Suttons City Living Blog - Property Gossip

Powered By
Powered By Property Industry Eye

Can proptech solve the housing affordability crisis?

May 24, 2017

The global housing affordability issue is well known. In cities all over the world, first-time buyers are being shut out, forced to rent, move city or hole up with their baby boomer parents while they attempt the near impossible – save faster than price rises. Enter proptech. We take a look at four businesses taking […]

We WILL be number one estate agent in UK, declares Purplebricks boss

May 23, 2017

Purplebricks boss Michael Bruce said yesterday evening that his company will be the number one agency in the UK. The firm presently positions itself as number three, behind Countrywide and Connells. Speaking on the Radio 4 programme ‘Breakfast with the Disruptors’, Bruce was challenged by Simon Gerrard, who heads up a highly successful high street […]

Firm with millions to splash on buying independents set to make a move on London

Lomond Capital, the company rapidly buying up independent agencies from Aberdeen down to Brighton, is looking to push into the London market. A deal is on the cards by the end of this year. Lomond is currently operating in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, St Andrews, Manchester, Birmingham and Brighton. In a revealing interview, Lomond boss Stuart Pender […]

Important update on money laundering: Further advice to our readers

Significant numbers of agents have been renewing their HMRC Money Laundering Supervision registration over the past month, and as was previously reported the process is very time consuming, especially when the business has multiple partners or directors. It can take a full day of someone’s time to collect all the information required and complete the […]

How one viewer welcomed being shown around by a non-agent

What happens if you are showing someone around a property when you are not an estate agent? In the case of journalist Myra Butterworth, she couldn’t open the door. Butterworth observes that it wasn’t the best start to her stint at being a ‘Viewber’ – the outsourced viewing service launched by former London agent Ed […]

Free places on invaluable training courses for agents are up for grabs

TM Training & Development are giving away FREE places on its next five open courses, following a successful trial. The free places are sponsored by Rightmove and the courses are being held in Newcastle, Manchester and London for estate agents, and in London and Manchester for letting agents. The courses focus on how to defeat […]

NFoPP boss says suggestions of ‘undemocratic’ behaviour are not true

May 22, 2017

NFoPP – which trades as Propertymark – yesterday acted to head off disquiet among members of Propertymark NAEA and ARLA after the notice for the AGM was sent out on Friday. Propertymark NAEA chief executive Mark Hayward totally rejected suggestions that there has been a lack of democracy. Yesterday afternoon, speaking from Washington where he […]

Protesters swoop on Savills’ flagship headquarters in letting agent fees demo

Activists demonstrated outside Savills’s flagship headquarters on Friday, protesting against “extortionate” letting fees. Dressed as burglars to highlight their claims of “daylight robbery”, the demonstrators from renters’ rights group Digs formed a wall outside Savills’ office close to Oxford Circus in central London. The barricade meant that some Savills staff were stranded outside, according to […]

Online agents are more ‘friends than frenemy’ to Rightmove, says analyst

Agents will pay Rightmove an extra £85 this year, a City analyst has forecast. Exane BNP Paribas says its prediction is above management guidance of a £70 rise in average advertising rate per advertiser. Exane last week hosted new Rightmove CEO Peter Brooke-Johnson at an event where it was stressed that it would be ‘business […]

Rightmove innovative? Not at all, says proptech expert

Rightmove – rated by Forbes last week as the world’s most innovative growth business – could lose its shine and is not innovative at all, a leading proptech commentator has warned. Its biggest threat could be Purplebricks. Eddie Holmes said that while Rightmove is widely recognised as one of the best businesses in the world, […]

Estate agent chucks in job to stand as candidate in housing minister’s constituency

An estate agent has left his job to stand as a candidate in the constituency where housing minister Gavin Barwell is up for re-election. Don Locke, 26, will campaign on housing issues. He handed in his notice from his job, apparently at Northwood, in Dulwich, London, and lodged his £500 deposit in order to run […]

Florence’s legacy: The money you gave will help other children with childhood cancer

May 19, 2017

Money raised for Florence will go towards research into childhood cancers. Florence Jackson died in February of neuroblastoma at the age of just two. Compassionate EYE readers, enchanted by her smile and moved by her ordeal which included over 20 rounds of chemotherapy, were among the generous strangers who had poured money into a JustGiving […]

