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Mystery over ‘review’ of Rightmove membership of online agent founded by 18-year-old

April 18, 2018

Email to a friend Print Online agent Doorstep is having its membership of Rightmove “reviewed”, a spokesperson for the portal confirmed yesterday evening, after rumours reached us as to the reasons. The spokesperson would not confirm these to EYE, and in its one-sentence statement did not say why Doorstep is having its membership reviewed. Doorstep […]

Emoov reveals its losses and liabilities in latest accounts

Email to a friend Print In accounts for the year ended April 30, 2017, newly filed at Companies House, Emoov reveals net liabilities of £583,824. The figure was up from the £275,896 given in restated accounts on October 31, 2016. The overall loss in the year to last April 30 was £583,824, up from £275,896. […]

Tepilo tells watchdog it will make it clearer that sellers will be charged extra if they don’t use conveyancing service

Email to a friend Print A complaint about online agent Tepilo, founded by TV presenter Sarah Beeny, has been informally resolved by the Advertising Standards Authority. The complainant said that Tepilo’s online advertising did not make it clear that if a customer chose not to use the conveyancing service, the customer will have to pay […]

The Property Ombudsman warns that agents will still have duty of care for tenants’ complaints after fee ban

Email to a friend Print The Property Ombudsman has warned that letting agents must not forget about their duty to tenants once the fee ban comes in. Katrine Sporle was speaking at the ARLA Propertymark national conference where delegates had questioned why they should deal with tenant complaints if they are not getting paid by […]

ARLA conference: Members urged to get MPs on side for Tenant Fees Bill debates

Email to a friend Print ARLA Propertymark is urging members to begin contacting their MPs to ensure they are well informed about the Draft Tenant Fees Bill as it begins to progress through Parliament. Speaking at yesterday’s ARLA Propertymark annual conference, chief executive David Cox said the ban was coming but members must help to […]

EYE NEWSFLASH! HouseSimple announces it is ditching pay upfront model to become no sale, no fee only

April 17, 2018

Email to a friend Print From today, online estate agent HouseSimple.com will become a no sale, no fee only agency. It has now made the change on its website, which started off today by displaying fixed fees from £695, and no sale, no fee £1,495. It says it has taken the decision to simplify its […]

Lawyer reveals ‘shocking’ cases where agents steal from clients and then dissolve business – only to start up again

Email to a friend Print A lawyer has revealed that her firm has regularly handled cases in recent years where letting agents have stolen client money and then dissolved the company to avoid liability, only to set up again. Tess Saunders, of law firm Royds Withy King, said that in the last year alone, she […]

New CEO for online agent Yopa as founder becomes chairman

Email to a friend Print There has been a change at the top at online agent Yopa. Co-founder and former CEO Daniel Attia has become chairman. He founded the business in 2014 at the age of 23. He has now been succeeded by Ben Poynter, who was the chief financial officer. A new chief financial […]

Could it happen here? US portal giant Zillow to start buying and selling homes

Email to a friend Print In a move that could be ringing alarm bells on both sides of the Atlantic, American portal giant Zillow has announced it is going to start directly buying and selling homes. While it says it will not be competing with its own agents – indeed, Zillow says this is a […]

Man to go on trial after denying assault on estate agent

A man is to go on trial after pleading not guilty to assault. Marc Skelton appeared before magistrates at Poole, Dorset, last Friday, charged with assaulting Anthony Newman of Tony Newman Estate Agents on February 27. Skelton also denied a charge of using threating, abusive or insulting words of behaviour with intent to cause fear […]

Airbnb lays down challenge in short-term lettings sector as it marks growth in UK

Email to a friend Print Airbnb is making further inroads into the short-stay private rental sector after announcing the first three UK companies to join its ‘Professional Co-host Program’. They are Air Agents, Pass the Keys and BnBBuddy. None are agents, although there are agents offering Airbnb services, and were typically started by friends who […]

Purplebricks says sellers using online agents saved £140m last year by not going with high street firms

April 16, 2018

Email to a friend Print Sellers who used an online or hybrid estate agent last year saved themselves £140m by opting not to pay high street fees. The claim this morning has come from Purplebricks, which says that the saving represented a 60% rise on the year before. Its own customers, says Purplebricks, saved over […]

Asking prices hit record high as Rightmove hails busiest month ever for visits

The average price of new property coming to market has nudged up to a record high, Rightmove reports this morning. The portal’s April House Price Index shows asking prices on listings increased by a modest 0.4% on a monthly basis and annual growth slowed to 1.6% from 2.1% in March, but it was enough to […]

Does immigration really make house prices go up, and more new homes make them go down?

