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New property repairs online platform looking for agents to take part in free trial

June 20, 2017

A new business offering letting agents a way of managing property maintenance and repairs is offering a free trial ahead of its formal launch. Software firm Sorbet is the brainchild of former contractor Brooke Williams, who believed there had to be a better way for agents, landlords, tenants and contractors to communicate with each other. […]

New asking prices decline for first time this year, says Rightmove

June 19, 2017

Average asking prices fell for the first time this year with confidence hit by rising inflation and political uncertainty, Rightmove said this morning. It said that prices of property coming to market declined by 0.4% between May and June, the first time there has been a decline at this time of year since the height […]

Auction site for tenants gets set to launch ahead of US competitor’s arrival in UK

An auction site for the UK lettings industry is launching this month, ahead of an expected launch by a US competitor. LetsBid4Lets will launch to agents at an event at the Shard in London on Thursday, June 29 – despite the fact that it is still fund-raising. LetsBid4Lets claims to offer the first bidding software […]

Controversial proposals get through at NFoPP AGM – but voting turnout said to be low

Controversial motions to reduce the size of the board of NFoPP and not allow the NAEA and ARLA Presidents to vote or speak at board meetings unless invited, were passed at Friday’s AGM. Reportedly, a remark made from the floor was that “the membership had voted itself out of existence as a membership organisation”. Attendees […]

Agents called on to pressurise industry bodies into forcing online firms to display wealth warnings

Midlands agent David Brevitt is calling for other agents to put pressure on industry bodies including Propertymark NAEA to insist that online firms display a ‘wealth’ warning to consumers. Brevitt said that high street firms have to display warnings to sellers that they may end up having to pay two sets of commission if they […]

If the new breed of buying agents takes off, what would this mean for portal prices?

Buying agents have traditionally been niche in the UK – to serve only those wealthy enough to pay for them out of their own pocket. In the US, the seller is mandated to pay for the buyer’s agent, as the ‘conveyance’ is done by licensed real estate agents on both sides. It would be a […]

Rightmove pulls new TV advertising campaign after Grenfell Tower disaster

June 16, 2017

A new TV campaign by Rightmove has been abandoned after the Grenfell Tower catastrophe. The advert, launched on Monday and aimed at renters, ran during Tuesday night’s ‘One Born Every Minute’ just a few hours before the disaster unfolded. It prominently featured an image of a high rise tower block. Last night, a Rightmove spokesperson […]

Website featuring agent listings launches free tenant-find service to landlords

A service which features listings by agents as well as for-sale by owners and private landlords is to offer a free tenant-find service to members of the National Landlords Association. TheHouseShop said that the new partnership would benefit the NLA’s 70,000 members and associates and save landlords money. It added that the NLA has already […]

Agent calls in police after tenant who passed referencing checks was found to be bogus

Agents are being urged to be on their guard as sub-letting scams appear to be on the rise, with prospective tenants producing bogus documents and managing to pass checks by referencing companies. One central London agent has called in police after a prospective tenant passed by a referencing company was subsequently found to have produced […]

Belvoir boss calls on prime minister to appoint housing tsar

Lettings chain Belvoir has released the contents of a letter that director Dorian Gonsalves has written to prime minister Theresa May. Gonsalves makes the point that new housing minister Alok Sharma is the sixth since 2010, and that housing ministers stay in post for only a year or so. He calls for the appointment of […]

Propertymark chiefs say there should be a ‘radical’ new Housing Bill in Queen’s Speech

Propertymark bosses have called for a new Housing Bill to be introduced in the Queen’s Speech. Mark Hayward, chief executive of the NAEA, and David Cox, chief executive of ARLA, said: “We would like to congratulate Alok Sharma on his appointment to minister of state for housing and planning. “We worked closely with the former […]

High street firms consortium launches ‘What, no commission?’ campaign – and criticises NAEA

June 15, 2017

A network of high street firms has launched a ‘What, no commission?’ campaign aimed at consumers thinking of using an online – or ‘call centre’ – agent. The Experts in Property – formerly part of Team – has almost 80 offices in the south-west. It said it had created the campaign “in response to a […]

Misery! New spoof video shows someone screaming into the drinks cabinet

A high street estate agent has warned that online agents will ultimately lose vendors money “because they can’t negotiate on your behalf”. In a personal opinion piece on CityA.M., James Robinson, general manager of London firm Lurot Brand, said that purchasers wanting to buy a house cheaply could turn to online agents. They would then […]

Tenants actively reviewing letting agents across Britain on new website with plans for monetisation

Tenants are actively reviewing and rating local letting agents across Britain on a new website. Marks out of Tenancy was launched in March by Bristol-based entrepreneurs Ben Yarrow and Tom Dickinson. Renters can score agents, landlords and properties out of ten, and leave reviews. Tenants can review agents overall, and also evaluate them on six […]

We have a national housing crisis, so why isn’t the housing minister job a Cabinet position?

