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AnonymousCoward

Company: Fine & Country Surrey
Website: www.fineandcountrysurrey.com
Are you an agent? yes
Do I do lettings? yes
Do I do sales? yes
Do I do overseas sales or lettings? Sales
Job title: Owner
Supplier: no
Supplier Name:
What do I do? Sell posh houses


News stories you have commented on:

430 comments

Posted Date: Monday 13th September 2010
Don't shoot me but I think Rightmove is exceptional value for money, even at their increased prices (NO I don't work for them). The user experience (ie buyers) is excellent. The tools for agents (Best Price Guide, etc) are really useful. The ability to track your competitors is fantastic. It is also cobnsiderably better than the competition (PL, Globrix, et al). All for less than of a third of what I used to pay for the local newspaper. I am a hobby web designer and it really is one of the best websites out there.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 15th September 2010
I would love it here. We have one very dominant agent who is also a bit a 'naughty' with his boards too. I'm not whinging about him being dominant - he's a really good agent - but not seeing his boards all over the town would be great for me. Of course I can also see it from his perspective...
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Posted Date: Monday 20th September 2010
I'm not really surprised, agents have fallen straight back in to the trap of over valuing to get the instruction. Every sensible vendor will survey RM to find out how much theirs is worth before they get it valued by 3 agents, so can also see prices "rising". The exuberance of the Spring coupled with a nervous summer gives us prices falling.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 22nd September 2010
I think that the one thing that everyone forgets is that there is a huge difference between National and Local. When you take an average of property transactions across the country then you will find property prices falling because most of the sales will be at the average price where the effects of falling income multiples and rising deposit requirements have the most impact. The average buyer of the average £750,000 house has WAY more cash behind them and is barely notices the problems raising mortgage finance that others have. This is a purely local matter as F&C only deal with the top quartile.
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Posted Date: Friday 15th October 2010
I've got to say that I think that this is very, VERY funny. Remember Caveat Emptor - Let the buyer beware. A home owner is "buying" the services of the agent they employ - it is just a shame that their own greed and vanity often get the better of them so they WANT to be lied to by unscrupulous over valuing estate agents. They expect it and WANT it. Oh well, nevermind!
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Posted Date: Wednesday 3rd November 2010
Property prices will fall in the UK (the South East in particular) only when the repossessions start. I remember the early 90's when for a period of a month I worked for an ordinary high street agent and attended at least 1 repossession per day in North & East London. Interest rates will rise, probably in 2012, and then we may see the repo's start and prices really fall, none of this namby pamby 0.2% price drop that we see at the moment, but real whole percentage points.
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Posted Date: Friday 12th November 2010
As Baldrick once said: "DOOM! DOOOM! DOOOOM! DOOOOOM!". That said though, prices will slowly correct downwards over the next couple of years by 3%-5%. Inflation (that's RPI not the other crap) is 4-5% which gives a real world annual price drop of about 10%. 2 to 3 years of that is a REAL WORLD drop in property prices of about 25%. No big crash, no horrible pain. It happened in the 70s, again in the 80s and even in the 90s.
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Posted Date: Friday 12th November 2010
As Baldrick once said: "DOOM! DOOOM! DOOOOM! DOOOOOM!". That said though, prices will slowly correct downwards over the next couple of years by 3%-5%. Inflation (that's RPI not the other crap) is 4-5% which gives a real world annual price drop of about 10%. 2 to 3 years of that is a REAL WORLD drop in property prices of about 25%. No big crash, no horrible pain. It happened in the 70s, again in the 80s and even in the 90s.
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Posted Date: Friday 28th January 2011
The funny thing is that Google Maps does this for free... Type "Estate Agents in A Random Town" into Google and it can show you a map of where they are, with a business listing and reviews provided by the public. I know Google have just dumped property, but they are hell for leather for advertising businesses on maps, especially as more mobile phones become internet active and location aware. Best thing all of us can do is claim ownership of our business listings, add details of what you do and some pretty pictures and then get your (younger?) customers to leave reviews there. It may not matter just yet, but I bet it will in 2 or 3 years... Happy Googling!
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Posted Date: Wednesday 9th February 2011
There are SOOO many times I would have loved to have responded to a whinging, whining, halfwit of a purchaser who has had unrealistic "TV" expectations of buying a property. It is rare that property transactions are simple - the mark of a good agent is to make it LOOK like it is. But sometimes things go wrong, particularly with leasehold flats like this one. All you can do is pick yourself up and move on, putting it down to experience.
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Posted Date: Friday 18th February 2011
U-turn if you want to...
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Posted Date: Monday 21st February 2011
I love these statistics. One of my favourites is the shortfall in properties. From memory (which may be mistaken) I seem to think that there are well over 500,000 empty residential properties in the UK. The idea that people stay with mum & dad because there aren't any houses to buy is a fallacy. Right now their wages cannot support a mortgage of an adequate size as income multiples have dropped and they have not been able to save up enough deposit as LTV requirements have changed. Before, the average first time buyer was "priced out of the market" by Buy To Let investors who were lent money by irresponsible banks on unsustainable terms. Poor decisions made by the people we all voted in to power allowed this to happen. Housing policy has been a shambles for decades - but it isn't going to get better anytime soon.
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Posted Date: Monday 21st February 2011
For years part of my patter as a valuer has included the following: "There are three ways for an estate agent to win your busines Mr & Mrs Vendor: 1. To be a good agent, be honest truthful. 2. To charge a cheap fee. 3. To value your property for a little bit more." They ALWAYS agree with me that options 2 and 3 are probably not a good way to proceed - yet it doesn't stop them. Vendors NEED to hear the truth, but that is often exactly what they don't WANT to hear. I try to be a good boy, I really do, but I know that if I do not have the instruction, I will not earn the fee. I have just lost an instruction to a 0.5% merchant who has added £25k on top of the owners' already inflated expectations. She knows we sold the last 2 in the building, she knows that the market is poor, she knows that she will only get one chance to put the property on the market "for the first time" since it was built, she knows that the other agent doesn't accompany viewings, do nice photos, a floorplan or any of the other things that make the difference. She even agreed with me on my valuation patter. But I still lost the instruction. What are you supposed to do? Sometimes I put it down to experience, sometimes I get a bit annoyed! Baseball bats at dawn anyone?
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Posted Date: Monday 21st February 2011
I thought the HIP was fantastic, not for what it did or did not have in it, but because every vendor had to pay it because it was too expensive for the agent to swallow. That meant that you got paid up front to put something on the market, and if you were clever managed to get floorplans and stuff included in it. But it also meant that the owner was 100% committed - because who would stump up £500 if they weren't. I was so annoyed when it went (as I am sure are a lot of HIP companies and DEAs - sorry I was being very selfish...).
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Posted Date: Wednesday 23rd February 2011
The one question I have for vendors when ALL the agents are online and charge £250 to sell your house is: "Whose going to value your house for you?" Coz you won't get "free market appraisals" any more. The REAL skill of an agent is to get better than market price - even if that better is just a few pounds. Then they help the sale go through (a good agent that is). I work in a high street where the two major players will do it for free if they have to, to stop the other one getting the instruction. I know this is true, because I used to be the valuer for one of them. Mental? The owner didn't think so. I disagreed which is why I now own the agency across the road that does far less volume but at much, much higher fees. I take home more money now...
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Posted Date: Wednesday 23rd February 2011
Sorry, I think I might be a bit thick. How does a profit of: £54.1m in 2009 compared to: £48m in 2010 equate to an INCREASE in profit of 22%. I did GCSE maths don't you know - you can't fool me that easily... Even if you swap the numbers over (sorry Ros - I'm sure it's not your fault) that still only makes an increase of about 11%.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 23rd February 2011
Forgive me - I couldn't resist... Why dont you all just..... No - sorry; I just couldn't do it. Love & kisses
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Posted Date: Wednesday 23rd February 2011
I went for Anonymous Coward because I thought it would be funny (!) - my profile gives you my website if you want to know more about me (?)...
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Posted Date: Monday 7th March 2011
To be honest, I am surprised it is that high. The whole HIP debacle was based around John Prescott's idea to get an energy rating for every building in every member state of the EU (Kyoto Protocol 1997 enforced 2005 - Housing Act 2004). When the government realised how much it would cost for them to do it, they hid it inside the Home Information Pack. It has NOTHING to do with buyers or sellers, it never did
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Posted Date: Monday 7th March 2011
Oh god! Does that really mean that I have to put up with my (adorable?) brats for another 25 years?
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Posted Date: Wednesday 9th March 2011
For goodness' sake! Forgive me, I know I am going to sound a bit elitist, but... WTF? £11k on a £1m+ transaction - I don't think that anyone that CARES to spend that kind of money in this kind of market is going to be in the slightest bit bothered. Certainly not to the extent of committing mortgage fraud... Sounds like a PR story about nothing to me.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 16th March 2011
Time to join the RICS I think. Mind you I quite the NAEA in 2003 because I just didn't see the value in it...
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Posted Date: Friday 18th March 2011
An average of 7 viewings per day (assuming Sundays worked too) . Assuming agreed price exchanges (£2.2m) and they are charging 1.5% they get a fee of £33k - or there abouts. Which means that each viewing was worth £227. Do you know what? I would prefer to do 10 viewings on a house for £350,000 charging 1%... But there's me being grumpy again.
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Posted Date: Friday 18th March 2011
I used to work for a franchise of Winkworth's YEARS ago - so no doubt it's all changed, but it is just that, a franchise. If you can't make it as an independent (spelling?) in your area - why would rebranding as a franchise with all the extra cost save you?
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Posted Date: Friday 18th March 2011
And all those Victorian terraces that people in London fall over themselves to buy is what then... Inspired, individually architect crafted unique one off homes? New build is new build - wherever in the world you are, unless you go and buy a single plot newbuild...
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Posted Date: Friday 18th March 2011
Too true - give me the money!
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Posted Date: Wednesday 30th March 2011
I agree with rantnrave FFS and BA make very valid points. I have spoken to some local colleagues in Surrey and we are all seeing more come on the market with no buyers to take them. There are several agent near me who seem to be trying as hard as possible to commit commercial suicide by over pricing and under feeing - that's just crazy. We now charge 50% more than the local average and ask for a £600+VAT non refundable up front fee. Do you think I'm crazy? I don't - it scares away the numpties and really commits the serious ones. We have not lost one property that was worth losing by doing this. If it doesn't sell then all I have lost is a bit of time that I would have been staring out of the window. It will never make me a profit, but at least I am not paying for vendors' unrealistic expectations. I thoroughly recommend it to you all. Oh how I miss HIPs
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Posted Date: Wednesday 30th March 2011
No I've just had a very interesting chat with my mortgage adviser... One of my FTBs can only get 4 x salary to get to £210k. She reckons that she would easily have got him to £300k before. She also says that he is squeaky clean, has a good deposit and no skeletons. To me that looks like a 30% reduction in the amount of money he can afford to spend. Prices just have to drop. They haven't yet because no-one is being repossessed I guess. Pray the interest rates don't rise.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 30th March 2011
My god, does that mean that I won't be able to buy myself a new Mercedes/ BMW/ Jag (delete as applicable)? Have to say better to take less money home than no money home.
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Posted Date: Thursday 31st March 2011
EVERYTHING inside me tells me that if prices in your area have not fallen by 25% then you are still in the middle of a property price bubble - it is just taking longer to burst. I work in Surrey (part inside and part outside the M25)and it is a market split in 4. Below £300k - ouch, now that's painful - only sales completing are between VERY motivated vendors and either investors offering LOW or FTBs tapping the bank of mum & dad but at a big price reduction. £300-£600k - lots of sales being agreed at 10% below asking, many falling through. £600-900k - not doing too badly actually, buyers usually in rented, often kicking themselves for getting out of the market in 2008 (for a low price) and feeling they have no choice but to jump back in now at a higher price having wasted a bucketload of cash in the middle. £900k+ - very area specific, great if you have a good house in a good road, but awful otherwise. There are so few REAL buyers at this price range at the moment that 3-4 houses on the market in the same price bracket completely screws the market.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 13th April 2011
Oh god - just get on with it already. It is important to know for environmental reasons - but for god's sake we are wasting so much ENERGY on it.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 13th April 2011
meh... colour me suitably unimpressed.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 13th April 2011
I want a survey of surveys - maybe that'll sort it out. There are lies, damned lies & statistics
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Posted Date: Wednesday 13th April 2011
I say good luck to them - why not... From what I can tell we are all going to need it.
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Posted Date: Monday 18th April 2011
Don't just blame estate agents - vendors are perfectly complicit in the process of over pricing. The number of times that an owner has agreed with me about how good my service is, that they want to instruct me but they want to ask my price +£20k / +£50k, etc. The worst case recently I turned round to him to say no, but we could perhaps do a guide price of £1.5m he said ok and then proceeded to propose a commission structure based on performance - which I am happy with, but the commission was only worthwhile if I achieved £200k above asking. I think the house is worth £1.4m - if he is lucky, but £100k negotiating room is the same as £10k at £150k so not an outrageous OOT asking, but his expectations are mental.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 20th April 2011
Personally, I think that you do not need to provde applicants with a printed copy, you just have to provide them with the report. On your details you can have the energy graph and a weblink to the full report. If they want it they can print it for themselves. Likewise, my postal bill is a fraction of what it used to be because I email details to customers - these could have the report in full, or just the graph and an active weblink. Should a buyer have an offer accepted I would then print them out. Another nail in the coffin of the Royal Mail perhaps because we refuse to print details unless we go on a viewing? Whilst the wording appears to be somewhat draconian, I have a feeling that as long as you keep to the spirit of law, Trading Standards are hardly going to come and go to the effort of doing anything other than fining you £100. At current print costs (6 pence per page in black & white) a 5 page EPC would cost 30 pence - or 333 sets of details. Why bother - the chances of getting caught are vanishingly small.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 27th April 2011
I think that the current government (without admitting to it because the just can't) will allow the affects of inflation at 4 point something percent coupled with a modest fall in house prices of a couple of percent per year to "sort out" the housing market. It will take 5-7 years as Mark suggests. It's a bit like ripping a plaster off a particularly hairy leg one hair at a time. The alternative is a return to the early 90's where in one, three week period I presided over the repossession of at least one house per day. Which is better...?
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Posted Date: Wednesday 27th April 2011
For you, and the greater good of all, definitely. But Mr & Mrs Average would almost certainly disagree.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 27th April 2011
Now there was me trying to posh it up a bit...
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Posted Date: Wednesday 4th May 2011
So in 2010 there were 7,185 houses sold for more than £1m. That is 54% more than in 2009, which means that 4,666 house were sold for more than £1m that year. Cool. Except that 7,185 out of 184,000 is 3.9% of the stock levels. That's really, really low.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 4th May 2011
Tumbleweed down the high street was our experience, we opened on the Saturdays but were otherwise closed. Oh, and the weather was fab, so sitting in the garden was much better than sitting in a hot office playing solitaire.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 11th May 2011
Aaaaarrrrrgh! Yes estate agents don't help the situation - we ALL know that. But unrealistic vendors are the real problem - they no prices are going down (BUT not in my road...) REGARDLESS of the asking price you tell an owner if you admit the market is rubbish and not many houses are selling and QUALITY viewings are few and far between YOU WILL NOT GET INSTRUCTED. That is because they have no respect for our profession. So, what happens is you go in, tell the owner what they want to hear and cross your fingers - we have absolutely no choice I have tried to do it properly all year, politely of course, but you can precis it to: Me: "Mr & Mrs Vendor do you want me to be honest with you?" Vendor: "Yes please, do be 100% honest with us - we really need to know." Me: "Well, if you are sure... Blah, blah, blah, fee, value, asking price" Vendor: "Thank you very much - of course you are right we know the market conditions are poor - that seems very sensible. We'll call you in a couple of days." A couple of days go by... Me: "Hi there, when can I come and take photos?" Vendor: "Oh, yes, well we have instructed another agent because they said a higher asking price..." . The only consolation is that at least I haven't lost money by working on a no-hoper. The one piece of advice that I can give any agents out there who find themselves in the same situation - do not call the owners for at least 8 weeks, because all you do is remind them of your lower price and if the other agent has had a low offer (and is any good) will then go on to tie it up at your price. Aaaaarrrrrgh!
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Posted Date: Wednesday 11th May 2011
Dear Trevor Not to self - read a post before replying to it. Thanks in advance Trevor
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Posted Date: Wednesday 11th May 2011
Dear Anonymous Coward Note to self - check your spelling before typing 14 and clicking submit. Thanks in advance AC
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Posted Date: Wednesday 11th May 2011
I am an estate agent - thought I would get that out of the way first. I own my own home with a mortgage that is larger than I would like (the mortgage, not the house). To me, at this moment in time, renting looks to be a very sensible option compared to buying. Where I work, rental prices are static, sale prices are dropping. Looks to me as though NOT owning a property could be quite a good idea. Scary, huh? Lending criteria make property prices 20-30% overpriced. I remember in the early 90's when the banks & BSocs stopped lending on flats above shops - which meant that prices dropped hard for that sector in particular. The only reason prices in some areas have not fallen is because there are very few repossessions. I cannot explain why London prices are going up - it seems like madness to me.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 11th May 2011
@ Bucks the trend But surely that was my whole point. Agents that were happy to charge 1/2 percent for a crap service would do anything in a good market to get instructed. You expect them suddenly to completely change their nature & character to become super honest, super nice, super decent chaps ready to give their customers a 2% service. All they know is how to do it the wrong way, super salesman style. Some will survive, some will close, but in the meantime what are the rest of us to do? Me, I just watch them waste money marketing properties that will never sell (unless I call them and remind them what the 'right' price is).
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Posted Date: Friday 13th May 2011
I've been saying this for ages. It's great that someone finally agrees with me. Scary thought... The MPC might actually raise interest rates and then all those people in arrears will be proper f**ked (I like the film Snatch - sorry!). Then of course we end up with the 25% fall in prices that the HPCers want. Sticking plaster - slow or fast?
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Posted Date: Friday 13th May 2011
@ Sibley's B'stard Child You are right and whilst I know that the best option is a short sharp shock correction, pick yourself back up and get on with it, I have a feeling that the problems with the Financial System are so bad that that is just not an option. From what I can see the sub-prime crisis moved from just the banks to a sovereign debt crisis involving whole countries and the banks too. If everyone owned up to how bad it REALLY is, the world would just go into meltdown. The ConLib government looks like it is going for the soft option of slow house price decline and modest inflation that over the course of 5 years will deliver a real terms value reduction of 25-30% in house prices, but in a way that doesn't cause a slew of repossessions and a crash. Quite clever, but takes a lot longer and means that "We are all in this together" so a lot of people who would be absolutely fine if prices crash because they either don't have a mortgage or have sensible equity levels end up "suffering" with those who were reckless. Unfair, maybe, but a very Marxist way of looking at it all. Who would have thunk that the Tories would be so nice?
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Posted Date: Friday 13th May 2011
Oh well and there was me getting the distinct impression he was good for nothing. The Apprentice - yawn!
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Posted Date: Monday 16th May 2011
I refer the hounourable gentleman to the answer I gave some moments ago... This website has been full of comments over the last few months on this subject. Can we beat the record of 64 posts today? Cry "Havoc!" and let slip the dogs of war.
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Posted Date: Monday 16th May 2011
As I have said before I like RM, particularly because of the tools they provide. I have just done a quick survey (by postcode) of properties on the market in my area for more than 10 weeks (use best price guide and set the date for the end of February). The surprising thing is how many properties have changed agents and NOT sold. Even more surprising is how many have stayed with the same agent and sold from a reduced asking price. Whatever way you look at it - it is not fair, it is not right, BUT overpricing WORKS (if you do it properly). You need to be able to organise viewings that generate low offers (real offers or "well they suggested they might pay X - a tactic used by a lot of corporates where when a buyer says didn't like it they ask "ok, but if you were going to make an offer how much would it be and why?"). After 2 weeks you review progress and generate a price reduction. Continue until under offer. If you are set up to do this, IT WORKS. Bit horrid though.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 18th May 2011
Right, well, (arms waving), hum, ho... [Lies, damn lies, etc...] I think the problem is that it depends on where you are. And I don't mean North or South, but more like this high street compared to the next one up the road. We are having a tough time, but surviving. I have a friend (an estate agent with a firend? I promise I'm not lying!) who runs a business next town over and he is in a terrible state and he is just as good (or bad) an agent as me with much the same principles (right price, proper fee, etc). There is less than 3 miles between the two of us and having a quick look on RM & FAP it's not just him, his local competitors are in the same boat. If that is the truth on the ground, how on earth is a statistician looking over the whole country to give an average supposed to work it out. Really, the question at the moment is should they even bother, because it is unlikely they COULD get it right.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 18th May 2011
I weep for the passing of HIPs, not because they made the sale process any easier but because they were a brilliant filter to make sure that a vendor was serious. It also meant that which ever agent you went on with you had to pay up front. I charge to put your house on the market (mad you say? It works for me) and HIPs made the conversation a lot easier. Oh well...
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Posted Date: Wednesday 18th May 2011
Post number 68 - call me TROLL. Way back at post 5 I wondered if we could beat 64 - the previous record. Thanks for all your input. ;o)
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Posted Date: Friday 20th May 2011
ALL "supply and demand" open markets are subject to boom and bust cycles. ALL of them. WITHOUT EXCEPTION and BY DEFINITION. Otherwise it is not an Open Market. Open markets are subject to irrational behaviour by the people occupying the marketplace. Not only that, the "herd mentality" is entirely rational until about 5 minutes after the peak of the market where it becomes stupid, but then becomes rational again to try and minimise your losses. What do we do about it? Sensible lending criteria and proven cash deposit levels are probably the easiest to implement and will make sure that the majority of buyers are protected. Consider, if the market falls by 10% and you have a 20% deposit, you are not wiped out. But this is then a control on the banking industry who will be restricted in the ways they can compete for business and although they have lost money this time round have been bailed out so don't care and will complain bitterly.
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Posted Date: Monday 23rd May 2011
The term bandwagon jumps to mind. I am going to sound a bit negative, but... The whole Facebook/ Twitter/ QR Code thing seems overblown to me. Consider the time required to do it properly - it is a full time job in its own right, on top of all the other stuff we do. Then consider that it has to be relevant and fresh daily/ weekly/ monthly - which is bloody hard work. The consider the numbers of potential customers it is good for. I was recently quoted this stat: the average facebook user has 300 contacts (god I feel inadequate) and each one of those contacts will have 300 contacts, ad nauseam. Therefore 1 post you make as an agent on Facebook could reach 90,000 people. Except that: 1. That assumes EVERYONE of your contacts recommends you to EVERY ONE of theirs. 2. That they are all house buyers. 3. That they are interested for more than 5 minutes. I would suggest that: 1. Not a chance 2. Not even close 3. I very much doubt it. It is important to engage with you clientele, but I have a feeling that this is a great way for Social Media Specialists to charge you for something that has no real world value and just plays on your fear of missing out. Same thing is behind why we all still advertise in the local paper - "what happens if I miss that 1 lead." What I do think it might be good for is name recognition, but how much is that worth.
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Posted Date: Monday 23rd May 2011
Still don't know the name of that idiot footballer, and still don't care. I do care that the number of calls to my office was noticebly lower than normal. Tumbleweed down the high street? Everywhere was quiet - a quick walk down the road on Saturday showed me that. Usually you have to fight through the crowds, not this last month or two.
