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New proptech consultancy is launched to advise property companies

April 20, 2017

Key proptech influencers James Dearsley and Eddie Holmes have announced the launch of www.proptechconsult.com The partnership is a formalisation of the work that Dearsley and Holmes have undertaken since 2013 to help property companies understand and overcome the challenges brought about by digital transformation, while underpinning the growth of proptech companies in the UK. The […]

Build to Rent specialists pledge to offer three-year tenancies

The British Property Federation has pledged that the Build to Rent sector will offer three-year tenancies. The option will be offered to private tenants in all buildings operated by 20 Build to Rent specialists. Tenants will not have to take out the longer option and can opt for shorter terms. Signatories to the pledge include […]

RICS accused of conflict of interest failures over member receivership roles

RICs has faced accusations of failing to manage conflicts of interest within its own membership. A Westminster Hall debate was held on Tuesday by Labour MP Jo Stevens on behalf of her constituent Kashif Shabir whose business had been placed in receivership by Lloyds Bank as a result of the 2008 financial crisis. She said: […]

Landmark moment as buyers and sellers exchange contracts using e-signatures – a first in UK conveyancing?

April 19, 2017

Buyers and sellers have exchanged contracts on a house using electronic signatures. It is said to be the first time that e-signatures have been used for exchange of contracts on a residential property in the UK. Conveyancing firm Convey Law facilitated the exchange using Bonafidee e-signatures for both sale and purchase. Under the system, the […]

‘Valued my house and ended up having an affair with my wife’ – that’s what the review says

We have decided to introduce a new feature on EYE, to go with our ever-popular Picture of the Week. And first up is our initial contender for Review of the Week. We’re pretty certain that this review, visible on a Google search yesterday for the agents in question, is not quite the message they’d want […]

Over 60 fines handed out in first eight months of Right to Rent – and just 31 people deported in almost two years

Financial penalties totalling £37,000 were handed out in the first eight months of the Right to Rent scheme’s roll-out across England. Landlords and agents must carry out the checks on all potential private tenants under the legislation, which went live in February 2016. Responses to Freedom of Information requests by the Press Association show that […]

New portal launches aimed at listing properties with at least an acre of land

Two new property portals have launched – both proving it’s a case of horses for courses. One targets homes with at least an acre of land; the other is aimed at the lettings flat and house share market. 1st Equestrian has been launched by agent Graham Hain, who says the idea came from customers asking […]

Was any hermit crab hurt in the making of your advert, animal lovers ask Zoopla

Zoopla’s new advertising campaign featuring hermit crabs with model houses strapped to their shells, has caused a stir among animal lovers. ZPG’s social media team were kept busy yesterday answering comments, including a Tweet from a person who said they would be complaining to Ofcom. Zoopla assured the complainant that all the hermit crabs involved […]

ARLA Propertymark comes out fighting against letting fees ban

April 18, 2017

ARLA Propertymark has swung into full campaign mode on the letting fees ban, sending out a ‘battle kit’ to all its members. The kit, which was sent out just before the long weekend, is comprehensive. It includes a campaign letter template; wording for an e-postcard that can be shared with colleagues, enabling them to oppose […]

Zoopla shells out on its most expensive TV advertising campaign yet

Zoopla has launched a new advertising campaign, featuring hermit crabs with homes depicted on their shells. It is ZPG’s most expensive campaign yet, described as the “biggest ever investment for Zoopla”. The adverts depict the crabs as home movers discussing property. The first 60-second TV advert in a campaign which Zoopla hopes will have longevity […]

First meeting of new trade body CIELA prompts ‘passionate’ five-hour discussions

Aspiring new trade body CIELA (Charter for Independent Estate and Letting Agents) has held its first meeting. Altogether, there were 24 people – of whom 18 were agents – present at the lengthy meeting. Six other agents sent their apologies. CIELA said afterwards: “There was unanimous agreement that the lack of a shared PR resource […]

Gloom and doom survey from RICS prompts misery fest among headline writers

The RICS’s gloomy housing market survey predictably triggered some ‘world about to end’ headlines. The Telegraph reported it under the heading: “Housing market grinds to a halt as number of homes on market hits record low.” Not to be outdone, Bloomberg carried the story under the headline: “London Housing in Deepest Slump Since the Financial […]

