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New Data Protection Bill ‘could be death knell for smaller businesses’, warning

August 8, 2017

Email to a friend Print A new Data Protection Bill will allow people to ask for personal data to be deleted and give them the ‘right to be forgotten’. The Bill will transfer the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation into UK law. Implementation is set to be next May. Firms that flout the new law […]

Portal wars resume as Zoopla tells agents that OTM’s original plans are ‘out of the window’

Email to a friend Print Zoopla has stepped up efforts to win back agents with an email yesterday afternoon headed “Have you heard the latest!” The text – complete with a link to EYE’s story last Friday morning – says: “Hope you’re keeping well & business is good? “As you will be aware, ZPG continues […]

OnTheMarket starts its roadshows today to tell member agents of its plans

Email to a friend Print The first OnTheMarket member meetings are to take place today, where agents will learn details of OTM’s plans to demutualise and float on the stock exchange. The first meeting is at noon in Stafford, and the second at 4pm in Warrington. Members are said to have received a three-page letter […]

Zoopla-backed Zero Deposit attracts new investors including ex-Countrywide boss Grenville Turner

Email to a friend Print Zero Deposit, the new deposit replacement product backed by ZPG and founded by Zoopla’s former chief commercial officer Jon Notley, has secured some significant new investors. They include former Countrywide CEO and chairman Grenville Turner. Others are JamJar Investments, the venture capital fund that backed Innocent drinks; and Vanneck and […]

HIPs lite: Countrywide well placed to introduce Scottish Home Reports south of the border

Email to a friend Print Countrywide would be well placed to trial English-style Home Reports, the managing director of one of the estate agency’s Scottish surveyor brands has claimed. Jim Gibson, managing director at chartered surveyors Harvey Donaldson & Gibson, revealed that he has suggested to both Countrywide and RICS that they follow the example […]

This is why we MUST back OnTheMarket as it gets close to stock market float

August 7, 2017

Email to a friend Print The planned flotation of OnTheMarket is to be welcomed and will give the portal a much-needed boost in investment to strengthen its position against the other main portals. Subject to member agencies voting in favour of the flotation, OnTheMarket will be able to use this cash injection to boost its […]

Purplebricks is NOT best reviewed agent in UK – we are, says EweMove boss

The boss of The Property Franchise Group – whose brands include Martin & Co and EweMove – says that the claim by Purplebricks to be the most positively reviewed estate agent is misleading. Ian Wilson told EYE: “EweMove has over 2,000 TrustPilot reviews and a score of 9.9 against Purplebricks’ 9.5. “We are the only […]

Was this the first time OnTheMarket considered demutualisation?

An initial public offering (IPO) may have been on the mind of Agents’ Mutual chief executive Ian Springett as early as January 2016, court documents show. The judgement transcript from the Competition Appeal Tribunal hearing between Agents’ Mutual and Gascoigne Halman makes interesting reading, given the demutualisation announcement on Friday. It shows an IPO was […]

Silence maintained on further litigation between OnTheMarket and Gascoigne Halman

Both Connells – owners of Gascoigne Halman – and Agents’ Mutual have stayed silent on possible ongoing litigation over the ‘one other portal’ rule. Meanwhile, significant question marks have been raised about leaks of Friday’s announcement that Agents’ Mutual would seek a stock market listing. The bitter ‘one other portal’ case was won by Agents’ […]

Purplebricks has ‘more significant growth’ to come, says biggest investor Woodford

Purplebricks helped contribute to fund supremo Neil Woodford’s “fortnight from hell,” it has been claimed, as several of the investing veteran’s top holdings declined in value. The online agent makes up 10.9% of Woodford’s Patient Capital investment trust but investigations into its transparency and the way it operates by Radio 4′s You and Yours and […]

NEWSFLASH: Agents’ Mutual confirms £50m stock market flotation

August 4, 2017

Email to a friend Print Agents’ Mutual, the agent-owned company which owns the OnTheMarket property portal, this morning formally announced its intention to form a new parent company, OnTheMarket plc, to list on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange. The ‘one other portal’ rule will be dropped. It will seek to offer a […]

Shock as letting agents could be told by banks to do anti-money laundering checks on all clients – despite directive

Email to a friend Print A letting agent has been told by his bank that it requires Politically Exposed Persons checks to be done on all letting clients. This is despite the fact that letting agents do not have anti-money laundering duties under the latest directive which came into effect in late June. Handelsbanken has […]

Will Purplebricks eight-month share price rally resume after ‘storm in a thimble’?

