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EYE NEWSFLASH: Property Franchise Group tells City that EweMove made £300,000 losses on revenue of less than £1m

September 6, 2017

Email to a friend Print A trading update to the City has revealed that EweMove made losses of £300,000 on turnover of £900,000 in the first half of this year. As a result, this afternoon’s statement said, underlying profits for the Property Franchise Group this year will be below market expectations. PFG bought the business […]

Our faith is in the high street, says Spicerhaart after confirming purchase of major regional firm

Email to a friend Print Spicerhaart has confirmed its acquisition of large regional firm butters john bee, as reported by EYE yesterday. The price has not been disclosed. The deal takes the number of Spicerhaart branches to over 200 and employee headcount to over 2,000. The management team at butters john bee will remain the […]

No sale! Property Franchise Group totally rejects suggestions that EweMove has been sold to Countrywide

Email to a friend Print The Property Franchise Group has totally denied rumours that one of its brands, EweMove, has been sold to Countrywide, or that the brand is on the market at all. Last night, CEO Ian Wilson said that EweMove, bought only a year ago by PFG for £15m – but with the […]

Special incentive scheme to woo vendors from online agents proving a hit, says high street firm

Email to a friend Print A special incentive scheme specifically designed to woo vendors who are less than pleased with the performance of their online agent is proving a hit, a high street agent has said. Arun Estates said its softly, softly campaign has won it over £350,000 in additional fees within just over four […]

Purplebricks reported again to Advertising Standards Authority

Email to a friend Print Purplebricks has been reported to the Advertising Standards Authority – with the matter resolved informally and no further action taken. A spokesperson for the ASA said: “We received a complaint about a claim on Purplebricks’ website about viewing fees. “A complainant challenged whether it was misleading as they believed it […]

Company calling itself ‘Zoopla Property’ is ordered to change its name within a month

Email to a friend Print A company called Zoopla Property Limited has been ordered to change its name after objections from ZPG. Zoopla Property Limited, based in Birmingham, was incorporated in August last year and on Companies House describes its nature of business as residents’ property management. Its director is Kamran Bashir, with another director […]

NEWS FLASH: Belvoir announces it will launch self-service online estate agency within three to six months

September 5, 2017

Email to a friend Print Belvoir is to launch an online estate agency platform within the next three to six months – and will be considering a self-service lettings offering at some point in the future. The company, which announced excellent results this morning including a 62% increase in pre-tax profits, said it had polled […]

Ombudsman extends expulsion time of rogue agency – but will this help victims?

Email to a friend Print The Property Ombudsman has taken further action against an expelled letting agent after it received seven additional complaints from landlords which resulted in awards totalling £20,566. None of the money has been paid. Earlier money ordered to be paid may also not have been handed over to landlords and tenants. […]

Online estate agency founder named as new managing director of Xperience brands

Email to a friend Print Two top names have been announced as the latest appointments by the Property Franchise Group. Graham Lock, founder of original online agent House Network, has been appointed managing director of the group’s Xperience brands – encompassing Whitegates, Parkers, Ellis & Co, and CJ Hole – while former Your Move lettings […]

Big deals set to be announced as major agents stay tight-lipped on acquisitions

Email to a friend Print At least two new big deals are in the offing, EYE understands. Yesterday, Spicerhaart did not deny – or comment on – suggestions that it has bought, or is buying, a major firm. We are told this is Butters John Bee, with 19 branches across Staffordshire, Cheshire, Shropshire and the […]

Property software firm raises over £1m – even though you may not have heard of it until now

Email to a friend Print A little known property management software firm, Arthur, has just raised £1,136,000 in its first round of funding, which was oversubscribed. The fundraising was managed by chairman Mark Jones who brought in five individual investors. London Business School investor group introduced 11 and the Deloitte Investor group brought in another […]

Gloves come off as online agents prepare to do battle on marketing front

Email to a friend Print The stakes continue to be raised in the online sector, after eMoov announced the recruitment of a new marketing director. Lucy Milne has joined from the same role at Just Eat, the online takeaway ordering service. Her CV also includes a stint as head of retail marketing at Orange. eMoov […]

OnTheMarket flotation MUST succeed in order to compete at highest level, says major regional agent

August 25, 2017

Email to a friend Print The managing partner of a regional independent has said that an IPO is the best chance that OnTheMarket has of succeeding and competing at the highest level. He said the IPO must succeed in order to stop Rightmove and Zoopla’s pricing strategies seeing agents’ costs escalate out of control. Alan […]

Money laundering – how will HMRC view these buyer scenarios?

