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

April 11, 2017

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 […]

Industry veteran Harry Hill joins new ‘disruptive’ lettings business

Industry veteran Harry Hill has been appointed chairman of a new online lettings business. Lavanda, launched six weeks ago, describes itself as “the proptech platform shaking up the London lettings market”. It offers serviced lets, Airbnb management, and personal concierge services to tenants. The company recently raised £1.3m in a funding round, and claims that […]

New website launches allowing agents to track local property data

A new website has launched, allowing agents, landlords and others to use Zoopla data to analyse house prices, property sizes, capital growth and rental yields in any postcode. PropertyData, a tool that explores Zoopla’s open data, is offering a free 30-day trial. Each postcode ‘page’ also lists the top five agents by market share, including […]

Why people really are your best asset – and how one great employee attracts the next

Companies will often describe employees as their “greatest asset” yet how often does the issue of talent attraction reach the giddy heights of the C-suite? Rarely to never, I would hazard. Talent attraction usually languishes in a silo labelled ‘Recruitment’, ‘Personnel’ or ‘Human Resources’. But if your business is serious about attracting the best candidates, […]

Exclusive: Purplebricks buys high street agent’s lettings management business

April 3, 2017

Purplebricks has acquired the lettings management business of a traditional, and prominent, high street firm. In answer to EYE’s questions, Purplebricks has confirmed the purchase has gone ahead, but has not explained the reasons for the acquisition or gone into any detail. The firm whose lettings business it has bought is Venmores, well known in […]

It is time to go public about ‘fake’ agents, says Spicerhaart boss

There’s nothing like the personal touch, whatever industry you’re in. Nothing can replace the experienced professional who can discuss your requirements in a personal capacity. That’s definitely true in estate agency, where a local agent can advise on what’s best for a customer, their home and their family, whether buying or selling. It’s something that […]

Rayhan’s proptech latest: Is technology making agents worse than lazy?

I first noticed this four years ago: estate agents stopped getting up to greet customers walking into their office. They just sat there, as if the person was disturbing them. It bugged me so much that I conducted some research. We targeted Stoke Newington, Battersea and Ealing Common – yes, all in London. The results: […]

People would rather recommend a plumber than an estate agent

Customers are least likely to offer word-of-mouth recommendations of estate agents than any other property firms. Twenty property-related services were put by pollsters to 1,000 members of the public. They were asked which they had used, and whether they would recommend the company. Although more people had used estate agents than anyone other than solicitors […]

Gifted deposits on the rise amid buy-to-let slowdown

Buy-to-let investment has halved in the first 12 months since the additional Stamp Duty surcharge was introduced, but it’s not career landlords being affected, My Home Move has claimed. The Government introduced the surcharge on April 1 with the intent of limiting landlord purchases in favour of first-time buyers. But data based on the surveyor’s […]

NEWSFLASH: ZPG’s purchase of Expert Agent ‘called in’ by Competition and Markets Authority

March 31, 2017

Zoopla’s purchase of estate agency software company Expert Agent is being reviewed by the Competition and Markets Authority. The acquisition by ZPG – which already owns the Property Software Group – was announced on March 1. Expert Agent is claimed to be the most widely used estate agency software in the industry, used by some […]

Online agent easyProperty set to seek more funding as it posts losses of almost £11m

Online agent easyProperty has posted losses of almost £11m on a turnover of less than £1m. Its results are for the year to September 30, 2016, for which it had been forecasting a profit of nearly £3m. The report was approved by the board in mid-December, but only posted on the Companies House website this […]

Winkworth profits drop by a quarter ‘in difficult market’

Winkworth profits dropped by just over a quarter last year “in a difficult market”. The franchising group said pre-tax profits of £1.42m were down 25.6% on the previous year, with franchisee turnover down 6% to stand at £46.1m. It also reported that rental income now accounts for 44% of total revenues. Winkworth said the Stamp […]

Opinion: Why do agents neglect their own websites in favour of the portals?

Ever since they launched, the influence of Rightmove and Zoopla on the public has been undeniable. Indeed, in 2014, eight out of ten home owners said they would bypass estate agents altogether if they could list their homes directly on both sites. Agents have mixed feelings about the portals, given that it is their own […]

Hybrid agency on the hunt for mortgage advisers to recruit to agency/broker network

A hybrid estate agency is looking to attract mortgage advisory companies in a bid to build an agent/broker network. Right Estate Agents, started by a former Countrywide agent Alison Bannon in 2010, is a hybrid agency where franchisees work from home in particular regions. It is now looking to build the brand with mortgage brokers. […]

Housing market support skewed to first-time buyers – but what about older people?

