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Budget bombshell: Will landlords be able to find loopholes?

November 27, 2015

| November 27, 2015 Could there be tax loopholes that could catch the Government blindsided? And will sellers of second homes and buy-to-lets distort the market by trying to beat next April’s tax deadlines? Both scenarios have been raised following this week’s Autumn Statement. On Wednesday, Chancellor George Osborne announced a 3% rise in Stamp […]

Uproar in Wales continues after government admits it got date wrong

| November 27, 2015 The row over what appears to be a total shambles in Wales over licensing charges and the requirement for agents to show their fees as from this week, but with only days to comply, looks set to continue. The Welsh government has also defended its pricing menu for letting agents and […]

Agent defends warning about next housing market crash

| November 27, 2015 The agent who this week warned that the London market could be on the verge of collapse, with the rest of the UK set to follow, is standing by his words. Robert Nichols, managing director of Portico, said: “As agents, we turn over data every day and we can see what […]

Agents fined after not signing up to redress scheme

| November 27, 2015 Three letting agents in one town have been fined a total of £8,000 for not showing they belonged to a redress scheme. They are Relish Residential, Smartmove Properties Management & Services, and J Jackson Properties, according to the local newspaper in Darlington. The report says that Relish and Smartmove had both […]

Investors lose faith after Osborne cracks down on buy-to-let

| November 27, 2015 Shares in companies with exposure to buy-to-let had a rocky day yesterday after the Budget Statement. Martin & Co, founded as a lettings business although it now also handles sales, saw shares fall more than 10%. However, competitor Belvoir – with a very similar business model – saw its shares rise […]

‘Catastrophe’ Budget: Agents and landlords get to grips with 3% more on BTL Stamp Duty

November 26, 2015

| November 26, 2015 The industry is trying to assimilate the changes announced in yesterday’s Budget Statement whereby buy-to-let investors and those purchasing second homes are to be hit with a 3% increase in Stamp Duty Land Tax. The changes were yesterday described by ARLA as a catastrophe for the private rented sector while accountancy […]

ARLA puts in Freedom of Information requests after not being consulted on Wales charges

| November 26, 2015 The row over the new mandatory registration and licensing scheme in Wales shows no signs of going away. With agents hit by enormous and unexpected costs – £3,728 for letting agents who apply online, but more for those who make paper applications – ARLA says it was never consulted on the […]

It is such a jump for negotiators to become branch managers

| November 26, 2015 The first article recently published here, ‘From Negotiator to Manager’, seems to have resonated with a number of people. It examined the leap from being a successful sales person to an office manager. Let’s now take it a step forward and consider a practical example. Imagine you have just been promoted […]

Which? recruits three agents to give video tips on buying and selling

| November 26, 2015 Which? Has produced a video where three estate agents give advice on buying and selling property. The three are David Pollock of Greene & Co; Steve Pymm of Pymm and Co; and Jonathan Hudson of Hudsons. They emphasise that there is more to take into account than fees when choosing an […]

Property crowdfunding firm to launch TV advertising campaign in new year

| November 26, 2015 Property crowdfunding firm The House Crowd is to launch a TV advertising campaign in the new year. It made its announcements after securing £700,000 from investors this autumn. It did so four weeks after launching its share offer. The funds were raised in exchange for an equity stake of 3.5% in […]

High street estate agents accused of losing interest in property after two weeks

November 25, 2015

| November 25, 2015 An online agent has accused high street firms of losing interest in a property if does not receive offers within two weeks. The claim is certain to be totally refuted by hard-working high street agents. HouseSimple has made the claim after polling over 2,000 vendors who sold a property in the […]

London agent warns: We could be on verge of another property market crash

| November 25, 2015 An agent has warned that the London market could be on the verge of collapse, with the rest of the UK set to follow. Robert Nichols, managing director of Portico – an agent which says it does not mind going against the grain and will not talk the market up – […]

Fury mounts in Wales about licensing costs and ‘shambles’ of launch

| November 25, 2015 Welsh agents are up in arms over the sheer cost of the new mandatory licensing scheme. As revealed on EYE yesterday, this is to be £3,728 for applications made online and £4,368 for paper applications. The cost of the licences, which are to be granted for “up to” five years, came […]