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Posted Date: Monday 23rd May 2011
Please make this kind of thing illegal. Or something. I hate conveyancing firms, in a big way. And for GODS sake, he gets 35% of the fee for sweet FA and the conveyancer gets the rest for actually doing the work. Well, that tells me how good the service is. And yes CPL team 5 got my vote for the very, very worst bunch of ****s ever - mind you that was a couple of years ago. RANT, snarl, swear, etcetera
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Posted Date: Wednesday 25th May 2011
[Just getting my zimmer frame out...] I remember back in the early 90's a whole load of surveyors getting caught by this kind of thing. They had valued a property in 1987 or 88, the market had crashed and the property had been repossessed after the owners had lived in it penniless for months. The properties were trashed and prices were at rock bottom. The surveyors were blamed for over-valuing or just doing a drive-by or missing structural movement or whatever. As a surveyor, you can only value for the moment, for that day and what happens in 6 months or 6 years is of no consequence. But of course, you have your notes and comparables handy to prove your due diligence, so in the end, if you did your job right, it is not a problem.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 1st June 2011
{sobs...} Deep breath, suck it up and carry on. I think I'll close down and open up next week as a laundrette (the opposite of what an old boss of mine once did). Yes prices are 25% too high. Massive crash or slow decline? The government has laid in the course of a 10 year slow decline. Whilst a price crash would help all us agents, in the context of the world financial stage it is a complete non-starter.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 8th June 2011
Refused an instruction today. Did my comparables, worked out that the owners price "But I got that as my asking price in 2007 and prices haven't dropped round here". I reckon the owners' price is a good 30% above reality. So I thought "I'll save myself some money and time" and refused to take it on the market. The funny thing is that I don't think prices have dropeed that much, just that he was lucky to get the offer last time and unlucky not to exchange contracts. Knowing the type of person he is too, I reckon the reason the sale fell through was because of him, not his buyer. "Life? Don't talk to me about life!" - Marvin the paranoid android
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Posted Date: Wednesday 8th June 2011
Is it just me or does RENTAL GUARANTEE = DODGY RENTAL INVESTMENT? Call me cynical, I suppose...
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Posted Date: Wednesday 15th June 2011
Touting for me, when I count the hours, petrol, paper, postage & effort, has I think not made me a penny. Yes I have got instruction that have sold. Yes, I have been quite successful at it. BUT, it costs a fortune (50p per 2nd class letter or £1 for a brochure). Or 40p per mile AND a letter or brochure. Surely the only UNETHICAL thing is persuading the owner to break a sole agency agreement... I work in a town where everyone signs up on a 12 week contract (sort of, ish). The only benefit of touting before week 9 is persuading the owner that the price reduction that their current agent has just asked for is justified. Therefore, wait for the last two weeks (use Rightmove Best Price Guide - put in the postcode and it will tell you when it cam on the market) or have a huge database of instructions noted when they come on. THEN tout them, professionally and honestly. Personally though, in all the years I have been doing it, I would say I have probably spent more money and time on doing it than I have ever got out of it. And I have worked for (or owned) several different types of agent including corporates (with their letters 1-7). Got to say, that if they didn't even call you in for a valuation in the first place (so you don't have their number) then it is going to be an uphill struggle. Sometimes I just wonder if it is "make-work".
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Posted Date: Wednesday 15th June 2011
I think the "sub" has disappeared and it is now just plain "judice". Dive....dive...dive! Sorry - one of those mornings. On a more serious note Everyone (nearly) seems to have got what they deserve... The perps are either on the run or going to jail. And it lloks as though the Money Laundering Regulations may have helped - or not.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 15th June 2011
@rantnrave has a great point - 6th up from the bottom. Prices go up, prices go down. When they go down, the rungs in the ladder get closer together. 20% of £250,000 is £50,000. 20% of £500,000 is £100,00. So, and this is the important bit: if you have enough equity and you save in between purchases then it doesn't matter and when the price goes down you can jump up. The problem is that the banks persuaded us to borrow too much money. Me, I blame one man and his name is Gordon Brown. I really do think he should be sent to jail for his complicit "light touch" approach to banking that allowed for the trade of the CDOs (collateralised debt obligations) that got us where we are today. Now that's a proper RANT and RAVE... (smiles) ;->
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Posted Date: Wednesday 15th June 2011
I hate call centre solicitors - HATE I tell you. They are fine when the going is easy, but when is it easy - 10% of sales? I have always recommended a good local solicitor - always one who is not cheap and not expensive. Why, not for referral fees, that's for sure - but because they are GOOD. It makes my job so much easier and lets me get on with my REAL job of selling houses. I currently have a running sale agreed 1st week of Feb on a simple 2 bed flat. Both solicitors are cheapy panel jobs and it is an effing nightmare - after 4 months, neither solicitor had bothered to raise the question of management accounts. What is that about. Solicitor "Thank you for your instructions. So it's a flat - I'm going to need a copy of the lease and management accounts..." Surely that is in the first 5 things a solicitor should ask about. AAAAAAARRRRRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHH!
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Posted Date: Monday 20th June 2011
As a great philosopher once said: "D'Oh!"
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Posted Date: Wednesday 22nd June 2011
I was about a long diatribe. But it has all been said before. The only thing that occurred to me was "That few?" Surely, even in the posh bits in London, for normal property (i.e. stuff that doesn't appeal to international investors) prices will be on their way down... Negative equity relates to the amount you owe on the mortgage, not on the amount you paid for it, so I suppose that potentially what it means is that anyone who took out a 90 or 95% mortgage is in trouble. Or the ones with second loans to pay off their credit cards?
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Posted Date: Wednesday 22nd June 2011
I just can't get the image of Vic Reeves rubbing his thighs out of my head whilst drooling over a female guest... Property Porn indeed. As an agent, I am guilty of doing it where I live and where I work.... ;->
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Posted Date: Friday 24th June 2011
I am fascinated as to how this guy managed to con people this way. £392 for a promise? Where I work (as an agent) it is almost impossible to get property owners to agree to a notional fee - i.e.: IF we sell it then you pay us 1.5% but until then everything we do is 100% free. Average fee in my town has been steadily below 1% for 7 years. I have to say that althought "The truth" may have missed the point, charging a vendor up front to list there property and then a successful completion fee sounds like a sensible business model to me.
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Posted Date: Friday 24th June 2011
The problem with the whole thing is that it is all so pointless. Consider: Bad person wants to money launder. Buys cheap fake passport (£500 gets you a REAL one with your photo in it but someone else's details). Photoshop a bank statement. That is enough to get by me no matter how diligent I am. BTW price for passport comes from a discussion I had with a member of SFO. The problem with the outstanding 34% of agents is they think like me - why bother - it is a waste of time. Personally, we registered because someone sent me a reminder, the cost wasn't massive and I just thought that the effort required to NOT pay and have to deal with the consequences would be so great I might as well.
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Posted Date: Friday 24th June 2011
The housing market in the UK is currently undergoing a period of stagflation. On purpose. Organised by the government. We need a reduction in real terms value of property in the UK. Rather than a short sharp shock, the government have gone down the road of a 5-10 year decline by keeping house prices the same and letting inflation do the hard work. It is actually quite clever, because the man in the street is already under enough pressure. In that time we will also pay down our personal debts too. The alternative is a 30% reduction over 18 months, hundreds of thousands of repossessions, a new UK banking crisis as all of those repos go on the books of the banks, mass unemployment (way worse than we have at the moment) and huge social unrest. Shades of The Specials, Ghost Town. Some people (HPCers - I pointing my finger at you) are calling for it - I think they are mad because the elephant in the room is a thousand times bigger than in 1989. Coupled together with the global nature of the banking system and the fact that UK banks are at the very heart of it all (more fool us) I have a feeling it would be the start of a new global meltdown,
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Posted Date: Wednesday 29th June 2011
Someone's removed the first post. I want to know what all the fuss is about. That'll teach me to be busy in the morning... Reminds me of an old joke back in the 90's. Q: Why don't estate agents look out of the window in the morning? A: Because they'd have nothing to do in the afternoon... Boom Boom!!!
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Posted Date: Wednesday 29th June 2011
Round 3,652 DING DING!!! And the independent feints to the left while the corporate dodges neatly to the right. Bobbing and weaving, ducking and diving. It'll never change unless homeowners stop falling for it. They WANT to be lied to. I've seen it a million times. AND posted about it on EAT a thousand times (never one to exaggerate!) I've just seen a house in my area change agent after a sale fell through. Despite the house being on the market with the 1st agent for months, reducing the price several times, it has now gone back on the market after a downvaluation made the sale fall through at a higher asking price than it was on the market for originally. Please, somebody explain to me how that could possibly make sense?
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Posted Date: Wednesday 29th June 2011
Please take into account inflation. When prices were rising at 7-9%, pre 2008, inflation was 2.something percent. So your net gain was 5% after inflation. Now we have a 2.2% drop and inflation at 4.5%. So your net gain is now a net loss of -6.7%. Or a SWING of nearly 12%. Now that is truly significant.
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Posted Date: Friday 1st July 2011
The article seems filled with a bit of vitriol and he might be coming at it from the wrong angle and arrive at the right conclusion but for the wrong reason. BUT (and please don't all shout at me at once) I think that unless we are all very careful his vision might come true faster than we all think. Don't start throwing rocks just yet! Consider: No sale - no fee means that the 1 in 5 properties that you value/ list/ sell that actually pay you a fee on completeion cover the cost of the 4 that do not. From the sucessful sellers' point of view, that is a bit of a crap deal. But it is "No Sale, No Fee" I hear you cry. Do you think they care, when having sold they know they have paid a huge bill, which on an hourly rate basis is massive. The problem is with our business model, not with the world. "No sale, no fee" from our point of view is just plain crazy. From the sellers' point of view it looks sensible, until they realise that they are subsidizing all those people who overprice their house or just dip their toe in the water or who change their mind. And an online agency with a branch network charging a listing fee to cover basic costs and a success fee will come along soon and take all of our businesses away from us. And the £500 HIP proves that sellers WILL pay up front if they have to or they can see the benefit. This is what eBay, Amazon, Rightmove, etcetera have done to us because your average homeowner is now happy to use the internet to buy and sell. From my point of view, if I could make £500 per instruction and another £1000 per completion, I could run a profitable business. The volume is there in my town, even now. BUT (and you can start throwing rocks now) a couple of agents would have to go out of business!
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Posted Date: Friday 1st July 2011
If I could borrow the money, I would be all over Spain, not Ireland. But for some reason, which I just can't work out, they won't lend me a penny. Rats!
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Posted Date: Monday 4th July 2011
London figures are interesting. Bubble bursting?
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Posted Date: Monday 4th July 2011
Include it in the details but don't print anything at all. Email them. Claim it's because you are trying to lower your carbon footprint or something - great PR. Might even be true. If they want them, they can print them themselves. Sounds like a plan!
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Posted Date: Monday 4th July 2011
Anti bribery law has just come in to force. Those little brown envelopes that estate agents get donated by property developers definitely fall into that category. The SFO will probably be watching us all quite hard. Apparently even £50 as a facilitation payment qualifies! A grand in £20 notes is a 10 year sentence. And as a boss, you are liable for those little miscreants you employ. Each one you sell now you would be wise to document that the buyer could not bribe you because ... When they say Kermit you say "JUMP!"
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Posted Date: Wednesday 6th July 2011
Stop it, just stop it. Leave it alone. Put the property market down and walk away from the law. Why try and find another stupid way to muck things up (and ruin friendships if you ask me). I have sold properties for "friends who bought together" before and it has never been pretty. Imagine a divorce, just a little bit worse, and with two testosterony guys duking it out using an estate agent as a punch bag. Earnt my fee that time!
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Posted Date: Wednesday 6th July 2011
I for one welcome our new LSL overlords.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 6th July 2011
That means that the banks can now "afford" to have these assets listed on their books. Beware an interest rate rise, the first time someone misses a payment after that and they will be out on their ear, no matter how well they have been paying in the middle. There is a huge stored up repossession problem just waiting to happen and as soon as the banks are properly capitalised, they will start acting on it.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 6th July 2011
I am happy that a business is doing well in these hard times. Can I have a job?
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Posted Date: Monday 18th July 2011
So, let me get this right. Asking prices have been inexplicably rising (outside London postcodes). + The "spring bounce" never appeared. = Lots of houses left unsold. Is "equity poor" the new "negative equity". Sounds like it to me.
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Posted Date: Monday 18th July 2011
Testing the market (at the moment) usually means putting a property on the market for WAY too much money which means that a sale is never agreed and solicitors are never involved. I loved HIPs for putting a stop to that. That was fab. But not having them has nothing to do with SALES falling thru.
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Posted Date: Monday 18th July 2011
Mental, they are all bloody mental. In what world is that expectation in any way sensible. Everybody knows (surely) that the financial crisis is a million miles from being over. Definitely the triumph (and folly) of hope over adversity. Last week I valued a house bought at the peak of the market (with work necessary). They have done a bit (not lots) to it and I said that it was worth £60k more than they paid for it. I was being polite. It went on the market for an EXTRA £75k on top of that with one of my (stupid) competitors. That is a promised profit of £135k for a lick of paint and some nice light switches (no joke). I wish my esteemed competitors the very best luck in trying to sell this over priced turkey.
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Posted Date: Monday 18th July 2011
@vossy So far (touch wood) I have not lost any commission when a house has gone on the market with another agent for way more money. Actually, I have, when I called up a lost valuation to try and get them on the market with me. In the process I reminded the owner what the correct price was , so they gave their existing agent a price reduction and they sold it. There's a word for that, best not use it here.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 20th July 2011
It looks gorgeous and the location... Wow! 8 million squiddlies though? I would love to, I really would, but to justify it I would have to be earning a lot more than I do at the moment (sobs into rice crispies). And, if the global warming mob are right, give it 20 years and that pool will be fresh seawater!
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Posted Date: Wednesday 20th July 2011
And cue the HPCers
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Posted Date: Wednesday 20th July 2011
@wardy Shhh - don't give the game away. There is an agent in my town that starts EVERY property description with "XXX agents are pleased to bring this house to the market". There is another that starts EVERY description with "A chance to acquire". You would think they would get bored of writing it, or that their secretary would go crazy ape bonkers and assasinate them for making them type the same mindless drivel on every set of details. But it does me no harm at all - carry on chaps! PS: apologies to any secretaries that might be offended by my comments - we love you
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Posted Date: Friday 22nd July 2011
And guess what.... Good agents will talk about what RM are saying at point of valuation. No matter how you say it, vendor hears negative. Bad agents will say "Oh no, that's just because the other agents aren't pro-active enough! We are seeing bidding wars, etc, etc...." The owner, being swayed by someone who is positive, positive, positive will of course then decide (wrongly) which agent to go with. EVERYBODY, even in London, knows that there is something wrong. They just don't want to admit it. Human nature being what it is means that vendors will attach more faith to the words of a convincing blag artist than to someone who is clear, honest & truthful. The funny thing is that most of these vendors are also buyers, and when they call you to look for a new property they have a completely different attitude. Why can't they see this. "My house is worth its asking price, I will not accept an offer £5k below, but I am going to offer 20% off the next one, even though it is on the market for less than the last one sold in the street, and then I am going to tell everyone how offended I am that they wouldn't take my offer." I have agreed sales for 4 vendors like this so far this year. Only 1 has gone through. You might say that considering that I tied up the sales, the owners were justified in holding out. (Pat on my back) I would say it's because I am a wicked negotiator who is fab at his job. In the end though, what twists my bits is the fact that having achieved their asking price, their attitude when they offer stupidly below is so arrogant. I find myself ranting a lot on this website - sorry.
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Posted Date: Friday 22nd July 2011
@catch22 And that is the fallacy of just talking about pound notes I'm afraid. With CPI running at 5.1% and property prices dropping at 1-2% the value of your home IN REAL TERMS is dropping by up to 7.5% per annum. Plus you are paying an exhorbitant rate of interest, probably 2.5% above what you should. Blame who you like, but to keep your house it is costing you 10% of it's value every year. It is actually better at the moment to liquidate your assets and go into rented. Finally, the landlord is subsidising the tenant! This is the difference between an economist and a normal man in the street. Which one is right? Well, the economist is right of course, but we would all prefer it if she/ he wasn't.
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Posted Date: Monday 25th July 2011
I like Hometrack. I fill in the survey and I have won something - yay! On a more serious note, for my postcodes (Surrey) they have show successive months of (I love this term, are you ready?) negative growth! I LOVE that term. Problem I have is that every time I show them to a vendor to support my sensible pricing strategy, they immediately instruct another more positive estate agent. Vendors are mental. Oh well... (sobs...)
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Posted Date: Monday 25th July 2011
Interest rates are linked to risk. The riskier the loan, the higher the interest rate. As Brit1234 says it is a scam, but not perpetrated by the lenders. They have been forced into it and are behaving in a way that covers them. Avoid.
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Posted Date: Monday 25th July 2011
Empty buildings - wrong. Squatters - wrong. Broken windows - wrong. Two or three wrongs don't make a right, but taking all of the hype out of it it boils down to: Illegal occupation by squatters, owner & agent use correct method to take property back, squatters take revenge and blame everybody else. Lock 'em up and throw away the key.
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Posted Date: Monday 25th July 2011
That few? Surely it should be closer to 100%? As Vossy says right at the start... Most vendors are buyers, but the number of properties where my owner demands asking and then goes off to offer 20% below asking on the next one is ridiculous. And they feel perfectly justified in doing so. I just don't get it. Are they completely schizophrenic or something?
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Posted Date: Monday 25th July 2011
@Rob & James I am not sure that that will happen as there is about to be a huge OFT investigation into the insurance industry and solicitors for referral fees after crashes. The police appear to be implicated in selling details to the industry as well. The whole ambulance chasing business is built on these fees. If these are regulated, then I guarantee that it will apply to the whole legal profession in all circumstances. It means that an agent that refers a customer to a solicitor that pays a feen will have to admit to it. The mortgage advice side is changing too - where advisors will have to charge a fee and be completely transparent with their costs and charges. If both lots have to write to your clients saying "We will pay Floggit & Scarper the sum of £150" I am pretty sure that the referral business will wither. 18 months at most I would suggest
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Posted Date: Wednesday 27th July 2011
I have a solution, little box in the corner filled with 4pt text that is just about readable, takes up less space than the current EPC graph. Sorted that one for you ;->
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Posted Date: Friday 29th July 2011
In the end there will be a middle ground. A mix between normal high street estate agent and online agent. They will charge customers to put it on the market (Gold/ Silver/ Bronze). They will charge for added extras. They will charge a completion fee. But they will be "real" estate agents with shops & everything. It is coming.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 3rd August 2011
Now that would just be hilarious. He doesn't get banned for fraud, but he does get banned for using the "F" bomb on his own website. Never gonna happen, but if it did I fear for my right to free speech and expression. Come on guys get real. Apart from anything else, if I was a potential customer and saw that on his website, I would be on the phone to one of his competitors.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 3rd August 2011
Deep breath. He is right. Attention seeking, maybe, but it is true. People are getting used to buying EVERYTHING online. More and more people are getting used to selling things online (eBay). We (generally) trust our daily banking needs to the internet. So.... Mr & Mrs Average Vendor, who don't trust us, not really, and think we charge WAY too much will be looking for alternatives. All of a sudden there will be a really good, viable way for them to sell their property without the likes of you and me. People have been predicting the end of estate agents since the mid 90's. After 15 years, the technology and data is available to everyone. And (this is the important bit) the general population are ready for it. That is why Hamptons & Southebys are now owned by Countrywide, why Fine is owned by Haart, why Arun Estates are buying into Fine & Country and so on. The market for agents will split in 3: Online/ budget agents Local high street agents High end agents If you are still in the middle group in 5 years you will find that your business will struggle until your high street has 1 or 2 "local" agents left instead of the 8 or 9 now. Think about it, Haart are doing iSold.com through Tescos and that is growing exponentially. They will kick your ass, unless you kick theirs first.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 3rd August 2011
RR & UC & VoS UK 10 year bond yields hit an all time low yesterday, which translates to institutional investors (pension funds, etc) believing that interest rates are set to stay low for the foreseeable future. Inflation running at 5% (CPI at least). Property prices dropping at 1-2% per annum. Real terms annual reduction of about 6-7%. This translates to a 30%-40% reduction in the REAL TERMS value of property over the next 5 years, but the £ value goes down by 5-10%. Everyone can "cope" with a small amount of equity disappearing, after all we are all saving as hard as we can at the moment. But we couldn't cope with the negative equity of prices dropping today by 30% as they did in the early 90's.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 3rd August 2011
So Countrywide buy Hamptons. Start closing down Mann & Co.s and other cheaply branded offices in favour of GPees or equivalents. Then expands high end brand name. I refer you all to a comment I made on the story about Mr Bending.
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Posted Date: Friday 5th August 2011
EPCs are for the government, not the public. In any (normal) year approx 7% of all properties in the UK change hands. This means that in 15 years the government has an EPC for every single house in the country - barring the odd 40 year in the same family exceptions which can be statistically accounted for. This allows the government to work out how good or bad our housing stock is at CO2 emmissions. That is what they are for primarily. If at the same time 10% of buyers can be persuaded to improve their property in an energy saving manner, then fantastic! Which makes the whole fake EPC a big problem for the government, but neither here nor there for the rest of us.
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Posted Date: Friday 5th August 2011
There once was an agent in Southall Who was unable to sell houses at all "I know," said he "With poetry you'll see Miss the apostrophes and it'll end well" Ta-da!
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Posted Date: Friday 5th August 2011
@someone It does affect them, because they are not there. OK it won't cause errors in the averages produced, but it will cause errors by ommission (rather than emission - hey look at me I just made a funny!)
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Posted Date: Friday 5th August 2011
@SGHI Actually, FTB Dan is right, but for all the wrong reasons. The scheme was dreamt up by a member of our government at the time - John Prescott. Read this Wikipedia article for clarification: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Prescott However, it is definitely not an eco-fascist bureaucracy, more of a communist nanny state bureaucracy. KIDDING! It is important to do. The government came up with a neat idea - lets get home owners to do it and cover the costs. And so was born the lie that lead eventually to the HIP. Don't start ranting now!
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Posted Date: Friday 5th August 2011
I love the photo of the front of his shop. The beauty salon sign just tops it off for me. Columbian marching powder would appear to be the order of the day. Snnnniiiiiffff! I have to say that whilst some of this furore is serious, most of it a bit overblown, it has made me laugh a bit. @AgencyInsider - couldn't agree more. Which is why I had better shut up now and go and do some work.
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Posted Date: Monday 15th August 2011
First let me say that I am sorry for her predicament - I don't want you all thinking I am heartless. I used to work in an office less than 300 yards from there and lived up the road when the Broadwater Farm riots happened. But I have to be missing something here. The buiding freehold is owned by an RSL or Housing Association if you prefer. She is on a part buy/ part rent scheme. It therefore is insured. No ifs, no buts. Unless the insurance company refuse to rebuild the entire building - which is not going to happen - they will cover mortgage payments and rehousing costs for the time being. This is not just a rubbish story, but simple common sense means that it shouldn't even be a story at all. Silly season I suppose
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Posted Date: Monday 15th August 2011
In Soviet Russia the bath takes you! (Internet gag - have a look)
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Posted Date: Wednesday 17th August 2011
I'm not surprised. In Haringey, a business permit costs £240pA and only allows you to park next to your office, not outside someone's house. They started in 1996 by charging £18 per car per year. 2 cars now cost £230. That is an increase of 538% in 15 years - very profitable indeeed. So an estate agent in Haringey doesn't save a huge amount of money by faking it, but they do get the right to park outside their customers' houses. Now in Surrey, but I worked there from 1992 - 2003. It is quite simple, if you make stupid rules and laws, people will try to find a loophole.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 17th August 2011
I refer the honourable gentleman to the answer given before. The market is weird, I have sold overpriced stock at above asking price and I have stuff on the market that I think looks like a bargain. No rhyme or reason to it. I have stated several times before that other agents over-value, so I lose instructions. Most don't sell - so I have saved money, the other agent has dented his reputation and the vendor either thinks they are an idiot (because the agent overvalued it), or they have done the best they could considering the market (the owner overvalued it). In the end though, the most successful agent in my town (not me - sobs) is overvaluing, managing his vendors' expectations and is selling houses. A lot come off the market but a lot are selling too. Mind you his costs must be astronomical and the stress of dealing with all those unhappy vendors must be incredible. I would say that my profit levels are probably similar to his - ie. not great. The difference is that I am worried about my next instruction and how I can best look after my clients. He must be worried about his huge stock list and how he can reduce his costs. Neither of us will be going on a long summer holiday this year.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 17th August 2011
Good luck with that one. I think it was Foxtons that went to court a couple of years ago against Hamptons (???) and got their asses whipped on the matter of what constituted a "valid introduction". 6 months and you are out. Now development land will be considered slightly differently no doubt, but that's 15 years. Then of course you have the fact that he was employed (directly or indirectly) means that while at work anything that he generates automatically belongs to his employers - that is standard across the board. If I am employed to create widgets and make a successful one, it belongs to my employer, not to me. That's why you get paid a salary - that is what you get and that is what your employer gets. Oh, and as a final note I wonder if the 7 year limit on bringing a claim would apply to this.
