Marketing to the home mover


This summer I joined the 2015 cohort of home movers by selling and buying my house.

As anyone who has ever engaged with the joy that is buying and selling in England knows, it was ‘interesting’ on several levels. However, moving also triggered a few things that made my inner marketer sit up and pay attention. Home movers are big business!

About two weeks after our agent, Tim Mayho from relative newcomers Keller Williams listed our property on Rightmove we received an almost plaintive letter from Zoopla encouraging us to list on their site too. We happened to use a agency which doesn’t favour Zoopla, and were getting plenty of interest.

Around six weeks after our property was listed online we received a postcard from another agency asking whether we were fed up yet with our not-even-local agent. It went in the bin because we didn’t like their method. Plus, we’d also already accepted an offer which would go through later.

After our property was marked ‘ Sold STC’ online, we started getting post from removals companies offering their services, a solicitor, a mortgage broker and an insurance company wishing to quote for our next home. Clearly we’d made it onto a different set of home mover data very efficiently, deftly bypassing the MPS and my religiously ticking opt-out boxes at every opportunity.

Six days after moving into our property I received the catalogue of a furniture company – I had somehow made it onto their new owner database in record time. They even spelled my entire surname right! Meanwhile the lovely peeps at Homebase sent money off vouchers twice because our new home has a name as well as a number and so occurs in their database twice. Additionally the Royal Mail kindy redirected the ones sent to our old address too. Thanks everyone!

Home mover data

All this has made me curious to see what home mover data is worth in marketing. Here’s what I found:

  • 2014 saw a huge increase in first time buyers, the largest since 2007
  • Home movers fell in the first six months of 2015 compared to 2014, but were still up 32% on the same period in 2009, when the housing market was at its lowest
  • It’s ‘second steppers’ who are benefitting from 2014’s price rises, (still) low interest rates and sitting on a very healthy deposit in the shape of equity. They are also likely to be financially more secure and have more spending power compared to first time buyers
  • Home movers are likely to spend more – up to 10 times – on their home in the first six months after purchasing than they do in five years of ownership thereafter

It’s easy to see why marketing budgets are happily allocated to the home mover.

Companies compiling and selling any kind of data are guarded about how they obtain it and where from. It is a labour-intensive and therefore expensive affair: home mover data is collected by trawling portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla, estate agent websites, and by using available data from the Royal Mail Redirection service, mortgage valuation data and electoral role updates. Some agencies even physically scour streets for ‘For Sale’, ‘Under Offer’, ‘Sold’ and ‘Let’ signs to take addresses.

What this home mover did…

So, what happened in my household with these irresistible offers?

Well, for starters we chose and stuck with our agent whom we knew before we decided to sell. We didn’t bother with Zoopla or a ‘For Sale’ board in the garden and had our first offer in a matter of days.

We did our homework on removals firms and chose a local one which came recommended by many; we asked for recommendations and were introduced to our mortgage broker who then introduced us to our outstanding solicitor, and we asked our sellers which insurance company they were using and after getting a few other quotes from more recommended insurers signed up with them for specialist home insurance.

We also have recommendations for someone to build a bespoke bench in a corner, because none of our walls are straight and/or at right angles, ruling out most readymade furniture, which tends not to fit through our doors in the first place.

The Homebase vouchers are another story however… As it turns out we have interesting plumbing challenges so having those in triplicate is handy when buying drain unblockers in bulk. Proof that marketing to the home mover works after all!

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