Housing market support from the Government is skewed towards first-time buyers, a report has claimed. Research by law firm Winckworth Sherwood and social care and housing provider Housing LIN, claims the older generation is forgotten by the state when it comes to the property market. The report, ‘The other end of the housing market: Housing […]

Future of estate agency really does look disruptive: Meet the ‘frenemies’ – Rightmove and Purplebricks

March 30, 2017

A new report forecasts that the growth of no-branch agents over the next five years really will prove deeply disruptive for the industry as a whole. The growth of online and hybrid agents will “impact traditional players, potentially driving branch closures” and driving industry consolidation, says the report released to investors yesterday evening. High street […]

Court orders agent who stole £221,000 from landlords and tenants to repay just £50

A Proceeds of Crime case has resulted in the recovery of just £50 out of £221,000 stolen from members of the public by a crooked letting agent. Martin Marcus was jailed for four and a half years last July at Harrow Crown Court. His victims were dozens of tenants and landlords who lost rents and […]

Head shepherds at EweMove explain why they are deserting the flock

The two ‘head shepherds’ at hybrid firm EweMove have explained why they are leaving, without completing the rest of their two-year earn-out period in which they stood to gain £7m. David Laycock and Glenn Ackroyd, who sold to The Property Franchise Group – formerly Martin & Co – for £8m upfront last autumn, are departing […]

Agent Provocateur: Has agents’ software become a dog’s breakfast?

Software seems to have become something of a dog’s breakfast with some of the established players scrabbling to rival PSG’s growing, and I would suggest threatening, market share. The one thing that umbrella ownership of several smaller companies will give is the ability to improve communications between those companies. Somehow the [unintentional] divide and conquer […]

New publicly available EPC data could help agents to establish average prices per sq ft in their area

Data has been freely released giving access to Energy Performance Certificates for homes built, sold or let since 2008 – and it could prove useful to agents and valuers. The information gives the floor areas of the properties which, if cross-referenced with house price data, yields the average price per square foot in any particular […]

EweMove founders sacrifice millions of pounds in earn-out fees as they walk away from the business

March 29, 2017

The two founders of hybrid agents EweMove, famous for its puns and jokes and bought by Martin & Co in only September for a total of £15m, are sensationally quitting – sacrificing a two-year earn-out worth £6m. David Laycock and Glenn Ackroyd will leave what is now the Property Franchise Group at the end of […]

ARLA Propertymark conference 2017: Over 1,000 delegates (but no housing minister)

Anyone doubting the popularity of professional/trade bodies with their members would have done well to visit the ARLA Propertymark conference at ExCeL yesterday. Over 1,000 delegates and a substantial number of exhibitors attended the sell-out event and were rewarded with a high quality programme of top notch speakers who informed and stimulated the audience with […]

Agents throwing in the towel because of financial difficulties and other worries

Agents are quitting the industry because of the state of their own finances and amid concerns over the future. A Lloyds broker specialising in Professional Indemnity insurance for agents yesterday reported that 20% of policy renewals lapsed in December and January – compared with 0% last year. Lonsdale Insurance Brokers, which is based in the […]

‘Best Estate Agent Guide’ to be published involving assessment of every branch in the country

A Best Estate Agent Guide is to be published for the first time this autumn. The launch was announced yesterday evening by The Property Academy. The Guide will be unveiled at a new event, The EA Masters, on September 22 at the Intercontinental 02 hotel, where last night’s launch was held after the ARLA conference. […]

Lettings fee ban risks ‘up to 16,000 agency jobs’

The tenant fees ban will hit loyal renters the hardest, while between 4,000 and 16,000 letting agent jobs could be at risk, research by ARLA Propertymark claims. The trade body commissioned Capital Economics to look at the impact of the Government’s proposed tenant fee ban as part of its response to the forthcoming consultation. Essentially, […]

Boss of estate agency fined in cartel case is married to housing minister’s parliamentary aide

March 28, 2017

The head of one of the estate agents caught up in the latest cartel case has confirmed that his MP wife and her boss, housing minister Gavin Barwell, were both kept informed of the matter. Charles Clark, partner and chairman of Greenslade Taylor Hunt, is married to Taunton Deane MP Rebecca Pow, who was last […]