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Posted Date: Friday 19th August 2011
Never watched the show - I try to avoid property shows on the telly as they make me hiss and spit. Especially that Beaney woman and that one about auctions - aaaarrrrgggghhhh! But I think I might need to start watching this one. What a smile!
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Posted Date: Monday 22nd August 2011
The litigation costs alone are probably enough to crush this guy. The Human Rights Act states that the right to work is considered a basic human right and therefore Foxtons cannot stop him. The onus will be on Foxtons to prove he stole the data from them and then used it to contact the clients. Tough but not impossible to do - you only need 3 loyal customers who say "I got an email..."
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Posted Date: Monday 22nd August 2011
There are: Lies Damned lies and Statistics 53% of which are made up on the spot.
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Posted Date: Monday 22nd August 2011
Lucky buggers - can I have some please?
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Posted Date: Wednesday 24th August 2011
Doom, doom and more doom. Rational behaviour... Well... It is RATIONAL that I should want to maximise the amount of money I get from selling my home. It is RATIONAL that I should get three estate agents to value my home. It is RATIONAL that they should all try their hardest to win my business. It is RATIONAL that I should up my asking price because I expect an offer (after all, I will not be paying asking price for the next one!). Each individual decision is rational, but in the end we end up with a stalled market. I valued a flat a couple of days ago, and the owner sat there and said she knew that prices had fallen, that there were no buyers and that deposit requirements were high (that's why she is selling rather than renting it out - she needs the cash to buy the next one). Then she told me how, having bid the owner down by £10k when sh bought it back in July 2007, she wanted an offer of her asking price, which is £20k more than she paid for it. She is a very well educated 30 something who is not in fear of her job and wants to move in with her fiancee. The way she looks at it, this is RATIONAL. I refused the instruction because it would be a waste of money for me. I would say that is very RATIONAL behaviour for an estate agent. As Gag Halfront (HHGTTG) once said "It looks like we are both well adjusted in our attitudes today! That'll be 15 million Altarian Dollars..." I so wish I had done Psychology in university.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 24th August 2011
Prices are too high. No ifs, no buts. Consider the fact that over the last 100 years, the investment value of property has outstripped every other investment class by a huge margin. That is an asset bubble, but it has slowly built up to huge proportions. The reasons are quite complex and include (please don't hate me for saying it) female equality - there are now 2 proper salaries coming in to a household, rather than one or one and a bit. The problem is not equality, but with the affordability calculations that drove the lending boom. We have all borrowed WAY too much money (me included) and the solution is to STOP. Not borrow more. The world governments are trying gentle price reduction and stagnation together with high inflation to gently pop the house price bubble in the EuroZone. The US has had a MASSIVE price drop. But, against everything an HPCer will tell you, they are no better off. Unfortunately it would appear that we have 20 years of quiet stagnation ahead of us.
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Posted Date: Friday 26th August 2011
19 posts about how good / bad open days are... It must be the end of August. I have to say that you are all right. They can be a monumental waste of time. They can be very succesful. The one thing that you might have missed though is that Andrews have persuaded their vednors to reduce their prices (if only for the weekend...?) If I will take £300k on Saturday, I probably will in two weeks. They can also turn round to the owner and say "See what a £25k reduction did? Look how many viewings it generated (or not) - we should carry on until sold" Also, if all the competiton has spent the summer going "Well it is quiet, but it is the summer you know" they will lose instructions to the local agent with a "NEW" idea. Seems like a plan to me. Also, it's an awful lot better than I came up with. It won't work, but good luck anyway.
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Posted Date: Friday 26th August 2011
So, with a 30% deposit and 4 times joint salary which appears to be par for the course the family needs to be bringing in over £250k per year or £21k per month. That is nearly footballer money.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 31st August 2011
I was going to start a long rant about house prices, but then realised I just couldn't be bothered.
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Posted Date: Monday 5th September 2011
'scuse the french... But did I just here that Bastard Thieves are now a bunch of C**ters?
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Posted Date: Wednesday 7th September 2011
Any franchisee has exactly the same risk. There will be, somewhere in the small print, an Eff-You clause which allows the franchisor to sell out if they want to. Sounds to me that although it is going to be a bit stressful, this will probably end up well in the end. I have a BE franchise in my town - can't wait to see the new logo...
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Posted Date: Wednesday 7th September 2011
Lies, damned lies and statistics... But EVERYBODY knows that Fitch is right. Supply and demand arguement is currently invalid as there are external influences affecting it. London has an international property investment bubble because the exchange rate is SOOO favourable. At the moment, even if property prices fall hard, most international buyers would still be in profit. London is also skewing the national average figures as most property transactions in the UK are happening there. In my area completions appear to be running at about 20-25% of normal. The statistics show an increase in the price of detached properties of 12% over the last 6 months. That's because only a few houses have sold and they are bigger than the ones sold in the previous 6 months. It is comparing Apples and Oranges. When you factor in "SENSIBLE LENDING" then prices are indeed 25% over the top. And sensible lending is what we need.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 7th September 2011
WOW. 6.48% With an LTV of 75%. WOW! Let me just say that again... WOW... What a rip off. If you have a real 25% deposit you can get an interest rate below 2%. WOW!
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Posted Date: Wednesday 7th September 2011
'Och aye the noo. No surprise there then.
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Posted Date: Monday 19th September 2011
When I first heard the term "gazumping" I was just a strip of a lad and thought it was a funny word. Then I became an agent and whilst acting on my owners' behalf found out what a pain in the arse it could be: Buyer 2 "I'll offer you £2,000 more" Owner "I'll take it" Buyer 1 "You Bastard!" and so on in a big circle until finally someone throws their toys out of the pram. Then you get to exchange and the buyer says "Now about the price..." Then the market got bad and you "Gazundering" was invented. An equally stupid word, and a similarly crap way for people to behave. Buyer "I want to buy your house" Owner "I want more than it's worth" Buyer "Hmmmm! Ok, but subject to survey!" Then you get to exchange and the buyer says "Now about the price..." But GAZANGING? Apart from the word being utterly ridiculous, I mean seriously... that is really taking it to the next level. But not being able to find a suitable next property is surely just one of those things. Horrid for everyone involved, but essentially unavoidable in these troubled times. Perhaps agents worried about it should charge a listing fee, or talk about "Plan B's" to their clients...
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Posted Date: Monday 19th September 2011
A snapshot way to look at the figures. Take a photo of a ball bouncing at the bottom of its bounce and guess what? It looks like it is sitting still on the ground. The same principle applies to these stats. Required deposits are much higher than normal due to the current economic climate - this will settle down in due course. Property prices are relatively too high because of irresponsible lending - this will also settle down in due course (price reductions or inflation - take your pick). In 5 years time it will all be back to normal. Lies Damned Lies And Statistics
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Posted Date: Monday 19th September 2011
cc - you sound like an agent's worst nightmare. There is a good reason that you did not get a call back and I would suggest that it has something to do with the fact that they know exactly how to sell... The first thing that you do when you meet a buyer who always wants a price below asking, regardless of how good value the price is, is to rip up their details and pop them in the bin. I would further suggest that you actually met a very good agent who worked out quite quickly what type of buyer you are. Go, go Gadget Agent! Round of applause!
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Posted Date: Wednesday 21st September 2011
The NAEA (from personal experience) is bloody useless. I got a reprimand withouth them even talking to me for choosing the buyer who offered the most money. I was fair to everyone and looked after the vendor - which I believe is my job. Not once did they phone me. I quit. I am trying to join the RICS but that is proving to be harder than I expected. Way harder than the NAEA. Of course, so it should be as it is a much more professional organisation. And that in the end is my point. If we are going to go for a professional registration/ licensing scheme I would very much prefer it to be with a hard to get in to top flight group like the RICS than the NAEA. The NAEA brand is strong but it has obviously been horrendously mismanaged in the last decade or so.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 21st September 2011
What Tony says has a lot of merit. People worry about the sustainabilty at point of purchase and then never give it a thought after. The point about the boiler is particularly important. How many of you have a simple thermostat in your hallway? Most of you I'd guess. The simplest way of saving money on gas bills without paying out for a supposedly efficient new boiler is to get a fully programmable stat that will take a temperature target for 6 different points of the day and run the boiler to meet those temperatures, rather than off for hours, then at full power to catch up, then back off again. The stat will cost you £100 and pay for itself in 3-4 months during the winter. And your house is always just right, rather than too cold, too hot, too cold, too hot and then finally just right. My friend, a gas man, says that people always go for the lowest quote and trying to explain that to them up front means he will nearly always looses the job. It's the same as telling a vendor that you can save them money in the long run by paying a higher fee - they just don't believe you...
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Posted Date: Monday 26th September 2011
Just wait until the Olympics are over. Bong! Bong! Bong! And the News At 10. Bong! We got (fill in your guess) gold medals, blah silver, etc. Bong! House prices in Central London collapse overnight to match the rest of the country. Such & such, head boy of the NAEA said "It was a bubble waiting to burst!" Bong!
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Posted Date: Monday 26th September 2011
Hi Brian Sorry, I was trying to be a bit sarcastic and ironic at the same time - looks like I failed. I am one of those BTL landlord estate agents that everyone thinks is holding valuations high to protect my investment. However, I have owned the portfolio since well before this current bubble started and would dearly love to buy some more, but there is no value in it. Inflation nearly 5% Rental yields only 5% Net return on investment = 0% With the worry that the value of my new investment could drop off a cliff. The cheapest property "Purchase" that I have is a little one bedroom flat in Stoke Newington that was left over from a pub conversion I did in the mid 90's. I couldn't sell it then because the market wasn't good enough. I only wanted £40k for it. It was the profit margin from the deal and "cost" me £9,000 when I bought it off myself. It has to be worth £250k now and I get £1k per month in rent. I was cursing my bad luck at the time, but think how lucky I am now. The interesting thing is the rental yield. I first rented it out for £450pcm or a 13.5% yield. Now it is worth(???) £250k and gets £950pcm or 4.56%. Admittedly you have the relative change in base rates over the time (ignoring current 0.5% which is an anomoly) but even so... The ROI on property in London is very, very poor. And consider, however genteel Hackney is supposed to be getting, it is still Hackney. Either property prices have to come down or rents have to go up. Or a bit of both. But the nature of a bubble is that it keeps going until it goes POP!
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Posted Date: Monday 26th September 2011
I never saw the original AHIPP Hitler Moment, but did a quick search and found this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0aSxGUneA1Y That could be it.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 28th September 2011
There is a huge disconnect between what agents are and what the general public think/ want us to be. We are NOT considered to be professionals. None of us. The general public view us as a (un?)necessary evil. That is why some of the non-agency comments her can be so vitriolic. Sometimes I feel like Jack Nicholson in "A Few Good Men". Me: You want answers? Owner: I want the truth! Me: You can't handle the truth! Son, we live in a world that has walls. And those walls have to be sold by men with mobile phones. Who's gonna do it? You? Your solicitor? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Rightmove and you curse Findaproperty. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that the NAEAs death, while tragic, probably saved sales. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves sales...You don't want the truth. Because deep down, in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me selling property. You need me selling property. We use words like valuation, contract, sole agency... we use these words as the backbone to a life spent defending something. You use 'em as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide it! I'd rather you just said thank you and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up phone and stand a post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you're entitled to! Owner: Did you order the exchange? Me: (quietly) I did the job you sent me to do. Owner: Did you order the exchange? Me: You're goddamn right I did!!
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Posted Date: Monday 3rd October 2011
Is there any way we can get unhelpful Troll remarks removed? I am getting very bored of reading comments from members of the general public who are all desperate to lay the blame on estate agents. The British way of selling property is one of the oldest property markets in the world. It works, but like all things isn't perfect. Property prices are driven by the market, not by people "wishing" for it. At this moment, because of low interest rates, vendors do not HAVE to sell at a loss, unlike the early 90's. There is NO downward pressure on prices. Therefore prices are relatively static. I completely understand why you want prices to come down, but in a great part of the UK they won't. It's not going to happen. So please, PLEASE, stop going on about it. You are perfectly entitled to your beliefs but constantly haranguing us poor estate agents who are suffering because of the lack of volume. If an owner does not want to take "the market price" and do not have to sell then that is entirely their choice. If I want to risk my money marketing a property that might not sell, then that's up to me. I have sold over 60% of all the properties I have taken on so far this year - the same percentage as in 2007. I have only had 1 (yes ONE) downvaluation all year. The only problem I have is a lack of instructions.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 5th October 2011
99 times out of 100 it is a d*ckhead vendor (who is often a buyer as well). I was recently involved in a chain of 6 properties which started with a flat in a posh bit of London for £450k, had a mid-sized house worth £700k, me at £950k, a house at £1.1m and then back down in two steps to £500k. Initially all of the owners were ultra flexible. As we got to exchange the owner of the little flat said "This day and NO other, or I withdraw". I organised holiday cancellations, changed removal van arrivals (on a £950k house let me tell you that's not just one man & his van), etcetera, etcetera. Then, the day before exchange, the same person, in a two bedroom flat turn round and wanted it two days later. "If I don't get my date, the deal is off." There are words to describe people like this. The stress levels were off the chart. The worst thing is that they got their way, which just reinforces such horrendous behaviour. I just wish that someone had told them to just Eff Off. But then I got paid, so I suppose I mustn't grumble.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 5th October 2011
Really? ARLA promotes itself and its fully paid up members... You are surprised? Surely, isn't that what the subscription fees are for? "We are ARLA - better than the rest." If I were a member (I'm not) I would be REALLY ticked off if they spent all of my money saying "ARLA members are no better than anyone else really". Deep breath and move on people.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 5th October 2011
My name is Bond. Basildon Bond. Got to love it. Spooks is a great show and Bushells have managed to get themselves on TV without being interviewed as grubby estate agents. Can I be in the next episode? I could be the out of work drunken bum sitting on a street corner...
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Posted Date: Wednesday 5th October 2011
Oh god, please no. Been here before. Remember the fall out. How many of you repossessed a 14th floor flat in an East London tower block and watched it sold at auction for the small change in somebody's wallet? I did three in 1992. Stop this madness NOW before 2014 is the same.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 5th October 2011
We use PPL who have been doing it for ages too. Move along, nothing to see here.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 5th October 2011
I got turned down.
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Posted Date: Friday 7th October 2011
I haven't worked for Spicy Faart, but have a couple of friends that do or have. I know, shocking! An agent with friends...? Whatever next? But one gets on really well there, the other absolutely hated it. All the things that they are accused of appear to be commonplace as far as they tell me. I don't like them much because they have nicked half of my branch name by calling themselves "Fine" but no doubt the court will sort that out for me in February. All of a sudden Countrywide don't look so bad!
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Posted Date: Friday 7th October 2011
I have to say that I keep an eye out for other agents advertising events/ attempts - just to see what works and give it a go myself. Far cheaper than paying for an advertising agency! I have to say that after reading about it on EAT I didn't notice another thing. Gascoigne Pees have been doing it too I think. Having worked for Sequence years ago and trying the same thing there, I remember one thing more than any other. You don't end up doing any more sales in the course of a year - it rushes a whole load of agreed sales, but it doesn't work out to extra banking. Unless you can blast the competition away, which of course you never do, just tickle their bits for a while
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Posted Date: Monday 10th October 2011
The arrangement fee is a very good way of front loading the interest payments when you are churning. A 2 year fixed rate mortgage is a way of churning business because the suckers that buy into it, have to do it again in 2 years time. Woo hoo - MORE FEES! A 2 year fixed rate deal is not fixed at all. If you look at market trends over the last 50 years it is obvious that there is no protection from 2 years fixed. If rates rise aggressively enough to make a fixed rate worth having above and beyond a variable rate then that trend ALWAYS continues for longer than 2 years. I suppose it protects you a little bit, but not enough to justify these huge fees. We are all being robbed blind by nasty bankers again.
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Posted Date: Monday 10th October 2011
Made me snigger this one did. I think I understand the term "schadenfreude" now. Why any agent could get the price this wrong is beyond me. £1250 per square foot is a MASSIVE price, but if local prices were going up then he might have seen this price by now. But prices started to come down. I have sold a flat quite recently that is about the same size as this (different area though). It got £550k. A smaller house in the same development got £675k. Context is all important.
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Posted Date: Monday 10th October 2011
The cost of moving is NOT the price of buying. Or did I read it wrong. This isn't an article about house prices, but about the cost of selling and buying. There is absolutely nothing wrong with stamp duty. It affects people who have the money to pay it. Complaining about stamp duty is like owning a Rolls Royce and complaining about petrol prices. The average price in the UK is £160 odd thousand if memory serves, which (if you are a first time buyer) costs you nothing in stamp duty. In fact up to £250k works on that and it is only 1% for non-FTBs. It is a very fair tax, the less you have, the less you pay. Those who can afford to pay more, do. If you are LUCKY enough to be able to afford a mortgage to buy a house for £499k then you pay less than the price of a modest family car. BIG DEAL. £15k is a lot of money, but not THAT much. Removing stamp duty will not in any way affect the housing market, because it is not the root cause of our problems. It would be like using a sticking plaster on an axe wound. And tax revenue from property sales would nosedive to zero, rather than being half of normal. Would you like a rise in VAT to cover that, or in your basic rate of income tax? That affects everyone immediately, not house buyers that feel squeezed but can afford it if they want to.
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Posted Date: Monday 10th October 2011
£26.66 per gnome. They probably cost less to buy. Vacant possession is exactly that though. And as a new house owner, why should he have to pay for them to be removed. That said of course, what a complete ass. I have dealt with people like this over 20 years of being an agent. My particular favorite was a vendor that demanded money for his 10 year old ratty carpets. The buyer said no thanks. The owner then said he'd leave them. The buyer said no thanks. On the day of completion the carpets were, of course, still there. The buyer refused to complete until they were gone. It cost the owner over £1500. That'll learn him to be greedy.
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Posted Date: Monday 10th October 2011
@PoTW How many transactions do you need at 20% VAT on the ancillaries to cover the 3-4% stamp duty. Typical south east example 1x 3 bed house @ £300,000 (figures plucked from thin air here). SDLT @ 3% = £9,000 - that's our target. Solicitor's bills (buyer & seller) = 2 grand? so VAT = £400. Removals x 2 = 3 grand so VAT = £600. Surveys x 1 = £500 so VAT = £ 100. Agent fee (1% typical) = £3000 so VAT = £600 So that is a total of £1,700 claimed by HMRC so far. Leaving a total of £7,300 left. Which requires the new owner to spend a further £36,500 on refurbishment for HMRC to get it's money. That's a lot of money for a standard 3 bed basic clean up/ decorate. Your figures only work if each and every house sold is half way to being a decrepit wreck. Every house that I have sold this year has either been in good condition or a complete wreck. The middle ground ones have all been overpriced by foolish vendors and have not sold. It's a bit like the rudeness survey on the BBC website today. Kids and old people are much nicer than everyone thinks. It's the middle aged, middle classes that are the problem. Bit like the housing market really.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 12th October 2011
Yawn! Current completed transaction levels near me appear to be between a quarter and a third of normal. One house at a low or high price can really skew the figures.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 12th October 2011
Aaah, daytime TV. I have learned more about twigs in vases than I ever thought possible. I have seen more people buy crap at auction than I care to mention. My eyes are bleeding... ;-<
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Posted Date: Friday 14th October 2011
The maths is simple and the outcome is inevitable. From the RICS an average branch has 68.9 properties on the market (a couple of days ago). That means that of your £500-£600 subscription (yes I know prices vary but I needed a figure so bear with me). RM earn £8.69 per property per month or just over £26 for a 3 month contract. Imagine if they could do the EPC directly, the conveyancing, the mortgage and the sale. They would then earn a HUGE amount more per vendor. Yes, their cost will go up, but not by that much. But they will put themselves (Countrywide) out of business I hear you say. No, it will evolve. And it is better to be in control of that evolution that have someone force it on you. Think Sony Walkman and Apple iPod. Spicerhaart & Tesco. Rightmove & Sainsburys? It will happen, make no mistake. 10 years from now there will 2-3 agents per high street and 2-3 major online players. Rightmove is the first point of contact for most buyers. Most buyers are also sellers. This is going to be VERY painful for most of us. And yes, RM will deny that they would ever let down their agents but PLCs lie, we all know that.
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Posted Date: Friday 14th October 2011
Love it. Made me smile on a nice sunny Friday morning!
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Posted Date: Friday 14th October 2011
A cracking idea doomed to failure. The psychology of the average vendor / buyer will make this fail. They won't even pay for a good (I stress the word good) agent to do a good (ditto) job for them. The practicalities of the successful sellers paying the fees for all the unsuccessful ones means that any home owner that sells is paying 4 times as much as they should. We have a completely screwed up way of charging because of the "no sale, no fee" basis of agency. Putting a house on the market costs an agent about £250. Doing viewings about the same. Advertising - ditto. If all owners paid a chunk up front that would mean we could charge successful sellers MUCH less. But they don't want it. Likewise they won't want this either.
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Posted Date: Friday 14th October 2011
Already there. Have been for months, but the figures speak for themselves. Alexa rankings (page visits) are: Rightmove - 975th Globally, 28th UK Zoopla - 3,817, 122 Findaproperty - 3,835, 139 Primelocation - 7,078, 277 Globrix - 24,451, 799 TDPG are dropping off the face of the planet. Zoopla has some amazing vendor tools. RM kicks everyone's arse. There isn't one "dodgy" website above RM (a few cr*p ones, but no dodgy ones). More people in the UK visit several specific hardcore porn & gambling sites than Zoopla. And as for FAP & PrimeLo, well...
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Posted Date: Wednesday 30th November 2011
Marketing and PR spin. It had no effect at all on my local market, and will have no affect when it goes. Complete waste of time and money, as is this new bloody initiative. Will probably cost more to administrate than provide money to buyers.
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Posted Date: Friday 2nd December 2011
I have been saying this for a couple of years. TOLD YOU SO! When interest rates rise, people will default on their mortgages and repossessions will increase. That said, I think it unlikely that the base rate will rise for another couple of years given that we are supposedly heading back into recession... But the banks are deliberately hiding it.
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Posted Date: Monday 5th December 2011
See, it's not the agents' fault... Try and talk reality to vendors like these and they promptly instruct the next liar agent through their door. Ask a vendor "Do you want the truth?" and they will of course say yes. When you tell them the truth they promptly use the agent that works out what they want to hear... How I just love my job right now!
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Posted Date: Monday 5th December 2011
This is a nightmare. Vendor asks "Why are there no viewings?" The answer is obvious - "Your price is too high" Buyers now sit at home trawling the internet and NOT calling agents unless they see something they like at a price they feel is reasonable. Back in the day, it was me, a phone, a box of cards and a newspaper advert. Buyers HAD to register to find out what was available, which gave me the chance of SELLING to them. Now, the internet does that, so all I do is book appointments and the only time any skill is involved is in tying up an offer or maybe dealing with a sale once solicitors are involved. The wheeling and dealing that I used to really enjoy, the thing that made the job fun, is slowly disappearing. Soon, Rightmove will be able to take over because there will be no need for us sad old dinosaurs.
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Posted Date: Monday 5th December 2011
Guys, guys You do not need another review site. Do you really want to up your profile with customer reviews. Here is some SEO advice. 1. Google Places - don't know what it is? Type "places" into Google and have a look. Register your business, take ownership and fill in the details - apart from anything else when people use Android Sat Nav on their smartphones it will help. 2. Get Testimonials from clients. 3. Create page on website with the words "testimonial from Mrs Smith, SuchAndSuch Road, AnyTown". The search engines love that and look for it on purpose. 4. Get clients to put testimonials on review section of Google Places. 5. Ditto Facebook 6. Ditto Twitter Downsides - people can say some very nasty things for very little reason. Be prepared to deal with it promptly and make sure that you can turn every negative into a positive. This takes a lot of work and is almost worth hiring a specific member of staff... Yes, I know the cost is difficult to justify at the moment. Maybe outsource. These guys do it for us at the moment: www.xmkt.co.uk.