Email to a friend Print Purplebricks’ woes after two BBC programmes this week have been dismissed as a “storm in a thimble”. Peel Hunt, the company’s broker, said: “We believe the answers provided to the deferred payment question were clear and the savings example has already been rectified. We don’t believe the issues raised will […]

Online agent ‘worth £12m’ raises £550,000 from almost 500 investors

Email to a friend Print Online agent Doorsteps closed its crowdfunding pitch at midnight after extending it for a week and going well over target. The business had hoped to raise £400,000 but by the middle of yesterday had attracted almost £550,000 from 489 investors. Doorsteps, which announced that it was considering a merger mid-pitch, […]

Thank you to our generous readers – £800 raised in Julian O’Dell charity auction

Email to a friend Print Our thanks to those who took part in this week’s charity auction to buy an original portrait by Julian O’Dell, with proceeds going to Action Against Cancer. The winning bid of £275 came from Guy Hollamby, of London firm Symington Elvery. Guy generously topped the bid up to £300 after […]

NEWSFLASH: OnTheMarket set to demutualise and list on stock exchange

August 3, 2017

Email to a friend Print OnTheMarket is set to demutualise and list on the stock market, according to Sky News. The formal announcement is likely to be made tomorrow to the stock market. Sky News says that Agents’ Mutual‎, parent company of OnTheMarket, will announce tomorrow “a radical plan to overhaul its corporate structure and […]

NEWSFLASH: Purplebricks defends itself in statement to Stock Exchange

Email to a friend Print Purplebricks this morning issued a statement to the Stock Exchange following yesterday’s You and Yours, and Watchdog programmes. It reads as follows: The Board of Purplebricks Group plc notes the recent share price movement. The Group was the subject of two BBC features on Wednesday 2 August relating principally to […]

Purplebricks tells BBC viewers: ‘We have not led vendors up the garden path’

Email to a friend Print Purplebricks last night on prime time TV rejected claims that it has led vendors “up the garden path”. On the Watchdog programme on BBC1, one seller complained that their Local Property Expert was in fact based 30 miles away. Another complained that the Purplebricks advert on TV said it would […]

Purplebricks Local Property Expert slams ‘garbage’ on EYE – saying Purplebricks only employs the best

Email to a friend Print Mystery surrounds a lengthy comment posted on EYE yesterday evening which was quickly withdrawn. It appeared to have been posted by a Local Property Expert, but was then swiftly pulled during last night’s Watchdog programme which featured Purplebricks. Points to note are that the poster previously worked for the likes […]

Council which set up first borough-wide licensing scheme to publish star ratings of all letting agents

Email to a friend Print The local authority which set up the first borough-wide mandatory licensing scheme of every rental property is to launch the UK’s first letting agents’ rating scheme. Effectively, it will publicly name and shame bad agents. Newham Council’s declared aim is to protect residents and landlords from rogue agents. The London […]

Seller posts up five one-star ratings of agent – but honestly, it’s not their fault

Email to a friend Print What happens when someone persistently gives you really, really bad reviews – and yet it really, really isn’t your fault? In this instance, someone is loudly lambasting haart on TrustPilot in five reviews all giving the agent the lowest possible one star rating. Starting in June, the furious seller awards […]

NEWSFLASH: Purplebricks boss defends ‘exaggerated claims’ allegation by BBC programme

August 2, 2017

Email to a friend Print Purplebricks was put under the spotlight today in the BBC’s You and Yours programme. It is also to be featured tonight on BBC1′s Watchdog. In You and Yours, it was said that Purplebricks was making ‘exaggerated’ claims and that it was repeating claims in emails that the programme had seen, […]

Chaos and frustration for agents as bug hits users of popular software

A bug has crippled Jupix, meaning that both yesterday and on Monday, nearly 2,000 agents could have been tearing their hair out in frustration. It is not clear whether the problem has been sorted out today. One agent told EYE: “We can’t access anything – phone numbers for vendors, applicants, solicitors, tenants, landlords, leases, rent […]

Foxtons’ strength has become its weak spot – and it must change, say experts

Foxtons was the first residential agency to go through a digital transformation – but the firm’s bespoke system is now its weak spot. The claim comes from proptech experts Eddie Holmes and James Dearsley – who worked at Foxtons for five years. They say that in the early 2000s, Foxtons built its own system, BOS, […]

