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Proptech firm makes almost 40 redundant but pledges that agents will see no change in levels of service

January 9, 2018

Almost 40 people have been made redundant from innovative proptech firm Goodlord in a restructure of the business. Headcount has been reduced by 28%, with 38 people in sales and marketing losing their jobs after a consultation. The firm, set up by ex-Foxtons agent Richard White, puts a number of letting agency processes, such as […]

High street’s fight-back: Big regional firm launches new brand charging from £1,000 upfront

The large regional group which last week announced that it was walking away from any online offering, has revealed its fight-back strategy. Arun Estates, with over 100 branches in the south, yesterday launched a “hub” business model in the form of a new bricks and mortar brand, charging from £1,000 paid upfront. Hadleys London, the […]

Tributes as former ARLA President Susan Fitz-Gibbon dies after decade-long battle with cancer

Susan Fitz-Gibbon, a former President of ARLA and an inspirational figure in the lettings industry, has died after a long and brave battle with cancer. She was 57. After a hugely successful period with Chesterton, where she was known as the powerhouse of its lettings business, she founded Fitz-Gibbon, with branches in London, in 1988, […]

EYE NEWSFLASH: ‘New’ housing minister announced in May’s Cabinet re-shuffle

January 8, 2018

Sajid Javid has been announced as Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government in Theresa May’s re-shuffle. However this looks more like a re-appointment than anything else: Javid was already responsible for housing as Communities Secretary, a Cabinet position. His new job title seems to have done little more than add in the […]

Former Guild and Fine & Country boss hits out at strategy to offer easyProperty licences

Email to a friend Print The former director of Fine & Country and the Guild has made plain his disapproval of parent company GPEA’s online strategy which involves offering easyProperty licences to member agents. Mike Bidwell, director of the Guild and F & C for almost ten years until 2015, has hit out at the […]

New tenancy deposit replacement product ‘will do more than replace lost income’ when fees are banned

A new tenancy deposit replacement product will put money in the pockets of letting agents each time a tenant takes up the option. Designed to more than replace the loss of income when the fees ban comes in, it is likely to average £250, and in London to be some £350. The money will be […]

Countrywide reveals 10% spike in first-time buyer registrations since Stamp Duty exemption

Estate agency giant Countrywide has attributed a 10% annual spike in first-time buyer registrations in London to the Stamp Duty exemption. Chancellor Philip Hammond used his Budget in November to announce the end of Stamp Duty for first-time buyers on purchases of up to £300,000, and on the first £300,000 on properties worth up to […]

Mothers pride: Women use social media to give unprompted recommendations of local agent

There are rating sites and there’s Google and Facebook for reviews – and then there are mums. When a Hampshire woman was thinking of putting her home on the market, she asked a local Facebook group called Emsworth Mums (3,700 members) for their opinions as to the best estate agents. The recommendations were quick to […]

Is that an OTM logo you see before your eyes? No – we’re talking Mods and Rockers!

We’ve got two more beautiful/quirky estate agents’ offices this morning, including one for movie fans – and followers of OnTheMarket. Leigh Ryan, manager of Palms Properties, sent us this image of their offices on Palm Drive on Brighton Marina. Alive with bright colours, it features a mural representing all that Brighton is best known for, […]

EYE NEWSFLASH! New platform aimed at challenging portals will open up listings to anyone with a smartphone

January 1, 2018

Email to a friend Print An e-platform which will allow anyone to upload property listings by taking pictures on their smartphone is due to launch this spring. My Backyard sent an email on Christmas Eve to potential investors explaining itself as an “e-platform for private landlords/sellers”. The team behind My Backyard includes Angels Media, which […]

Reviews site allAgents pulls out of ‘peace talks’ with Purplebricks – but online agent gives own version of events

November 30, 2017

Email to a friend Print Reviews site allAgents has pulled out of talks with Purplebricks which had been held to try and settle the dispute between them over their ‘fake’ reviews row. allAgents said it withdrew from the negotiations yesterday afternoon. However, Purplebricks yesterday evening delivered its own strongly-worded version of events, saying that allAgents […]

Fields of gold: How tiny independent has propelled itself to being one of UK’s top agents

A small independent with just two branches and 12 staff is bracing itself for some 10,000 new homes to come on to its books – making it almost certainly the most valuable estate agency in the UK by size. The Wilkinson Partnership, with offices in Winslow, Bucks, and Leighton Buzzard, Beds, is on the threshold […]

