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NAEA President asks: Will this be the year of the first-time buyer?

February 11, 2016

Written by: Martyn Baum | February 11, 2016 Last year we heard from the National Association of Estate Agents that sales to first-time buyers were at a six-year high which, when coupled with the news that mortgage loans to first-time buyers had increased by 20% year or year, could suggest that things are looking up […]

Blow for OnTheMarket as one of its very first Gold members quits to join Zoopla

February 10, 2016

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | February 10, 2016 Major regional firm Gascoigne Halman – one of the first to take Gold membership with OnTheMarket – is quitting, and is set to go live with Zoopla this week. The move highlights acquisition activity by the larger industry players, who back the likes of Zoopla to the […]

Landmark case over agent’s responsibility to accept tenants after reference firm checks

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | February 10, 2016 In a landmark case, a landlord has won a case in court against a letting agent, after an earlier complaint about the agent to The Property Ombudsman was not upheld. The case is highly significant for all letting agents and their referencing methods, and where responsibility lies. […]

After court finds against agent, the big question: How far can can you rely on referencing firms?

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | February 10, 2016 As the case has such strong implications for the industry, EYE invited all three parties involved – TPO, the letting agent and the referencing firm – to comment. A spokesperson for The Property Ombudsman, which rejected the landlord’s complaint, told us: “The Property Ombudsman scheme did review […]

Letting agents who take kick-backs ‘must clearly show what mark-up is’

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | February 10, 2016 Letting agents who mark up maintenance sub-contractors’ bills should make landlords aware of the practice and clearly display what the mark-up is, under consumer rights legislation. The advice comes from David Hedger, head of Trading Standards at Northamptonshire County Council, which has won a successful prosecution against […]

eMoov amends its ‘achieving 99% of selling price’ claim after complaint

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | February 10, 2016 Online agent eMoov was the subject of a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority over its claim that it achieved 99% of the asking price. The claim read: “We’re achieving 99% of asking price per sale compared to 95% by the typical UK estate agent.” An ASA […]

Telegraph writer looks forward to the next house price crash

February 9, 2016

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | February 9, 2016 Why anyone would actively look forward to a house price crash, wish jobs in estate agency to go, or that businesses would close down, is beyond us. However, here – and in all places, the Telegraph – is how one writer, Alex Proud, explains “Ten reasons why […]

We’re in for a really good year, say optimistic estate agents

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | February 9, 2016 Agents are feeling positive about prospects for 2016, believing they are in for an especially good year. They are predicting a rise in both stock levels and prices – plus an increase in rents. Financial firm Accounts & Legal surveyed 115 agents across the UK and found […]

Pile on the Pounds! What do you think of this agent’s marketing exercise?

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | February 9, 2016 How many agents actively use footers – at the bottom of their emails – as part of their marketing? We ask after getting an email from Simon Bradbury, of Thomas Morris. We received this email on a completely different subject: We were simply struck by the bold […]

New government ruling could jeopardise Shelter’s political lobbying against agents

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | February 9, 2016 On Saturday last weekend, at 8.30am in the morning, you were probably in bed, sleeping the sleep of the just. Unless, of course, you were hoping for a lie-in while small children sat down before the high priestess of Peppa Pig. So what better time – under […]

Estate agency comparison website draws six-figure investment sum from backer

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | February 9, 2016 Netanagent, a free-to-consumers price comparison website for vendors and landlords wanting the services of an estate or letting agent, has attracted a six-figure investment sum. It comes from a Bath-based business angel and property developer, Chris Bamford. Bamford has acquired a major share in Netanagent and he […]

Property Software Group reports one-third rise in revenues as market swells

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | February 9, 2016 Revenues at the Property Software Group were up 30% year on year in 2015 with a big increase in client numbers. The highly successful business reports it now has 9,000 agency customers. It says it expects to see similar growth this year, with order books now full […]

‘Things beginning to take off’ says easyProperty boss after huge jump in listings

February 8, 2016

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | February 8, 2016 At least 82 new properties came on to the market via easyProperty on Friday, February 5, according to Rightmove property alerts. A single alert told us that 82 new properties had been added; a second alert was for a single property, also added on February 5. Previous […]