Agents need to conduct a money laundering risk assessment and conduct customer due diligence on buyers – that is a statutory duty that comes from the Regulations not HMRC. The guidance HMRC has issued on the subject currently states that the buyer’s identity must be verified before the contracts are exchanged and so in theory […]

Agent Provocateur: Forget the technology, we need to speak!

Is there a dichotomy at the heart of the communication revolution in our industry? Forget the average [almost middle-aged] first-time buyer and let’s concentrate on normal people getting on with their lives, i.e. probably well into 40s and possibly 50s. Now let’s think about those who are allergic to the telephone, the generation of people […]

Pace of annual house price inflation slows down across cities

A 12-month slowdown in London house price growth has ‘bottomed out’, property analyst Hometrack said this morning. It said annual house price inflation in London in July stood at 2.8%, up from 2.3% the previous month, fuelled by low transaction volumes and an absence of forced sellers. Housing turnover across London has fallen by 17% […]

Kevin Hollinrake says it is important that MPs understand implications of fees ban

MP Kevin Hollinrake – who co-founded Hunters of which he is now chairman – has confirmed that agents will be able to attend the forthcoming Parliamentary debate on the proposed ban letting agent fees. Hollinrake, who is sponsoring the debate, told EYE: “It is understandable that the Government seeks to close a loophole that allows […]

EXCLUSIVE: OnTheMarket says proposed float does not mean abandoning core principles

August 24, 2017

Email to a friend Print A number of questions put by agents – including some of the issues raised by posters on EYE – have now been answered by OnTheMarket. We should clarify that the following Q & A has been put together by OTM itself. Was it the plan all along for Agents’ Mutual […]

Agent thrown out of ombudsman scheme after failing to pay award

A sales and letting agent in south-west London has been expelled from The Property Ombudsman scheme for a year after the Ombudsman supported a landlord complaint. Premier Moves Management (PMM) did not pay the award of £4,900 as instructed by the Ombudsman so the case was referred to TPO’s disciplinary and standards committee, which ruled […]

Government rakes in an extra £2bn a year thanks to Stamp Duty surcharge

The Government looks increasingly unlikely to heed calls to ditch the 3% Stamp Duty surcharge on additional home purchases after seeing the Treasury coffers swell by 20% extra receipts. For the same number of property transactions as two years ago, the Government has pulled in an extra £2bn in Stamp Duty Land Tax thanks to […]

Properties vanishing from mainstream rental market as more landlords switch to Airbnb

An increasing number of rental properties in London are being used for short-term holiday lets using websites such as Airbnb and are no longer available for long-term renting. The claim comes from the Residential Landlords Association which says there has been a 75% increase in the number of multi-listings on Airbnb between February 2016 and […]

Confusion as industry figure complains his daughter will be charged excessive reference fee

The subject of tenants’ fees charged by agents was aired yesterday on Twitter – but turned out to be based on something of a misunderstanding. It started with an angry Ed Mead complaining that an agent in Bristol, Ocean, was apparently planning to charge £300 to reference one tenant. Mead complained that the charge “has […]

OnTheMarket campaigner for ‘Vote No’ to flotation continues his fight

August 23, 2017

The agent trying to mobilise a ‘Vote No’ campaign to the proposal to float OnTheMarket on the stock exchange says he has had some dubious responses to his call to action. Graeme Lumsden – a supporter of OTM but who is now concerned that the original principles are being ditched – told EYE last night […]

Online agent rapped by watchdog as ‘home’ address of local expert looked like a branch

Online agent Hatched has been rapped by the advertising watchdog for giving an address online that looked like a business address but was in fact the home of one of their Local Property Consultants. The address given on was “Hatched, Hatched House”, with an address in Pudsey, Yorkshire. Homebuyers Property Services challenged whether this […]

A quarter of all UK households will be private tenants within eight years, forecast

The average tenancy length in the UK is getting longer – and by 2025, 25% of all households will be living in the private rented sector. Both findings are from LSL companies. Your Move reported that in London – which has almost one-fifth of all rental properties in the UK – the average tenancy length […]

