Hilton in London that Houser has already signed up more than 5,300 UK estate agents and looks set to make considerable changes to the way consumers search for property, due to its innovative use of estate agent website data and web crawler technology.

Mirza explained that he is a serial entrepreneur and maths genius who made his money initially from registering thousands of domain names at the dawn of the Internet. Since then, he has forged a reputation as a disruptor of established businesses and an innovator who will use data to achieve Houser’s goal of “stopping property portals from dictating unfair terms and charging real estate agents exorbitant fees”.

The site, which is offering its services to estate agents for free, will be populated at launch on 19 January with data already obtained from agents’ websites, highlighting the immediate impact the portal could have on the property industry, not to mention the instant indent it is likely to have on search engine results.

Nelly Berova, who attended the Park Lane Hilton event on behalf of Property Division, comments: “Mirza has some really great ideas, which if executed well can definitely attract many consumers to his website. As he stated, if his product is good, 60% of his marketing will be done for him as consumers will do the work for him.”

But while Nelly, who is CEO of Art Division – the company behind the Property Division news hub – concedes Mirza has some innovative ideas that will challenge Rightmove and Zoopla’s dominance, she doubts whether Houser will overtake their top spots in the property portal market any time soon.

She says: “Both Rightmove and Zoopla have major marketing budgets and Houser is a self-funded project, mainly relying on viral marketing. We are, however, very excited to see the finished product and how Mirza’s innovative ideas work in reality.”

The jury is still out on Houser. While Mirza is an impressive individual whose claims that there is no reason for estate agents to withdraw from his portal while its listings are free ring true, the work involved in achieving Houser’s aims in just a few months means it is likely Rightmove and Zoopla will retain their dominance for the time being.

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