Tory senior hints that Home Information Packs could be back if Conservatives win

Home Information Packs are firmly back on the agenda. In an interview on the Eddie Mair show, Tory politician Michael Gove said that the idea could be revisited by a new Conservative government. The former Shadow housing minister, asked by Mair about its manifesto plans to revise the home buying process, said: “What we can […]

Online agents splash out on media spend to triple their market share

A massive media spend by online agents has helped them grow their market share from 1.1% to 3.7%. The conclusion is from GetAgent, but according to City analyst William Packer this morning, the share of listings on Rightmove is larger, at 6%. In a new note to investors, Packer said that Rightmove regarded online agents […]

Rightmove named the most innovative company in the world

Rightmove has been named the most innovative growth company in the world by influential Forbes, for the second year running. This year’s list gives Rightmove an “innovation premium” of 91.4%. Rightmove comes ahead of US portal giant Zillow, which makes 14th place, and the Australian portal company REA. Other well-known companies in the list include […]

Crack parachute squad Red Devils drop in to agents’ awards bash

The Red Devils paid a surprise visit to the Spicerhaart staff awards bash. And no – they didn’t drop in from the skies. They came in through the door, magnificently accompanied by a drummer and trumpeter from the Parachute Regiment Band. Staff are planning a sky dive with the Red Devils next month to raise […]

Huge plunge in profits is revealed in Your Move accounts

May 18, 2017

Operating profits at Your Move plunged last year from over £5.5m to just under £1.2m, its newly-issued accounts have revealed. While revenue barely altered from the year before – down just 0.78% – operating profits sunk 78% to £1,193,991, down from £5,526,000 in 2015. Its pre-tax profits fell from £5.526m to £346,000. Bottom line profits […]

Shares in Foxtons tumble after firm reports revenue down 25%

Shares in Foxtons fell yesterday after the firm issued a trading update which said that revenue in the first quarter of this year was down £10m on the same period last year. Group revenue in the first three months was £28.7m compared with £38.4 in the first quarter last year. Sales were particularly badly hit, […]

Two agents expelled by Ombudsman after failing to pay awards to complainants

Two agents have been expelled from the Property Ombudsman Scheme. Both had failed to pay awards as ordered by the Ombudsman. In the first case, the landlord contacted TPO after she was unable to resolve her dispute with Lettings Solutions, in Witham, Essex Her complaints covered issues including tenant referencing, agreeing tenancies without explicit approval, […]

The battle lines are drawn: Full Service or Self-Service?

The lines are drawn between Full Service and Self-Service in the battle for customers. But does Full Service do what it says on the tin or are some agents still trying to Fool vendors and landlords. Long-time readers of my blog will recall my Three Steps to Survival in which I challenged “traditional” agents to […]

Nightmare Tenants programme to show agent shutting eviction specialist in his office

This evening Channel Five’s Nightmare Tenants, Slum Landlords is due to show a letting agent shutting eviction expert Paul Shamplina in his office. The episode highlights the importance of Client Money Protection, when the agent, in Ilford, Essex, failed to pass on rent or carry out sufficient referencing. The episode features landlord Doni Soeyono who […]

Online agent YOPA raises another £15m as Daily Mail and Savills pour in more money

May 17, 2017

Hybrid agent YOPA has raised £15m in a funding round led by the Daily Mail and General Trust – DMGT is the majority shareholder in Zoopla – alongside new investment from Savills’ investment arm, Grosvenor Hill Ventures. Private investors have also contributed. In June last year, YOPA raised £16m in a funding round led by […]

Newspaper group launches fight-back against Rightmove and Zoopla

Trinity Mirror, publisher of the Daily Mirror and over 140 regional newspapers, has launched what it calls a fight-back against Rightmove and Zoopla, aiming for a bigger slice of estate agents’ marketing spend. The company is launching a new campaign called #Be1ofthe3. The name of the campaign is reflective of the fact that most vendors […]

New tenants’ passport service goes into beta mode ahead of fees ban

An innovative new tenants’ passport service has launched in beta mode, a few months before it is due to go fully live. It is free to tenants, and ahead of the fees ban, has been designed to replace traditional referencing by agents. The tenants create their Movem Passport online, to include ID verification, passport validation, […]

Picture of the Week: And we know what you’re going to say about knickers!