Connells ‘disappointed’ after inclusion on list for failing to pay minimum wage

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | February 8, 2016 Estate agency chain Connells has expressed disappointment after it appeared on an official list of 92 employers that failed to pay the National Minimum Wage. The firm said it had been a one-off incident that was immediately rectified once identified. The firm appeared on the government list […]

You’re the best drivers going – that’s estate agents

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | February 8, 2016 Estate agents top the league table for the UK’s best drivers. Eight in ten agents have never received a speeding fine, and 92% have never run a red light. Police officers are the second best drivers, followed by farmers, chefs and artists – although the latter are […]

Labour sets out its political stall as the party of home ownership

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | February 8, 2016 The Labour party has set up a new review of the housing market, headed by Taylor Wimpey chief executive Peter Redfern. The Redfern Review was actually announced at last autumn’s Labour party conference, but its PR activity appears to have been – as they say – refreshed […]

Poverty charity under fire for selling homes ‘without telling tenants’

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | February 8, 2016 A poverty charity is said to have sold 63 homes without telling its tenants, to a private company that has started evicting them. Some of the homes are now up for sale with local agents, and described as good buy-to-let investments. The allegations are carried in a […]

Letting agent’s jail sentence over maintenance bills mark-ups after huge investigation

February 5, 2016

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | February 5, 2016 The former Belvoir franchisee Harpreet Garcha, who was yesterday jailed after marking up maintenance bills, was described by investigators as “being at the centre of a sophisticated web of fundamentally dishonest financial criminal activity”. The case comes as it is known that there are other agents who […]

Criminal agent condemned by franchise firm Belvoir for ‘betrayal of trust’

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | February 5, 2016 Harpreet Garcha’s admission of guilt has been welcomed by national property lettings specialist Belvoir, with whom he held franchise agreements for offices in Kettering, Desborough and Corby, prior to his departure from the Belvoir Group in 2014. Commenting after yesterday’s sentencing, a Belvoir spokesman said: “This was […]

Agent who failed to disclose sale of property to wife awaits sentencing

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | February 5, 2016 An estate agent is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to fraud. He had tried to cheat a pensioner by buying her home cheaply in his wife’s name, with the aim of selling it on quickly for at least a £10,000 profit. Stephen Jones, of Conwy Estate Agents […]

Agent advertises properties which come with a ‘tragedy discount’

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | February 5, 2016 In EYE’s tireless quest to root out potential new business opportunities for our readers, we have come across a dead certainty. And it certainly adds new meaning to the phrase “ghost properties” which has put in increasing appearances on our site recently. An estate agent in Hong […]

Dirty tricks – and warnings over leasehold extensions

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | February 5, 2016 Agents should be advising sellers and buyers against the dangers of informal leasehold extensions. In an explosive message delivered at this week’s 2016 LEASE annual conference, speaker Louie Burns delivered a number of warnings. Burns, managing director of Leasehold Solutions, said that many of the UK’s 4.1m […]

NEWS FLASH: Letting agent jailed after frauds on tenants and landlords

February 4, 2016

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | February 4, 2016 A former letting agent has been sentenced to two years and nine months in prison after admitting fraud against both tenants and landlords. Trained accountant Harpreet Garcha, who ran three Belvoir franchises Belvoir in Kettering, Desborough and Corby, was investigated by Northamptonshire County Council’s Trading Standards team […]

Fees in the spotlight as Telegraph runs poll about online agents

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | February 4, 2016 Estate agents’ fees are varying remarkably across the country. The Telegraph, reporting on a survey by online agent Urban, is running an interactive map, apparently showing average fees in different parts of the country. The paper says that fees vary between 0.9% and 2%, and asks its […]

OnTheMarket announces record estate agency recruitment

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | February 4, 2016 OnTheMarket achieved a record level of traffic in January and achieved the highest recruitment of contracted offices since January last year. Total visits were in excess of 6m, with 2.8m unique visitors, as measured by Google Analytics. The figures include a record number of visits to the […]

