The large regional group which last week announced that it was walking away from any online offering, has revealed its fight-back strategy.
Arun Estates, with over 100 branches in the south, yesterday launched a “hub” business model in the form of a new bricks and mortar brand, charging from £1,000 paid upfront.
Hadleys London, the first entirely new brand in Arun’s history, is in Keston, close to Croydon and covering south-east London. It is described as an office, rather than a high street branch.
With six members of staff, it will cover a wide area, including towns with Greater London postcodes but located in Surrey and Kent.
The office is headed by Danny Poulton-Midani, previously branch partner with Arun brand Cubitt & West. In overall charge is Cubitt’s regional managing director Chris Nathan.
He said: “Hadleys London harnesses advanced technology and experienced personnel to deliver the very best of both worlds – everything people would expect from a conventional high street agent, and more, but at much lower commission rates.”
Unlike the current crop of so-called hybrid agents, he said clients will be able to call for advice and support at every stage of the transaction, and even be able to arrange appointments to come in and speak to staff face to face.
Clients will also have access to Arun’s full range of marketing and other specialist support services, including mortgage and conveyancing solutions and the Group’s overflow and out-of-hours call centre.
Hadleys London has three sets of charges, starting with the one-off upfront fee of £1,000 plus VAT.
There is also a split fee option, with part paid upfront and the rest on completion.
There is also standard ‘no sale, no fee’ commission – claimed to be “substantially lower than usual high street rates” and “reflecting the efficiencies inherent in the new hub-based business model”.
Arun Group managing director David Lench, who last week said that a number of online options had been investigated but all rejected as he could not see how they would make money, said: “Arun has always prided itself on being in the vanguard of the industry.
“Neither we nor any other estate agent can confidently predict what the industry will be like in ten years, but the one thing we can be sure of is that it will be very different.
“In the light of this, we have adopted a twin-track strategy to take on the on-liners and so-called hybrids. One element of that is to establish our existing operations as premium brands, delivering superior service in return for enhanced fee levels.
“Complementing this, we see the Hadleys London model as offering the only genuinely viable way of marrying the benefits of lower commissions with traditional service levels – as well as providing the likely template for future expansion of the Group.
“In some ways this is the most significant move in Arun’s history – and a very exciting one.”