Picture of the Week – and we apologise that it is not, well, more pictorial. If we could make it more illustrative, perhaps there’d be a few tarts’ knickers in a boudoir, or more politely a bungee jump. The home is a perfectly pleasant two-bed flat in south west London, marketed by easyProperty. But talk […]

Labour manifesto pledges lettings fee ban and rent caps

A Labour government would still implement a tenant fee ban and has vowed to give tenants more consumer rights to deal with “sub standard” homes. The party’s election manifesto, launched yesterday, promises more than 1m new homes by the end of the next Parliament as well as the building of at least 100,000 council and […]

New victory for agent in ‘outrageous’ money laundering case as HMRC is now told to pay costs

May 16, 2017

The agent which successfully appealed after being hit with the highest-ever fine for alleged breaches of anti-money laundering, has won its fight to have its costs paid by HMRC. Jackson Grundy, in Northamptonshire, was fined £169,000 in 2014 by the now defunct Office of Fair Trading on its last day of operation. The fine was […]

Agent wins case against vendor who refused to pay commission

Savills has won its case against a vendor who refused to pay the firm’s commission. Savills had not introduced the buyer, although the case did not revolve around that but the status of the marketing report. The case at the Court of Appeal was heard in January and the judgment issued in February, but it […]

Viewber raises cash in ‘over-subscribed’ funding round

Viewber, the outsourced viewing service for the property industry, has successfully raised new money in a funding round. It has not named the figure raised, but described the sum as “well over-subscribed”. Launched last September, the company now says it has national coverage via its network of Viewbers. It services every type of real estate […]

Which? adjusts its average fee charged by estate agents downwards

Online agents may have to adjust their claims as to how much they save sellers after Which? has updated the average fee it believes high street agents charge. Which? did claim the figure was 1.8%, but now says the average fee is now 1.3%. http://www.which.co.uk/money/mortgages-and-property/home-movers/guides/selling-a-house/estate-agent-fees-and-contracts [ comments ] Source:: Which? adjusts its average fee charged […]

Home owner sues giant portal over ‘valuation’ tool on its website

A lawsuit in the US is stirring interest in the UK – with questions being asked as to whether something similar could happen here. The States litigation concerns a home owner who says that a large chunk of money was knocked off the value of her home by an automated ‘algorithm’ tool on the property […]

So THIS is why online agents keep putting up their prices?

May 15, 2017

I was surfing on the Wayback Machine, looking for nostalgia. In case you haven’t ever used it, the Wayback Machine is the archive of the internet. Head to web.archive.org and type in a website to see its old versions. My personal favourite is Geocities. It was proof that the crowd definitely doesn’t have too much […]

Thanks a billion! Purplebricks’ valuation reaches an all-time high as enthusiastic investors pile in

Purplebricks’ share price shot up at one stage on Friday to reach a new all-time high of 378p, which meant its market capitalisation at one time topped £1bn. But the share price then retreated and finished the day almost unchanged at 350p – valuing the firm at £947m. Meanwhile, an analyst has suggested that Purplebricks’ […]

Vendor who hoped to raise £3.75m through house sale raffle ‘bought it cheaply under Right to Buy’

A home owner who hoped to raise £3.75m by raffling her property reportedly bought it for £360,000 just three years ago under the Right to Buy scheme. She has now halted the raffle after advice from the local authority, Greenwich Council, that it could breach Gambling Commission rules. Renu Qadri launched the raffle on May […]

Agent scraps all tenant fees – and launches 0% management offer to woo new landlords

A letting agent has removed all admin fees for tenants and scrapped renewal charges, while simultaneously launching a 0% management fee offer for new landlords. Parklane Properties, in Leeds, previously charged tenants on average £175 in admin fees. The firm insists it is not going to try to recoup the money, but says it is […]

Countrywide picks up title of best large agent in both sales and lettings

Countrywide put its woes behind it as it claimed the title of best large estate agent at this year’s ESTA awards. It also triumphed in the lettings category. Logic Estates won the gong of best Feefo agent, and the best agent office in the UK was named as Dale Eddison Ilkley, followed by Logic Estate, […]

How 70 agents in my local area are marketing half the number of properties there were last year

May 12, 2017

As an estate agent who has ‘crossed the line’ after 35 years in the industry to become a ‘hybrid’, I can honestly say that the only difference between us and the agents in the High Street is the fact that I can look out of a first-floor window rather than one on the ground floor. […]