House prices still growing – but at a crawl

Annual house price inflation is now three times less than 12 months ago thanks to last year’s Stamp Duty rush, data shows. Your Move’s England & Wales House Price Index showed that prices returned to growth annually in March, rising 3.3% to 301,278, with monthly price inflation at 0.5%. In comparison, house price growth in […]

New property ‘portal’ challenger gets set to launch – free for agents

April 13, 2017

A new property listing service is in the final stages of planning before launch. It aims to include every property listing from every agent across the UK, and will be free. Its founders have hit out at the ‘exorbitant’ fees charged by portals. Proptyle, described as a search engine rather than a portal, is being […]

New instructions fall back again as stock levels hit record new low

New buyer enquiries and sales remained flat in March, as stock levels hit a new record low. The RICS said this morning that the UK housing market continues to lack impetus, with surveyors reducing their expectations for housing market performance this year. New instructions fell noticeably with 13% more respondents seeing a fall in new […]

Borrowing becomes cheaper than ever as lender slashes five-year mortgage deal to below 1.3%

In a move which has elicited genuine gasps in the mortgage world, a lender has slashed rates on a five-year fixed mortgage to just 1.29% – the same as for its two-year fixes. Atom Bank only launched into the mortgage market in December, and its latest offer went live yesterday. The digital-only lender is offering […]

Average revenue per Hunters outlet rises to £190,000, City told

Hunters has reported strong results for last year, with network income up by 17% to £35.4m. The firm, which is largely franchised, reported a 15% rise in revenue to £13.8m. Hunters, which was started 25 years ago by Yorkshire brothers Kevin and Keith Hollinrake together with John Waterhouse, opened 30 new branches last year, including […]

Online agent confirms itself as traditional ‘no-sale, no fee’ business

EweMove, the online agency business bought last year by The Property Franchise Group – owners of Martin & Co – yesterday evening said it has repositioned itself as it concentrates on recruiting experienced industry heavyweights. It said it “believes in traditional no sale, no fee” and that it has recently recruited agents from Countrywide as […]

‘Free’ awards scheme for agents looks set for expansion across 800 towns

April 12, 2017

An awards scheme for agents looks set to expand this year. The British Property Awards, which ran for the first time last year apparently without any advertising or publicity, is free to enter. Agents in towns across Britain are automatically entered but are sent emails to opt out. EYE became aware of it after an […]

First meeting of aspiring new trade body CIELA taking place today

The first formal meeting of members of aspiring new trade body CIELA, the Charter for Independent Estate and Letting Agents, is due to be held today, in Bicester, Oxfordshire. They will be discussing how to harness the potential firepower should independent agents choose to unite their resources and data to create a new trade organisation. […]

Savills gets its cheque book out to purchase single-office independent

Savills has acquired a single-office independent agent for an undisclosed sum. Granville Residential covers the Marlow, Maidenhead, Bourne End and Cookham areas in Berkshire and Buckinghamshire and now joins the Savills network of 89 residential offices across the UK and an international network of over 700 offices. Based in Marlow, Granville Residential was founded in […]

House prices rise to record high as Osborne’s ‘project fear’ forecast of major fall fails to materialise

Sales volumes in December – the last month for which data is available – fell by 31% in London and by 19% across England as a whole compared with a year ago, the Land Registry has reported. In December, there were 65,064 sales in England, compared with 80,367 the year before. It also said that […]

Missing! The tenant who forgot to claim back over £5,000 (and their employer didn’t notice either)

You’d think you would know if you were missing £5,250 – after all, it is hardly small change. Yet it took a tenancy deposit scheme over a year to track down the tenant who did not claim the money. Perhaps not surprisingly, the tenant was a corporate renter, with deposit and rent paid by their […]

EXCLUSIVE: Agents will have to undergo criminal checks under new Money Laundering regime

April 11, 2017

Estate agents will have to undergo – and almost certainly have to pay for it themselves – criminal record checks in order to stay in business. The new requirement falls under the new Money Laundering Regulations regime, which starts shortly this summer and which all sales agents must comply with. The warning comes from David […]

Why agents should not attempt to circumvent the fees ban

I’ve been touring the City the last few days and investors keep asking me, what will be the impact of a tenant fee ban? A shock, then a rapid correction, I tell them. It might even favour good agents. That puzzles them, but investors are a bright lot and they quickly catch on. It’s what […]

UK’s biggest conveyancer My Home Move on course for 100,000 completions a year after new acquisition

