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Portal that wants to ‘put agents out of business’ embarks on funding spree

February 5, 2015

| February 5, 2015 The website that bans agents but allows developers and private sellers to list for free has launched an investment drive. iProperty, which is supported by the NHBC, is planning to raise £500,000 via crowdfunding site Seedrs plus £2m via venture capital. The company says it has a valuation of £8m. Its […]

Martin & Co revenue shoots up after Xperience acquisition

| February 5, 2015 Martin & Co has reported a 24% rise in revenue for last year, from £4.1m to £5.1m. Of that, £0.3m of income was attributable to Xperience, which Martin & Co bought from Legal & General in October, increasing its network from 194 to 282 offices and adding 44 more franchise areas. […]

Police issue urgent alert after lone woman agent is attacked on viewing

February 4, 2015

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | February 4, 2015 The industry is being urgently warned to be on its guard after a woman agent was attacked on a viewing in an empty property on Monday afternoon. Thankfully, as a result of her bravery she is safe, but West Midlands police have issued warnings to agents. The […]

Labour reiterates promise to ban letting agent fees

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | February 4, 2015 The private rented sector is being increasingly thrust into the political spotlight as the General Election looms, with Labour renewing promises to ban letting agent fees and introduce rent controls. Yesterday, Labour launched a campaign aimed at ensuring private tenants are registered in time to vote, with […]

Landlords being wooed by record number of buy-to-let mortgages

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | February 4, 2015 A record number of buy-to-let mortgages are available as competition among lenders intensifies. According to Mortgages for Business, there are now 817 different products, up 17% from the 707 measured in the third quarter of last year. A new specialist lender, Fleet Mortgages, has also entered the […]

Belvoir says it is on course for profits and growth

| February 4, 2015 Franchise firm Belvoir said it is expecting strong growth this year. The lettings franchise company, which is listed on the AIM stock market, also said in a trading update that profits for last year are in line with expectations. The update, covering the whole of 2014, comes ahead of Belvoir’s final […]

Leading OnTheMarket agent says touting letter was mistake

February 3, 2015

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | February 3, 2015 A leading OnTheMarket agent sent out a touting letter last week mentioning that it was on both Rightmove and Zoopla. But yesterday afternoon, Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward said it had been a mistake. The issue came to light in a post on an Eye story yesterday, when […]

New portal pledges: ‘We scrape properties but agents will stay in control’

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | February 3, 2015 A new property portal has launched, taking its stock from agents’ own websites. However, its founders say that TheHomeBoard is unlike controversial Houser. Igor Popov, one of the co-founders, said: “Our property search engine redirects the leads to the original site – we always show the original […]

Concerns among agents as Scottish government launches free private rental portal

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | February 3, 2015 A government-backed launch of property websites where landlords can list properties free of charge has come under fire from agents in Scotland. The Scottish Government has created five “hubs” allowing the 32 local councils in Scotland to run the free online listings. Agents have expressed concern that […]

Guild announces its estate agent of the year

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | February 3, 2015 A single-office independent has been named as the Guild Estate Agent of the Year. Stevens & Co, in Ashford, Kent, triumphed at the Guild of Professional Estate Agents’ceremony at the Millennium Hotel in Grosvenor Square, London, last week. The firm, run by Andy Stevens, opened in 2005 […]

New snooping powers on tenants under attack as going too far

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | February 3, 2015 New powers have been enacted to allow social landlords – but not private ones – to access information on benefits claimants. A highly controversial Statutory Instrument has been laid and will come into effect next week, on February 13. As well as giving social landlords access, local […]

OnTheMarket shows its muscle over ‘one other portal’ rule

February 2, 2015

| February 2, 2015 The ‘one other portal’ rule is being actively policed by OnTheMarket, which has confirmed that one firm has been identified as breaching the rule. Chief executive Ian Springett said the firm was Statons, which has six offices in Hertfordshire and north London. He told Eye: “We have hidden our member Statons […]

Zoopla falls hard as analyst says OTM ‘proving a viable alternative’

| February 2, 2015 Zoopla finished Friday as the day’s biggest FTSE 250 faller. Its shares, which had previously done well last week, slid 10.7% to 180p after analyst Peel Hunt said that OnTheMarket, launched a week ago, was “proving a viable alternative to Zoopla in terms of inventory”. Peel Hunt also put a sell […]