Mind those gaps! Big differences in data on homes sold

| November 25, 2015 In October, there were 105,490 residential property transactions, HMRC has reported. The “seasonally adjusted” figure was down 0.2% on September’s figure of 105,740 but 6.3% up on the 99,290 reported for October last year. However, removing the “seasonal adjustment” gives an entirely different picture. There were 118,010 residential property sales in […]

Big Data? Firm looks set to move in on UK residential market

| November 25, 2015 The property market is a murky one, according to a BBC business reporter. Howard Mustoe says: “The prices you’ll see on most websites are asking prices. “The value of a done deal – the real price – can take land registries weeks to process, by which time a fast-paced market will […]

Landlords told to pay almost £30,000 after shameful HMO problems

| November 25, 2015 A couple have been found guilty of 26 offences relating to a rental property and ordered to pay a total of £26,822. Boston Borough Council prosecuted Dr Kola Akindele and his wife Vanessa at Skegness magistrates court. They had denied all charges but presiding magistrate Kevin Moody said he did not […]

Romans snaps up yet another independent as expansion gathers pace

| November 25, 2015 Fast expanding Romans has made its seventh acquisition of the year. The Thames Valley based group has acquired Bramptons sales and lettings branches in Beaconsfield and Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire. The firm still has £12m for more purchases and says it is actively looking for acquisitions. Romans now has a network of […]

Calls mount for ministers to make Client Money Protection mandatory for agents

| November 25, 2015 Pressure is mounting on the Government to make Client Money Protection a mandatory requirement for all letting agents. It is widely considered to be one of the single biggest – and simplest – reforms that the private rented sector needs. SAFEagent has repeated its call for compulsory CMP, asking the Government […] backer pours money into ‘disruptive’ new online estate agent

November 24, 2015

| November 24, 2015 An online agent has received significant new investment to launch officially to consumers in the new year. The backer is behind one of the all-time success stories, It has included the usual “disruptive” word in its news statement. Settled, which has received the investment, is run by brother and sister […]

Generation Rent takes a swipe at both agents and tenancy deposit service

| November 24, 2015 Controversial lobbying group Generation Rent has taken a swipe at letting agents. It has also slated tenancy deposit protection service DPS. In a new blog on its site, Generation Rent is repeating calls for longer tenancies. But the blog says: “Achieving this is going to entail hacking through a thicket of […]

Traditional letting agent launches hybrid model saying days of high street are numbered

| November 24, 2015 A major lettings agency, Orchard & Shipman, is launching a hybrid model. It says that the days of high street letting agents are numbered. The firm has offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow, London and Brighton, and will use its new offering to expand nationwide. The firm says its new service brings together […]

Buy-to-let: It’s simply not worth it says leading market commentator

| November 24, 2015 A respected financial journalist has warned that getting into buy-to-let with borrowed money is a risk not worth taking. Merryn Somerset Webb was commenting following number crunching by Brewin Dolphin, and a campaign by the Telegraph. Both have pointed to how current profits made by landlords could turn into losses once […]

Moment of truth: Can you honestly cope in a market with so many estate agents?

| November 24, 2015 Is your business due an MOT? 2016 could well be a challenging year for property-related businesses, with the continued impact of MMR, a possible glass ceiling being reached on property prices in some areas and continuing low levels of stock. Although 2015 has been a good year for many agents, the […]

New ‘add-on’ to Rightmove gets set to show more of a home’s selling history

November 23, 2015

| November 23, 2015 A new online service that acts as an add-on to Rightmove is to add new features by the end of the year, including the highlighting of “mis-priced” properties on the portal. The new add-on is not an in-house offering run by Rightmove but an external service called Propcision. Propcision already shows […]

Online versus traditional and how a ‘bump’ on Zoopla helped let a property

| November 23, 2015 Here is an interesting conversation on Facebook – online versus traditional, as seen from the perspective of a landlord. The landlord starts the thread by saying that he is trying an online agent for the first time. He does not name the online agent but says that it is a perfectly […]