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Posted Date: Monday 5th December 2011
@Emma The internet is just an updated newspaper advert. BUT... The race for agents to provide better advertising than their competitors means that we put more & more info on it which allows the customer to decide for themselves whether or not to call/ email for a viewing. The problem with this is that if you sit at home and never call me, how can I tell you that because it is Wednesday today, the owner of that flat there will take a huge offer, but won't reduce their asking price. The NUMBER of opportunities for me to use the skills that I have built up over 20 years is reducing rapidly. It is quite sad, because the chances of me being able to actually do a good SALES job for my clients is approaching zero. The rest I can still do well and of course making sure the presentation is 100% is now vital. But it is a shame that all estate agency will quietly reduce down to a telephone answering service/ reception service.
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Posted Date: Monday 5th December 2011
PeeBee, FBA & Trevor The "client" is the one who pays the bill, usually the vendor. Your duty is to the client. BUT, if the client is foolish with their expectations then an agent can reserve the right to refuse those instructions. The problem is that those targets keep forcing us to do things we shouldn't. An old boss of mine was very clever, the only target he set was banking. We knew the average sale value and fall through rate, but in the end the thing that mattered was CASH. No KPIs for telephone calls, mortgage leads, viewings etc. Kept it simple and achieved results. It also meant that I didn't waste hours per week collating figures (which I did at Sequence).
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Posted Date: Monday 5th December 2011
Both Paul and Tim are right, but there is a problem. It is almost impossible to differentiate your services from other agents. RM & FAP make us all look the same. We all do floorplans/ photos/ tours etc. We all do descriptions & room sizes. As one client recently commented at valuation "You're all the same aren't you?" And that's also a huge problem because owners are now using RM & FAP to work out which agent to call for a valuation. What else can we spend money on? The newspaper, Facebook & Twitter campaigns. All while fees are dropping through the floor.
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Posted Date: Monday 5th December 2011
I think reviews are very important because the differential between agents is almost impossible to discern at valuation - all us agents offer the same things. If I want to buy a new TV, I go and look for reviews of that TV. If I am on Amazon, buying a new hard disk drive for my tired old PC, I will ALWAYS look at the reviews. I think that estate agents would gain hugely from reviews, but the damage that one bad review could do is enormous. Consider iSold.com and Tesco's - a very brave union if you ask me. if iSold irritate one of Tesco's customers then that customer will go to Sainsburys (or ALDI or LIDL or whatever) and go round bad-mouthing them to all and sundry. One sale worth £100 to Tescos is not worth losing years and years of weekly shops. So reviews listed publicly are definitely a double edged sword, but remember if you can convert that complaint into a satisfied customer you will often get an evangelical supporter. It depends on how you set it up and whether or not you pay the whole thing lip service (it will come back and bite you on the arse) or really commit to it (where it will pay dividends).
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Posted Date: Monday 5th December 2011
I did miss my main point though in my last post. Why pay extra for a website that no-one will visit. Google - free. Facebook - free. Twitter - free. And loads of people have already bought in to using them. This is a case of someone trying to re-invent the wheel and charge us poor agents for the pleasure.
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Posted Date: Monday 5th December 2011
PeeBee - absolutely agree about income vs expenditure, but my point about targets stands quite well in an organisation that is "in touch" with itself. Forgive the arm waving terminology, but using targets to replace quality leadership is a route to disaster. If a member of staff needs training, then a good manager will know that because (s)he is taking notice of their daily behaviours, not looking at KPIs. I have had several bosses that hide behind KPIs rather than actually just get to know their staff. A poor manager can become an average manager using KPIs, but will never come close to a real, proper manager. I think that most corporate companies and a lot of independent agencies fall into this trap. The best thing about my old boss was that everyone wanted to work there and wanted to do their best. Not because of KPIs or because they were told to, but because he was an amazing boss. Everyone gave 100% all of the time. (Sounds a bit like a bromance...)
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Posted Date: Monday 5th December 2011
Times Up...! You have that wrong. The buyer is important, they always have been and any agent that doesn't realise that will quickly go out of business. The thing to remember is that one person pays the bill (owner) and one doesn't (buyer). Yes the owner "gets the money" from the buyer, but the buyer "gets the property" in return so your point is utterly specious. Estate agency is the oldest recognised business in the UK (prostitution doesn't count because they don't pay tax). The basic concepts of it are very well established.
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Posted Date: Monday 5th December 2011
Darren - I agree, but the main problem I have with it is either they spend a fortune getting the public to know who they are or they take years at it instead. They will not be able to spend the money and I don't have years. I just think better routes to achieve the same thing are available. My other one at the moment is web designers trying to get me to have a website that I can change with news articles and stuff myself.Who is ever going to look at my website for specific content just from me that week. If you are going to do it, use Facebook or Twitter and then embed those into your site. Cheaper, achieves the same result and your customers are already using it for other things. It's like having your own app! A buyer is looking in my area - will they download the Rightmove app, or one from every single agent? Yet every agent in my area either has one or is considering it at huge cost - mental!
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Posted Date: Monday 5th December 2011
Oh Hawkeye, if only The average fee in my town is probably below 1%. I lost an instruction the other day to 0.5% inc VAT on a £250k flat. The problem is that that works out as £1,000 clear on completion - but it was a definite seller. The agent I lost it to is set up to be a volume agent and have over 100 properties on their books. 1 extra instruction for them is no real problem, but the fee is important. But to me it would not have been worth it. It is cheaper for me to just let them have it. Economies of scale it is called. I remember, back in the day, that if you had to ask what my fee was, you couldn't afford me and I just got up and walked out (sort of joking - but only ish). The problem is that I think that an average fee of 1%+VAT at current average values with a NORMAL volume level is probably right, but we have a few issues: 1. Agents going lower than 1% 2. Properties are overpriced by 20-30% 3. Volumes appear to be a third to half normal levels. I am having the same problem in lettings too, having lost lettings instructions to agents who are buying market share at 5% commission rates. Which gives a total of £600+VAT for a whole year's letting which is insane business.
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Posted Date: Monday 5th December 2011
No it doesn't PeeBee, no it doesn't. I am sure that there are other bosses out there that are worth working for, but I have met very few over time. I would love to be that type of boss myself, but have a nasty feeling that I probably don't measure up. The problem is that I have never yet felt the urge to put any of my own money on the line to run my own business. The rewards are there for sure, but so are the pitfalls (like now for instance). Maybe I will wait till this is all over and think about being that inspirational business leader I have always wanted to be.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 7th December 2011
The concept is valid. If there was no Data Protection Act then any random nasty company could walk off with your information and do as they please. £35 would just about cover the admin cost of running it. And you have to remember that us estate agents (especially those big nasty corporates) hold a HUGE amount of very personal data. Pain in the arse? Definitely. Additional cost I don't want? Certainly. Worth it in the end? Probably.
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Posted Date: Friday 9th December 2011
Yay, I'm registered!
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Posted Date: Wednesday 14th December 2011
Pride comes before the fall... Olympics over, the shine will fade from the Greater London market and prices will correct sharply. Central London will do well whilst the exchange rates are as favorable as they are and the UK remains as a general safe haven for foreign investors. I am an agent within the M25 by the way before the flame wars begin...
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Posted Date: Wednesday 14th December 2011
I am an agent outside London, so forgive my off-hand negativity but... FTB (Dan are you still there?) sitting at home (rented or with mum & dad) thinking I would LIKE to buy. Either: 1. Sees news and thinks "No thanks". 2. Sees news, thinks "What the hell - why not" and goes to see parents for help with his/her deposit who say "No thanks". 3. Sees news, thinks "What the hell" and goes to see parents for deposit who say "Why not" and then applies to bank for mortgage who say "No thanks". 4. Sees news, gets deposit, arranges mortgage, has a survey which says "No thanks" 5. Sees news, gets deposit & mortgage, survey OK, vendor of property can't find. Or 6. Actually buys a property. There is no surprise that the "FTB" is elusive. Property prices are static but values are falling. Rents appear to have peaked (25% rise in the last 2 years - the pips are squeaking where I work...) although prices might continue to rise in the Spring. If I was a first time buyer, I would wait... I am a landlord (with no mortgages - so I guess I am lucky - but I did work quite hard to do it) and would truly love prices to return to their long term historic trend value, which would be about 20% off where we are today. I would then be able to buy some more (without taking out stupid LTV mortgages) and rent them out too.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 14th December 2011
Like - derrr! No surprise there then. Stupid, ill conceived government led scheme results in unintended consequences... Who could ever have foreseen that?
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Posted Date: Wednesday 14th December 2011
The VERY best that will happen as far as poor estate agents are concerned is that it'll bumble along pretty much the same as it is now. What should happen is that prices should fall by 20%. But they won't because the government and the banks cannot afford it. So with 5% inflation and 1-2% price falls we will see 25% come of VALUES in the next 4-5 years. BUT, worse still, average salaries are falling, and so have mortgage income multiples, so it will probably take somewhere between 7 and 8 years to finally shake through the system. Happy Days... Continuous negativity is all there is, but I suppose we could all fiddle while Rome burns ;->
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Posted Date: Friday 16th December 2011
No surprise there then. Do I hear "doom, doom" from the HPCers?
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Posted Date: Friday 16th December 2011
I have done most of my Christmas Shopping online again this year. I thought I would pop down my High Street yesterday to get a few bits and pieces and ended up coming back empty handed. No massive crowds putting me off, just rubbish shops selling tat, racing for the bottom, every one of them trying to sell cheap crap for the lowest possible price. The Primark mentality...? (Which might be a bit unfair to Primark - their white work shirts have sustained me through the credit crunch...) There is nothing of any quality there, but then I suppose, for Mr & Mrs Average they would prefer to buy/ give/ receive LOTS of crap stuff rather than one or two nice things. That certainly seems to be the way my kids want it, Quantity over Quality. Such a shame. I suppose it is the same with the way the general public perceives estate agents {-(
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Posted Date: Friday 16th December 2011
Since when has it been called the Christmas Pudding effect? I tend to find that Christmas Pudding makes me feel fat, uncomfortable and windy (or is that the sprouts...?). The "Christmas Slowdown" as I have always know it seemed to start in October this year, with a couple of random, unexpected but very welcome good weeks in late November. Oh well, not to worry, works Christmas do tonight - thick head in the morning
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Posted Date: Friday 16th December 2011
I have to say I love the fanboi flamewars on EAT. If I might stoke the fire a touch... We have a most unusual set of circumstances at the moment. The laws of supply and demand are working perfectly. Prices SHOULD have fallen massively, but they haven't because very few (comparatively speaking of course) properties are being repossessed (which you would expect in a global recession). Back in the 90's prices fell by 25% in my area of North London because interest rates forced people to sell or get repossessed. Interest rates are so low (I pay 3.07% variable rate on my mortgage) that nobody is being forced to sell and banks cannot afford to repossess every one of their slightly late payers. LIBOR is 1.05%, BoE base rate is 0.5% so my mortgage company is making a 1.52% profit out of me every month - a HUGE annual compound profit. The banks want to keep all that profit to pay down their bad debts so are making it very difficult for new borrowers to get a mortgage (low multiples and high deposit requirements). Because no one is being forced to sell and very few can get a "suitable" mortgage the housing market is left with only a few properties to sell and only a few buyers to buy them. Because most vendors then become buyers as well, the effect is even stronger. What this means though is that supply and demand is nearly balanced. Prices therefore do not change (much). Unless something truly horrible happens, this will continue for several more years until the Real Terms Value of property returns to where it should be.
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Posted Date: Friday 16th December 2011
Good point Hants EA. I have been slated several times for pointing out: 1. Prices are falling 2. Prices should fall 3. Property "Values" are way off what they should be. A bit of common sense makes this obvious (to me at least) and for the world to return to normal (ie before 2003 when this property bubble began) real terms values have to fall. This will be a mix of inflation and price falls.
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Posted Date: Monday 19th December 2011
A wise man once wrote: And if there's anybody left in here Who that doesn't want to be out there I predict a riot I predict a riot I predict a riot I predict a riot Then of course The Specials with Ghost Town...
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Posted Date: Monday 19th December 2011
Big RM fan - still think they are cheap, considering what I get from them. Stop whinging about it. Far more important is that house prices are 20-30% too high. The news about enforcing "sensible" lending practices would be hilarious if it wasn't so bloody serious. As I heard on Radio 4 this morning (god I'm old - when did that happen?) "I can't believe that these things weren't being done already..."
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Posted Date: Monday 19th December 2011
Spot on Chas, inflation will sort this out in a few years. Now, the next comment might sound both off topic and a bit weird, but stick with it... It is after all the way the Germans dealt with the cost of the 1st World War. After they lost, the Allies handed them the bill in German Marks. On purpose, the Germans went through a period of hyper-inflation and the bill essentially vanished. Naughty war mongering Germans = Dodgy bankers & stupid politicians? (BTW - I have nothing against Germans as such, it is just a good example of Harsh Economic Realities). Mind you it reminds me of that old football chant.....!
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Posted Date: Monday 19th December 2011
Lucky effing buggers. Mind you, wait until after the Olympics...
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Posted Date: Monday 19th December 2011
To the man with no name Dave is right, although I understand he has an agenda. I am an agent. I have been stating for years that prices are too high. On holiday in Spain in 2007, about to open my very own estate agency I thought "Maybe not..." then the Northern Rock went. A very lucky escape if you ask me. Prices are too high, fueled by irresponsible lending. Unsustainably high - something has to change. That is undisputed by anyone who is not an agent as far as I can tell (and me of course). Prices have remained relatively static and the government appear to be playing instead with the VALUE of money, which has the same effect in the end. But we need wage increases, which for very obvious reasons are unlikely for the next few years.
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Posted Date: Monday 19th December 2011
PoTW - they are the lyrics of a song by the Kaiser Chiefs. I was going to put in the whole song, but thought it overkill.
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Posted Date: Monday 19th December 2011
Hi Tony I was going to give you a long technical lecture on the merits of house prices measured against earnings but ended up thinking "Why bother"... Yes you could pick another number, but that would be randomly picking a number. Yes each are of the country is different so some will be 15% and others 40%. In the end though it is REAL affordability that counts. If in town A the average salary is £25k and you get a new couple wanting to buy a little house then the should be looking to pay £150-£200k. I am in Epsom, so average wages are higher, but not that much higher. A one bed flat will cost you £180-190k. Three bed houses start at £275k for a pretty ropey specimen. 30% off would be about £75k off which would bring it all in line. Just experience and common sense in the end.
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Posted Date: Friday 23rd December 2011
Online Agent, Michael & Worcestershire Agent all make good points. The "problem" is choice. A property owner used to able to choose between Agent A, B, C, D etc - all on the high street and all quite ethical (Back in the day pre 1987 of course). The Late Eighties "Greed is Good" Gordon Gecko mantra rather killed things though. Mortgage lending became de-regulated and rose hugely (compared to the controlled lending before - my aunt and uncle bought their first house with a "council" mortgage...) Not only did the number of agents proliferate, prices shot up and fees came down. Leading to a greed wins attitude for everyone. The logical conclusion of this is a race for the bottom where property owners are so queezed by the size of their overinflated mortage that they look for every cheaper options in other transactions. People do not place ANY value on the services of an average estate agent and in a huge percentage of cases this is thoroughly justified. But then of course you get what you pay for... Pay me 2% and you will get a 2% service with bells & whistles, pay me less than 1% (usual where I work) and you get a modest service based on volume of transactions and crossed fingers. The next stage down the ladder is fixed listing fees and crossed fingers where successful transactions do not subsidise failed ones because they pay too. It is inevitable (blimey - two film quotes in one post - how good's that?)
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Posted Date: Wednesday 18th January 2012
Might I suggest that this game is a little bit more fun: http://www.verydodgy.com/downloads/flash/pingu.html It involves polar bears, penguins and spiked baseball bats. It is not in the slightest bit PC and almost certainly will get you fired if your boss spots you playing. Maybe if we change the penguin to Harry Hill?
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Posted Date: Wednesday 18th January 2012
Can't wait to see that. I understand that Fine & Country already have an interim court order for Spicerhaart to pay their costs for borrowing the name. They might get bigger, but it is pretty sure they won't be using the name "Fine". Happy Days
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Posted Date: Wednesday 18th January 2012
Oh, BTW.... They have one branch that turned in some good numbers as far as I can tell. The rest haemorrhaged money (also as far as I can tell). But since they are biggybacking on existing Haart offices I suppose their "20 offices" is more like "little corners and a couple of window cards of 20 offices" The idea of catering to the upper quartile is sensible, but it takes time and a lot of money.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 18th January 2012
'Tis the way of the world ladies & gents. Commissions forced ever downwards on sales mean that agents looking at their bottom lines will be attracted to additional fees offered for referrals. These will become normal and expected until the current investigation by the OFT into referral fees by solicitors to insurers concludes. This is because every member of the general public is looking for a good deal, unfortunately none of them actually knows what that means when talking about estate agents. They know the cost but not the value. Therefore cheap (crap) wins every time.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 18th January 2012
BTW I have a surveyor friend who explained the whole panel deal to me. Bank or BSoc charges purchaser £600 for survey and take their cut. Panel charge £200 to "manage" it - i.e. send an email or two (seriously not kidding). Surveyor lucky to see £250 inc VAT, less that half of the total, and takes all of the risk, etcetera associated with it. Oh, of course he also has to pay an annual registration fee to be on the panel too and comply with their service level agreement too. I feel very sorry for both proper solicitors (not conveyancers) and surveyors at the moment
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Posted Date: Wednesday 18th January 2012
Now that either gets an "Ooops, sh*t" or a "Nicely done to get me out of the stupid gold handcuffs" depending on the end result. Give us a job???
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Posted Date: Wednesday 25th January 2012
Compared to 2006 where it was 1,669,000. That's 53% of the 2006 figure, so you could say that just under half of the buying public either couldn't or wouldn't... The interesting thing about this stat is that in the South East, London is doing very well, in the North of England there are more forced sales that in the South and where I work it would appear that transaction levels are about a third of normal.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 25th January 2012
@toppol but the tw*t charging 0.5% down the road wins the instruction? @Pig - truly horrible colour scheme I agree, but I bet it is different from their competitors which is what you need in this day and age of homogeneous delivered by Rightmove. @Get Real - out back having fun with Bungle?
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Posted Date: Wednesday 25th January 2012
Sorry everyone, feeling a bit sarcastic this morning
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Posted Date: Wednesday 25th January 2012
The funny thing is that whilst more cheap flats sell faster than expensive houses the require much more chasing because they have leases. The sweet spot for instructions in the South East is probably about £400,000. It's a house, probably a semi, has clean legal title and a queue of people to buy it. Easy money as far as an agent is concerned, which is why, where I work, you are lucky to achieve a fee above 0.75%.
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Posted Date: Friday 27th January 2012
@HD bit like petrol duty. We all complain about the cost at the pump, but for every £1 you pay HMRC get most of it. BP (or equivalent) have to find it, get it out of the ground, transport it, refine it, transport it again and pay for the forecourt, lighting insurance & wages. They make a profit on the 17pence the government leaves them after fuel duty and VAT. On a price of £1.42 per litre for diesel the petrol company will make about 2p profit per litre. That's why they all have expensive shops in them - that's how they actually make a profit - because you'll pay 20% more than you should for a Mars Bar. Bloody Government - let's string 'em up! ;-)
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Posted Date: Friday 27th January 2012
I can just imagine my 16 year old daughter being all over this one. I can just see all of the ROFLs, LOLs and LMFAO right now. What an absolute coup. Consider the Band Wagon thoroughly jumped on. BTW, not the first ;-D
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Posted Date: Friday 27th January 2012
Probably to pay off all of those monstrous PayDay loans being charged at Several Million Percent. STOP BORROWING MONEY You would have thought by now that the penny might have dropped. For God's sake, just stop it. I'll admit that there is little point saving though.
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Posted Date: Monday 30th January 2012
Got to say that my volume is low but I sold one property on my second day back to work and I have just agreed a sale that came from a viewing on my first day back at work. Go figure... (and I am Mr. Glass Half Empty)
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Posted Date: Friday 3rd February 2012
Yay! I'm soooo happy! :-D That's going to make ALL the difference. Wooo Hooo
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Posted Date: Friday 3rd February 2012
1 year = £600 That's the same as I pay RM in a month. No brainer to at least give it a go. BUT Imagine all the LOLs, ROFLs and LMFAOs. Someone said to me the other day when I was ranting about this that it is great for SEO. I thought "Meh, maybe" but there are other ways. It does have a huge potential for abuse and if you are not very careful you can really damage your reputation (if you generate one in the first place of course).
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Posted Date: Friday 3rd February 2012
THE VERY BEST REVIEW SITES ARE: 1. Google Maps - get your business listed on Google Places and ask you (happy) customers to leave you a review - SERIOUSLY - this is MASSIVE - if you want to get to the top of the list on a Google Search........... 2. Facebook - nuff said, but still not sure that my customers are Facebook users, mind you their kids are... 3. Twitter - ditto 4. Testimonials Page - search engines love it Great Company called XMKT - the internet by designed is helping us with ours. www.xmkt.co.uk - their great
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Posted Date: Friday 3rd February 2012
I have a site dedicated to prancing pink ponies (totally joking) and it doubled it's visitors too. Last year I actually had 2 (yes two) whole visitors
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Posted Date: Friday 3rd February 2012
Spell check for god's sake, spell check www.xmkt.co.uk they're great
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Posted Date: Monday 6th February 2012
I think the number 2 comment at 8:31 is just brilliant. Certainly made me smile. Andrews did a great marketing campaign with their open house thingy back in August/ September. This is Spicey Faart doing the same thing. Completely bogus, but they are at least trying. That said I have only ever met 2 employees of said company that I would pee on if they were on fire.
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Posted Date: Monday 6th February 2012
It's actually worse than this. Very few sales last year fell through because of downvaluations as far as I can tell (in my area at least). What I did see was loads of houses coming on at mental prices, then reductions, then sales then withdrawn. Checking the land registry, the properties never sold. I am guessing that this is because at the correct price (ie non-wish price) it sold, but then left the owners with insufficient equity to get a mortgage on the next house. And of course there weren't enough next houses to buy either. One of my competitors works on the basis of high volume and low fees and from what I could see, at least 60-70% of all of the properties his company took on the market failed to complete. That must have cost him a fortune. Even worse though, loads of people must have spent fortunes on surveys and solicitors. Ouch all round
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Posted Date: Monday 6th February 2012
I quit the NAEA after I was given an official warning without them even speaking to me about the circumstances (which were that I accepted the highest offer in a sealed bid situation and once the offer was accepted even though the loser offered more, the owner stuck to their word and went with the winner of the bid). I was sent a letter saying that my behaviour was unbecoming a professional estate agent and that if I did it again I would have my Certificate revoked. I think that I was being honorable and my owner was being honorable which is something missing in this world. Surely that is what a sealed bid situation is about... On that basis I ripped my certificate up and posted it back to them. Happy days. That said, I am VERY surprised at this worry about exams, audited accounts, CPD and other stuff. I think that these things are worth doing and make those 5 letters after your name actually mean something. When I first started I was vetted by my local chapter as to whether or not I knew my stuff and my ethical motivations. It was a quite intense interview. In this day and age, the interview process is insufficient so If you don't do any of those things the value of it all is absolutely ZERO.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 8th February 2012
I would suggest either: 1. 3 x Single Salary 2. 2.5 x Joint Salary 10% minimum deposit. Just call me Prudence!
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Posted Date: Wednesday 8th February 2012
Dooooom! Can I suggest a new meme? We have LOL, ROFL & LMFAO. DL&S = Damned Lies & Statistics...?