Tenant who tripped on path not owned by landlord wins case

| February 2, 2015 An important new case has major implications for letting agents who manage properties and for landlords. It may also have implications for insurance. In the case of Edwards v Kumarasamy, the tenant tripped on a path outside the block of flats where he lived on the second floor, injuring his knee. […]

Firm that undercut rivals which critics said would not last celebrates fifth year

| February 2, 2015 Referencing and insurance firm Let Alliance said it enjoyed record business last year. It completed 143,000 references and issued 44,000 rent guarantee policies, protecting rents of £25m a month. It also protected letting agent fees, to the tune of £2.5m per month. The firm, which entered the highly competitive tenancy referencing […]

BBC programme to highlight issues with tenants on benefits

| February 2, 2015 A BBC Inside Out programme this evening will highlight buy-to-let pitfalls. The show will feature a landlord whose portfolio of housing benefit tenants is causing him to scale back his investments following the need to instruct evictions firm Landlord Action to handle two of the cases shown in the programme. Brian […]

In which Big T encounters some IT problems

January 31, 2015

This, That, and very little of the Other. Trevor Kent Written by: Trevor Kent | January 31, 2015 Apparently, Ralph Waldo Emerson actually said: “If a man has good corn or wood, or boards, or pigs, to sell, or can make better chairs or knives, crucibles or church organs, than anybody else, you will find […]

Portals battle intensifies as Rightmove releases new figures

January 30, 2015

| January 30, 2015 Rightmove yesterday analysed the total number of properties being marketed and which of the three main portals they are displayed on. It estimated there to be just over 1m homes on the market in total, of which 170,000 are in London. The figures include sales and lettings stock. Rightmove broke down […]

Private sales site to use ‘On the Market Direct’ domain name for marketing

| January 30, 2015 The private sales and new homes website that bans estate agents has confirmed that it is behind another site – Onthemarketdirect.com The iPropertycompany said that this domain name “will form a big part of our UK marketing strategy”. It also said that its ability to acquire the domain name “highlights the […]

Your Move chain says sorry to OTM agent after touting claims

| January 30, 2015 An independent agent was last night given an apology by Your Move after leaflets were delivered to sellers claiming that her firm had quit Rightmove. Sarah Mains, of Sarah Mains Residential in Newcastle upon Tyne, said that her business has been “severely disrupted” this week after the leaflets were apparently hand-delivered […]

Chestertons ‘no longer for sale’ after offers rejected

| January 30, 2015 Chestertons has quietly taken down the For Sale sign over its company. The firm went on the market last July for a price rumoured to be over £50m. The move followed the split in February of London-based Chestertons from Humberts, which operates outside the M25. Interested buyers were rumoured to be […]

Average house prices went up 7% last year, says Land Registry

| January 30, 2015 Average house prices across England and Wales ended last year at £177,766 – 7% higher than at the start of 2014. The Land Registry says that prices went up 0.6% between November and December. In London, house prices rose 1.8% on the month and 16.3% over the course of last year, […]

Zoopla ‘not down or out’ while OnTheMarket claims ‘brilliant’ opening day

January 27, 2015

| January 27, 2015 OnTheMarket launched yesterday “not with a bang but a whimper”, claimed City analyst Jefferies. But OnTheMarket claimed a very different story, while Zoopla itself said there had been problems with OTM’s launch. Meanwhile, its shares gained strongly. Last night, an OTM spokesperson told Eye: “It’s been a brilliant opening day for […]

Money laundering charges for bigger agents set to spiral

| January 27, 2015 Compliance with anti-money laundering is going to become much more expensive for medium to bigger agents after April 1. The cap of the fee payable by estate agents with more than 20 premises is being abolished. It means they will be paying the same £110 fee per premises as other agents. […]

New online auction house launches with promises to agents

| January 27, 2015 After months of preparation, online property auction website Bamboo Auctions is due to launch today. The business is led by corporate lawyer Robin Rathore and Chris Brown, who is past president of both NAVA and the NAEA, and is launching as part of the PiLabs Program, backed by Cushman & Wakefield […]

Troubled times ahead for Foxtons?

| January 27, 2015 Foxtons this morning reported turnover down 12.1% in the last quarter of last year compared with the same period in 2013. It said this was “due to reduced sales commission more than offsetting growth in lettings commission”. However, full year group turnover was up 3.4% on 2013. The firm said that […]