The UK’s largest conveyancer, My Home Move, has bought the country’s sixth largest conveyancing firm. In a mega deal, My Home Move has acquired Advantage Property Lawyers. Together the businesses will employ nearly 1,000 people and deliver almost 100,000 completions a year – achieving a significant increase in market share. My Home Move said that […]

Purplebricks pulls post which claimed 95% of vendors ‘heading over’ to online agents

A social media post for Purplebricks has been deleted after an EYE reader spotted it and we in turn brought it to the attention of the agent. The ‘save yourself from commisery’ post on LinkedIn and Twitter, claimed: “South East homeowners fight back against commission, with 95% heading to online agents over the traditional model.” […]

Rayhan’s proptech news: A look at the property empire of Donald Trump’s son-in-law

The dichotomy between innovation in the US and Europe is no small irony. In the UK, venture capitalists gripe over valuations and never compete to fund the future. It’s a major reason why the next Facebook or Google won’t come from the UK: the funding isn’t here. Insufficient funding has a knock-on effect in that […]

Government could curb deposits as well as impose outright ban on tenant fees

April 10, 2017

The Government has received widespread criticism following the long-awaited release of its consultation paper on banning tenant fees. The much-anticipated document was finally released on Friday and immediately drew industry concern as it appeared to try to go further by suggesting measures beyond just banning tenant fees. The document shows that the Government intends to […]

Fees ban is U-turn on what current and last three housing ministers kept telling industry

The past four housing ministers, including the incumbent Gavin Barwell, have all previously opposed tenant fee bans, research has revealed, as the Government showed no sign of a U-turn in its consultation on scrapping the charges. The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) has highlighted the discrepancy following the release of the long-awaited fee ban consultation on […]

Independent firm offers industry new online agency offering – and it’s free to vendors

An independent high street agent has launched a new tool designed to help both his own firm, and others, compete with online agents. Unusually, it is free to vendors – with the purchaser paying a fixed fee on completion. It also offers free listings to agents. However, the model is designed to incentivise agents not […]

Agents at a crossroads in survival: You must decide on the services you offer, warns Scarff

Industry veteran Bob Scarff has warned that agents must offer a range of services. Scarff, who believes that within the next five years 25% of all house sales will be by vendors opting for some form of self-service, said that agents of all sizes “have big decisions to make about where they’ll stand in the […]

High street agents ‘bring much more to the table’ than onliners, claim

An agent has rebutted accusations by Purplebricks that vendors are often left in the dark as to whether all offers have been passed on to them by high street firms. Purplebricks also said that high street firms left sellers out of pocket. But Shaun Amner, a Winkworth franchisee, said that traditional agents “bring much more […]

NEWSFLASH: Government finally unveils lettings fee ban consultation

April 7, 2017

The Government’s long awaited consultation on banning tenant fees has finally been published this morning. The proposals, first touted in Chancellor Philip Hammond’s Autumn Statement five months ago in November, outline the controversial measures stopping lettings agents charging fees to tenants. The document shows that the Government intends to legislate that no agent will be […]

Rightmove’s money from agents is just going to ‘keep rolling in’, says equity analyst

The money is just going to “keep rolling in” to Rightmove – provided that agents stay afloat. George Salmon, of Hargreaves Lansdown, says that Rightmove accounts for around four out of every five minutes spent on property portals, and that 94% of sellers expect their property to be listed on the portal. He said in […]

Enforcement of letting agents a ‘postcode lottery’ and a ‘shambles’

Enforcement of letting agents in London has been branded a shambles. Former Trading Standards officer David Beaumont, who now runs a free compliance helpline exclusively for EYE suscribers, was speaking after a report showed that enforcement in the capital is a postcode lottery. The report, ‘Letting them get away with it’, was published by Sian […]

CMA loosens enforcement order as it continues to review ZPG acquisition of Expert Agent

As the Competition and Markets Authority continues to review the completed acquisition by ZPG of Websky, which operates the IT software business Expert Agent, it has relaxed some of its initial enforcement order. However, in a new note on its website, specific reference is made to the possibility of Websky being sold to new purchasers […]

Protesters dump manure and live cockroaches as they try to stop prestigious property awards

The prestigious annual property awards held by Property Week in a five-star hotel were targeted by protesters. Demonstrators outside the Grosvenor House hotel in Park Lane, London, had attempted to shut down the event on Tuesday night. They dumped cow manure and live cockroaches as guests arrived for the black-tie bash. Members of the group […]