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Posted Date: Wednesday 8th February 2012
Isn't this the same that happened to surveyors? Starts with a panel company that stands between bank and surveyor. Ends up with bank using panels exclusively and the surveyor doing the job for tuppence ha-penny. In the end the client ends up with a survey that is legally unenforceable, the panel company ends up with the best profit margin and the bank is able to say "nothing to do with us". I feel very sorry for high street solicitors because their business model is disappearing rapidly.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 8th February 2012
Hi Ray Hugs & Kisses ;-D Actually, I am 100% against regulation, but I was driving home the other night and the questions of US gun laws came on the radio. Bear with me on this. Americans LOVE guns and the right to bear arms is part of their constitution. BUT if guns are illegal and the law is strictly enforced (like here in dear old Blighty) then the chances of me meeting a man with a gun who wants to hurt me are seriously limited. MY GAWD says the American, I demand the right to defend myself... All of a sudden there is no need to have a gun under your pillow. Same applies with mortgages funnily enough. If EVERYONE is restricted in the same way with how much money they are allowed to borrow, then all of a sudden Liar Loans vanish, massive (fake) price surges disappear and we all move ahead smoothly. I put it a bit simply in the first post because I felt like it but imagine the following: Either: 1. A forensic investigation of your finances and a mortgage offer based on your averaged outgoings over the last 24 months (wow - the paperwork). 2. Average of your last 2 years' salary (based on the amount of tax you paid/ P60s) multiplied by a sensible figure - say 3. Both work, we could have them in tandem if you like, but one should come with a high admin cost, the other low. You could also allow some kind of wiggle factor in the multiple (say up to 3.5 times) if the customer has an exemplary credit score. Nice, simple, easy to apply, sensible, practical lending for the masses. For me option2 would be a problem as I am very tax efficient and if I wanted to apply for a mortgage on that basis I would maybe have enough for a couple of garages.... But, I could go down route 2....
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Posted Date: Wednesday 8th February 2012
BTW 3 is an arbitrary figure that I used from personal experience when I bought my first house in 1995. Any sensible figure could be placed her 2, 3, 4... As long as it is sensible for Mr & Mrs Average. And yes of course averages don't work countrywide, but it is certainly a good place to start.
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Posted Date: Monday 13th February 2012
So 54% of all property transactions at this moment are cash only? Surely not. I've been an agent for twenty years and even using the normal figure of 62% I just don't see it. I have worked everywhere from Central London to little rural and that would mean that 1 in every three purchases were pure cash. Surely not, or am I missing something. I would have said no more than 10%... (BTW remortgaging my house to buy another one is definitely NOT a cash purchase).
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Posted Date: Wednesday 15th February 2012
Only have one sale myself where this is important. Agent friend of mine didn't even know anything about it in the first place... I suppose though it depends on the area you work in. Mind you average sale price round here over the last 5 years has been in the region of £325,000...
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Posted Date: Wednesday 15th February 2012
Bairstow Eves or Winkworth. Don't know what the franchise costs are per month for these two, but I think it is clear which brand is better.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 15th February 2012
I LOVE a good flame war on EAT. I am in a good mood as I have just exchanged a house that I agreed the sale on exactly 366 days ago. Yaaaaay! As one Mr. "Neo" Anderson once said "The problem is choice..." Both @Anon and @IO have good points. As far as Mr & Mrs General Public are concerned, all estate agents ARE the same. Why? Because Rightmove & FAP makes us all look the same. Vendors all know that we take photos, write up a crap description, pop it on the interweb & cross our fingers. The difference is the staff who answer the phones when someone calls in. But how do I prove this to a vendor when I am doing a valuation. Worse still, they all agree with you but then still instruct the cheapest agent with the highest price. One local agent here even has a member of staff whose main job is to keep vendors happy with a weekly call which involves getting their price down. It works because he has nearly 200 properties on the market at any one time, many overpriced on purpose to snag the instruction. He is also the agent that will take it on at any fee regardless. That said he is also the number 1 agent in the town by miles and miles - in 2006/ 2007 he put well over £1million in the bank. It works ladies and gents, it WORKS. Mind you I think it is a horrid way to do business.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 15th February 2012
Spicerhaart gets award for paying a whole load of gullible fools next to nothing for training in an industry where there is no recognised licensing. Seems legit to me!
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Posted Date: Friday 17th February 2012
When is a sale not a sale? When it's some new fangled auction thingy? Is this helping anyone? I mean really helping them, as opposed to coating a fiddle in PR gloss.
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Posted Date: Friday 17th February 2012
I agree with eddie - what house buying member of the general public is a serious facebook user? Or possible the opposite question is more important - what facebook user is a serious buyer? And FTB has a major point - facebook requires that you have friends. Estate Agents do not have friends. (makes a sound like Zoidberg) wup wup wup wup wup
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Posted Date: Friday 17th February 2012
I have always thought that complaining about stamp duty is the equivalent of owning a Rolls Royce and complaining about the cost of petrol... Apart from anything else, I do not know of one person who has decided to buy or not based on this temporary stamp duty holiday. I don't think it will make the slightest bit of difference considering that deposit requirements and mortgage application fees are as high as they are.
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Posted Date: Friday 17th February 2012
Well, I have to say that they seem to be getting about a bit. Their site is linked to by 307,000 other websites. Rightmove is mentioned on other websites over 85 million times. That's a mountain to climb. Good luck
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Posted Date: Wednesday 22nd February 2012
Websites are protected from issues of libel as long as the comments made do not belong to them AND they do not edit them in any way. As soon as they edit or delete comments, they are potentially responsible for all comments made on the site and liable for libel charges. Consider EAT here and the fact that some comments do get removed, but only in extreme circumstances. SO... If a bad/ fake review is put up on AllAgents, it is unlikely to get removed without a court order, because their business model cannot afford to take the risk. Big Smile
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Posted Date: Wednesday 7th March 2012
Ooooh, HMRC spend £6.9million chasing £7million. I'm impressed
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Posted Date: Wednesday 14th March 2012
In my town, every sales agent is now a lettings agent. In 2007 there were 3 agents doing lettings properly - now there are closer to 13... You cannot become a "good" lettings agent who has the depth of experience to deal with the trickier side of lettings in such a short time, especially when you are trying to prop up a loss making sales operation. Hiring someone who can put ARLA after their name or joining TPO, NALS or SAFEagent doesn't suddenly make you good. But you pays your fees and cross your fingers. Then everyone is competing and slashing fees because some business is better than no business. Then, all of a sudden, the landlords are rubbing their hands saying "Woo Hoo, we saved money" and then losing money or unprotected because of the ineptitude of the agent. Or the tenant who says "Woo Hoo, no referencing fees, we saved money" and then getting really bad service which leaves them out of pocket or unprotected. I did a valuation the other day and lost it to another agent for 4% let only on the first 6 months only with no second term fees. My average let only fee before 2009 was at least double that for the initial length of the tenancy agreement and we usually signed for at least a year. I believe the wolves are eating the canines out there.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 14th March 2012
Classic Left Hand / Right Hand joined up thinking here. DCLG: "OK guys, EPCs - everyone needs one, jobs for the boys!" Landmark: Inspectors can't afford to pay us to host them because they are getting screwed over" DCLG: "Well you can't charge for them because of Freedom Of Information" Landmark: "Agents get loads of money and need to comply with Data Protection - lets charge them 50p for a two inch square box of nothing!" DCLG: "Now that's thinking" Reminds me of HHGTTG, Deep Thought, Vroomfondel and Majicthise discussing the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything, to which the answer is 42. Q: Why don't we think of things like that? A: Our minds must be too highly trained...
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Posted Date: Wednesday 14th March 2012
I met some poor guy this morning who had bought in 2008 just before the market tanked. He bought with a shared ownership scheme and is now in negative equity on a £250,000 flat when he has a mortgage of just £100k. Shared ownership advisor told him when he bought it that the market could never ever go down! Is that Satan I hear, skating to work? Worse still, his mortgage and shared ownership rent is nearly 20% more than he would be paying to rent an identical flat in the same building because although his mortgage rate is cheap as chips, the Housing Association has put up his rent by over £300 per month, which is considerably more than private rental prices have gone up in the meantime. Poor guy and he is a keyworker, one of those that this type of scheme was set up to help.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 14th March 2012
Yay, how COOOOOL is this. Rightmove give me something for free that helps promote them and makes yet another owner say: "YOU ESTATE AGENTS ARE ALL THE SAME AREN'T YOU!" AAAAAARRRRRGGGGGGHHHHH. What makes one estate agent better than another? The people, surely. What's the one thing a vendor never knows until after they've signed on the dotted line? What your staff are like. I now purposely take Tesco's bags into Sainsburys to carry out my shopping. Not because I am an eco-warrior, but because I am a contrary b*stard who thinks it is funny! Get iPad, buy KeyNote for £8 and make your own. I admit I am computer literate, but it took me just 30 minutes to make a digital version of my normal brochures.
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Posted Date: Friday 16th March 2012
Actually, the success rate on these things is quite low, but it is worth it for the scammers. If they get 1 positive response out of 1000 emails - which is about as good as we get from sending leaflets through doors (...... wow, thinking about it estate agents do just the same thing ......) then they get an opportunity to earn several thousand pounds. A computer sending out automated emails on a "calls included" telephone bill costs less than £100 to set up (that's a 2nd hand OLD computer - but it's good enough for this). Fantastic return on investment. Certainly a better yield than Buy To Let...
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Posted Date: Friday 16th March 2012
That'll work. Top boy from a large company that is engaged in a business that most people think is a gnats wing better than being a banker asks for a tax break to save them. Hmmm.... That'll happen ;-)
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Posted Date: Friday 16th March 2012
I know that there are lies, damned lies and statistics, but has ANYONE actually looked at the HPI index for their region on the Land Registry website? Surrey (where I am) peaked in 2008, dropped massively and recovered to about 4% below peak value. It bumbles along: up a bit, down a bit, up a bit, down a bit. The banks are STILL screwed, there's no change there, and there are huge numbers of people in arrears and/ or negative equity. When the Olympics have been and gone, the shine on the London market is likely to vanish (certainly all the survey reports I have seen in that area have mentioned the "Olympic Effect"). Europe is still screwed too. It goes to show that 60-65% of the UK population are deluded. Keep smiling ;-)
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Posted Date: Friday 16th March 2012
I think that NFoPP have a big problem, really big. The public don't really care about them and TPO is a better place to complain. Agents have found that they have changed from being a support tool for members to a money pit with no benefits AND a place for the public to complain. As an agent, what I would want from my professional body is a support mechanism that gives me advice and upholds standards - not something that issues draconian (and pointless?) bylaws and charges huge sums to keep up with them. PBK may have been the head of the organisation, but I am sure that there are several whole committees that will need to be changed if anything positive is going to happen there.
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Posted Date: Thursday 22nd March 2012
I think this coupled with the end of the Olympics might dull the London property market shine. But it will ripple out to affect the rest of the country. In the North, prices will come down even more. In the South, prices will start to come down. I know that there are a whole load of HPCers that read EAT, but for all your bleating about it being a good thing, I would say we are now too far down the road to suddenly rip the plaster off (mixed metaphors - sorry). If we had gone for immediate devaluation of property that would have been fine, but having struggled for 5 years using high inflation to devalue property, rather than real price falls, this could end up being disastrous. Keep Calm & Carry On - I love that saying.
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Posted Date: Friday 23rd March 2012
I have had 3 cases with HSBC so far this year and each one has had me, the buyers and the owners all pulling our hair out. The only upside in each case was that there was no chain involved. Absolute nightmare EVERY time.
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Posted Date: Friday 23rd March 2012
Let me be the first to wish @agents are crooks! the very best. Most agents are not crooks, some are good, some indifferent and some awful, but there are very few crooks. I have a feeling that you may also have added a few extra zeros into your figures there too.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 28th March 2012
I agree with Ray, but like a lot of "obvious" things the immediate shiny gloss covering hides a huge amount of fine print that most people will happily ignore on purpose. The general public want to be told nice happy things, not reality. Agent overpricing being a regular topic on this website proves this neatly. Free electricity = £50-£100 per month or £600 - £1200 per year. That equates to a max of £30k over 25 years. I wonder what the penalty clauses are to get the panels removed...
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Posted Date: Wednesday 28th March 2012
@Psalm 4 - somehow I doubt that. Mind you, I do hope that Spicy Faart get a thorough kicking in court.
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Posted Date: Friday 30th March 2012
Actually quite a good idea, but hardly new. New for an estate agent, probably, but hardly groundbreaking. But it is something that they can handle with their out of hours call centre. It's a good idea and the next step in closing down high street agency. Which is also a plan of theirs with their central hub offices which are either successful or not depending on who you talk to.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 11th April 2012
I have a feeling this AllAgents thing will probably catch on. Why? Because RM & FAP make us all seem the same. And because their is a (misplaced?) desire for transparency which in the end will mean that the winners are better are covering up bad press. The ONLY type of news is BAD news, people don't want to read about good quality, they just want to avoid bad quality. So if you are a good agent, pricing honestly with sensible fees you will nearly always lose the instruction to the overpricing, undercharging liar agent down the road. Unless they have bad reviews that the public can see, why would you go anywhere else?
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Posted Date: Monday 16th April 2012
@R and @RR what on earth are you talking about? Until quite recently MORTGAGE VALUERS used to call up estate agents and ask for comparables to support (or not) the transaction value. Then you got AVMs (Automated Valuation Models) like Rightmove, Zoopla & Hometrack - so the calls from surveyors dried up. ALL (and I do mean ALL) estate agents go round to a house or flat with the intention of earning a commission and will do everything in their power to get it. Agent 1 - "We sold the house over the road so yours is worth X" Agent 2 - "Agent 1 doesn't know what he's talking about - I'll get you more" Agent 3 - "Those other 2 didn't sell this house round the corner - I did, so I know I'll get you even more." The maths is very simple: ask yourself how long it would take to save up £10,000. Then think why it makes SENSE to overprice your home (at least to start with) and why estate agents just can't help it. EVERY single time I have been honest with an owner about overpricing it has gone to a different agent. Then when it doesn't sell, the owner is just too embarrassed to call you back in. Bloody brilliant. I would suggest we are in for another 5 years of this. Oh, BTW, if you read through all of my old posts you will see that I have been predicting a drop in VALUE from when I joined up. Nothing quite like being spot on - even my figures pan out
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Posted Date: Monday 16th April 2012
@Ray - I wonder if we can persuade Ros to give profiles and posts an "interesting" score. A few websites have it. If it is an interesting post then it becomes bolder. If it is dull or vexatious then it becomes less bold or even hidden (but you can make it visible again by clicking a button).
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Posted Date: Monday 16th April 2012
RR - I was interested in what wardy and AoS had to say so I did have a quick look at your website. There is a saying about glass houses and stones or even sin and stones - I'm sure that I'm not the first to point these out to you. Asking Prices are definitely a problem and estate agents are complicit in their inaccuracy, but not ultimately responsible for them. If owners would just stop being greedy and listen to reality, then any agent that tried to overvalue would be ignored and we could all get to a bit of sanity. As per my previous post though, how long would it take you to save up £10,000? It takes a lot of hard work and scrimping & saving for the average person to put that much cash in the bank. So, it makes SENSE to try. The real problem is that property owners generally prefer the agent that says "No problem, sir, we guarantee we'll get it for you" as opposed to "Well, we could certainly try it for you". Then of course you get a price reduction and possibly a sale. The two main agents in my town generally have 10% of their stock reduced in price EVERY week. The most important part of that last sentence was that they are Agents No. 1 and 2 on the leader board in terms of annual completions. As a business plan it works. I would love to know how many properties on your website get price reductions before they sell. I would love to know what percentage of properties on your website actually sell. BTW, your website isn't fantastic ;-) Mind you, that said, even my microsite seems to have an issue, so I suppose that I should probably keep my own mouth shut!
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Posted Date: Tuesday 17th April 2012
Apparently, if you are clever, you can incorporate your own logo into a QR Code. The contain up to 30% error checking so you can make up to 30% of the "dots" incorrect and it still takes you to the right place. Advice from XMKTinternet http://www.xmkt.co.uk - we are working on it now.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 25th April 2012
That'll work. I'll just get my trowel.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 25th April 2012
I've been the one sorting this out for where I work. We have got a very simple solution, make it small (but big enough to read). Take the address off? Easy - my EPC guy sends me 3 versions: the full EPC as a PDF, the first page (no address) as a PDF, and the first page (no address) as a JPEG. Takes less than 5 minutes to prepare he tells me. Then I upload the JPEG into my computer software which uploads to the portals as one of the photos for the property and it gets automatically added to my printed details. Compliant on RM and FAP, compliant on paper... Very simple, very straightforward, takes me just a few extra clicks and my DEA just a couple of minutes. Why all this fuss for goodness sakes? Is it just another thing to whinge about because there isn't much else to do?
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Posted Date: Wednesday 25th April 2012
Oh BTW, from what I have read... If the details include the complete postal address then so should the EPC. If the details DO NOT include the complete postal address then neither should the EPC. Therefore - no problem... Just keep doing what you are doing already but with one small extra step.
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Posted Date: Friday 4th May 2012
Properly off topic, but what can you do? In the meantime, Happy Star Wars Day! May the Fourth be with you. Slightly more on topic, I can see that transaction levels in Surrey bear this out. Prices have remained steady, transactions are somewhere between 25% and 33% of normal depending on area. London is buoying up the overall transaction figures. There is a fee war going on which is just MENTAL! Oh and every sales agent is now a letting agent. I cry DOOM, but only because this will probably continue for another 5 years... Happy Days
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Posted Date: Friday 4th May 2012
Where, when and how. I'm an estate agent, I do not call reading this stuff in EAT being "issued with clarification". I call it finding it out for myself! I am duly registered with Money Laundering and all of the other legal requirements so that I can open my front door. This whole thing is a complete FARCE. Even Charlie Chaplin couldn't have been this slapstick. Laurel & Hardy could have made a living from it. It's a complete JOKE.
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Posted Date: Friday 4th May 2012
There is one major difference between a JPEG and a PDF. A computer can index a PDF file very easily and quickly. Whilst it is still possible with a JPEG it is far from simple. So, the nasty people who are checking that we are complying with their stupid laws can get a computer to see a PDF file and say "That agent is compliant" whereas if you use a JPEG they will have to read it for themselves. I say that everyone should stop using PDFs straight away because the workload would make the job impossible to cope with. VIVE LA REVOLUTION!
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Posted Date: Friday 4th May 2012
I have worked out a very simple way to extract the first page of an EPC from the original PDF which is good enough quality to use and then turn it in to a JPEG. Save Landmark PDF to your local hard drive. Open PDF file using Adobe Acrobat. In the menu bar click edit and choose "Take a snapshot" Go to the top left of the first page of the EPC, left click and drag the box to bottom right corner and let go. If Acrobat doesn't automatically copy it for you, right click anywhere in the selection box and choose Copy. Open ANY painting program (Paint, Paint.net, GIMP, Photoshop - seriously any image manipulation software) and paste in the image. Save file Edit if you need to remove address. Job done
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Posted Date: Friday 4th May 2012
To Gordon Brown I assume that you are not The Gordon Brown, responsible for getting us in this mess in the first place? If you are I'd have you hung, drawn & quartered. And I'd have your mate Tony sent to the Hague for War Crimes. That said my definition of "normal" is average sales volume averaged between 2000 and 2006. By County, not UK wide. Some years were good, some poor, and sales volume remained remarkably constant...
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Posted Date: Friday 4th May 2012
To Dave Property prices in the UK are categorically NOT going to fall off a cliff. They will remain static for the next 5 -10 years. Which will be the equivalent of a 30% drop in value since March 2008. Caused by inflation. You are welcome to review my previous posts to see that I have been saying this for well over a year. Property values are falling, but slowly and calmly. Prices are static. No cliffs involved at all and a very cogent strategy by the government to deal with the fallout from the idiot "light touch" regulation of your namesake.
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Posted Date: Friday 4th May 2012
Oooh, look at me, who's in a stroppy mood today.
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Posted Date: Friday 4th May 2012
Sorry Dave, I meant Gordon for the namesake.
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Posted Date: Friday 4th May 2012
Death and taxes? The only sure things in life... The big thing missing here is the VALUE of proerty. Prices schmices, they are relatively irrelevant (I quite like that...) The value of the average home has dropped by 9.9% as per article a couple of weeks back. Caused by the effects of inflation.
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Posted Date: Friday 11th May 2012
Only 37%! Where I am DPG Insight shows that over 50% of properties have received a price reduction. Of the properties that have accepted an offer it rises even further. I work in an area of "price rises" caused by desperate silly estate agents using it as a tactic to get people to sign up. VERY depressing. Oh, and I know you read my comments Mr. Competitor (you KNOW who you are) - start behaving yourself! Love & kisses XXX
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Posted Date: Friday 11th May 2012
You know, I hadn't noticed them bowing IN... You can't miss what you never had. Hey ho!
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Posted Date: Friday 11th May 2012
But real world property values will continue to decline. That is of course assuming that Spain doesn't go POP! The news that the Spanish Government just did an RBS to Bancia and still have not got to grips with the consequences and results of their property building boom is VERY bad news for Europe as a whole and like it or not, Britain is part of Europe. I love the idea of optimism, but stupid, unrealistic optimism just makes my blood boil. Don't try and talk the market up, just don't talk it down. Sleeping dogs lie, keep your sharp stick to yourself.
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Posted Date: Monday 14th May 2012
They obviously owned some interesting and under or unused IP (intelectual property) that Zoopla worked out would help give it a boost against Rightmove. The users are important no doubt, but they were probably Zoopla or RM users too. It is possible that the historic data that UMS had is useful for the Zoopla "Values" bit.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 16th May 2012
@Chris Holmes et al This is a STUPID, unthought out part of a generally irrelevant (to the consumer - not to government policy - think carbon emissions targets...) law. In fact, if you think about it, it is actually FORCING estate agents to infringe another law: The Data Protection Act. Which has much stiffer penalties. Which law should I break?
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Posted Date: Wednesday 16th May 2012
@Chris Holmes BTW I am assuming from your attitude that you have never, EVER broken even a tiny law. You have never broken the speed limit. You have never allowed you dog to poo on the pavement. You have never been caught short and taken a pee in a bush. You have never been drunk in a pub. You have never broken an egg at the sharp end. You have never eaten a mince pie on Christmas Day. All of these things are currently illegal under British Law. Careful how you respond, you could end up at Her Majesty's pleasure. I have to say that that was a lot of fun!
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Posted Date: Friday 25th May 2012
I've spent years trying to work out why someone pay £1m for a house should pay a higher percentage. Surely, the idea of a percentage take, rather than a fixed fee means that the scale slides automatically... Ah, I hear you say, they're rich so they can afford to pay more. Which I suppose could be true, but they do already. Might I suggest that we take the idea of the UK average price (adjusted annually) and exempt transactions below that figure entirely. Then everyone buying above that figure pays 2%. No steps, no jumps. Very simple. I would say this is socially just, and a whole lot simpler.
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Posted Date: Friday 25th May 2012
Oh, I do realise that in the South East that means that everyone will pay, but that is the price you pay for living down here.
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Posted Date: Friday 25th May 2012
@IT Wizard That was a rant. Yes there are ways to avoid using cookies, but not ways that will work across all browsers on all types of devices. Cookies have been around so long that the work on all browsers, on everything from Linux to Windows To OS X to Android. It is a simple, honest way to give visitors a reasonable and consistent experience without FORCING them to log in every time - which is the other solution.
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Posted Date: Monday 28th May 2012
I just love you guys! Big kiss from me and stop the ranting. Mwah!
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Posted Date: Wednesday 30th May 2012
In those now immortal words Keep Calm & Carry On Nothing is going to happen, by design. First Post "dave" at the bottom might I suggest you pop another a pill and chill out? The "plan" is to keep house prices static for 10 years. With inflation running as high as it is this DELIVERS a real world reduction in VALUES of about 55%. This is the figure you keep banging on about. In the interim there are other pressures on salaries and the like which means that non of us will notice for the moment. But the effect is real and we are already 4 1/2 years down the road. This is a sensible way of dealing with the situation as far as any government can and for the moment, the UK is definitely a safe haven and LOADS of euro money is heading in our direction. Which is good for us and bad for them. Seems like it will all be ok in the end. Oh, BTW, I'm an estate agent and a BTL investor who has almost no borrowing so whilst I can see the real world value of my portfolio decrease (which is somewhat upsetting) I am in no way troubled by the situation. The only thing that worries me is the "Olympic Effect" because most of my portfolio is in East London. But all that will happen is that the shine will come off, rather than massive drops in value. (I hope!)
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Posted Date: Friday 8th June 2012
This isn't a repossession... This is an M&S repossession! Happy Days. But then again it is just a logical extension of M&S Money and their credit cards. It is also a good way of tapping into a revenue stream with very minimal costs.