What determines house prices? Most people would say ‘supply and demand’ – but what about interest rates, wages, and employment? And what about immigration, which current housing minister Dominic Raab controversially claimed was responsible for house price rises. It turned out that he had been given the information by civil servants, based on what critics […]

Landlords ‘doing up’ rather than ‘trading up’ – Countrywide

Landlords are choosing to invest in their existing properties rather than take on the extra transaction costs of adding to their portfolios, Countrywide claims. The agent’s Lettings Index for March showed record numbers of landlords remortgaging to release funds for home improvements rather than to trade up. In the past 12 months, out of the […]

Build-to-rent development on the rise as completions increase by 45%

The total number of build-to-rent homes completed, under construction and in planning across the UK has increased by 30% in the past year, analysis by the British Property Federation trade body and Savills shows. In the UK, at the end of the first quarter, there are now 117,893 build-to-rent homes across all stages of the […]

Purplebricks looks to woo Mumsnet with ten free packages in exchange for posting up their feedback

April 13, 2018

Purplebricks is giving away ten free packages to Mumsnet members in exchange for them posting their feedback at least four times a week on the platform. This is despite the fact that Mumsnet members are not exactly known for holding back their views on anything, and have often been among Purplebricks’ harshest critics. https://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/property/2498593-purplebricks-turns-out-it-was-too-good-to-be-true However, […]

Could the property portals go the same way that local newspapers have done?

Could the property portals go the same way as local newspapers? Given that it was the portals that trumped the papers, it is an ironical thought – and one that is put very ably by Troy Stanley of Resource Techniques. He argues that new ways of search, including voice search (are you listening, Alexa?), could […]

Could the property portals go the same way as local newspapers have done?

Could the property portals go the same way as local newspapers? Given that it was the portals that trumped the papers, it is an ironical thought – and one that is put very ably by Troy Stanley of Resource Techniques. He argues that new ways of search, including voice search (are you listening, Alexa?), could […]

Share price of OnTheMarket leaps over 17% in one day – with no obvious reason

An enormous jump in OnTheMarket’s share price yesterday sent it leaping nearly 17.5% – an increase of 19p. The shares finished the day at 128p, valuing the company at £69m. While some way from their high on February 22 of 168p and still adrift of the planned launch price (on February 9) of 165p, it […]

Cost savings on portals subscriptions lure more independents to join large network

The high costs of portals are specifically given as a reason why small independents could be interested in converting to the Hunters brand. Hunters yesterday reported robust results for last year. In its report, Hunters chairman and co-founder, the MP Kevin Hollinrake, said independent agents who have converted to the brand have made more money […]

Propertymark says no to single housing ombudsman but calls for TPO to operate across entire private sector

Propertymark has rejected the Government’s proposal of one ombudsman for the entire housing sector. It says there should be one ombudsman for private housing and another for social housing. However, it advocates one portal for all housing-related complaints. Currently there are three redress schemes for the private sector. Propertymark suggests that the single ombudsman in […]

Agents report deepening housing market gloom as buyer enquiries fall for 12th consecutive month

April 12, 2018

Email to a friend Print Buyer demand has now fallen continuously for a full year, estate agents who are members of RICS have reported. A gloomy RICS UK Residential Market Survey for March showed 17% more respondents saw new buyer enquiries fall than rise, a 12th consecutive month of negativity. Sales were also down, with […]

Will requiring estate agents to be professionally qualified improve the market? No, says think tank

It is no surprise that plans requiring estate agents to hold professional qualifications in future have gone down well with the National Association of Estate Agents. Sam Dumitrui, head of projects at think tank the Adam Smith Institute, made the claim. He said: “Incumbents usually support closed shops.” He was answering a question posed by […]

Government urged to create ‘more mandation’ in regulation of agency sector

Conveyancers are urging the Government to go further in its reform of the estate agency sector by mandating sellers to provide vital information upfront. The Conveyancing Association has welcome government proposals to introduce minimum qualifications for estate agents, but said more ‘mandation’ is needed. Eddie Goldsmith, CA chairman, said: “If we are being brutally honest, […]