Landlords ‘will drop letting agents as costs rise’ – claim

Letting agent fees are the second biggest cost for buy-to-let landlords and could rise further if tenant charges are banned, research claims. Research by lender Kent Reliance, looking at the costs of running a buy-to-let portfolio, found that landlords spend £4.7bn each year on agent fees at an average of £870 per property. The figures […]

Firm which offers agents immersive technology does ‘game-changing’ deal with Google

Matterport, the American company whose ‘immersive’ technology includes virtual tours marketed to UK estate agents, has done a deal with Google. From this summer, owners of Matterport Spaces will be able to publish directly to Google Street View. The 3D images will be accessible almost instanteously on Google Maps and Google search results, serving to […]

The end of tenancy deposits? New insurance app claims to have a solution

A UK startup which claims to have the solution to the contentious issue of tenancy deposits has introduced the concept of tenants’ passports. InsureStreet, an app backed by serial entrepreneur Vin Murria and insurance provider HISCOX, is pitched as an alternative to the “dead money” of tenancy deposits that would free up £4bn to go […]

Marketing times hit fastest level since 2008 in north England as London continues to slow the market

Regions outside London and the south-east of England have become the “saving grace” of the property market, according to Home.co.uk. The portal’s Asking Price Index for May found prices were up 2.8% year-on-year across the UK to £304,740 but were down 1.6% in London to £544,103. The east of England saw the largest annual growth, […]

Countrywide’s online agency venture comes under scrutiny at ‘pivotal point for industry’

May 11, 2017

Countrywide’s strategy to combat the rising tide of online agencies has come at a pivotal point for the whole industry. But its venture into online agency is not a ‘fighter’ brand, new analysis has found. Proptech experts Eddie Holmes and Mike Delprete conclude that “significant changes” are needed if Countrywide’s digital offering is to succeed. […]

Seven out of eight biggest letting agents ‘charge tenants more than average’, claim

Out of eight of Britain’s biggest letting agents – those with over 100 branches – seven are charging tenants more than the average fee. The accusation comes from Generation Rent, which says its research shows that the average cost is £404, based on two adults renting an unfurnished two-bed property. LSL, parent company of Your […]

Today’s big question for agents: Which road should we take on the digital super-highway?

The most common sight we now all see whether travelling on public transport, at work or even at the dinner table, is people with their heads down, not in prayer but tapping away at social media. It is one of the biggest social changes we have seen since William Caxton introduced the printing press to […]

High street independent becomes first to sign up to new online service

A high street agency in Liverpool has become the first to sign up to a new service that will allow it to offer customers a separately branded online estate agency. Bluerow Homes will now offer the Love2move brand, designed to offer sellers a fixed price service at £895. Love2move, designed by Lancashire estate agents Moving […]

‘Real estate’ named by London Stock Exchange as UK’s fastest growing sector

‘Real estate’ has been named as the fastest growing sector in the UK, in the latest ‘1,000 Companies to Inspire Britain’ report by the London Stock Exchange Group. The report says that average annual revenue has grown at the rate of more than 100%. The report specifically looks at small to medium size companies, and […]

Online agent’s claims of saving £2,800 on high street fees are withdrawn

May 10, 2017

A complaint about an advert for online agent easyProperty has been informally resolved. The advert featured text which said: “Get an offer within 20 weeks”; “Save £2,809 on estate agent fees”; “No commission fees”; and “Save with low fixed fees”. The advert came up in a Google-sponsored search result for easyProperty and was reported to […]

Don’t get caught out: Important update on Money Laundering registrations and renewals

Don’t get caught out. Estate agents must have registered their business with HMRC to meet their obligations under Money Laundering Regulations. A registration is required for every business entity and every trading branch must also be registered. Failure to do so means the back registrations fees will need to be paid from the date you […]

Ex-employee sues agency boss for unfair dismissal after ‘sex act’ claims

An estate agent boss at Your Move is being sued by a member of staff, who alleges that she offered to ‘perform a sex act on him’ if he hit target. Sarah Thompson is said to have made the offer to perform the sex act if Paul Elworthy hit his targets. An employment tribunal at […]

New managing director announced at Hamptons International

Countrywide brand Hamptons International has a new managing director. She is Lesley Cairns, formerly head of lettings at Hamptons. Cairns has already announced plans to expand Hamptons beyond London and the south-east. In the restructure at Hamptons, Jon Pitt has been appointed head of lettings to succeed Cairns; Mary Beeton has been appointed head of […]