Letting agent says he will sue BBC after Rogue Traders programme

| November 23, 2015 A letting agent featured on the BBC programme Watchdog’s Rogue Traders section says he will sue the BBC. John Sanderson and the directors of One Stop Student Property Rentals, in Lancaster, have told their local paper that they are preparing to sue for defamation and loss of earnings. Sanderson strongly denies […]

Landlord who was a fireman is jailed after blaze killed tenants

| November 23, 2015 A landlord who was a fireman when five members of a family were killed by arson in one of his properties has been jailed. In the notorious case, the fire was started by a neighbour, who was jailed for life two years ago for their murder. Melanie Smith, who was ordered […]

Two estate agents step forward with goal to try and save football club

| November 23, 2015 Two estate agents are among four businessmen stepping in to try and save a football club from going into administration. Barry Stonhill, of Stonhills Estate Agents, and David Jackson, managing director at Jackson Grundy Estate Agents, are among the four hoping to save debt-ridden Northampton Town. Today, HMRC is due to […]

At last! Victory could be in sight for mandatory Client Money Protection

November 20, 2015

| November 20, 2015 After years of well-documented cases as letting agents made off with clients’ money and after years of fruitless campaigning, mandatory Client Money Protection could finally become a possibility. It has long been thought, within the industry, that one of the great scandals is that letting agents, who handle large amounts of […]

Shock as letting agents in Wales given only days to comply with rules on fees

| November 20, 2015 Letting agents throughout Wales are warned that – with almost unbelievably short notice – as from Monday, they will be under a new legal obligation to display fees. It is thought that many will struggle to comply and some may find it impossible to meet the deadline. There had been no […]

Phishing attack reported to Agents’ Mutual by one of its own members

| November 20, 2015 Agents were yesterday allowed access back into the MyAm part of the back office after Agents’ Mutual was hit by a phishing attempt. The system had been closed off on Wednesday afternoon and was not available until late yesterday morning. CEO Ian Springett revealed that it was one of the member […]

OnTheMarket says agent support will snowball once it overtakes Zoopla listings

| November 20, 2015 OnTheMarket boss Ian Springett has forecast that the portal will enter 2016 in a strong position, “intent on overtaking Zoopla” in terms of available listings. He added: “From that point, we believe that agent momentum will snowball.” Yesterday’s breaking news story from EYE about OTM’s growth was picked up quickly by […]

Agency world bids farewell to remarkable double act of McClintock and Hamer

| November 20, 2015 Leading figures from the estate agency world gathered at the House of Lords yesterday for a farewell drinks reception, hosted by Lord Richard Best, in honour of retiring Property Ombudsman Christopher Hamer, and TPO Chairman Bill McClintock. Paying tribute to Bill McClintock’s 13 years of service with the Property Ombudsman, Lord […]

NEWSFLASH: We have more members than anticipated, OTM tells agents

November 19, 2015

| November 19, 2015 OnTheMarket agents have been told that membership levels are running ahead of expectations and are “much higher” than had originally been anticipated – with the result that more has been spent on marketing. Total spend for this year will be over £12m, with at least the same investment planned for next […]

Agents’ Mutual shuts down part of its operation after phishing attempt

| November 19, 2015 Agents’ Mutual and potentially thousands of agents were the subject of phishing attempts yesterday. The problem has now been fixed. The business had to suspend all access to agents’ MyAM system in the afternoon. It followed up with emails explaining there had been a phishing attack – an attempt to extract […]

New home-buyers service will be ‘game-changer’ say founders

| November 19, 2015 A new property service promising to be a “complete game-changer for the home buyer” is due to launch in the New Year. HomeDashboard, which styles itself “a next generation home-buying service”, is founded by Jonathan Harris, 26, and George Rawlings, 23, who is the son of industry trainer Richard Rawlings. The […]

Agent with similar name to one expelled by TPO condemned on Shelter website

| November 19, 2015 A letting agent has been condemned in a tenant’s story that has been posted up on the Shelter website. The agent has a very similar name to one that was expelled from TPO a few years ago, which is no longer in business. The agent now in business is registered with […]

Belvoir lends two franchisees to expand their businesses

| November 19, 2015 Two Belvoir franchisees have been able to borrow money from Belvoir itself, in order to expand their own businesses. The Brighton and Hove Belvoir franchise, which took over that office less than a year ago, has acquired a property portfolio which almost doubles the size of their business. The acquisition was […]