Firm that offers outsourced live chat to agents announces major growth

A firm providing outsourced online chat services to agents has announced a 157% increase in turnover during the last year, amid growing demand. Chat Heroes was launched in 2015 by Paul Lawton, who said that while his firm provides live web chat services for a number of businesses, over half are for sales and letting […]

Why listers are the most valuable people to any estate agency business – especially now

Who is the most valuable person in your estate agency business? Is it the estate agency boss, who drives the team forward and keeps the show on the road? The top-performing negotiator who repeatedly closes sales and brings in the commission? Or the company accountant who keeps a beady eye on costs and identifies sources […]

Letting fees: MP Kevin Hollinrake initiates Parliamentary debate on ban

August 22, 2017

MP Kevin Hollinrake – who co-founded Hunters of which he is now chairman – is sponsoring a Parliamentary debate on the proposed ban on letting agency fees in England. The debate is on Wednesday, September 6, at Westminster Hall between 9am and 11am. The intention to abolish letting agent fees charged to tenants was made […]

Daily Mail to clarify agents’ fees as ‘gesture of good will’ after story claiming 1.8% average

The Daily Mail has said it will correct claims that estate agents charge an average 1.8% in fees, It says the proposed amendment is “a gesture of good will”. In an email to an EYE reader who challenged the figure that the Mail used in a story which alleged that estate agency fees were the […]

As one brand closes, another opens – major regional chain says it will introduce a new name

Arun Estates has confirmed that it has shut down a complete brand following readers’ comments on yesterday’s story on EYE. The brand it shut down was Rooney & Co – but this consisted of just one office in Horsham, West Sussex, where Arun already has a branch in the form of Cubitt & West. A […]

Oxford University business school launches ‘proptech’ module in new course

A new programme by Oxford University’s Said Business School promises to “equip participants with the ability to identify opportunities for disruption in the financial services sector”. While the course is entitled the “Oxford Fintech Programme”, it dedicates a whole module to ‘Proptech and real estate innovation’. For industry stalwarts it may seem laughable that proptech […]

Gambling Commission warns vendors not to bet on house raffles

The Gambling Commission has issued warnings to home owners amid the renewed trend of house raffles. The regulator is warning that there are instances where organisers are breaking the law as their scheme has been set up in a way that means it is an illegal lottery. Unlike a raffle or lottery, which is regulated […]

Speculation over ‘departure’ of Countrywide’s head of estate and lettings agency business

August 18, 2017

Countrywide yesterday did not respond to speculation as to whether its high-profile managing director of retail, Sam Tyrer, has left. If true, questions are bound to be asked about Countrywide’s retail strategy and whether this has failed. Inquiries from EYE yesterday went unanswered by the company’s press office, as did inquiries also made by us […]

Fees ban ‘will help online student lettings agent launch into mainstream market’

An online agency aimed at the student lettings market is to expand into the mainstream market. It says that with the impending fees ban, more landlords will look for cheaper alternatives to the high street. Student is set to launch within the next few weeks and says it already has both the technology […]

Line-up of speakers at EA Masters includes global names as well as home-grown heroes

Estate agent turned MP Kevin Hollinrake is among the exceptional speakers announced for next month’s EA Masters, which is set to be the biggest estate agency event ever held in the UK, and breaking completely new ground. The founder of Hunters is in the line-up of speakers, which includes international agents and professional presenters as […]

Property firms and people make it to finals of National Business Awards

A number of property firms and individuals have made the finals of this year’s Lloyds Bank National Business Awards. Among them are Property Partner, listed in the digital business of the year category, which sets out to be the ‘stock market’ for property, allowing investors’ stakes in homes to be bought and traded in the […]

Agent says almost 100 clients have used its Airbnb service so far

Almost 100 clients have used London estate agent Portico’s Airbnb service since launch in January, with just one case of damage. The agent launched an Airbnb management service in January, allowing landlords and home owners to exploit the short stay website for empty properties – including those where the owners are away for a time, […]

National newspaper says agents’ fees are biggest barrier to downsizing

August 17, 2017

Email to a friend Print Estate agents’ fees were named as the biggest financial barrier for downsizers to sell up and buy somewhere smaller. The Daily Mail yesterday said that estate agents’ fees average 1.8%. The paper said that downsizing costs vendors almost £29,000 in costs, adding that “Stamp Duty is only half of it”. […]