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Posted Date: Friday 8th June 2012
Tiptoe - REALLY? What a superb choice of wording, it makes me think of: Tiptoe through the window By the window, that is where I'll be Come tiptoe through the tulips with me Oh, tiptoe from the garden By the garden of the willow tree And tiptoe through the tulips with me Knee deep in flowers we'll stray We'll keep the showers away And if I kiss you in the garden, in the moonlight Will you pardon me? And tiptoe through the tulips with me
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Posted Date: Friday 8th June 2012
This Scottish Devolution issue is MASSIVE. If what's left of the UK was completely FAIR in the split then Scotland would be absolutely screwed. No defence money No NHS money No Road Tax money Etcetera, etcetera. Personally, I think we should say to them "Fine, no problems, but if you don't want to be 100% part of the UK then take 100% of the consequences." I am all for Scotland being more Scottish, a bit like Wales, they can spend extra money on printing everything twice if they like, but this extreme Nationalism will end up hurting us because we are nice and liberal and don't like offending people. Rant over
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Posted Date: Monday 11th June 2012
Agreed, the only way to sort this out is to ride the storm. We need to keep house prices static so there is no negative equity and allow inflation to change values. Also people need to lower their expectations a touch - the baby boomers have stripped the world of its wealth - what was normal before can no longer be guaranteed to every member of society. We need to give everyone time to save more money and allow the banks more time to recapitalise so that they can reduce minimum deposit requirements. Eventually this will all shake itself out of the system, but it has taken 5 years to get here and we are less than a quarter the way through. Pity the children for the sins of their fathers.
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Posted Date: Monday 11th June 2012
In general I find that *most* solicitors are brilliant at conveyancing, in that I would even include a few of the conveyancing farm companies - Premier Property Lawyers are brilliant (so far...). There are a few notable exceptions - Countrywide are horrendous, a few local stick in the muds too you just groan when your vendor says "Oh, I've used them for years..." Usually, if it goes wrong and there are delays and the client agrees that the service is poor, I recommend that they ask for a law society review of the bill. I understand that the process is exhaustive and very definitely not worth going through so most solicitors just cancel the bill completely. Doesn't help with the transaction but it is VERY satisfying to know that some pompous moron of a solicitor gets the treatment they deserve. ;-)
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Posted Date: Wednesday 13th June 2012
I have to say that I agree that Grant Shapps is definitely very free and lose with his stats. He was on Radio 4 this morning comparing the worst quarter of last year to the best quarter of this year touting how clever he was. Eventually he admitted that the reason that the growth figures were as impressive as they were was because an old government scheme ended and a new began which ends up killing new home starts at the end of the last scheme and front loading the new scheme. Ended up looking like a right proper Charlie if you ask me. The "Spin Doctor" mentality of the last Labour government persists I'm afraid.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 13th June 2012
£500 a month in Sutton - I can't believe he didn't let it in under half an hour. He must have been a REAL moron. But I suppose in the end that's a good thing.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 13th June 2012
But also there are regional issues involved here. London has been steaming ahead, the rest of the country lagging behind. Where I am I would suggest that overall transaction levels are no more than 50% of normal, using the Land Registry HPI stats and probably no more than 33% of peak. My god, those were the days!
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Posted Date: Monday 25th June 2012
I'm a NatWest customer and they were very apologetic and as helpful as they could be. Certainly they were considerably more helpful than BT when my internet connection failed for over a month. They kept insisting it wasn't their fault, even though all the equipment was theirs. It was SO bad I ended up installing Virgin Cable Broadband - which even though they had to run a site survey and brand new cables took less than 14 days. Now I have both together as 2 weeks without internet crippled my business. NatWest having IT issues is not a problem as long as they deal with it in the right way, and as far as I can tell they have done as well as could be expected.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 4th July 2012
Careful boys & girls. You get all hot under the collar about how it can't work or won't work, but vendors are already paying up to £150 for an EPC, floorplan and photos with some companies. Then you pay 1-2% on top... The current fee model is flawed. There are very few industries that work successfully on a "no sale, no fee" basis. Just look at classified ads - what happened there? eBay. Look at your high street - that's changing because of internet shopping too. Libraries are disappearing rapidly - because of the internet. Cars & holidays are doing the same. It will happen, because people want to pay as little as possible. The psychology of it is complicated but if you are definitely selling then why spend more than £500 when most vendors think that all estate agents are the same bunch of shysters really (I've heard that several times this year). All you need is a company that does it successfully and once it works well in one area and gains traction then it will spread. I would say that this is exactly the right time to launch this. Good luck guys, but as a favour, could I ask that you steer clear of north Surrey for a bit?
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Posted Date: Wednesday 4th July 2012
Also @Headway, please remember that linked sales maketh profit... Solicitors £200 referral fee Mortgage £200 referral fee Removals £200 referral fee Decorators... Alarm Fitting... And the list goes on. This is THE new business model and IT WORKS...
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Posted Date: Wednesday 4th July 2012
I agree with you all, the business model is mental and the name is utterly ridiculous but... One day (and soon) someone will bring all the strands together and make this work. Be honest with yourselves, for every sale that pays a commission there is one that falls through. For every two sales agreed you need to list 4 properties. For every 4 listings you need to value at least 8 houses. That 1 sale has to pay the bills and everyone's salaries for all of the failed attempts. Which is why property owners KNOW they are overpaying. But that is the price of "no sale, no fee". If someone can bring the individual (fee earning) elements together in a compelling and professional manner and then blast through the public perception of "free if we fail" then they will WIN. Consider: Failure = £0 - No sale No Fee Success = Rip-Off - No sale No Fee With a good solicitor and the right tools for a vendor with a "price it high to start with and bring it down if it doesn't sell" mentality then ANY vendor is capable of doing what any estate agent can do.
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Posted Date: Friday 13th July 2012
I've said it before and I'm more than happy to repeat myself (after all, I do rather like the sound of my own voice...) Rightmove is causing us all a huge problem (along with FAP, PrimeLo, Zoopla, etcetera). Your BRAND is vanishing. I have been told many times this year by vendors and buyers alike that "You agents are all the same aren't you?" Rightmove has sapped all the individuality out of agency AS FAR AS THE GENERAL PUBLIC are concerned. The internet has destroyed customer loyalty: the things that are important to vendors are price, fee and service in that order. All agents know it should be the other way around but the long discussions about overvaluing on this site over the last few months prove that although vendors SAY they want service, asking price and fee are more important in choosing an agent. PropertyLive in it's current state or in it's Beta version is not even close to being a suitable competitor to RM, FAP or Zoopla. Someone's going to need massively deep pockets or a REAL USP that they can make sure that other websites can't copy to even have a chance of thinking of competing. Zoopla is popular because it started the Home Value section (flawed as it is). That's why they're number 2 now and FAP is a poor third place. All of them though are not interested in agents in any way. You must realise that the latest Rightmove Micro Site offer is actually REALLY, REALLY bad for you... Why? Because google will rank your microsite on Rightmove higher than your own real website. Why is that a problem? Because we will all then look even more the same. Happy days!
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Posted Date: Monday 16th July 2012
@ICant - because it works Win the instruction, manage the owners expectations, reduce the price, sale, commission. It is most unscrupulous, but it works... What ya gonna do? The market leader in my area has had a price reduction on at least 50% of his stock - perhaps even as high as 75%. This is "as far as I can tell" and I might have got my figures wrong because it is just a survey of RM updates every morning. The problem is that he is making a profit and I am surviving. But then I have no problems sleeping at night (mind you neither does he in his very expensive house with several nice cars...).
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Posted Date: Monday 16th July 2012
As long as we avoid a price crash (which could happen if the Euro goes POP!) then I think the PWC report is probably fairly accurate. The boom-bust cycle is approximately this long peak to peak - think 1988 - 2007 or 1970 - 1988. There are similar cycles evident back for several hundred years, but the figures are obviously harder to see. So, 2007 - 2024 with 3 years for the next BOOM seems sensible. In fact, one wonders if the writer worked that out first and fitted the facts around that premise.
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Posted Date: Monday 16th July 2012
The Money Week article is hilarious by the way. Only for the way it is written - I'm one of the most vocal (and sensible) doomsayers on the site (taking out the HPCers) and I think the tone of impending mutually assured destruction is quite superb! But whilst I think the language used is thoroughly inflammatory and a few of the assumptions are a bit too speculative, the conclusions are not without at least some merit. The basic idea is quite simply - if the property market goes "pop" it will go "POP!" in a very big way. Values have already reduced by about 10% because of the effects of inflation. Prices will fall if repossessions flood the market like they did in the early 90's. Repossessions will happen if the banks have no choice but to follow through on all of their suspended possession orders and their "forbearance" goes out of the window. It certainly could happen. The questions are: Will it? and When?
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Posted Date: Wednesday 25th July 2012
I love it when people get in to the office before me, it gives me something to read! @PoTW and @rnr - the usual comments I see lads, but as usual, I won't blindly disagree with you. However, as previously mentioned, whilst prices have barely changed, values have dropped by about 10% already compared to the value of a typical basket of groceries. This will continue and eventually property prices will come in line with 4 times salary which is back to sensible lending and we can all get on with our lives again. @blank (put something in at least - it shows you care) for all and everything Stamp Duty is fine, the jumps are a pain in the backside I agree, but what would you do about it to maintain the revenue stream that the government needs to pay off the deficit? Would you have a flat 2% across the board which screws everyone paying less than £250k? Or would you have 0% below national average price and 3% for everyone else? Either way, a large part of the house buying population gets screwed over. And the perception would be that rich people are getting off with it too. BACK TO THE ARTICLE though: STOP MESSING ABOUT WITH MORTGAGES! Leave them alone. The banks cannot afford any more irresponsible lending and they should not be forced to. I have just passed my RICS and I have to say that I had to sit an ethics exam. It is not ETHICAL to follow this path of artificially propped up LTVs and is a recipe for disaster.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 25th July 2012
Well, I suppose they needed something! After all, Fine looks like it is kicking the bucket! AFAIK the court case against them from F&C has gone badly against them and the judge is taking his time writing up his decision because it is so important (biggest passing off case for years apparently). Good luck gents, mind you the PR spin is a bit cheesy!
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Posted Date: Wednesday 25th July 2012
@rnr There's no confusion, it's just going to take a while my friend. NOW = STALLED/ FALLING MARKET = Deposits high, income multiples low, wages static, inflation a bit nasty NEAR FUTURE (1-3 years) = STATIC MARKET = Deposits medium, income multiples low, wages begin rising, inflation still a bit nasty FUTURE (3-5 years) = STATIC/ RISING MARKET = Deposits low, income multiples sensible, wages rising, inflation less nasty, interest rates rising FAR FUTURE (5+ years) = back to the old boom and bust cycle I guess
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Posted Date: Friday 27th July 2012
Actually he makes quite a good point, he really does have a list of clients who all own properties... If the PR bit is done well and he uses their contact details wisely and provides engaging marketing that isn't too "salesy" he stands quite a good chance of getting some business. The very best of luck!
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Posted Date: Friday 27th July 2012
It's good to see the support for a the guy, I've never even spoken to him, let alone met him. Can anyone hear the comedy whirling feet noise from the cartoons as he leaves? (or am I just being a bit cynical...?) The equity stake will be handy though. Good luck for the future.
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Posted Date: Monday 30th July 2012
I had a cracker today... 1 bed garden flat in poor condition, probate, executors having done a very swift and poor quality paint job. Worth £160-165k to a member of the public, not a penny more than £150k to a rental investor (needs £10k minimum spent on it and would rent for about £800pcm). Last flat I sold there took me ages at £156,000. The executor showed me 2 valuation letters at £185-190,000. They didn't believe them thankfully and were happier with my much lower sensible price. This is getting beyond a joke!
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Posted Date: Monday 30th July 2012
@Al, first let me say that I agree with you. Then let me say that if a fully accredited financial advisor advises you that you could split your sensible deposit into 2 and buy 2 flats instead of 1 and in 20 years property prices will be double (here - just look at this graph), why would you do anything other than take them up on it. I am quite a big letting agent and have several landlords who were caught by this. They are not in negative equity as such, prices have stayed firm here, but their mortgage rates are higher and the service charges have gone up. They are often now subsidising their tenants to the tune of £25-50 per week. OUCH! And what with fees and charges and the fact this has been going on for several months, their deposit money has vanished.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 1st August 2012
No great surprise really if you think about it... They are charging a bit more for their basic services and innovating with new services that we are all signing up for and paying them megabucks... Because we are all toughing it out and trying to beat our own local competition. Actually, if they hadn't increased their profits in this way we'd all be a bit surprised. The problem we all have is that they have market dominance in terms of users (I mean buyers/ tenants here) so we have very little choice in the matter. Watch as everyone does their own microsites and blows their own SEO to hell and Rightmove ends up automatically as number one on Google for every area... This is a big problem.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 1st August 2012
@Mr.Rutley - I love you :-) @Michael - my branch got calls weekly from people looking for Fine - I had to document it for the court case. The reason that I kept getting the calls is because my SEO was better and my entries on Google, etc were organised better. But the reverse must have happened too. We are so very pleased that the decision has come down on the side of common sense.
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Posted Date: Friday 24th August 2012
I love French wine, like I love the French language. I have sampled every language, French is my favorite. Fantastic language. Especially to curse with. Nom de dieu de putain de bordel de merde de saloperie de connard d'enculer ta mère. It's like wiping your arse with silk. I love it.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 29th August 2012
Agreed that football, olympics and summer holidays have certainly taken their toll. They always do, every time, but this does feel worse. As far as I can tell mortgage availability has dropped off again and the deposit requirements have stayed firmly beyond the reach of most "normal" people. The term "negative equity" was a description of the early 90's. I wonder what our current situation will be known as... Deposit Deficient? Equity Dysfunction Or will it just be our very own "Lost Decade"?
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Posted Date: Wednesday 29th August 2012
Actually I think it could end in tears. Met a very nice bloke last week. He was very stressed and unhappy. He (and his missus) are both keyworkers and bought a brand new flat back in 2004. They have found that:- 1. The HAssoc charges have skyrocketed. 2. The Mortgage Rates went up and the banks won't help them because they are not straightforward cases. 3. Their service charges have nearly doubled since they moved in. In fact, the could rent a bigger, better flat in the non-HA bit next door for less money than they are currently paying out. The schemes always end up in some poor unsuspecting soul being screwed over - in this case a fireman and his teacher wife. Bit crap really, certainly not deserved, and he's not the first one in the block.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 29th August 2012
Sorry, am I missing something here? Why not just buy the thing at 100% of market value and then just rent it out on the open market. No weird legal issues and your rent will increase with inflation (plus a bit) as well as the capital gain. Locking yourself in for 20 years with no annual return is bonkers and it would be an asset with a much reduced value should you be forced to sell it because of the zero value sub lease.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 29th August 2012
Affordable? Maybe although the maths is suspect because of ratios and price changes. Mind you the advertised APR is wildly different from the AER - I saw one with such high booking and arrangement fees that they were advertising 1.something and it worked out over a 2 year period that it was equivalent to nearly double the advertised rate. THIS SHOULD BE ILLEGAL. Worse though I think is availability. As far as I can tell, the banks only want to lend money to cash buyers...
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Posted Date: Monday 3rd September 2012
I think I can just see the gates of hell from my seat in this rather uncomfortable hand-cart... I think it's T-Mobile that has had the ability to swap out a ringing noise for your favourite song for some time now so it's not "new". Mind you the automated call centre auto-answer "Calls may be recorded for training purposes" thing gets me even more. But I get really irritated by "We are experiencing really high call volumes at the moment and your call is important to us, please hold". They are lying to us, they just won't hire sufficient staff and most people will get bored and ring off. I have to say now that I will often (when I am in a particularly snarky mood) inform the people that I have just phoned that the call will be recorded for training purposes - they get so flustered it really brightens my day!
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Posted Date: Friday 7th September 2012
Well,derrr! Building 40% of any development to hand over to affordable housing takes a lot of the risk element out of building a new development. It's not that you make a huge profit (if any at all) but you know that you have a guaranteed buyer for nearly half of the development. Why would you want to remove that? Ne build companies are keeping their money in their pockets for three reasons: 1) Because no matter how good their track record and how sensible the projections are BANKS will make them jump through hoops and charge massive interest rates. 2) Buyers with 30% deposits are just not out there and everyone else struggles to get a mortgage. If you have a development of 30 units to sell then where are all the buyers going to come from 3) BTL is a complete non-starter unless the developer is prepared to give huge discounts and essentially work for free. The rest of the proposals are of nearly zero value in the real world too. And making it easier for people to stay in their existing properties is also hardly likely to improve the number of transactions. That's obvious isn't it.
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Posted Date: Friday 7th September 2012
Worries me too.
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Posted Date: Friday 7th September 2012
How to be a Housing Market "Game Changer" 1. Increase the BoE base rate to something more useful. 2. Legally enforce max LTV of 80%. 3. Legally enforce max earnings multiple of 3.5. 4. Legally enforce a maximum of 6 months forbearance. It'll be painful and nasty, but the end result would be the "healthy & robust" housing market the are after. And put thousands of families out on the street. As far as I can tell, the current policy the government are following has the greatest benefit for the most people. It's not perfect, but it's the best we are likely to get. Leave it alone, don't change the game.
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Posted Date: Friday 7th September 2012
Oh and BTW "MINIMUM LENDING TARGETS" ??? Who are they trying to kid. Customer: "Can I have a mortgage please?" Bank: " Of course, can you afford it?" Customer: "No, not really, but house prices are very high" Bank: "No you can't" That's not banks behaving badly, that's banks behaving as they should and as we should want them to. Considering the complete mess we are in at the moment because banks behaved as if there was no "moral hazard" why on Earth would we ask the government to FORCE them to behave in a way to screw us up even more. That's just MENTAL. Rant over.
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Posted Date: Friday 7th September 2012
Cracking house. I just wish I had that kind of money. I have a feeling that it will probably be sold by Christmas. I wonder how much profit it will make. It's also a really busy road, not quite a dual carriageway, but certainly busier than side street.
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Posted Date: Friday 7th September 2012
@Tony - I think it depends on where and who you are. Certainly I know housebuilders in the south-east that build 100% affordable housing. I appreciate that building, planing and finance costs are fixed wherever you trade and are dependent almost exclusively on the size of the development. Land costs are higher in some areas than in others which will have a huge effect on the overall costs. But they find the land, option it, get planning, build it and deliver it key ready to the Housing Associations. All 100% of it. They are in business, doing well and paying market rates for the land - otherwise other people would buy the land instead. These companies are not doing it for the laughs or as a charitable enterprise! If they can do it, pay the bills and make a profit then so can others.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 12th September 2012
What did the bubble teacher say to the bubble boy at the bubble school when he found him playing with a drawing pin? You've let me down, you've let the school down, but more importantly you've let yourself down. Post Olympics Bubble Burst. or POBB for short. Doom! Doom! I tells ya!
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Posted Date: Wednesday 12th September 2012
It's worse than that. Everyone is jumping on the local homepage bandwagon for each agent's description of their place in the town. Google search is going to blow your own website onto the third page at this rate because when you type "Estate Agents in AnyTown" everyone who has paid £100 to have their own Rightmove MicroSite will come up on top because it is associated with the 7th busiest website in the UK. Not their own website, but the Rightmove Microsite. Then you really will just become a telephone answering service on behalf of Rightmove. This is going to happen - I have spent the last 18 months banging on about it, so you might all be a bit bored by now, but at least I'm consistent.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 12th September 2012
@Syd - the Home Condition Report and the Home Condition Survey are essentially the same as far as I can tell but with the former done on behalf of a property owner and the latter done on behalf of a purchaser. A minor distinction, but with some important differences in the report at the end. The report is both dumbed down for normal people (Red/ Amber/ Green descriptions for severity) and detailed at the same time. It's actually really sensible and will help a buyer who knows little about the non-surface problems that crop up. With so many different routes to the same result, it is probably sensible to have a few checks and balances in place to oversee it. That said of course, it is just jobs for the boys and extra hoops for everyone to jump through.
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Posted Date: Monday 17th September 2012
It is coming - people are getting very used to the idea of DIY in this country. I can put up my own shelves thank you very much! We are all guilty of it to some degree and Go Compare, Direct Line, eBay, Amazon, ASOS, and all the other online stores that are quietly turning our high streets into Charity Shop havens just proves the point that nearly every business is susceptible to it. Estate Agents are not immune from this and one day someone will come up with a realistic way to cut out the "spivs in suits".
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Posted Date: Wednesday 19th September 2012
I use my own comparables, Hometrack, Zoopla & RIghtmove to help me with my valuations. Hometrack is useful because it includes historical mortgage valuation data as well as sale prices so I can find out remortgage prices. Zoopla for me in Surrey is remarkably accurate. Certainly to about 5% of sale price in 90% of cases. Asking prices in my area are a good 10% or more over-inflated but it is very accurate for actual sales prices. RightmovePLUS is absolutely brilliant for historical searches (and nicking other agents floorplans!) by postcode - you can check 10 years back in a single postcode, great for knowing what work has been done to a house (and working out how inflated the vendors' egos are going to be - best house in the road style!). Using these 4 guides leads me to a conclusion on price. Then I go and talk to the owner and watch as they put it on with a liar agent for far too much money. Hey Ho
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Posted Date: Wednesday 19th September 2012
Shived with a shank? Or shanked with a shiv? The average commission paid to Go Compare I have heard (no proof - sorry) is about £120 while the average transaction value cannot be much more than about £800 (huge guess there). If your average fee is £2500+VAT - imagine giving over £600 per lead to an Agent Comparison website.
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Posted Date: Thursday 20th September 2012
CAVEAT EMPTOR - let the buyer beware. Actually works VERY well as long as you get the right advice before buying. BUT there is a problem. (MOST) Solicitors do a good job on the whole - in 20 years I have only seen a couple of "mistakes" and this usually came to light on properties that had been owned by the same person for 20-30 years so the rules and regulations had changed. The problem is surveys and what they mean. MOST buyers get a mortgage. MOST buyers rely on a survey done for the the benefit of the lender to prove value. Because the buyer pays the building society, who pays a panel, who pays the surveyor - who can a buyer sue if there is a problem? The client/ professional relationship is thoroughly obfuscated. Then you get the standard phrases such as "No evidence of damp was seen, but we recommend that you instruct a professionally qualified damp inspection" or "The central heating installation seems in good order but ..." or "The electrical system seems ..." YOU ARE BUYING A HOUSE THAT IS NOT BRAND NEW - WHAT THE HELL DID YOU EXPECT? The other problem is the way that the valuation section is written - there is no commitment to the price, or the way that the works necessary might affect the value. STRAP ON A PAIR. Is the house worth the money regardless of the work required or not? If it is - great, say so. If it isn't - great, say so in a clear concise manner that makes it obvious to the seller why. Time after time I have agreed a sale for the valuation to come back fine, but with work evident. Because of the idiotic vague language used to couch the price "Towards the upper end of values for the area", "Whilst the price is considered reasonable, you may need to reflect on the work required..." There isn't a company out there when asked to quote that will not recommend at least some work. Anyone who expects different is deluded. So even though the surveyor has said "Nothing is wrong" you end up with quotes of hundreds or thousands of pounds for absolutely nothing. And the Building Regs seem to change every 6-9 months or so which means that what was installed 2 years ago will now not be up to current standard even though it is entirely fit for purpose. I know it isn't an exact science - after all, I am an RICS member, but nearly every sale in 20 years has had this. I think that the bank should do a valuation survey for themselves to decide to lend the money or not. Then I think that a buyer should get their own independent survey. I think that the cross selling of Homebuyers Reports is bad, and whilst it looks as though there is some thrift and economy which seems like a good idea, I think it is a false saving. Like all things, people in the UK are desperate to save a buck today, even at the expense of ten bucks tomorrow.