Houser removes agents’ listings after uproar

| January 27, 2015 We understand that Houser has been removing agents’ properties from its site. However, for those agents who would like their properties removed, Houser has introduced a facility at the link below. Eye must issue a warning, though: when we visited the site to check out the link, a strange robotic voice […]

A leap of faith and after a ‘hell of a ride’ OnTheMarket is here

January 26, 2015

| January 26, 2015 Today marks a new era for the UK property industry with the launch of OnTheMarket – the result of what can only be described as agent power. After months of speculation, excitement and doubts over an issue that has divided the industry into sceptics and supporters – and, according to chief […]

‘We’ll knock Zoopla off the number two spot – and soon’ declares Springett

| January 26, 2015 Knocking Zoopla off its perch as the current number two portal is Ian Springett’s immediate ambition for OnTheMarket. He said: “Our objective is to be at the number two position and to get that as quickly as we can.” However, he also made it plain that he does not under-estimate what […]

A marketing phenomenon: Agents promoting OTM before even seeing it

| January 26, 2015 One extraordinary feature about the launch of OnTheMarket has been the huge marketing push given by local agents. The phenomenon has been worth millions in free advertising to the new site and is surely worth an article in a marketing journal. It would certainly be an interesting one: how to make […]

OTM agents making themselves ‘look silly’ says Zoopla boss Chesterman

| January 26, 2015 A barrage of anti OnTheMarket stories have continued to appear in the national press. An interview in yesterday’s Sunday Telegraph with Alex Chesterman appeared under a headline which said OTM estate agents “look silly”. In the article by Anna White, Chesterman (pictured) said of OTM: “The only damage being done here […]

An end to spiralling fees and super-profits for Rightmove and Zoopla, claim

| January 26, 2015 Another major group of estate agents today announced its support for OnTheMarket. Property Sharing Experts, formerly West Country Team, said that a majority of its 80 member offices have signed up, with most keeping Rightmove as its “one other portal” despite hard-hitting criticisms of Rightmove. The group said that the launch […]

How agents’ windows are putting public in the OTM picture

January 24, 2015

| January 24, 2015 Well, we did ask … Have you changed your window displays ahead of OnTheMarket’s launch on Monday? We have, it is fair to say, been inundated. So, apologies if we haven’t picked out yours among the many – it has been difficult to choose. However, it is fair to say that […]

Big T takes on Mightmove and the Shard

This, That, and very little of the Other. Trevor Kent Written by: Trevor Kent | January 24, 2015 I can only hope that a few of you felt, after last week’s initial diatribe, that you would like to join me in my ramblings through the trees of the property wood once again, after so long […]

Online agents join touting ploy as OTM launch draws near

January 23, 2015

| January 23, 2015 Increased levels of touting are being seen, based around OnTheMarket and whether agents are on both Rightmove and Zoopla. One online agent yesterday told Eye it has sent out some 2,200 touting letters on that theme. Online agents are allowed on both Rightmove and Zoopla but banned from OnTheMarket, which launches […]

How to get your properties off Houser – complain to US web hosting company

| January 23, 2015 An agent has succeeded in getting his properties removed from controversial site Houser a week after he first requested it. Mark Rowe, of RPS Estate and Letting Agents in Lee on the Solent, Hampshire, wrote to Houser’s US hosting company, Rackspace, claiming copyright infringement. abuse@rackspace.com emailed back, saying: “I’m writing on […]

House prices tiptoe up, but lenders make things so much harder

| January 23, 2015 House prices increased by 0.4% last month to reach 8.3% annual inflation during 2014, Hometrack said this morning. But there were big regional variations and Hometrack said the rate of growth has plateaued and is now set to slow. In its new analysis of UK cities, it said there are now […]

New Property Search Website ? – www.OnTheMarket.com

January 22, 2015

There is a new property search website being launched at the end of this month, www.OnTheMarket.com . This new website  is squaring up against the two well established giants, Rightmove and Zoopla. The difference with OnTheMarket.com is that it is 100% owned and run by estate agents rather than shareholders. This new website is also only […]