Hybrid agent turns to crowdfunding to raise up to £250,000

A hybrid agent is looking to raise money on crowdfunding platform Seedrs. Its ‘front page’ pitch says Vesper Homes is looking for investment of £100,000 in exchange for 8% of equity in the company. However, in the longer pitch document it says it is seeking £250,000, with £100,000 being the minimum. The business is much […]

Home sold in £2 raffle had been on market with online agent

A home which has been sold by raffle was last on the market with an online agent. According to Rightmove, the property was listed last December at £650,000 by HouseSimple. Other agents had previously tried to market the home at higher prices. The owner of Melling Manor, in Lancashire, has now sold his home after […]

And here’s raffle number two – agent raffling his Porsche at £20 per ticket

A Chelsea estate agent is selling off his Porsche – hoping to sell 2,500 tickets for £20 each. It is not known whether the personalised number plate – E3 DYB – will be included. If Ed Bezzant succeeds in selling all 2,500 tickets, he will make £50,000, which is more than the recommended retail price […]

Second acquisition within four months for expanding regional agent

Yorkshire agent Manning Stainton has completed its second acquisition in four months. It has purchased – for an undisclosed sum – Clear Properties. The deal follows the acquisition of AR Estates. Clear Properties is an independent agent, established in 2004, providing residential sales and lettings services to sellers, buyers and landlords in Adel and the […]

Online agent HouseSimple told to withdraw its cost-saving claim in TV advert

August 16, 2017

Claims about how much an online agent could save sellers have been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority. HouseSimple – backed to the tune of £13m by Carphone Warehouse funder Sir Charles Dunstone and his business partner Roger Taylor – claimed in TV advertising that it saved customers an average of £5,000 in fees. The […]

Housing market ‘speeding towards crisis point’ as average prices up £10,000 on a year ago

House prices continued to climb in June, although the pace of annual house price inflation slowed. Today’s Telegraph said the housing market was speeding towards a crisis, with average prices across England and Wales up almost £10,000 on June a year ago. Spicerhaart chief Paul Smith told the paper: “Along with consumer price hikes and […]

On your bike! Agent agrees to remove ‘Norton motorcycles’ claim after complaint to watchdog

A complaint about an estate agent’s claim on its website has been resolved informally by the Advertising Standards Authority. Featherstone Leigh, which has branches in London, claimed that the Featherbed Villas property development was “formerly the residence of the Norton family (of motorcycle fame)”. However, a complainant said the founder of the Norton Motorcycle company […]

Independent snaps up six-branch business to create one of largest agents in region

Northern agent Ryder & Dutton has acquired the business of Mortimers Estate Agents, a long established brand with offices in Blackburn, Great Harwood, Accrington, Clitheroe and Whalley plus a Fine and Country office covering the Ribble and Hodder Valleys. The sum has not been disclosed Two years ago, Ryder & Dutton bought Eley Long and […]

Rents ‘not spiralling out of control’ – Belvoir boss condemns ‘sensationalist’ press stories

Rental price inflation was flat across Great Britain for the fourth consecutive month in July, figures from the ONS show. Separately, Belvoir has said that “sensationalist” rent rises portrayed by the media are untrue. The firm says average rents rose 2.75% annually during the second quarter of 2017 to £751. Its data shows rents range […]

Estate agency chief attacks ‘army of providers’ feeding off backs of independents

August 15, 2017

A leading industry figure has made a blistering attack on the “army of providers swooping down on agents and eating away at their bottom lines”. Robert Sargent, CEO of the Acorn Group, said that it is hard to see what value some of these providers – which mostly go under the ‘proptech’ title – could […]

Agent who told buyer about pub but not longer opening hours application rapped over insufficient disclosure

A buyer purchasing a property next door to a pub withdrew after discovering that it had applied for an extension to its licensing hours. The agent had made the buyer aware of the pub, and the pub’s application to extend its opening hours to midnight on Friday and Saturday nights was unsuccessful. The buyer withdrew […]

New boss taking over helm at EweMove is recruited from the franchisees

EweMove’s new managing director – or ‘head shepherd’ – is a franchisee. Nick Neill launched the York franchise in 2014, coming from a non-estate agency background. In three years, he drove revenue up by 1,900%. Neill said: “I am absolutely thrilled to have taken the helm at EweMove and am hugely excited about the opportunity […]