Land Registry announces new plans to speed up home buying and selling

Email to a friend Print The Land Registry yesterday announced a new business strategy, aimed at speeding up the buying and selling of homes in England and Wales. The new strategy is also aimed at making the process cheaper and simpler. The Land Registry aims to digitise 95% of its daily transactions within five years, […]

One-third of landlords could drop letting agent once fees ban comes in

Nearly one-third of landlords who currently use a letting agent may stop doing so once the fees ban comes in. The finding emerges in a new report from specialist lender Paragon, based on interviews with over 200 ‘experienced’ landlords. It shows that 73% of such landlords currently use an agent, but that 30% of these […]

OnTheMarket announces new signing of major agency group

OnTheMarket has signed a five-year listing agreement with major independent Chancellors Group. Under the agreement, Chancellors will advertise all of its UK residential sales and lettings properties at OTM and will actively promote the portal brand with digital and branch-based marketing activity. The agreement will kick in once OnTheMarket lists publicly, at which point it […]

EYE NEWSFLASH! Zoopla announces record traffic as revenue jumps and agents return

November 29, 2017

Record traffic and leads to agents have been announced by Zoopla this morning. ZPG said there were 648m visits and 56m leads in the 12 months to the end of September. Its property division saw revenue leap by 41% to £122.3m, with the number of member agents jumping by 6% to 14,775 branches. Average advertising […]

New DIY online agency launches charging vendors £65 and with over 300 local experts – but who is mystery partner?

A new DIY online estate agency has thrown down the gauntlet to the high street amid some mystery, as it launched this week, charging sellers £65 and with over 300 ‘qualified experts’ nationwide, in an arrangement with another un-named partner organisation, and designed to encourage good reviews. The partner is emphatically said not to be […]

Traditional v. online: Almost one in five high street agents now playing ‘both games at once’

More agents now consider themselves to be operating as hybrids. The 18% proportion compares with 11% two years ago, while almost one in five of high street agents are playing ‘both games at once’. The findings are among the first to emerge from the preliminary results of the latest survey tracking the competitive landscape between […]

Wooing mums back to the estate agency workplace – with family friendly hours and no CVs

A new website to help parents back into estate agency careers while seeking a work/life balance is proving a big hit. The Daisy Chain was quietly launched a few months ago and is the brainchild of Louise Deverell-Smith, herself the mother of three children, and the wife of estate agency recruiter Andrew Deverell-Smith. However, the […]

Online agent says it will drop claim about selling a property for best price in shortest time

A online agency has agreed to drop a claim on its website that its open house method of selling properties achieved the best price in the shortest time after a complaint to the advertising watchdog. The Advertising Standards Authority said that Elopa claimed on the website “that their Open House Method of selling properties achieved […]

Housing minister promises to look at legal loophole in leasehold law

Housing minister Alok Sharma has vowed to look at a loophole in the Housing Act that exempts charities from having to sell or extend leases. Sharma said this issue would be looked at as part of the now-closed consultation on leasehold reform, which he said he would like to see the Government respond to by […]

Agent in joint agreement with non-Rightmove firm is told he cannot list property

November 28, 2017

An agent has been banned from listing a property on Rightmove after entering into a joint agreement with another agent who is not on Rightmove. Steve Morris & Son, in Sutton Coldfield, was told that it had been attempting to re-sell space on Rightmove – something the firm totally rejects, saying this is far from […]

Paul Smith column: ‘Wheels are starting to come off online agents’ bandwagon’

So the internet-only model isn’t all it’s cracked up to be! Who knew? Certainly not all the investors who’ve ploughed millions into the founders’ pockets and are still waiting for a return on their investment. Or the customers who’ve been duped into believing they’re getting a good deal when their properties remain unsold but they’ve […]

No sign of rogue landlord and lettings agent database a year since first mention

The Government still does not seem to have a set date for the introduction of a list of rogue landlords and lettings agents despite its launch expected to have been in October. The creation of a database of rogue landlords and lettings agents for local authorities was first touted in a consultation in December 2016 […]

Zoopla announces another long-term agreement with corporate – this time LSL

Zoopla has announced a new long-term portal agreement with LSL, the parent company of brands including Your Move, Reeds Rains and Marsh & Parsons. As part of the new agreement LSL, with over 500 estate agency and lettings branches, will continue to advertise all of its property listings for five years. The agreement follows similar […]