Dive in profits for developer as leasehold mis-selling scandal looms large

Developer Taylor Wimpey’s profits have dived 24% after the firm set aside £130m to help buyers hit by the leasehold scandal. Pre-tax profits dropped to £205m in the year to July 2, the firm said yesterday. It announced in April that it would set aside the money, in a sign that it believes it could […]

Lack of supply keeping house prices high – Nationwide

House prices grew on a monthly basis for the first time in two months as average prices reached £211,671 in July, Nationwide says. The latest Nationwide House Price Index shows prices were up 0.3% on a monthly basis, reversing falls of 0.2% in May and 0.1% in June. The figures were also up 2.9% annually, […]

Fraudster who fleeced public and produced forged bank statement to agent is jailed

A man who fleeced people who thought they were buying dream park homes out of thousands of pounds has been jailed for six years. Barry Leigh tried to convince estate agents Humberts that he was wealthy, by showing them a forged bank statement showing he had funds of over £980,000 to buy sites. Leigh admitted […]

NEWSFLASH: LSL announces huge rise in profits as it continues to explore digital options

August 1, 2017

LSL delivered remarkably strong results this morning, and declared its faith in the traditional high street model, saying it would represent the “substantial majority of the sales market” until 2025. Nevertheless it will continue to look at digital opportunities. LSL also said it could not see any change in market conditions created by the Brexit […]

OnTheMarket hits the road as it tells agents: ‘We’re back’

OnTheMarket is holding 20 regional meetings this month to tell its members about its plans for the future. Chief executive Ian Springett yesterday told agents that there were “substantial new plans” to support the development of the portal. These could not be finalised pending the outcome of the litigation between OTM and Gascoigne Halman, but […]

Partners celebrate as Strutt & Parker is acquired by French bank subsidiary to create global ‘super agent’

French bank BNP Paribas has bought Strutt & Parker for an undisclosed, but likely to be substantial, sum – with the 53 equity partners who own Strutt & Parker beneficiaries of the deal which is set to propel the merged entity into one of the world’s top five agents. Champagne corks popped last night after […]

Online firm defends claim that it saves average vendor almost £5,600

An online agent’s claim on social media that its average vendor saves £5,594 has been publicly disputed – but robustly defended by HouseSimple. HouseSimple made the claim in an advert on Facebook – but two people queried it, with one asking how the sum was calculated. HouseSimple replied by posting a link saying: “It’s all […]

Claims that a fifth of estate agents could go bust raises question: Just how many agency businesses are there?

Just how many agency businesses are there in the UK? The question has been promoted by an accountancy firm’s research into the number of estate agency businesses that it says are at risk of collapse. Several publications simply lifted the press release by top ten accountancy firm Moore Stephens that claimed 19% of estate agents […]

America – here comes Purplebricks with Local Real Estate Experts recruitment drive

July 31, 2017

Purplebricks has launched in the US with advertising aimed at recruiting local property realtors. The US has so far proved a burial ground for UK agents trying to break into the US market. But will this prove different? Let us know what you think. [ comments ] Source:: America – here comes Purplebricks with Local […]

Hatched pioneer Adam Day joins easyProperty ahead of relaunch

Adam Day, founder of one of the very earliest online agencies, Hatched, has joined easyProperty as head of operations. The move unites two well-known figures in the industry, Day and easyProperty chief Jon Cooke, both regarded as innovators. The new appointment comes after EYE earlier this month reported Day’s departure from Hatched, now a Connells […]

‘We are doing considerably better than you’, online agent tells high street

Online agent eMoov has claimed that it is outperforming the high street for achieving above the asking price. eMoov has compared its performance to the latest market data released last week by NAEA Propertymark. According to the NAEA, 77% of homes sold for under the asking price and only 2% of properties sold for over. […]

OnTheMarket ‘should throw in its lot’ with unbeatable Rightmove, says leading commentator

One of the most respected figures in property journalism has repeated a call for OnTheMarket to throw in its lot with Rightmove. Commentator Peter Bill, a former editor of Estates Gazette, said he first made the suggestion a year ago. What has changed since then has been the ruling from the Competition Appeal Tribunal that […]

Anti Money Laundering update: We’re now on the fourth attempt at guidance

The important point to note with the new Anti Money Laundering regime is that it is not enough simply to check both sellers and buyers: the obligation on agents is to risk-assess each case. Unfortunately, agents have not been helped by changes in government guidance which were rushed through and very little different from earlier […]