Leading industry figure Frank Webster to leave Finders Keepers two years after sale to Countrywide

One of the industry’s most universally respected figures, Frank Webster, is leaving Finders Keepers, the agency he helped build up so successfully, and which was bought just over two years ago by Countrywide. His departure next month follows that of managing director Dan Channer, whose last day is tomorrow. Webster will leave the high-profile business, […]

Deposit diaries: Dispute after tenants chopped branch off tree without owner’s permission

Welcome to this month’s edition of The Deposit Diaries where the assistant director of dispute resolution at TDS, Sandy Bastin, discusses a recent decision by an adjudicator and sets out the reasoning behind it In this case, the landlord claimed £225 for a missing tree branch. This was based on the estimated value the tree […]

Mass exit from market predicted as legislation bites – ‘some of my own franchisees won’t survive’

April 11, 2018

The boss of the UK’s biggest property franchising network, The Property Franchise Group, says some of his own franchisees will not survive, and that between a quarter and a third of all agents are in jeopardy. And the head of the second largest franchising firm, Belvoir, said it is getting on average one unsolicited approach […]

Purplebricks tells Government to go further in reforms and compel high street agents to publish fees

Purplebricks has called on the Government to go further in its proposals to clamp down on the industry by requiring agents to publish their commission rates. It said 93% of ‘traditional’ agents do not publish their fees should be more transparent. Purplebricks said that, in contrast, its own rates are published and fully transparent. The […]

‘Mystery’ as new Purplebricks listings fail to make an appearance on Zoopla

There was speculation yesterday about the lack of properties put up by Purplebricks on Zoopla. By last night, no new properties had been uploaded, with the last ones showing as having been listed on Monday, when 33 new listings appeared. Despite the lack of Purplebricks properties on Zoopla yesterday, new listings continued to appear on […]

Shocking moment captured on video as estate agent armed with knives confronts police

An estate agent who lost his job after a drink driving arrest has been jailed for four years after he tried to stab a policeman. Swansea Crown Court heard that Tony Buttigieg was raging after losing his £42,800 job as a manager. Worried neighbours called police after he banged on their doors, saying that someone […]

Fraud agent given a month to pay compensation to victims or stay in prison another year

A crooked agent has been ordered to repay £22,000 to his victims or face another year in prison. The sum is only part of the total involved. Peter Bell, who ran the Enfields franchise in Northampton, was last May sentenced to 26 months in jail after stealing £92,000 from tenants and landlords. Bell admitted 15 […]

EYE Newsflash: Two agents ‘disqualified’ as directors in wake of ‘cartel’ case

April 10, 2018

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has this morning announced that two agents involved in the Burnham-on-Sea cartel case have given undertakings that they will not act as directors of any UK company. David Baker, former director of estate agency Abbott and Frost Estate Agents, has given a disqualification undertaking not to act as a […]

This could have happened 39 years ago: Power to make qualifications mandatory exist under 1979 Act

A professional with experience in both financial services and property has warned that the baby could be chucked out with the bath water if agents need professional qualifications to practise. Meanwhile, agents are asking why it has taken so long for ministers to announce mandatory qualifications when they could have been brought in 39 years […]

HomeOwners Alliance challenged to display its own referral fees on website

The HomeOwners Alliance has been embroiled in a public dispute on Twitter after the Government announced that estate agents must in future disclose referral fees. Henry Pryor and others raised concerns, saying that the HOA is part-owned by ULS Technology “& whose income I believe is based on fees from conveyancing referrals”. The HOA tweeted […]

Online agents increase market share to 7% in first quarter of this year, claim

Online agents increased their market share by 11% in the first quarter of this year, and now make up 7% of the overall market. Customer intelligence firm twentyci said that in the first quarter of this year, online agents were responsible for 14,846 exchanges, compared with 205,133 by bricks and mortar agents. The firm described […]

OTM recruits 15-branch Kings Group to list its properties

OnTheMarket has announced that Kings Group, a 15-branch estate and lettings agency firm, is now listing its properties on the portal. Founded in 1991, Kings Group has offices across north London, east London, Hertfordshire and Essex, and is still listing on Rightmove and Zoopla. Karl Knipe, partner at Kings Group, said: “We are very happy […]