Picture of the Week: And it’s a property that’s taken a proper pounding

Picture of the Week – and could this be a story of our times? When Poundland tycoon Steven Smith put his home on the market, he naturally chose the online agent of which he was chairman to market it: EstatesDirect. If nothing else, it was cheap – originally charging vendors just £195 plus VAT. In […]

New money laundering regulations clause is either wrong – or means big impact for agents

November 27, 2017

Email to a friend Print Everyone in estate agency is now conducting ID checks on buyers, given the requirements of the new Money Laundering Regulations that came into force in June. The concept of having to conduct ID checks on purchasers is in my opinion ridiculous, as I have previously stated on EYE. It is […]

Support for software products to be pulled because of change in data protection rules

The Property Software Group, part of ZPG, is to pull support for some of its older software products because of the new General Data Protection Regulations. It is the first tangible sign of the upheaval that the new regime, coming in next May, could cause. While PSG is playing this down, the concern for agents […]

Essential guidance: Ten ways for agents to prepare for new data protection rules

Estate and letting agents in the UK are six months away from the introduction of the EU-wide General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). These will require all businesses that handle personal data to implement a far more rigorous protection regime than we have seen previously. Is the industry ready? Anecdotally and through my discussions with colleagues, […]

Important reminder: Please fill in this important survey today

Here is a request to agents who have not yet filled in the survey tracking the competitive landscape between online and high street agents: please could you do so today. It will take up very little of your time (there are only 15 questions) but your answers will provide an important measure of how the […]

Inspirational! London property awards recognise inspirational achievements of triple-cancer survivor

A leading agency figure who has survived cancer three times has been recognised with a special award for his outstanding charitable achievements. Andrew Scott, a founder of Lane Fox and formerly head of London residential at Strutt & Parker until his recent retirement, led a team to raise £250,000 for Cancer Research. This was through […]

Householder wins case against estate agency flyers delivered to his home

October 30, 2017

Email to a friend Print A householder fed up with receiving flyers from a firm of estate agents has won his court battle to have them banned, in what could be a landmark ruling. He successfully argued that there was no right to use his path to deliver the leaflets. George Arkless, who already had […]

Consumers shrug off prospect of interest rate rises – but confidence in housing market falls to five-year low

Confidence in the housing market has fallen to a five-year low – and although just over half of adults still believe house prices will rise over the next year, nearly the same proportion predicts a slowdown. The most pessimistic are Londoners and the under-25 age group, Halifax claims. Its report also shows that a rise […]

‘Letting agents are sleepwalking into disaster’, claims build-to-rent pioneer

The build-to-rent brigade has fired the first real shots over the bows of the traditional letting agency sector, saying it faces wipe-out. Harry Downes, founder and managing director of build-to-rent developer Fizzy Living, has expressed derision that so many agents point to the lettings fee ban as the biggest threat to their businesses. While a […]

Another build-to-rent landlord drops tenancy fee charges

Dropping fees charged to tenants, or never charging them in the first place, is becoming the norm in the government-backed build-to-rent sector. The latest to cancel charges is build-to-rent developer Be, which has now announced zero fees for its west London development in Hayes. It charged fees until the middle of this month. The company […]

More than just a pane: Is your estate agency window covered by insurance loss?

Is your front window covered by insurance? Importantly, does your insurance cover not just the broken window but possible theft of customer data? Last week, we reported that scooter thieves had smashed into the window of London agents Flats and Houses, and stolen a £2,000 computer. Insurer Oliver Wharmby, of Lonsdale Insurance Brokers, tells us […]

Watchdog programme was hurtful, says Purplebricks boss Michael Bruce

October 24, 2017

Purplebricks boss Michael Bruce has brushed off criticisms of his business model – but said that the experience of appearing on Watchdog to answer criticisms was hurtful. In a new interview, he also said that because sellers never actually see the money they pay high street agents in commission, the money is ‘virtual’. In a […]

Chain-breaking estate agency Nested raises another £36m to fund UK-wide expansion

Nested, the chain-breaking estate agency that helps home movers buy their next house before they’ve sold their current home, has raised £36m in a new funding round to expand its business. It represents Europe’s largest proptech investment this year, and brings the total raised by Nested to £47m so far. The latest funding round, led […]

