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Appraisals, Price Changes and a Little Trick

June 9, 2017

More and more when we attend a property valuation, whether this is for lettings or for sales then then vendor or landlord has already got a figure in their head that they wish to achieve. They have usually been on Rightmove to look for similar properties, or used Zoopla’s random number generator (property valuation tool) […]

Agents who flout fees ban should be fined £30,000 – Government told

Agents should be fined up to £30,000 if they flout the impending ban on letting fees charged to tenants. The call has come from the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health which has made public its submission to the Government’s consultation on the ban. The organisation has also called for holding deposits to be included in […]

High street independent spreads his wings with new online agency

A high street agent has launched a new online firm. Mike Brain, founder of Hannells, which has seven offices in Derby, has launched ispymyhome. It does not operate in Derby itself, and thus does not compete with Hannells. Its territory is otherwise across Derbyshire, plus Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and Staffordshire. The new online venture is being […]

Moving home? Then don’t share the news on Facebook

A law firm has raised the possibility of estate agents advising home movers not to advertise the fact anywhere on social media. Comveyancing company Dezrezlegal said that home movers who share their news on platforms such as Facebook are handing fraudsters a “golden ticket”. Managing director Laura Liddell said: “Crooks scan social media to see […]

Stamp Duty changes are ‘shattering’ the property market, says agent

Last year’s Stamp Duty changes have caused properties worth more than £500,000 to languish on the market while the majority of London vendors are struggling to sell across all values, an agent claims. Using data from the Land Registry, guaranteed sales agent Nested found that most properties listed on Zoopla in May valued at over […]

Agent Provocateur: The thrills and spills of starting a new business

When you start something it’s exhausting, nerve wracking, exciting and frightening. If you’re young it’s all of the above and probably involves someone else’s money, but when you’re not it’s double everything, and probably IS your own money. There’s so much that’s new at the moment, and if one had the luxury of sitting back […]

Money laundering update: New obligation could create ‘insurmountable problems for agents’

June 8, 2017

There is no doubt that if the obligation to ID buyers is included in the new Money Laundering Regulations, it will create insurmountable problems for agents. The claim comes from compliance expert and ex-Trading Standards officer David Beaumont. He said: “The idea of checking the identity of buyers is basically a good one, but lawyers […]

Agents beware – Rightmove valuation scam is doing the rounds

An agent is warning others of a scam that looks as though it could be targeting Rightmove users. Shaun Loughlin, director of The Manchester Estate Agent, yesterday received a valuation request via Rightmove for a property in London – which raised suspicions. He told us: “After asking some further questions the person came back via […]

Strewth! Can you even begin to imagine earning a fee of 3.3%?

G’day, all. Can you imagine earning a fee of 3.3%? Our special correspondent, Simon Whale, has been attending the biggest estate agency conference in the southern hemisphere and sent us this report from Australia. Day 1 – AREC – Gold Coast, Australia. The largest real estate conference in the Southern Hemisphere started with the truly […]

Countrywide stalwart stepping down after ‘years of dedication’

Countrywide’s chief financial officer Jim Clarke is to stand down. Clarke is retiring at the end of this year, and will be succeeded by Himanshu Raja, who joins the Countrywide board on Monday. Clarke has been with Countrywide since 2007 and recently led a share placement of almost £40m to fund the group’s roll-out of […]

New instructions decline for 15th consecutive month as agent stock levels hit all-time low

Buyer demand and new instructions slipped yet again in May as the market awaits the General Election outcome, surveyors claimed this morning. The latest RICS UK Residential Market Survey showed that a growing number of its estate agent members cited a decline in new instructions, in the 15th consecutive negative month. Consequently, RICS said, stock […]

NEWFLASH EYE EXCLUSIVE: easyProperty and The Guild plus Fine & Country merge in £33m deal

June 7, 2017

Online agent easyProperty is buying The Guild of Property Professionals plus Fine & Country in a deal – described as ‘game changing’ – said to be worth £33m. The deal, likely to cause shock-waves, is officially being described as a merger, or ‘reverse takeover’, rather than a purchase. The deal is however backed by Toscafund […]

Complaint against online agent which said ‘We will show buyers around your property’ is upheld

An online estate agent that said on its website “Sell your home for 0.5%” has had a complaint about the claim upheld by the Advertising Standards Authority. Pink & Cow estate agents, in Portsmouth, made the claim on its home page, which also said: “We’re in the perfect position to show buyers round your property” […]

Redress schemes unite to say they will publicly name and shame all rogue agents

The three government approved redress schemes will in future jointly and publicly name and shame both rogue estate and letting agents. They have revised the existing arrangements by which one will not accept an agent that has not settled an award ordered by another redress scheme. Any agent that does not belong to a redress […]

Purplebricks share price fluctuates after major investor sells off (a very few) shares for £1m

One of Purplebricks’ biggest investors, investment and insurance giant Old Mutual, has very slightly reduced its shareholding in Purplebricks to below 12%. It now has 32,282,940 shares in the company, representing an 11.93% stake. Previously it held 12%, with 32,620,916 shares. The reduction was notified to the stock exchange, complying with a requirement that major […]

Uproar as giant US property portal launches direct ‘instant offer’ service that displaces agents

Giant US property portal Zillow has launched an ‘instant offer’ service, by which home sellers can receive instant offers on their homes – cutting out estate agents. Is the reward worth the risk? Global proptech guru Mike Delprete makes no bones about it being the wrong move: Zillow may be killing the golden goose, but […]