‘We’re passionate about our people,’ says Countrywide as buying spree set to continue

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | February 4, 2016 Countrywide has re-affirmed that it wants to buy more letting businesses, promising that it will look after staff. The firm – which has seen a string of key head office departures over the last year, including this week of Andrew Pennells who had been appointed to oversee […]

Foxtons grabs more market share as sales volumes dwindle across London

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | February 4, 2016 Foxtons put in a solid performance last year, with revenues up 4% to £150m. It also appeared to reject going down the online route, with more branch openings promised. Sales volumes last year also increased by 4%, despite an 11% drop in London transactions. In a trading […]

eMoov claims online agency sector set for ‘explosive rate’ this year

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | February 4, 2016 Online estate agent eMove is claiming record growth. eMoov says it has posted a listing performance for January that demonstrates growth of 160% year on year, It adds that this will set “the disruptive estate agency business up for an explosive rate of expansion over 2016”. eMoov […]

It’s a stampede! Investors rush to beat Stamp Duty deadline

February 3, 2016

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | February 3, 2016 There is resounding new evidence that buy-to-let investors are ramping up activity as they try to beat the April 1 Stamp Duty surcharge deadline. Also, more individuals appear to have turned themselves into companies in order to be exempt from an earlier clampdown announced by George Osborne […]

‘Most home owners would choose traditional agent to sell their home’

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | February 3, 2016 Most home owners would choose a traditional estate agent if they had to sell today, a poll has found. However, a significant proportion would go the online route – and younger people would actively choose an online agent rather than a full-service one. The poll asked: “If […]

No time! Conveyancers’ anger over short gap between Budget and 3% Stamp Duty surcharge

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | February 3, 2016 Conveyancers have expressed serious criticisms about the short time frame between the Budget and April 1, when the new Stamp Duty surcharge is due to kick in. The final rules on the 3% surcharge on purchases of all but first and only homes are due to be […]

Countrywide brand John D Wood launches new cinema advert

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | February 3, 2016 Coming to cinemas shortly – an advert for Countrywide brand John D Wood & Co … although it hardly mentions the firm until the very end. Entitled ‘Welcome Home’, the 60-second commercial features a man reminiscing about his property before saying it is time for a new […]

Savills attacks ministers over clampdown on private rented sector

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | February 3, 2016 Demand for rented homes will rise by more than 1m households over the next five years, Savills has claimed. It says that demand will continue to grow, despite government measures to clamp down on private landlords and help ‘generation rent’ become ‘generation buy’. The Government has a […]

NEWSFLASH: Another key departure at Countrywide announced

February 2, 2016

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | February 2, 2016 Countrywide has announced yet another key departure – this time, of the man appointed only seven months ago as director of transformation. Andrew Pennells was formerly sales director with Countrywide’s estate agency division. Last July, as part of Countrywide’s large restructure following a string of departures, the […]

Touting letter sent by corporate to ‘seller’ of spoof property listed by agent

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | February 2, 2016 Readers with festive memories will recall the spoof property which EYE featured just before Christmas. It lit up our lives! Listed on both Rightmove and Zoopla, this was (apparently) a pretty little place, enjoying a peaceful and secluded location for 11 months of the year, with open […]

Local councils finally crack down on unlawful landlords

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | February 2, 2016 Illegal eviction prosecutions show that councils – long criticised for not using powers already at their disposal – are cracking down on rogue landlords. The Local Government Association said that four councils secured successful prosecutions in one month alone. However, it is calling for the legal process […]

Key document that must be provided to tenants is updated

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | February 2, 2016 The Government has updated its How to Rent leaflet to take into account changes introduced yesterday with the national roll-out across England of Right to Rent checks. The leaflet must be given by landlords and agents to tenants before the start of a tenancy. The new version […]

Mansion with £24m price tag goes on market with online agent

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | February 2, 2016 A mansion with 18 bedrooms and a sales tag of £24m is being sold through an online agent. The property, in Grosvenor Gardens, London, is on the market with Manchester-based My Online Estate Agent which says that it will save the owner more than £400,000 in normal […]