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Posted Date: Friday 21st September 2012
I wonder how many people actually buy things on Facebook, Twitter, et al. I have been sceptical about social media, but have seen some positive results. My main worry about spending lots of money on it is that, like a lot of things on the internet, what is popular today can be completely gone tomorrow - think MySpace, Bebo, etcetera. Facebook & Twitter both look unassailable, but a couple of stupid decisions and a new, better offering could depose them in an instant. Plus the fact that the users themselves will just as soon block or unfriend you means that it is almost impossible to make serious headway in this arena without a dedicated member of staff to deal with it - if you are going to do it properly. Rightmove finally has a decent rival with a compelling product (at last and thank God) and I hope that these guys do well too.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 26th September 2012
The torrent of leaflets / business cards / Homeowner letters and properly addressed letters that go through the door every time I get instructed on a new property is ludicrous. I reckon that (on average) in the first two weeks of me taking a new house on the market somewhere between 15 and 20 tout letters get sent to it. Each one must cost an absolute minimum of £1 to get through the door. If my competitor has gone to the effort of getting their name & home address (if different), writing a nice letter, putting in a glossy marketing brochure and hand delivering it, then it will certainly have cost £15-£20. But I have been doing this for 20 years and have tried numerous different styles and methods and found touting to be a pointless exercise. Yes you get instructed every now and again, but for every one that earns you a commission you still end up with a couple that don't. Given the hours scouring Rightmove, the driving around, the petrol, the leaflets, the business cards, the follow up letters, envelopes, postage, (wo)man hours etcetera I am convinced that has not been worth it. Not really. I just wonder "what if". You know:- What if I had been in the office instead of driving around? What if I had spent the money on other advertising? What if I had just not bothered? Would my business have suffered? Probably not. Yet we all still do it. It's a bit like newspaper advertising - obviously pointless, but for some reason we just can't help ourselves!
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Posted Date: Friday 28th September 2012
Now I might have this a bit wrong but happy to be corrected... Average UK House Price (BBC 19/09/12 - pick you figure?) is about £230k. If agents charge a sensible fee, let's say 2% like it used to be in the 90's (the last time the market was bad) the average commission would be £4,600 plus VAT. 7 average sales per month, 12 months of the year would be £380,000. That's not a stellar income, but it's enough to make a healthy profit if you keep costs under control. The main problem seems to be that rather than competing on service, agents compete on fee. So 2% becomes 1% becomes a loss making business. I stopped reading the article there, to right the above because the rest of it seems spurious. The points made are: 1. Agree with XFNAEA Angry - but I think licensing and regulation should have been done YEARS ago. 2. Stamp Duty is FINE, leave it alone. The only way to make it fair is to have one set rate across the board and a higher initial threshold, but that would kill the middle market. 3. No - just NO - a minimum 10% deposit is sensible - either kids do it for themselves because parents have told them to or they don't - the choice is theirs. SIMPLE 4. Well Duh! You don't say. 5. No, again leave it alone - there a just 2 criteria that need to be set for everyone's sanity and safety - minimum deposit and maximum income multiple. Back to work
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Posted Date: Friday 28th September 2012
WHAT A LOAD OF ABSOLUTE RUBBISH. Broadband marketing company releases a survey of broadband "Go Comparers" whether or not broadband speed is important. That's the electronic equivalent of asking a patient on the operating table, just as they are about to have major bowel surgery whether or not they would like proper anesthetic or just a couple of aspirin. In 20 years of selling and renting houses, broadband has been an issue certainly (Can we get it? Installed already, or call BT!), but since 98% of the UK is covered (http://maps.ofcom.org.uk/broadband/) and that most people get an advertised speed above 5Mbps what the hell are these idiots talking about.
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Posted Date: Monday 8th October 2012
Actually, this is probably a bigger problem than most of us poor agents realise. Looking at the stats from the back of Rightmove it is obvious that there are thousands of people sitting at home looking at property details. I will admit that loads of these will just be browsing, but the problem is the serious buyers who think "No, I won't call because..." and fill in the reason you like. Way back when it was my and my applicant box, the only way anyone ever bought through an agent was to register. Now Rightmove is so quick and so good at presenting properties to prospective buyers that a lot don't bother. Especially when most think "No rush, the market's a bit rubbish anyway."
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Posted Date: Monday 8th October 2012
ID verification cannot stop this, I nearly did the same thing back in the 90's - very scary. The only reason the guy didn't get away with it (he was the tenant) was because the owner came back from America and came in to the office demanding that I take down the sold board because I hadn't actually sold his house. Then followed an awful lot of "Yes I have's" and "No you haven'ts". After the dust settled, it was actually VERY funny, but really scary at the time. The reason it worked was because the landlord had not told his building society he was letting the property and his mail redirection by Royal Mail ran out (2 year max apparently). The tenant suddenly got a mortgage statement and came up with a plan. He sat a driving test and was then able to go into a bank and set up an account in the original owner's name, but under his control. The police said that there was absolutely no way that I could have prevented this from happening, short of knowing the original owner in the first place. This was actually before the Money Laundering Regs, but I don't think that even doing those I would have been able to work it out.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 10th October 2012
@Wakey Wakey Boys and Girls - I just loved reading that, a very diverting afternoon when I had little else to do. If you drill down through their experience though it actually proves why estate agents are worth paying for. 2 people spent hours/ days/ weeks and delayed for months trying to save £10k. Now, don't get me wrong £10k is a large chunk of cash, BUT for the time, effort and grief they must have gone through to save it, the NET result must have been closer to about £3k. Sounds like it was thoroughly worth every minute of it. Imagine what you could do with 3 months of your life back and considerably less risk of futzing it up... The funny thing is that the owners are web designers, which is (bizarrely) a very similar situation - nearly everyone knows how to use Microsoft Word (for example) and website design is not (much) more complicated, not really. (It is if you want something amazing, but most websites are like pop-up books really).
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Posted Date: Monday 15th October 2012
I've just completed on 3 new build sales, where, right at the last minute on the third exchange, it was discovered that the garden was not part of the original title, but would come under the realms of possessory title as it had been enclosed for well over 30 years. Two completely separate solicitors had allowed exchange and completion on the first 2 houses. Only a finicky stick in the mud solicitor who has been a thorn in my side for years noticed it. Quite rightly too. Buyer number three started throwing expletives round, asking why told him. The honest answer was because we didn't check. After all, why should we? The rear fences for 10 houses on either side are all in a straight line (they also have the same problem it would appear). The land was bought by a developer who got planning consent to build new houses - so his professionals (solicitors, surveyors, architects, etcetera) should have picked it up. I am hoping that it would not be deemed "reasonable" to expect an estate agent to investigate this, but am scared that it might. In the end we got a statutory declaration from the previous land owner to say that the fences were in place before she bought the house in 1972 and got an insurance policy. The third buyer went on to buy it too, which was quite cool!
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Posted Date: Monday 15th October 2012
Sorry, English failure there That should read: why I hadn't told him.
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Posted Date: Monday 15th October 2012
Women suffer from "Man Flu" too, they try and pass it off as being stoic and heroic - but my goodness they moan about it just as much. I think it is a Venus & Mars thing... Please, men or women, just don't breathe on me, I hate having a cold - and I'll let everyone know about it.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 24th October 2012
These arrangement fees are a way of advertising a low APR. I have never paid an arrangement fee in my life for a mortgage - I've never felt the need. When you add the initial "arrangement fee" to the interest charged on a monthly basis for the loan over the fixed rate period, you can see the Annual Equivalent Rate which adds this figure in automatically is sometimes double the advertised APR. The problem is that we are all suckers for a deal! And as sales & marketing people, we are exactly the type of people that come up with these crappy sales ideas to sucker in the poor unsuspecting public. I am very much in favour of "Cuprinol" advertising - it does exactly what it says on the tin. Any deal that needs fine print or small print that cannot be fitted in the body of the advert is NOT a deal!
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Posted Date: Wednesday 24th October 2012
Tick-up I thought that the correct form of this particular little nugget of crappy management speak was "up-tick". Hold on, I think I can feel my inner HULK trying to escape! We're on a 3 way street here We really need to push the envelope on this one It's a finely balanced situation, weighted heavily toward the customer Think big We need to touch base offline What can you bring to the table? Keep me in the loop We need to get on the same page Lets take a blue-sky approach 360-degree feedback Lets park that offline for a moment By close of play Think outside the box Low hanging fruit
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Posted Date: Monday 29th October 2012
If in doubt, say now't. Although even that doesn't help you now because of more recent consumer protection legislation as per EAT story last week. That said 0.4 acres is only just over half of three quarters of an acre. Which is a MASSIVE difference. I have lost an instruction before on the basis that I disagreed with the owner as to how big the garden was. I was polite but firm, the owner was rude and dismissive. To settle the matter I went to measure it with a laser tape measure and turned out to be correct. The owner was so angry at being proved wrong that he instructed another agent. Oh well!
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Posted Date: Wednesday 31st October 2012
@Binky - it would appear that you are right. The world of estate agency is changing way faster than most of us poor stupid stick-in-the-muds are able to cope with. The problem that we face is our no-sale, no fee business model. I actually think proper investigation and full disclosure has always been the job of the estate agent. The solicitor needs to check it all, sure, but surely it is madness to offer on something when you only know a time amount about it. The reason that we don't do proper investigation is (in part) because we can't and/ or won't because we have chased our own fees down and down is entirely our fault. Once again, I would suggest that proper licensing with industry body minimum standards (such as copies of land registry info on file, etc) which then implies a fixed minimum cost would be a good idea. I absolutely LOVED the HIP - it got rid of the time-wasters (both buyers and sellers). And, if you think about it, this is the HIP by another route, except instead of forcing the owner to pay for it in one go, this will force agents into ever greater due diligence under the current "no sale, no fee" business model - which is unsustainable. Which then means the lower cost but upfront charge agents have a more sensible business model that is more likely to survive long term. Weird how things work out, isn't it...
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Posted Date: Wednesday 31st October 2012
(copied from the my other post - just to make sure everyone reads it!!!) The world of estate agency is changing way faster than most of us poor stupid stick-in-the-muds are able to cope with. The problem that we face is our no-sale, no fee business model. I actually think proper investigation and full disclosure has always been the job of the estate agent. The solicitor needs to check it all, sure, but surely it is madness for a buyer to offer on something when they only know a tiny amount about it. The reason that we don't do proper investigation is (in part) because we can't and/ or won't because we have chased our own fees down and down - it is entirely our fault. Once again, I would suggest that proper licensing with industry body minimum standards (such as copies of land registry info on file, etc) which then implies a fixed minimum cost would be a good idea. I absolutely LOVED the HIP - it got rid of the time-wasters (both buyers and sellers). And, if you think about it, this is the HIP by another route, except instead of forcing the owner to pay for it in one go, this will force agents into ever greater due diligence under the current "no sale, no fee" business model - which is unsustainable. Which then means the lower cost but upfront charge agents have a more sensible business model that is more likely to survive long term. Weird how things work out, isn't it...
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Posted Date: Wednesday 31st October 2012
Don't believe it. Prices seem to be dropping. Lots of people out of work. Cost of living has risen/ is still rising sharply. == less spare money to through at your mortgage payments. Not that many repossessions. Loads of people stuck in their homes. I think the banks/ bsocs have spun their figures.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 31st October 2012
I would like to say thanks. I didn't know about this and it is mighty useful.
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Posted Date: Monday 5th November 2012
The concept behind EPCs is sound. Most people would struggle to deny that our climate is changing around us as we watch... Warming I don't know, but changing drastically is absolutely certain. On that basis, knowing the environmental impact of properties is probably a very good idea. Raising the awareness of the general public by FORCING this on us is probably the only way to do it. Cars have it, so do fridges, TVs, dishwashers and so on. It is a good idea. That said, it probably does mean that newspaper advertising could be over soon - YAY!
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Posted Date: Monday 5th November 2012
The point is not that I know each and every one, but that at least it is measured... It's a bit like sales targets, if you know how many sales your company needs to do to make a profit, but don't actually count how many deals your negs put together or even add up the commission cheques when they come in, how on earth do you know if you are being effective? The idea is that over the next couple of decades the public opinion will change and will appear "normal" and people will always ask. There are 2 problems: 1. You haven't been sold the idea of WHY we need it 2. Agents and owners are paying to get it done The reason that (1) has happened is because the climate change denyers are very vocal and the scientists cannot PROVE it 100%. But I think that the weird weather we have had over the last few years is undeniable. The reason for (2) is that the government can't afford it and it would be considered a serious invasion of privacy if they insisted on it. Therefore it gets done when you sell or rent it. Makes a lot of sense really. Stop complaining and just get on with it, knowing that it is not red tape for the sake of it, but that in time you will have done your bit to make sure that your grand kids will not need cosmetic surgery for gills and flippers ;-)
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Posted Date: Friday 9th November 2012
What's that I hear? Is that the pips squeaking? I keep hearing from vendors that "you agents are all the same - after all you are all on rightmove..." Zoopla/ FAP/ PrimeLo are the same too. I have spent a fortune on the add-ons and they made absolutely zero difference to my valuation calls, which is what I was targeting. The "Premium Listing" thing strokes a vendor's ego rather than delivering more viewings. BTW Zoopla seems to be thrashing Rightmove in my inbox.
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Posted Date: Friday 9th November 2012
I have to say that from a shareholder's perspective he has been worth every penny. Rightmove have faultlessly surfed the crest of a wave and actually dominated and lead in their field. I'll admit that I fell for their "increased traffic" sales pitch on their banners and stuff, but I have to say they didn't try very hard. Turned up, said hello, I signed - cancelled now though. All through the fear that A N Other & Co would get there instead.
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Posted Date: Monday 12th November 2012
I'm interested, I'll admit, but then I am also very sceptical. I would love to be able to wave a magic wand and make each property transaction just happen, but... Rightmove/ Zoopla let buyers who are interested see properties they would like to buy. They are already doing that - right now - you can see it in the client report search stats from RM. The only thing that I think could help is that the website would be massively targeted on Financial Services to "sort out" the problems. But we already know that both buyers and sellers absolutely hate being sold a mortgage and/ or FS and rapidly disengage. But, regardless, someone in negative equity BY DEFINITION cannot pay off their mortgage by selling the property - so what magic wand could you wave to make that happen? If they are paying their mortgage each month, the lender just leaves them alone, trapped in their property. They will not offer a reduction out of the goodness of their hearts now will they. I wish you good luck, but just can't see how it will work, but then if you are truly innovating, then the products you offer by definition are things I can't see or have never thought of.
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Posted Date: Monday 12th November 2012
Linda, you wrote the retiring specific example while I was writing my entry. The question in the end would still be why would the vendor want to expose themselves to such a risk given the current state of the economy? Whilst I can see that your example works, it is just an example (on a small scale) of a CDO or Collateralized Debt Obligations. These are the things that got us into the mess we are in at the moment. Whilst I would love to be back to business as usual, the basic simple truth is that we must return equity to the market and drop LTVs and income multiples back to sensible levels. The only way to achieve that given the static nature of property values is to wait until everyone has paid sufficient amounts of money into their mortgage accounts. It is going to be a very long 10 years...
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Posted Date: Monday 12th November 2012
That many? Wow I'm surprised it is that high!
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Posted Date: Monday 12th November 2012
You know, the funny thing about this is that whilst it is a HUGE sum of money, when you split it amongst the protagonists, each one is just getting a large sum of money. Certainly not enough to retire on and disappear. What a bunch of idiots.
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Posted Date: Monday 12th November 2012
They have absolutely no choice but to continue with their forbearance... If the lenders repossessed all the people that the would normally repo this country would be screwed on a scale that would make the early nineties look like a minor blip. I was an agent then too and can remember attending more than 10 repossessions a week in some weeks. It was AWFUL, really horrid, all those poor people who had made a bad decision at the behest of over effusive lenders and then fallen on hard times & high interest rates. One man was so (understandably) upset he confronted me and the bailiff with a (fake) double barreled shot gun - I have never been quite so scared again in my life. Like Dori says in Finding Nemo - "Just keep swimming... Just keep swimming!"
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Posted Date: Wednesday 14th November 2012
Mr In The Know! If you were, as you say, one of the lawyers working for DMGT - shouldn't you be very worried about breaking client confidentiality and be worried about being thrown out of your very learn'd profession? I would be. But then I Am Not A Lawyer. Big Business Does as Big Business Does - usually on behalf of their shareholders!
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Posted Date: Wednesday 14th November 2012
I think that it follows the old proverb... Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely. But both RM & Z are there to make money for their shareholders. That's what their business is there for. They do that by providing a service to you the estate agent, which both companies perform very well if you ask me. There reach and penetration of the buying/ renting general population is staggering and they have spent a fortune to get there. If you don't like it walk away and keep your money in your pocket - but I have no idea how you would compete for your applicants. The one thing that I would suggest that ALL agents do is to steer away from their additional products. As far as I can tell they are all a waste of money. I haven't noticed a single increase in traffic for any of their home page banners, microsites or premium property lisitings. And I have been keeping a very close eye on it.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 21st November 2012
Guys - RELAX! Ros (as editor) is entitled to publish whatever she sees fit. This is an entertaining (i.e. funny) story that has made me laugh. Not quite as good as a Hagar The Horrible or Andy Capp cartoon, but close enough (PS: please feel free to nick that idea Ros - it would be great to have a cartoon strip here). All that aside, I'm sure that Mr Day is not the one to open a national online estate agency solution that the public think is amazing, but someone will. I read an amazing article the other day which was relevant: 1. "It won't happen to us." -- Newspaper publishers (WRONG!) 2. "It won't happen to us." -- Telephone utilities (WRONG!) 3. "It won't happen to us." -- Stockbrokers (WRONG!) 4. "It won't happen to us." -- Record companies (WRONG!) 5. "It won't happen to us." -- Bookstores (WRONG!) 6. "It won't happen to us." -- Travel agencies (WRONG!) 7. "It won't happen to us." -- Big box retailers (WRONG!) What makes you BELIEVE that you are immune, because you aren't.
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Posted Date: Tuesday 27th November 2012
I comment a lot on this subject, it is my pet peeve if you will. I still state unequivocally that it will happen, even though I am a high street estate agent. BUT there is a value in employing an estate agent. In a recent transaction I negotiated both up and down a chain to ensure that my vendor (the one paying the commission) did not bear the full brunt of a price reduction after a survey on the property they were selling. The fault was theirs (they did not have relevant paperwork from the district surveyor for the installation of solar panels) and the buyer was fully justified in asking for a reduction. My hard negotiating and with help from the other agents involved, I managed to agree a spread of £10k across the chain and make sure that all 5 houses are moving. That's 6 families sorted before Christmas, approx £2.3m of property transactions and £35k of commission that just would not have happened without the input of the agents involved. It would NEVER have happened without agents involved because there were some prickly customers who variously said during it all "That's it - I'm pulling out!" The days of the high street agent might not be over, but there is a new game in town.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 28th November 2012
I think this is FABULOUS (imagine Jazz Hands here)... Now that is what I call thinking outside the box! For online agents agents this kind of linked selling is going to be essential. £995 for selling £200 solicitors £100 mortgage £100 removals £100 insurances £ 25 Virgin Media £100 Decorator £100 Utility Warehouse £100 Carpet Fitter £100 Feng-Shui £500 Life Coach + ongoing business Total = MEGA money
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Posted Date: Wednesday 28th November 2012
@Rich - I don't think you go far enough, good sir. Tony Blair is guilty of war crimes and should be serving life (off topic I know). Gordon Brown is guilty of treason and should be hung drawn and quartered for his role in encouraging the credit boom and ensuing crunch. He first stated on 20th May 1997 in front of the CBI: "Stability is necessary for our future economic success. The British economy of the future must be built not on the shifting sands of boom and bust, but on the bedrock of prudent and wise economic management for the long term. It is only these firm foundations that we can raise Britain's underlying economic performance." And repeated that several times over the next few years. He was then willfully negligent in encouraging the City Of London to misbehave with his extra special "Light Touch" regulation. This purposeful lack of attention allowed the city traders & bankers to find ever riskier ways to "make money" until, of course, it all went wrong. He's scum and should should be treated as such.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 28th November 2012
That said, the man is right but is wrong in the way it will happen. Modest price falls (1-3% per year) coupled with inflation (3-5% per year) create an expected drop in VALUE of about 6% per year. Which over 10 or so years means that the VALUE of the property drops by about 50%. ** Compared to salaries in real terms ** We are already 5 years down the road. Salaries are under pressure too, but deposits and income multiples are making the property market stagnate. THIS IS GOOD NEWS as the alternative would be impossible to deal with, so don't shoot me, but it means that us poor estate agents are suffering a bit.
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Posted Date: Friday 30th November 2012
That looks like a cracking deal too. Big lump of concrete, water collection & purification system (+ septic tank), hot water & electric solar panels, an LPG tank + boiler / generator and Robert is your mother's brother! 2 bed detached house for under £35k. Makes you think, doesn't it. Cheap & environmentally friendly...
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Posted Date: Monday 3rd December 2012
He has a point though. Most (but not all) of the agents I know have just cut back on their expenditure and persuaded their staff to work longer and harder. Their income has reduced massively, but so have their costs. Staff all understand that "Life's like that, and that's the way it is" and know that they are probably better off where they are rather than jumping ship. It really depends in the end on debt levels. If the agency has debt, then they will be in trouble. If it is just a cash flow issue, then it is a matter of careful planning and how good you are at robbing Peter to pay Paul.
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Posted Date: Monday 3rd December 2012
Smithers! Release the hounds! Actually, I have found Hometrack to be right on the money. They use data from surveys, mortgages approved, Land Registry and estate agents. It is VERY rare for their automated values to be wrong by more than any of the other methods out there and the data they provide to their members is excellent. Saved me much wasted sales spiel when I can see that a vendor remortgages every 2 years and just gets agents in to polish their egos for them. Funny, my monthly "Fill This In" reminder has just dropped in to my Inbox - talk about coincidence...
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Posted Date: Wednesday 5th December 2012
Not sure I see the problem here. To all those registered agents complaining - sort your freaking lives out and stop whining. Become a full member, it can't hurt, not really, if you are good at your jobs and play fair with your customers... I appreciate that you may have no love for TPOS, but the alternative would be licensing (better in my opinion) and then you would be truly futzed! Yes? Moving on...
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Posted Date: Wednesday 5th December 2012
Sounds like the horrific "Gap Insurance" they now try to mis-sell you when you buy a car. To the sound of The Kaiser Chiefs... Watching the people get lairy Is not very pretty I tell thee Walking through town is quite scary And not very sensible either An agent I know well he got beaten He sold bad insurance to a policeman Mary Portas getting her smug face on A pain in the bottom La-ah-ah, lalala la la la Ah-ah-ah, lalala la la la I predict a riot, I predict a riot I predict a riot, I predict a riot
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Posted Date: Wednesday 5th December 2012
@JohnD - like you wouldn't believe. Personally I think we should say: "Here you go boys - but... No vote at all in the BRITISH Parliament No money at all from Whitehall Pay for your own Police Pay for your own Army Pay for your own Central Bank Pay for your own tax collection Pay for your own NHS" We won't do it of course, but we should. I have no problems at all with Scotland or the Scottish (I've even been there - once!) but their government is on a path to assured self destruction in the name of Independence. And the screaming invective rhetoric that comes out of the Scottish Politicians is so well veiled by the media that it has a strong chance of just sneaking through. Nightmare!
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Posted Date: Wednesday 5th December 2012
How can there be fewer than zero buyers? I haven't seen a "real" buyer in weeks. ;-)
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Posted Date: Friday 14th December 2012
What a complete load of tut! Company directors are ALL listed, even for offshore companies - it maybe harder & more expensive to find out who they are, but you still can. If you are REALLY rich and REALLY use shell companies to obfuscate ownership for privacy reasons you're not going to give a flying f**k about this - pay your tax and live happily ever after. If you are only a bit rich and REALLY need to protect your anonymity then you just need to buy a smaller house... But I guarantee that 99.9% of these properties are owned this way to save paying tax.
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Posted Date: Friday 14th December 2012
Again, another load of rubbish. I have NEVER had a potential buyer whip out their phone on a viewing and turn to their partner and say: "Goodness gracious, darling, my iPhone has no reception - we couldn't possibly buy this house - urrgh!" Ridiculous!
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Posted Date: Monday 17th December 2012
Barn door after horse has bolted? What exactly is the point of getting a price reduction before Christmas exactly? When the number of buyers ACTIVELY looking is at an all time low, a price reduction is a waste of time. A good agent now will be talking to their clients about relaunching in the third week of January with that price reduction - because that is when it will have real impact. Mental vendors, mental agents. Seems to be a case of "Do, before you think"
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Posted Date: Monday 17th December 2012
Really? That would be nice, but then 2% of sweet FA is still sweet FA... I have just done a quick Land Registry Analysis - not statistically resilient - but good enough for EAT (better than some of the stats quoted on the site anyway). Average England & Wales completions per month between Jan 1996 and Dec 2007 was 95,422. Average E&W completions / month Jan 2008 to Oct 2012 is 53,038 Which is a shade below 56% of "normal". When you factor in repossessions and sales forced before repossession, this figure would be considerably lower. Indeed in my area (Surrey) the figures show that transactions are barely 40% of normal. Land Reg Figures show a price rise of 0.2% over the year so far with early rises offset by drops of 0.6% and 0.3% over September and October. When you factor in November & December the year will be a loss for certain. With both supply & demand at rock bottom, London Prices dropping now too and no let up in the poor economic outlook overall, I have a feeling this is perhaps a wish, rather than a probability. (Oh, I forgot to mention the effects of inflation - ouch!)