British people ‘would rather run naked through streets than negotiate sale of their home’

The high-end sector of the estate agency market has so far been quiet on the subject of online versus the high street. No doubt that is because they feel largely unthreatened. They presumably feel fairly safe that their sellers – almost by definition – do not baulk at their fees, want the highest possible price, […]

EYE exclusive: Ex-Zoopla commercial director Jon Notley reveals new venture

May 26, 2017

Jon Notley, the former commercial director at Zoopla, has revealed his new venture exclusively to EYE. It is called Zero Deposit Scheme, aimed at the private rented sector and to be launched later this year. While not first in the market – there are competitive offerings already gaining traction – it looks to have the […]

Long gone? OnTheMarket slams Zoopla claims and insists ‘We are here to stay’

City analysts were told in a briefing after Wednesday’s half-year results for ZPG that the days of a threat from Agents’ Mutual were “long gone”. William Packer, of Exane BNP Paribas, reported in an investors’ note afterwards: “Management argues days of Agents’ Mutual ‘materially’ affecting ZPG are ‘long gone’. He said: “ZPG stated that circa […]

Crowdfunding campaign launches legal fight against roll-out of Right to Rent

A crowdfunding campaign has launched to raise money to fight the roll-out of Right to Rent. The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants has launched its bid on Crowd Justice, with a target of £5,000. The bid appears to raise serious questions as to who is renting to whom, and whether each of these […]

Conveyancers urge politicians to steer clear of reintroducing HIPs

Conveyancers have given their backing amid increasing political appetite towards reform of the home-buying process. The Conveyancing Association says it was pleased to have seen references in political party manifestos to improving the way transactions are made, and has particularly highlighted the Conservative Party manifesto pledge to “reform and modernise the home-buying process” and “crack […]

Property market video of the week. And this is a bit ticklish!

We’re trying to remember what Ken Dodd said about tickling sticks. Feathers? Dusters? Housing market? Double beds and Rightmove? Anyway, we thought that on a sunny Friday morning, you might enjoy something that falls between lust, gratification, annoyance and – er, property listings? This comes courtesy of the House Shop, and it’s funny! [ comments […]

eMoov ‘considering’ providing software for high street agents

May 25, 2017

High street agents could one day be offered access to the technology behind eMoov’s online platform. Founder Russell Quirk has admitted to EYE that as part of the agent’s growth plans, one strategy could be to open up their technology to others. Asked by EYE if he would consider white-labelling the eMoov platform so high […]

Is the Land Registry going to come out of the dark ages and opt for proptech?

The UK’s Land Registry is intent on trialling ‘blockchain’ – the technology made famous by electronic currency Bitcoin. Before we go into what this means and how it’s supposed to work for the rest of us, it’s important to point out that conveyancers still send transfer documents by fax to the Land Registry. And the […]

No use the public moaning at agents when transactions are slow

The last time Home Information Packs were suggested, there seemed to be less willingness to look at the legal conveyancing process and more resistance to change amongst estate agents. Now, though, players in the proptech space are shining a light into the conveyancing process and actually looking at leveraging the datapoints it touches. This remains […]

New trade body CIELA calls for Propertymark to expel agents who insult their members

The aspirant new trade body, the Charter for Independent Estate and Letting Agents (CIELA), has called for the Propertymark bodies to expel any agents who insult their members. Founder Charlie Wright, who runs a software company, said in part of a long blog that independent agents have a poor industry reputation which “is absolutely in […]

Agent who stole from tenants and landlords used money for trips to Grand Prix and sex toy shop

More details have emerged about the letting agency director sentenced this week after stealing from tenants and landlords. Via his company Paris Lettings, Peter Bell, 36, ran a franchised outlet of Enfields, in Northampton. This Monday, he was sentenced to jail, while his ex-girlfriend Rebecca Kirton was given a suspended sentence. Bell had pleaded guilty […]

NEWS FLASH: Zoopla announces record results

May 24, 2017

ZPG announced record revenues and EBITDA this morning – and said that 750 estate agency branches had returned to it over the past two years. It also announced investment in a new business which will provide an alternative to tenants’ deposits. Revenue was up 22% to £117.9m, and EBITDA leapt 11% to £45m, in the […]

Agent who stole £92,000 from tenants and landlords is jailed

An agent has been sent to prison after he and his former girlfriend admitting to stealing £92,000 from tenants and landlords. His ex-girlfriend has been given a suspended sentence. Peter Bell ran the Enfields franchise in Northampton, where it is understood that Rebecca Kirton also worked for a short while. Bell admitted 15 charges of […]

We won! Property Industry Eye is crowned property trade magazine of the year

We won! And we won it together. Last night Property Industry EYE won the accolade of Property Trade Magazine of the Year in the Property Press Awards. We were up against Garden Design Journal, Letting Agent Today, Landlord Today, Property Investor Today, The Negotiator, and Show House. The judges specifically commented on the engagement that […]

Property transactions hit a slump in April – HMRC

UK property transactions fell by a fifth between March and April, underlining a slowing property market, HMRC figures suggest. The data, based on sales within the Stamp Duty thresholds, show there were 83,010 transactions in April 2017, down from 107,090 the month before, a 22.5% decline. The figures look a bit more positive annually, up […]

Can proptech solve the housing affordability crisis?

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, […]