Belvoir reports strong results and hints it will make further purchases

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | February 2, 2016 Belvoir has reported good results for last year in a trading update. The firm, which started off purely in lettings but now offers sales, says that revenue from property sales grew from £0.8m in 2014 to £1.4m last year. The ratio of revenue from lettings to sales […]

Shares in online agent Purplebricks bounce back to near launch price

February 1, 2016

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | February 1, 2016 Purplebricks starts the new trading week with its shares practically back to launch price. They ended on Friday at 98p, just 2p short of their 100p price at flotation shortly before Christmas. The recovery was remarkable for the online agent, with its shares having sunk to 72p. […]

Shares of buy-to-let firms hit as tax changes for landlords get nearer

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | February 1, 2016 While Purplebricks’ shares have put in a startling recovery, ending on Friday at 98p, just below their flotation price, shares in companies operating in the buy-to-let sector have been hit hard. Millions of pounds have been wiped off their value. The 3% Stamp Duty Land Tax surcharge […]

Labour MP Stella Creasy launches new ‘awards’ for best and worst agents

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | February 1, 2016 Labour MP Stella Creasy is running her “awards” for a second year running, which will name the best and worst estate and letting agents in her London constituency of Walthamstow. The highly controversial awards last year received only about 200 votes. They also raised the question as […]

New ‘border control’ responsibilities kick in today for agents and landlords

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | February 1, 2016 As the new compulsory Right to Rent regime goes live across England today, opposition to the scheme continues to be fiercely voiced. One landlord body claimed that over 90% of landlords have not been given any official information about it, while housing lawyer David Smith said: “How […]

Agency buying organisation marches south with millions for acquisitions

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | February 1, 2016 Acquisitive property group Lomond Capital has purchased a Birmingham business, John Shepherd Estate Agents. It has also announced that it is currently in negotiations to buy un-named estate agents and lettings businesses in Bristol, Brighton, Reading, Oxford and Cardiff. Edinburgh-based Lomond began its giant acquisition spree in […]

Location, location, location – or will it be compromise, compromise, compromise?

January 30, 2016

Written by: Marc Shoffman | January 30, 2016 Location remains key in the property market, but increased demand could push buyers to look further afield. Doug Crawford, chief executive of conveyancer My Home Move, warned buyers may need to start getting more flexible as demand continues to outstrip supply. He said: “Compromise may have to […]

IMPORTANT REMINDER: All landlords and letting agents in England to make Right to Rent checks from Monday

January 29, 2016

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | January 29, 2016 All letting agents in England are reminded that as from Monday (February 1) they will have to perform Right to Rent checks on all prospective tenants. David Cox, managing director of ARLA, warned that agents who have already agreed contracts or agree some over this weekend for […]

OnTheMarket: Time for agents to take that leap of faith

Written by: Paul Smith | January 29, 2016 I wonder how many detractors of OnTheMarket have been eyeing their most recent portal bills with Rightmove and Zoopla and are starting to question just how long they can continue to give away their profits to someone else’s shareholders. I suppose it is different if you happen […]

UK’s second largest agent ‘outperforming’ market

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | January 29, 2016 Shares rose in LSL yesterday after the owners of businesses including Your Move, Reeds Rains, Marsh & Parsons, Davis Tate and Thomas Morris, announced a robust performance last year. Operating profits for 2015 are expected to be slightly ahead of 2014′s. Overall estate agency income was up […]

Leading property figure slams Government’s ‘catastrophic’ hammering of landlords

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | January 29, 2016 A leading figure in the property industry has hit out at the Government’s “hammering of buy-to-let landlords”, saying the policy will hit tenants. Auctioneer Clive Emson said that changes to tax relief and extra Stamp Duty could have a “catastrophic” effect. He said there is no point […]

Landlord evicted tenants illegally after agent served proper notice

Written by: Rosalind Renshaw | January 29, 2016 A landlord who illegally evicted a family of nine has been fined £700. He has also been ordered to pay costs of £1,500 and a victim surcharge of £70 after he took matters into his own hands and ignored the two-month notice his agent had given the […]