I have learned a lot from the General Election, like don’t place bets. My daughter Georgina was utterly stunned to learn that the Cabinet excludes the housing minister yet sport and media both feature under the ‘culture’ umbrella. She described it as ‘bare peak’ which for those of you whose first language is English means […]

Dismay at revolving door of housing ministers, where average tenure is just 14 months

Concern has been expressed at the rapid turnover of housing ministers, whether all of them are up to the job, and whether they wield any real power. Britain is now on its 15th housing minister in 20 years. The job changes hands on average every 14 months, meaning that the next housing minister could be […]

NEWSFLASH: Purplebricks to launch its American dream in California

June 14, 2017

Purplebricks has announced that it will launch in California this year. It told the London Stock Exchange this morning that it is targeting California for its US launch because of the State’s “strong housing and economic fundamentals”. California is number one in transactions across America with total sales commissions exceeding $11.5bn. Purplebricks said that as […]

New housing minister is finally named as Alok Sharma

The new housing minister has now been named, five days after the result of the General Election. He will not have a place in Cabinet, and his name may not be known to you. He is Alok Sharma, MP for Reading West, whose interest in housing seems so far not to have been shared publicly […]

It wasn’t like that: Ex-resident complains to advertising watchdog about agent’s listing

An estate agent has had a complaint upheld against it over the way it described a property. The complainant was a previous resident and challenged four claims made about the property by Liverpool agent Ashbury Residential. The Rightmove listing for the one-bedroom apartment gave as its key features “integrated audio system” and “gated access & […]

Ex-Countrywide director’s new venture swoops on second agency acquisition

The purchaser of Badger Holdings – which operates the Townends and Regents brands – has made a second acquisition and made it clear it wants plenty more. Nick Dunning Associates has bought Adams Property, a letting-only business in Ealing, west London, which adds more than 700 managed units to Badger’s portfolio. Badger Holdings, which consists […]

Another local independent goes live with online offering to vendors

Another local agent has launched an online offering. MoveSmart has been launched by Kent agent WH Breading on the firm’s website. It charges vendors from £750 plus VAT. It is not a bought-in package but the agent’s own idea. Unusually, it simply invites would-be vendors to register their details. The branch team picks up the […]

Online offering launched by high street agent under same brand ‘proving a big hit’

June 13, 2017

An agent who has created an online product says that launching it under the existing high street brand is proving very successful. Tobias Morrish said: “We have created a new product, but not a different brand or website for Sell it Yourself. “We do have a traditional estate agency offering, but we make no attempt […]

Agent calls on portals to display ‘wealth warnings’ for customers paying upfront to online firms

A high street agent is calling on Rightmove and Zoopla to ensure that customers of online firms are prominently warned in listings that “your agency fee may be at risk if you do not sell your property”. David Brevitt, of midlands high street firm My Personal Estate Agent, said online agents should also include the […]

Almost a quarter of all households to be in private rental accommodation within five years

The proportion of households living in the UK’s private rented sector will rise to 24% by 2021, according to new research by Knight Frank. The latest English Housing Survey – covering England only – puts the proportion at 20% in 2015/2016, or 4.5m households. Knight Frank believes that across the UK, there will be 5.79m […]

Property Franchise Group bosses to receive 1.5m new shares in company if targets are hit

The Property Franchise Group – parent company to brands including Martin & Co and EweMove – has announced the grant of new ordinary shares in the company to CEO Ian Wilson and chief financial officer David Raggett. The awards, of 1m shares to Wilson and 500,000 to Raggett, will be subject to the growth in […]

Rightmove to close offices for two days this month during staff conference

Rightmove is closing its offices for two days this month, on June 22 and June 23, for a staff conference. The offices will reopen on June 26. A spokesperson told EYE: “This is a two-day conference we have been holding every two years. “We’ve contacted our customers to give them advance notice of it and […]

How will Guild agents feel on being told their organisation will help them earn less?

June 12, 2017

Back in 2015, newspapers covered the story of easyProperty’s launch with headlines claiming the company would ‘wipe out’ high street estate agents. Now, with easyProperty’s merger with the Guild of Property Professionals and Fine & Country, it seems their investors have finally decided to pull the plug on founder Rob Ellice’s failed strategy. I thought […]

Unrest as Propertymark agents mull agenda at this week’s AGM

With just days to go until the NFoPP AGM this Friday, disquiet among members appears to be growing. EYE has heard a number of concerns: These include: The blocking of Chris Wood’s application to stand as vice-president of Propertymark NAEA. The proposal to cut the size of the NFoPP board which critics say will reduce […]

Barwell becomes chief of staff at Downing Street while new housing minister will be 15th in 20 years

Amid an uncertain political landscape, the only certainty appears to be that we will have a new housing minister. The person appointed will be the 15th since 1997, after the latest incumbent, Gavin Barwell, lost his seat in Thursday’s General Election. Barwell has however been announced as new chief of staff at Number 10. His […]

What can agents learn from the worst electoral campaign in history? Plenty!

What can agents learn from what was almost certainly the worst electoral campaign in memory? It was certainly a case of how not to sell yourself – and I am writing this as a younger, thirty-something estate agent. How about: Communication Knowing your client Not being arrogant Control your controllables Negativity never sells Standing by […]

Should high street firms charge for valuations when sellers go on to list with online firms?

An agent would like to canvass EYE readers’ thoughts on a very topical issue – valuing property for vendors who go on to list with online agents. Warren Sanders of Sanders&Sanders, in Alcester, Warwickshire, said: “As a high street agent with lots of local experience and knowledge of my area, especially in regard to property […]

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 […]