Savills boss could earn over £2m in performance related profit share this year

Savills’ group chief executive officer Jeremy Helsby will earn a base salary of £289,000 this year, with a maximum of performance related profit share opportunity of £2.134m. The figures are revealed in the newly published annual report for Savills, covering last year. Helsby, who reached retirement age in July 2015, is to step down at […]

Estate agents will have to be professionally qualified in future and reveal referral fees

April 9, 2018

Email to a friend Print Estate agents will in future have to hold a professional qualification and also be transparent about the referral fees they receive. The National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team (NTSEAT) will be tasked with proactively monitoring the disclosure of referral fees, and the Government will also look more closely at the […]

Opinion piece: Buckle up, we’re going to be experiencing some turbulence

It’s that time of year when our thoughts turn towards summer holidays with travel to warmer climates, freedom and a break from damp mornings, train malfunctions and buyers changing their minds because, well, just because. Of course, all the excited anticipation of the holiday is somewhat tempered by the pilot’s announcement on first boarding the […]

Proposed minimum qualifications could lead to ‘draining the swamp’, says leading estate agent

A well-known agent says that the proposals announced early yesterday could ‘drain the swamp’. Peter Wetherell, chief executive of Wetherell in central London, welcomed the future need for estate agents to have a recognised qualification. He said: “It’s the estate agency version of draining the swamp. “It is amazing that you now have regulated bouncers […]

Tipping point: Agent now paying more to Rightmove per month than in office rent

An estate agent says that following Rightmove’s latest price hike one of his branches is paying more in its monthly subscription to the portal than rent. The agent told us: “I regard this as the tipping point.” The agent pays Rightmove six separate subscriptions – four for sales and two for lettings. The branch where […]

TV star Sarah Beeny’s online firm Tepilo reports losses of over £2m as debts rise

Online agent Tepilo ended its last financial year with a loss of almost £2.3m and owing nearly £5m to creditors, with amounts due within 12 months. Tepilo has only just posted results on Companies House for the financial year ending June 30, 2017. The accounts were signed off on March 27. As at the end […]

Councils encouraged to make public when agents and landlords are banned

April 6, 2018

Letting agents who are banned should be named and shamed, says new government guidance issued this morning. The guidance – which is non-statutory – appears to have been issued to counter criticisms that the new blacklist of rogue agents and landlords will not be available to members of the general public or to prospective employers […]

HMRC continues silence on how many estate agents have been fined for anti-money laundering breaches

Anti-money laundering fines imposed by HMRC are not broken down by sector, making it impossible to verify independent claims that almost one in five estate agents have been fined over anti-money laundering breaches. HMRC supervises seven different industry sectors, including estate agents. However, it will only make available overall figures, and it is not known […]

The Paul Smith column: Why is staff turnover so high at the hybrids?

Holding on to good staff is important in any profession. For a start, you want to hang on to the expertise they’ve built up, especially if you’ve invested a substantial sum in training. Plus you don’t want to have to spend yet more money on recruiting a replacement if they only stay a few months. […]

Clean-up drove two thirds of financial advisers out of industry: Will it be the same for letting agents?

It’s so obvious that regulation of the lettings industry is overdue, given the sums involved, that to criticise the Government’s latest announcement of legislation which will introduce measures such as a new regulator, a code or practice and mandatory qualifications, looks perverse. But let me persevere. There is no obvious competent regulator amongst the plethora […]

Your plain English guide to preparing your agency for GDPR: Part three

PART THREE: Marketing processes Do not delete your database A small minority of organisations have chosen to delete their databases rather than look at ways to repurpose them and achieve GDPR compliance. This is the last thing that agents should do, as their databases hold an abundance of revenue-generating opportunities. Especially when considering that it […]

Agency world more male-dominated than other industries as women take the lower paid jobs

April 5, 2018

Email to a friend Print New data from the UK’s biggest estate agencies shows that the industry continues to be male-dominated with low proportions of women in the highest paid roles and gender pay gaps above the national average. From today, companies with more than 250 staff must annually publish the mean and median pay […]

New York, New York! Purplebricks set to take a bite out of the Big Apple?

Purplebricks, which launched in California last September, has now opened for business in New York, the US media has reported. So far, it has reportedly 13 people in New York, where the team is led by experienced realtor Robert DiBiase. The US roll-out of Purplebricks is set to be accelerated by a £125m investment by […]