Outright ban on referral fees could be ‘catastrophic’ for estate agency sector, warning

A ban on referral fees could have a “catastrophic” impact on the estate agency sector – and in particular trigger a “monumental” decline in corporate agencies. The Call for Evidence into the process of buying and selling houses raises the possibility of an outright ban on referral fees earned from conveyancing and financial services. Russell […]

Industry veteran despairs as to Government’s understanding of how market works

A senior estate agency figure has questioned whether there is any answer to gazumping and gazundering, saying that buyers find it easy to find the ‘wriggle room’ to get out of deals. Trevor Abrahmsohm, of Glentree in London, said that from time immemorial, both gazumping and gazundering have been the “scourge of the property market”. […]

Spat! Pryor launches broadside on allAgents in bid to get his private address and phone number taken down

An extraordinary altercation has broken out on social media about review sites. Property finding agent Henry Pryor has let rip at allAgents, with a string of tweets saying he does not believe the reviews it carries of some agents. allAgents has hit back – and raterAgent has joined in. Pryor told EYE last night that […]

Latest ‘call for evidence’ hints of a ban on referral fees paid to agents

October 23, 2017

Email to a friend Print The latest ‘call for evidence’ into the industry, unexpectedly released in the early hours of Sunday morning before any of the documentation was available online, is asking some leading questions about referral fees. The survey suggests that referral fees “benefit agents at the expense of consumers” and goes on to […]

Former AHIPP leader Mike Ockenden says he has feeling of deja vu

A leading figure in the Home Information Pack industry has said that – despite the Government’s strong denials that it will bring back HIPs – he has the feeling of deja vu. Mike Ockenden, formerly director general of disbanded trade body the Association of Home Information Pack Providers (AHIPP), also said that there is unlikely […]

Gathering storm of fees ban in Scotland – and a warning to English government as Scots landlords ‘flee the market’

Five years after agents’ fees charged to tenants were formally banned by the Scottish government, the effects continue not just to reverberate but to worsen. The claim comes from Tony Williams, managing director of referencing firm UKtenant data. He has been researching the Scottish market by engaging directly with letting agents, to see if he […]

Communities Secretary Javid reveals unlikely ambition to become an estate agent

In view of his spate of ‘calls for evidence’ hurled at the industry, Communities Secretary Sajid Javid has expressed a surprising ambition – to become an estate agent. We hasten to say that this was said in the spirit of irony (although in these uncertain times, who can be sure?) rather than that of someone […]

Countrywide to launch online mortgage business – and Marks & Spencer to enter mortgage market

Countrywide is to launch an online mortgage business in the New Year. And Marks & Spencer, better known for its ladies clothing and luxury ready meals, is entering the mortgage market. Countrywide’s new venture is with Blenheim Chalcot, a company that builds digital start-up businesses. The new offering is to be called Mojo Mortgages. It […]

EYE NEWSFLASH: Estate agents under spotlight yet again as Government launches new inquiry

October 22, 2017

Email to a friend Print At midnight, the Government launched yet another inquiry into the estate agency market. The new inquiry’s focus is firmly on buyers rather than sellers, in the same way that last week’s “call for evidence” into the letting agency and leasehold markets is focused on tenants rather than owners. This latest […]

EYE NEWSFLASH: Property Franchise Group tells City Belvoir’s takeover bid ‘not a merger of equals’

October 20, 2017

Email to a friend Print This morning, The Property Franchise Group spelled out its reasons to the City for rejecting Belvoir’s ‘takeover’ bid, saying its proposals did not represent a “merger of equals”. TPFG said that the proposed management structure gives “undue weighting and control” to Belvoir “and is representative of a takeover. The full […]

Sellers who prefer house raffles to estate agents will have to pay 5% commission plus VAT

A new portal has set up in opposition to estate agents to provide home-owners with a platform to raffle their properties. WinAbode has been launched by chartered surveyor Richard Blaiberg and project manager Sam Park, with the first raffle being a three-bedroom home in east London valued at £700,000. Entrants can buy a maximum of […]

Property review sites ‘fundamentally flawed’ – says founder of review site

The founder of a property review website yesterday said that many such sites, his own included, are flawed because the reviews simply cannot be authenticated. Peter Ramsey, of Movem, said: “The problem is that how do you know James ever rented a property from Agent X? That’s the biggest issue with all review sites, in […]