Countrywide in touting dispute admits letters ‘may have been misleading’

| January 22, 2015 Countrywide has stepped down in its row over touting letters. Spicerhaart, an OnTheMarket agent, had highlighted letters sent to its vendors. Another OnTheMarket agent also told Eye yesterday that Countrywide had sent out a letter to vendors. Last night, while not mentioning Spicerhaart or any other agent by name, a spokesperson […]

Agent loses out on Countrywide instruction over OTM allegiance

| January 22, 2015 An agent instructed by Countrywide on a repossession lost out after Countrywide learned that the firm would be listing with OnTheMarket. Thomas Morris in St Neots, Cambridgeshire, was instructed as a “key-holding agent” by Countrywide Corporate Property Services – Countrywide’s asset management arm. In an exchange of emails seen by Eye, […]

Carphone Warehouse founder ploughs £5m into online agency

| January 22, 2015 Carphone Warehouse founder Sir Charles Dunstone has invested £5m into an online estate agent. The investment, made with Dunstone’s business partner Roger Taylor, has benefited HouseSimple. Dunstone, who is chairman of TalkTalk and Dixons Carphone, said: “We believe estate agency is going to change considerably, with the future increasingly belonging to […]

Cluttons reports ‘excellent’ results and expansion plans

| January 22, 2015 Cluttons has announced strong results for the year ended March 31, 2014, and said that it is planning further expansion this year – its 250th anniversary. Turnover was up by 11% at £41.2m with profits before tax up 36% to £10.9m. Net debt was reduced during the year from £1.85m to […]

Zoopla sees record start to the year

| January 22, 2015 Zoopla has reported record levels of both website and mobile activity from January 1–13, with new highs seen in the number of visits across its platform. On January 13 the Zoopla sites received a record level of traffic at just under 2m visits in a single day, with traffic for the […]

Spicerhaart threatens to sue Countrywide over ‘poaching clients’ in OTM row

January 20, 2015

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | January 20, 2015 Spicerhaart is threatening to sue rival chain Countrywide over what it calls “an attempt to poach its customers” before next Monday’s launch of OnTheMarket. Spicerhaart says it will, if necessary, seek a High Court injunction, claiming that Countrywide agents have written to Spicerhaart clients claiming that Spicerhaart […]

Online agent Hatched resigns from NAEA in OTM protest

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | January 20, 2015 Online estate agent Adam Day of Hatched has resigned from the NAEA over its support for OnTheMarket – which will ban online agents when it launches next Monday. Day has accused the NAEA of hypocrisy in accepting his money for membership while supporting an organisation that excludes […]

The countdown continues: OnTheMarket launch sticks to timetable

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | January 20, 2015 With six days to go, over 4,600 branches have signed up to OnTheMarket, equating to 93% of the original 5,000 target and with numbers continuing to rise daily. However, not all of the newest members will be on the site at launch next Monday – and it […]

Countrywide’s buying spree of letting agents set to continue

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | January 20, 2015 Countrywide spent £40m acquiring 29 lettings businesses last year, it has disclosed. Since 2007, Countrywide has invested over £100m in acquiring over 100 lettings businesses throughout England and Scotland. Last year’s acquisitions included Tucker Gardner, a well established business in Cambridgeshire, full service lettings agency Personal Homefinders […]

Former Douglas & Gordon boss Ivor Dickinson joins ambitious Lomond Capital

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | January 20, 2015 Ivor Dickinson, former managing director of London’s Douglas & Gordon, has joined highly acquisitive Lomond Capital as regional chief executive. His role will be to accelerate Lomond’s presence in the south of England. Scottish-headquartered Lomond Capital has been expanding throughout Scotland by a series of major acquisitions […]

‘More and more agents’ are choosing OTM, says Rightmove in letter for public

January 19, 2015

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | January 19, 2015 A letter drafted by Rightmove for agents to send to their clients explaining their “one other portal” decision says that OnTheMarket will grow its audience. The letter emphasises Rightmove’s own lead position in the market, but could be seen to recognise OnTheMarket as a strong challenger. The […]

Agree you ‘don’t care’ about customers, Houser tells agents wanting out

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | January 19, 2015 Estate agents demanding to have their properties removed from Houser are being told to agree they “don’t care” about their businesses or customers. One agent, Jackie Oliver, whose firm is in Towcester, Northamptonshire, said she thought Houser’s attitude was appalling. She said: “It is disgraceful behaviour.” She, […]