Rightmove ‘like a snowball rolling downhill’ says admiring City analyst

November 18, 2015

| November 18, 2015 Rightmove has cornered its market and has been like a “snowball rolling downhill” with further potential for growth, a City analyst has said. Steve Clayton, of Hargreaves Lansdown, has compared Rightmove with Auto Trader as an investment case. He says: “Rightmove’s early start gave it a big advantage; the company was […]

The Immigration Act: When should agents carry out Right to Rent checks?

| November 18, 2015 With the Immigration Act 2014 and its obligations to check all tenants have a right to rent coming into force across all of England from February 1, many agents are getting concerned about what they will need to do. As is often the case with new legislation which is complex, there […]

Sales memos: No change in 40 years and why are agents so sparing on information?

| November 18, 2015 My series of articles is designed to help blow away myths that seem to be prevalent in our industry. This article looks at how attention to detail, which I am often told is not a trait of negotiators, can make transactions fly and pipeline conversions more reliable. If you enjoy cars […]

Conveyancer is jailed for Stamp Duty Land Tax fraud

| November 18, 2015 A conveyancer from Harrow who swindled his clients and HMRC out of almost £352,500 in Stamp Duty Land Tax has been jailed for three years and four months. The HMRC investigation found that conveyancer Anthony Maragh, 57, lied on paperwork to undervalue his clients’ properties, meaning the amount of tax owed […]

Landlords will ‘sell up’ because of tax changes, claim

| November 18, 2015 The Government’s reduction of landlord buy-to-let tax relief to the 20% basic rate is a major factor for half of all landlords currently looking to sell. Landlords are also concerned about the Right to Rent checks required from February 1. The tax changes, announced in the summer Budget, are proving a […]

Purplebricks ‘tells City it is now 4th biggest agent in UK’

November 17, 2015

| November 17, 2015 Online agency Purplebricks says it has become the fourth largest estate agency in the UK. It says that this is “by fee paying customers at current run rate”. It puts itself fourth behind Countrywide, Connells and LSL, and ahead of Spicerhaart, Foxtons, Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward, and Savills. It also says, […]

Cash hand-outs offered to vendors willing to put homes on market

| November 17, 2015 A new property website is handing out money to home owners who may be thinking of selling at any time within the next 30 years. The incentive appears to encourage possibly reluctant sellers to put their homes on the market, as long as they use a specific agent. The payments vary […]

Online agents have ‘less than 3% market share of listings’

| November 17, 2015 Online agents currently have just 2.71% market share of overall listings, it has been claimed. The market share has fallen off in the last two months – from 2.94% two months ago and from 2.87% one month ago. However, it has climbed considerably higher than the 0.54% measured 12 months ago […]

Rightmove denies editing property alerts to detriment of agents

| November 17, 2015 Estate agent Trevor Kent has queried whether Rightmove is editing its property alerts. Kent said to EYE: “Do Rightmove have power of death” over what it sends out to property searchers.?” Kent claims that, posing as an applicant, he is receiving fewer properties on the alerts than for recently new properties […]

Shaken, not stirred: This is our industry’s very special agent

| November 17, 2015 The name’s Cox. Chris Cox. And actually, he’s a letting agent – although, in his own way, also a special agent. Step forward Chris Cox, of Finders Keepers, Oxford, who has been doing a roaring trade as lookalike for James Bond star Daniel Craig. Since the release of Casino Royale nine […]

NEWSFLASH: Connells buys online agent Hatched

November 16, 2015

| November 16, 2015 Hatched, the online agent founded by Adam Day, has been sold to high street giant Connells. The sale, which completed this morning, is the first of an online agency to a large ‘bricks and mortar’ corporate. Connells said: “Hatched will bring complementary capabilities including first-hand knowledge and experience of this developing […]

Most sellers happy with high street agent – and with the price they achieve

| November 16, 2015 The large majority of people who have sold their home through a traditional estate agent were either satisfied or very satisfied with their experience. Out of 700 people asked, 82% expressed their satisfaction while just 4% of the survey conducted by haart had used an online agent. Many thought that a […]