NEWSFLASH: Yet more record results for Rightmove as profits and revenues surge

July 28, 2017

Rightmove announced both revenues and profits up in the first half of this year, driven by growth in its agency and new homes business. Agents contributed growth of £7.9m, driven by membership fee increases as well as purchases of additional advertising packages. Overall, revenue rose 11% to £119.5m, with underlying profits up 11% to £91m, […]

Just two online agents in EYE’s survey appear to have made changes following advertising watchdog ruling

Only two out of eight online agents’ websites have been changed since the Advertising Standards Authority ruled that claims by Purplebricks about savings could not be substantiated and must not be made again. Following that ruling in early July, EYE visited eight websites, including that of Purplebricks. Since July 10, it would appear that only […]

Three agents expelled by Property Ombudsman after failures to co-operate

Three agents have been expelled from membership of The Property Ombudsman (TPO) scheme for two or more years, after failing to pay awards made by the Ombudsman or comply with TPO’s Codes of Practice for Residential Estate Agents and Letting Agents. The decisions to expel Shields & Co (Nottinghamshire), LPC Lettings Limited (Liverpool) and Blackhorse […]

Countrywide shares slip to new low after firm reports 98% plunge in profits

Countrywide shares endured a miserable day on the market yesterday after the country’s largest agent reported half-year profits down by 98% compared with the same period a year ago. At one stage yesterday the shares slipped to a new low at 145.50p. They picked up slightly to finish the day at 148, down – a […]

Online agent sails over crowdfunding target – and drops a bombshell

Online agent Doorsteps – which claims to be worth £12m after only a year’s trading – has now raised £500,800 from 357 investors on the crowdfunding platform Crowdcube. The business, which aimed to raise £400,000, has now announced that it is extending its bid for funds by a week – and last night, announced that […]

NEWSFLASH: Revenues and profits plunge at both Countrywide and Foxtons

July 27, 2017

Profits plunged at Countrywide in the first half of this year. An operating profit of £28.3m in the first half of last year plunged to £6.5m, while revenue was down from £370.3m to £333m. Sales transactions were down from 33,940 to 27,100. CEO Alison Platt was defiant, saying: “We are building a stronger business for […]

Top management team at Badger quits as Nick Dunning steps in as interim CEO

The long-standing top management team at Badger Holdings have all quit, months after the business was acquired by Nick Dunning Associates. None of the three had, as of yesterday, updated their LinkedIn profiles. Nick Dunning himself has become interim CEO. Group chief executive Seamus Kavanagh had been at Townends, part of what is now Badger […]

Agent who let property used for grooming and abusing young girls is sent to prison

An agent who appeared to have been a pillar of the community has been imprisoned for fraud. Malcolm Belchamber, who had been dismissed by his employer Leaders for gross misconduct, was regarded as so respectable that he was four times mayor of Littlehampton, in Sussex. He has now been sentenced to a total of 18 […]

Potential business ‘walking away’ because agents are not available to chat in the ‘always on’ society

A month-long study of visitors to agents’ own websites has revealed that very few go on to other agents’ sites. It has also shown that agents could do far more in terms of chat availability and are seeing potential business ‘walk away’ because there is no one on chat duty at certain times. Just 4.6% […]

Review of the Week: Here is what one firm is doing to praise its staff

EYE’s new ‘Review of the Week’ series (entries welcome!) is intended to feature amusing, off-beat and sometimes completely unbelievable reviews and ratings. But of course we’re also open to being sent reviews which genuinely praise an individual or a firm for going that extra mile. And we find that is almost exactly what estate agency […]

easyProperty licences taken up by over a quarter of Guild and Fine & Country offices

July 26, 2017

More than 270 easyProperty licences have been secured by independent estate agents belonging to The Guild of Property Professionals and Fine & Country as of yesterday. It means that just over a quarter of the total number of offices have taken up the opportunity, with 800 offices represented in the Guild and 200 in Fine […]

Online agents increase market share by 57% in a year – but still have just 5% of market

There has been a “significant shift” towards using online agents, a new report on the housing market claims. It says that in the second quarter of this year, they increased their market share by 57% compared with the same period last year. But despite the dramatic uplift, they nevertheless had only 5% of the overall […]

Letting agent couple who failed to register over £40,000 of deposits escape jail

A married couple who ran a lettings agency where they failed to protect tenants’ deposits have escaped jail. George and Kim Overill ran Oakpark Properties in Harwich, Essex, and pleaded guilty to two counts each of contravention of professional diligence as directors and a further two each of fraudulent trading. The couple failed to register […]