Purplebricks accuses high street agents: You’re out of touch, out of date and you put people out of pocket

April 6, 2017

Traditional estate agents have been accused of being stuck in the past as Purplebricks steps up its ‘commisery’ campaign. Purplebricks said that Britain’s method of buying and selling homes is out of touch and out of date – and leaves “millions” out of pocket. A new report for Purplebricks – called ‘Commission: Out of touch, […]

ARLA director tells trade body to drop fight against fees ban – ‘not an argument we can win’

One of ARLA Propertymark’s most prominent members – a director on the Propertymark board – has criticised the organisation for its stance on the impending ban on letting agent fees. ARLA Propertymark is fighting the ban, but Patrick Bullick – whose own firm, STANLEY Chelsea, does not charge admin fees to tenants – said it […]

New legal crackdown on letting agents and landlords comes into force today

While there has been much focus on the so-called ‘tenant tax’, agents are warned that new legislation coming into force today has been largely overlooked despite its potential significance. It gives local authorities in England tough new powers to crack down on rogue agents and landlords. For the first time, local housing authorities will be […]

Agent Provocateur: A special tribute to one of the industry’s greats, Andrew Scott, as he retires from Strutt & Parker

Estate agency is often talked about as changing beyond recognition, and it is changing, but occasionally an event happens that reminds you that there are some great people in it and why you stuck around. One such event occurred last week when Andrew Scott, head of London residential for Strutt and Parker, retired. Andrew, a […]

Shares tick up at Property Franchise Group after profits rise by nearly a fifth

Shares in the Property Franchise Group – whose brands include Martin & Co – ticked up yesterday after it delivered robust results to the City. The firm, which listed on the AIM stock market in December 2013, saw its shares finish at 156p, up nearly 8% on the previous day, giving it a market valuation […]

Belvoir looking at cheaper entry system for new franchisees – allowing them to work from home

April 5, 2017

Belvoir is looking to introduce a cheaper entry system into its franchise network whereby franchisees could work out of their homes. But chief executive Mike Goddard emphasised that it would not be a Purplebricks style of operation. He said: “The whole point is to attract fresh blood into the industry.” Dorian Gonsalves, chief operating officer, […]

Labour MP Stella Creasy names and shames local agents in latest ‘awards’ ceremony

For the third year running, Labour MP Stella Creasy has handed out ‘awards’ to estate agents in her constituency. The MP for Walthamstow in east London bizarrely crowned the same agent – Central Estates – both best and worst estate agent, and best and worst letting agent. Richard Maher, director of Central Estates, hit out […]

Just how has easyProperty managed to spend so much money, asks proptech expert

EasyProperty has spent millions of pounds to achieve “staggeringly small” revenue and is a lesson in “how not to build a business”. The analysis comes from international proptech commentator Mike DelPrete, who says that easyProperty has raised just shy of £40m since is inception, making it one of the best funded online agency in the […]

How an agent’s April Fool’s joke got over 18,000 views on Facebook – and some buyer interest

Agents RedDoor Homes, in Rochester, Kent, decided to take planning for April Fool’s Day seriously. Last week, the firm posted a series of teaser trailers on its Facebook page, letting followers know that come last Saturday it would be announcing its biggest and most historical listing to date. The fake listing was Rochester Castle, which […]

Complaints about ‘hand-written’ circular rejected by advertising watchdog

A circular for a quick purchase firm which had parts of it looking like handwriting was reported to the Advertising Standards Authority. Two people who received it challenged whether the advert was obviously identifiable as a marketing communication. However, the ASA has not upheld their complaints. The circular, for Property Purchased Fast, included a reference […]

Tax reform will ‘put many agents out of business’, warning

April 4, 2017

The rolling back of mortgage interest relief is just days away but campaigners are still having a stab at raising the unfairness of the changes dubbed the tenant tax. An “awareness week” – so far little publicised – is being run by the Tenant Tax coalition with a website calling on supporters to contact their […]

Housing lawyer calls for total rethink of ‘unfair’ private rented sector

Housing lawyer Tessa Shepperson has called for a total rethink of the way the private rented sector operates. Shepperson, who supports a ban on letting agent fees charged to landlords, says that the present situation is “grossly unfair” to tenants and should not be allowed to continue. She said: “Many agents behave honourably, charging modest […]