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Posted Date: Monday 17th December 2012
AoS - perhaps right, but are your offices fully staffed with people waiting to book those viewings and are the vendors ready with a pristine house for the viewings? The main reason that the holiday period is so strong for viewing traffic on websites in general is because people have nothing better to do, rather than being pro-active buyers waiting to pounce. I stand by my previous comments
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Posted Date: Monday 17th December 2012
Wow, conspiracy theory abound! Considering how easy it is to both collect & collate what is called "Big Data" (think Google here for example), I would not be surprised at all if there was a way of recalculating tax based on your amenities, which just required scraping data from Rightmove. However, why bother doing the job again, surely the EPC is enough - surely! And the owners are paying for that themselves... But, the main issue in the end is the Cost Of Implementation. VAT for example is a very cheap tax to collect, because businesses do it for the government - who randomly sample 1 in 100 to check for accuracy. This chance of being caught is enough to keep most businesses honest. Income Tax on the other hand is monstrously expensive to administer. Collecting tax based on a huge number of amenity questions on your home would require a visit to every property in England & Wales which would be monstrously expensive. Assuming an average charge of £150 + VAT per visit (for a professional check) it would cost £4.63 billion. Even at EPC costs it would be £1.5billion. To put that in context - £4.6b is what it costs to run the NHS for 17 days - a HUGE amount of money.
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Posted Date: Monday 17th December 2012
I should add that Democratic Governments in general: i) are too incompetent to spy effectively on their populations ii) do not have enough money to make spying on ALL individuals work iii) generally find simpler ways round the problem so spying is unnecessary I agree that dictatorships do it, and often do it well, using fear as their main tool, but in democracies, fear is generally absent from our daily lives
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Posted Date: Monday 17th December 2012
Hi PeeBee Points taken, but having been an agent for a little while now (about 20 years - memory is fading a bit after all this time!) I have only ever sold one property after 20th December and have run (shame I didn't own) 2 offices that regularly completed on 30-40 sales per month on average (I promise that I'm not bragging). Unless a vendor is desperate to sell, advising them to take a big reduction because you want to do a sale is just wrong. You even say you got a massive reduction when you did it a year ago - which makes my point for me. Agents have a duty to get the best possible price for the owner, not a 20% discount for the buyers. If you wait the 40 days I propose, a smaller price reduction is likely to catch not just more buyers in general but also fresh to the market "Let's buy a house now darling" buyers who made up their minds over Christmas.
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Posted Date: Monday 17th December 2012
PeeBee Please relax a shade. Firstly I stated the stats were not rigorous! Secondly - the "normal" figure was calculated by adding up the transactions for every single month from Jan 1996 to Dec 2007 and taking the average - that should take account of seasonal and annual variability. Thirdly - the post crunch average was calculated the same way, for exactly the same reasons. It is the best that any moderately numeric estate agent could do at short notice (I think). If you actually read through the land registry statistics for 2006 and 2007 there were only about 10% more transactions than the median across the dates mentioned which means that although prices were wild and the number of people making offers was huge, the total number of sales completed was not that much higher, not really. Repo rates in 2006 and 2007 were lower than they are now and I also qualified my statement with mention of pre-repo sales. I think, on balance, that my post was valid and that my stats are pretty sound (in general...). The practical question I would like to ask back to you, is "What is your point?" you have challenged me by attacking my wording ("normal") but not actually SAID anything. From your previous posts on this site, I would expect you to agree with most of what I said, not react violently to one word in my post. Love & kisses XXX
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Posted Date: Wednesday 19th December 2012
Can anyone actually explain the discrepancy? Land Reg figures have to be spot on (if 60-90 days out of date). So how do the ONS "calculate" their figures?
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Posted Date: Wednesday 19th December 2012
Thank goodness for that. I can happily put the old graphs on - I'm prepared to give them space on my brochures. I have been putting the 1st page of the EPC making it steadily smaller and smaller because no one was complaining. Yay!
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Posted Date: Wednesday 19th December 2012
I actually feel really sorry for DEAs - and not just because every time I see it I think about Colombian Drug Lords ;-) It started off looking like a great career, then the volume of transactions tanked, so there were twice as many inspectors as required. Law of supply & demand takes hold. Prices paid down to £25. Which, considering that it costs to have your credentials, insurance, drive to the property, the time taken at the property, drive back, collate data, upload it and then pay the Landmark fee, then send it to the customer means that most are earning considerably under minimum wage. And most of the time they are also self employed. What a horrid position to find yourself in.
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Posted Date: Friday 21st December 2012
Crazy
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Posted Date: Friday 21st December 2012
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to you too xxx
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Posted Date: Friday 4th January 2013
Sounds like he missed his KPIs for 3 months running!
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Posted Date: Monday 7th January 2013
Us agents need to be very aware that the online option will, unless we sort ourselves out pretty sharpish, take over. I have posted on this quite a bit over the last 2 years, always prophesying doom. Colin is absolutely right, but I fear that the general low opinion that most people have of estate agents will mean that the online option will be gaining ground day by day. I think we should all pull together to sort out our own business models.
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Posted Date: Friday 11th January 2013
It looks lovely, BUT it makes the same fundamental mistake that every single estate agent's website makes. Without fail, every single estate agency website I ever see focuses on buyers - it is just bizarre. I agree that your website should have a property search facility, but why would you focus on the person that is not paying your fee? We all pay RM and Zoopla for the pleasure - and we pay them a fortune. Why buy a dog and bark yourself? 9 out of every 10 buyers (or tenants) will use either Rightmove or Zoopla or ANOther property portal - because it means they can see everything in their price range in one go. That is obvious. Surely? In fact, so will most property owners if they are thinking about which agent to call in to see who is best in their area or price range. The whole point of an estate agent's website is to grab a property owner by the shirt collar and say "We are the best - put your property on with us". That should be the focus of any agent's website. Even mine doesn't do that successfully, but then I didn't have a hand in the design. :-(
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Posted Date: Friday 11th January 2013
Well, both of your offers blows my £100 M&S vouchers out the blinking window!
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Posted Date: Friday 11th January 2013
I see AllAgents as a tool to win instructions - if you get some bad reviews and some good reviews but score well overall, I think that most people will look on that as an honest appraisal of your business. So the task at hand is to make sure that you get your branch listed and get in touch with all your happy clients and get them to say nice things. If you are a good agent you will still annoy someone because their own expectations are out of whack, but even then, if you have got the right kind of reviews elsewhere, you will end up looking real, rather than 5 star fake. I use reviews on Amazon to inform my purchases all the time. When I do, I look at the total number of reviews and read several from each level (5*, 4*, 3*, etc). Often the 1* and 2* ones are not even about the product, but often from people who bought the wrong thing (their fault) or it got lost in the post or something. If I find that useful for buying a new wireless router (for example) why wouldn't a property owner choosing an agent? As long as you don't skew the results by removing the bad reviews... You must let people make up their own minds otherwise they will have no faith in the process.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 23rd January 2013
I am actually quite scared by this news. First the CML can't add up at all - this is a trade body for mortgage lenders - no wonder we are completely in the sh*t... :-( Second, my guess that 2012 was going to be a bad year looks to be right, although I hadn't guessed it was going to be a record low. To beat 2009 we would need to complete 160 thousand odd transactions, which would be 3 times the monthly average for the rest of the year. I think that by the end of Feb, when the next month's worth of figures escape from the Land Registry, we will see that 2012 smashed the previous low record by a stunning 17-20%. Wow!
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Posted Date: Wednesday 30th January 2013
Well, that's a total of 646,496 for the year. Massively short of the CML figures of 930,000 (from EAT 23/01/13). From the Land Registry website this morning: Year Transactions 1995 791,899.00 1996 960,844.00 1997 1,087,691.00 1998 1,043,460.00 1999 1,176,988.00 2000 1,086,322.00 2001 1,193,170.00 2002 1,295,538.00 2003 1,185,322.00 2004 1,183,373.00 2005 1,026,402.00 2006 1,278,478.00 2007 1,225,363.00 2008 621,042.00 2009 616,117.00 2010 656,116.00 2011 653,788.00 2012 646,496.00 Which means that 2012 was the 3rd worst year on record, marginally worse than 2010 and 2011. Also means that we are still only selling about 65% of the average and about 50% of those peak days back in 2006.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 30th January 2013
Oooh, sign me up! Actually, the training provided by Countrywide is supposed to be brilliant overall, so I suppose this is good news. It will also attract the right type of employees and make sure that there is a public perception of better training. Quite a smart move I think.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 30th January 2013
Don't use it myself as I thought it was less important than displaying RICS, NAEA, ARLA & ARMA - which I do display. But I am somewhat unimpressed. We seem to be going through an enormous amount of change for the sake of change, rather than any benefit to the public or the industry. I suppose the government needs to prove that it is doing SOMETHING, rather than nothing. Nothing, by the way, is all they actually need to do as far as I can tell - LEAVE IT ALONE (please?)
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Posted Date: Wednesday 30th January 2013
Oh, and BTW, the average inflation rate in the UK for 2012 was 2.61%. Which means that the REAL VALUE of the average property fell by about 0.83% or £1,345. YAY!
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Posted Date: Monday 11th February 2013
I think Zoopla is great - it may be because of the area I work in, but we have no complaints. I do get ticked off with other agents leaving their SOLD or LET properties on forever - I am grateful that RM & Z take them off. It means that us poor, slightly more honest agents have a fighting chance. ;-)
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Posted Date: Saturday 16th February 2013
This is old news and takes only one funding model of a partnership in to account - ie immediate cash payment. In a successful partnership, new partners come in by mortgaging their partnership to the business. So, let's say I want to buy in and the cost is £250,000. Tax rules etcetera favour that I take a loan from the business to the value of £250,000 and then pay that loan off over several years (10 years is normal) out of my bonuses. That becomes a monthly payment of £2,000. But here's the thing, money never changes hands. I am still on the same basic as before I bought in, my commission is still exactly the same, but my share of profits is paying for my partnership. A friend of mine is buying into his accountancy firm this way. This is also done at market value. It just requires that the partnership has enough money in the bank to pay off the partner who is leaving.
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Posted Date: Monday 4th March 2013
I think one of the problems that any major competitor to the big 2 is historic data. Rightmove and Zoopla have reams of data that they can use to provide agent tools, consumer price guides and automated valuations. Everyone else does not. So why would you use a site that doesn't have the info available? Answer - you wouldn't. Perhaps an ideal opportunity for a company such as Hometrack to get on board...
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Posted Date: Wednesday 6th March 2013
Well that shows you how far Hackney has come on, it's where I started back in 1991. You could pick up a 3 bed semi for less than £60 if it didn't have central heating. Blimey!
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Posted Date: Wednesday 17th April 2013
It'' all end in tears, you mark my words.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 17th April 2013
It'll definitely all end in tears...
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Posted Date: Wednesday 17th April 2013
Those figures are dreadful. Tim M is right. I wonder how much effort went in to getting an average of 2 viewings per property. 14 sales out of 550 properties? That's a 2.55% success rate or 84 viewings per sale agreed - if memory serves the national average is less than 20 viewings per sale. But of course it is a great instruction getter!
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Posted Date: Wednesday 17th April 2013
@Cynic - RICS guidelines specify only two standard ways of measuring a residential property the most used is GIA or gross internal area (the other is net internal area which factors out things like the thickness of internal walls). In any case the method should actually be specified. As to where to measure to, the RICS are specific about that too, as is the misdescriptions act - if you measure into an alcove or cupboard you should say so and the GIA or NIA must take this into account. Therefore there should never be a discrepancy in the figures for an overall internal size of a property at all, even though the room measurements themselves could appear to differ by as much as 12 inches in the case of a measurement to the front of a standard late Victorian (1890's) chimney breast (in North London say) as opposed to the alcove either side. Considering how many agents rely on floorplans these days (and so they should) and the fact that owners want "no sale, no fee" it is no surprise that the cheapest option ends up being the provider of choice and produces a sub-par result. What a huge surprise. Now if only we could persuade owners to pay a listing fee...
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Posted Date: Wednesday 17th April 2013
@haha - that said constant bad press in this day and age is VERY dangerous - Foxtons may find one day that their brand is so tarnished by so many little nagging problems that the general public will just want to stay away. However, it probably makes them more money to play it fast and loose, ignore the little bad press and brow beat as many people as they can for as long as they can.
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Posted Date: Friday 19th April 2013
I can already see a price bubble forming. I know the prices in my area "appear" to have increased by 10% since January. And they also seem to be selling. Over a year that would be a 30% increase. A family member is about to buy in East London and the prices are considerably higher than 12 months ago. That said with mortgage criteria the way they are now, the question is what happens when interest rates rise? Lenders are making it hard to borrow more than 70% at current interest rates and income multiples are much more sensible than they were which builds in a huge cushion should the base rate rise. BUT, what happens when it all goes wrong again?
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Posted Date: Friday 19th April 2013
I'm wary of saying that it could never happen again - that's one of the main reasons that bubbles happen in the first place... That said, short of a huge change in the credit worthiness of the UK compared to everywhere else (very unlikely) the flood of money coming in from abroad that is making this bubble is unlikely to stop on its own. We are a safe haven and London housing is considered ultra safe in terms of investment value, even though yields are rubbish. What would you rather? Gamble your euros on a 50/50 chance of losing it all, or put it somewhere where you will almost certainly see a rise of 10-15%. When it does go pop, I think it is going to be very nasty. What happens to us poor normal people when it does? Although banks are involved, it won't be their fault this time, it'll be us greedy estate agents, won't it?
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Posted Date: Monday 29th April 2013
@Paul - I think you miss the point. The reason we signed up was because I found myself writing reviews for products on Amazon (one good, one bad, and another that was good for the product but complained about the service). I know I am a bit "special" (after all I am an estate agent) but there are loads of people out there who will happily vent their spleen or otherwise. This morning I came in to a review from a customer who did not use our services, but has bothered to give us a glowing report nonetheless. People are desperate to have their say and tell others and, overall, are just as likely now to say nice things as bad, entirely dependent on their experiences. To actively go out of your way to avoid this is bonkers
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Posted Date: Monday 29th April 2013
Oh, I forgot to mention that the customer was a tenant, not a landlord, which obviously changes what "not using us" actually means.
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Posted Date: Monday 29th April 2013
If (big word that) you bought your flat in London in 2005 with a nice 20% deposit, the price of it has gone up so much now that you can certainly afford to Let - To - Buy. The only proviso is that you would need to have saved all that extra mortgage payment money whilst interest rates have been low. If you had a base rate tracker you will have been paying pennies per month for a mortgage on a normal 2 bed flat. If you are clever, the hundreds and hundreds of pounds that you were not paying have been going in to your savings account. Now you can remortgage the flat and port across your old mortgage and Robert is your mother's brother. Shame I wasn't that smart :-(
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Posted Date: Monday 13th May 2013
Interest rates will go back up you know. When they do I think that there is going to be a whole world of pain. There are a huge number of people who are being helped by the forbearance of the lenders. When the base rates go back up to something sensible there are going to be a large number of property owners with large mortgages that have managed to pull themselves back from the brink to be shoved hard in the middle of the back over the precipice again. The cost of living has gone up so much and wages have been static for so long that any free spending money that they might have had after rates dropped will now have vanished. I think that there are some very scary times ahead - unless of course someone can explain to me how it could be avoided.
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Posted Date: Monday 13th May 2013
We get lots of boards disappearing overnight in our area - I always thought it was other estate agents being naughty... Perhaps not! But then again, you know who you are!
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Posted Date: Wednesday 15th May 2013
Each survey currently being booked for mortgage purposes seems to have a 7-10 delay between booking date and survey date. Looks like they must be busy. We have had 3 properties that have gone above asking price in the last 4 weeks. What I would really like is that I had more properties - which is the same for all the agents I know - the market is starved of new instructions.
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Posted Date: Friday 17th May 2013
They got there a*ses handed to them on a plate in court. The presentation on their new website doesn't even come close to the way the old one looked. I would like to feel sorry for them, but I don't ;-) They seem to have got what was coming to them.
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Posted Date: Friday 17th May 2013
@Jonnie - it's not just C&W, they are all at it. If you go by asking prices, we have gone up by 13-14% in my area - it's mental. Just sold & completed on a house in 6 weeks at about 5% above asking (which I thought was probably 10% OTT as well). Survey came back with a bit of damp and the owner got all annoyed. Greed does horrible things to people :-(. Really could do with a bit more stock.
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Posted Date: Friday 21st June 2013
I haven't had a chance to say this in ages... Doom, doooom, we're all doomed! You can look back through my profile for the number of times I said it before. For the average man (or woman) owning the average property the current estate agent model is the equivalent of gouging. For every sale that goes through and pays a commission, we usually agree 2. For every 2 sales agreed we probably need 4 on the market. For every 4 instructions we need to do at least 8 valuations (and that's if you are an absolutely sh*t hot valuer). So that one poor sucker who pays a commission is also paying for all that failure. No sale, no fee is an absolutely STUPID way to run a business - and it is a stupid way for a customer to want to pay for our services. eMoov and the others really do have the right idea. Because Mr/s Average's hourly salary is less than they would be paying an agent for the same job. And because the online tools being developed are becoming as accurate as any lying b*stard valuer desperate to sign up his next instruction. Plus any muppet can wield a camera and write a room description. The writing is on the wall, you just haven't learned to read yet
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Posted Date: Monday 24th June 2013
Hardly the first, but still I think the comment about Rightmove or Zoopla doing it should scare us all. Both Rightmove and Zoopla are well respected by the general public and ALWAYS deliver to them exactly what they are looking for in terms of user experience (very important) if not a property in their price bracket (less important). Since 50% of all buyers are also sellers and 90 something percent of all property moves start on the internet, usually at either RM or Z. On that basis if either or both switched their business model most high street agents would go out of business very quickly. It is the logical conclusion of where the internet is leading us. Doom, doooom, we're all doomed!
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Posted Date: Friday 28th June 2013
Ouch, what a tremendous backfire! CP: I know guys, let's get the ASA to state that their service is rubbish, we could go to town on that, yee-hah! Three months later... CP: B*gger! Without a doubt, especially considering the government's changes to the rules and regulations about online agencies, the playing field has now been made level, rather than tilted in favour of crusty old agents in their crusty old offices. Stop thinking that it's never going to happen and that you are protected because you are special. The business model of "no sale, no fee" is dying, lying twitching in a corner. The problem is not the internet, it is rather that the general public do not like being ripped off - and rightly so. Why should I pay thousands for a job that honestly costs hundreds - the reason is all those failed "no sale" properties need to be subsidised. The problem is of course inertia, the majority of people expect it, but are slowly waking up to the idea. Five years will probably be long enough.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 3rd July 2013
I think I'm bored of the word passionate - it has lost all meaning because everyone uses it all the time about random b*llocks. How about fervent, ardent, zealous, avid, obsessive, fanatical, compulsive, fixated, infatuated, besotted, smitten. (look who swallowed a thesaurus this morning) You are not "passionate the challenge of making housing affordable" - because making a website that lists property with an affordability rating does no such thing. What it does do is allow you to make money - I can believe that you might be passionate, fervent, ardent & zealous about that... There are several (very hard) ways to make housing cheaper, but a website isn't one of them. /rant over
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Posted Date: Wednesday 3rd July 2013
@tom - but the PR team at Agency Express have this nailed down. Countrywide Signs don't seem to be bothered about improving their exposure to potential clients, like perhaps "Estate Agents" and they seem to be in no hurry to do it "Today". We get a monthly PR release from Agency Express via EAT and I say good for them. I use Agency Express for my signs and am very pleased with the service overall.
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Posted Date: Friday 5th July 2013
Actually would you believe that Amazon are guilty of this too...? I told AllAgents about it when I joined a few months back. OK, this is where it gets complicated and deeply mathematical (seriously - I'm not kidding). The problem is easy (ish to state) but quite hard to sort out. Essentially one 5 star review is nowhere close to ten 4 star reviews - I know which I would go for. But it is more complicated than that, because 5 bad reviews and 5 glowing reviews gives an average of 2.5 and that should come out on top of a single 3 star review in a league table, but it doesn't. But a computer can't work it out for itself without some more intelligent programming. If anyone is interested in higher maths & computer programming you can look here: http://www.evanmiller.org/how-not-to-sort-by-average-rating.html It's called the lower bound of Wilson score confidence interval for a Bernoulli parameter. I knew that my Maths A-Level would come in handy one day!
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Posted Date: Monday 8th July 2013
Hmmm.... Can't see this working actually. Shame
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Posted Date: Wednesday 10th July 2013
Deep breath ladies & germs... @truth & @kevin have a bit of a point, but the wording is poor. All human beings have their own best interests at heart - it is a fundamental fact of human nature. That generally translates to selfish, egotistical and narcissistic behaviour - not for the odd one or two, but for the majority. In rare cases you come across nice selfless people on a daily basis and the world ticks by. The problem is that property transactions combine several elements that together bring out the worst in people. The problem is (as with all things) it is hard to remember all the easy, simple, pleasant (even bland) experiences, whereas it is all to easy to remember the things that are horrid, unpleasant and difficult. So, someone who does not think properly before they type could come up with the figures 90% and 100%. The truth, by definition, is that 50% of people, owners, buyers, landlords, tenants, solicitors and what have you are nicer than average. And the other 50% are nastier. You will remember to worst of them and completely forget the rest. Therefore in difficult situations (like property sales) agents (who have to deal with people at their worst) tend to remember the really nasty horrible people. Certainly, I have been an agent for 21 years now and I am still surprised at how thoroughly petty people can be for no reason other than "Because"... On my darker days even I, the perpetual optimist, have been know to say "GOD I HATE PEOPLE"
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Posted Date: Wednesday 10th July 2013
@scott & @quagmire You should ask an A&E nurse what they think of people on a Friday & Saturday night Or a fireman called to a flat where the smoke detector has had its battery removed to stop it going off when the tenants burn their toast Or an IT consultant (have you turned it off & back on again), teacher, social worker, etc, etc... In general, most people in most professions will have a similar view of the slightly less than intelligent members of the general public that they have to deal with. That, also, is human nature./
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Posted Date: Wednesday 10th July 2013
So, it's a bit like the Zoopla Current Values page then. That lists what sold when and if it was advertised through Zoopla you can see the old details. I think Rightmove has a version of it too. The USP of this site then is that it does this on its front page, rather than further in. Good luck, but I'm not convinced that I should pay extra for it...
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Posted Date: Wednesday 10th July 2013
Well that backfired then. Auctions tend to get the best possible value, are open and transparent. I wonder exactly how much money was lost because of the private tender process - 20% at least I bet. So those poor people who were repossessed are now carrying around even bigger debts because of this illegal action. Such a shame.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 10th July 2013
Years back, my wife used to work in the office where the badges were issued and policed. The penalties for misuse are almost draconian and the powers for enforcement even more so. I am surprised that he got off so lightly. I am also surprised that he was stupid enough to say he only earns £48 a week - if I was working for HMRC I would be all over that company like a rash... Stupid, stupid man.
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Posted Date: Friday 12th July 2013
The cause is obvious. Panel Firms. The cost of a homebuyers report has barely changed in the last 20 years - which means that in real terms, the price has gone down. At the same time there is always one if not two panel firms between the lender and the surveyor - each one taking their cut out of it and essentially doing nothing at all. A surveyor friend of mine says that the cash he gets paid for each job now is the same as in the 1980's. To put that into context, a litre of petrol cost less than 35p!
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Posted Date: Monday 5th August 2013
And of course, the quality of photos taken on an iPhone are way superior to a proper camera. Has an iPhone got a built in floorplan measuring tool as well?
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Posted Date: Wednesday 7th August 2013
I just don't get why there are thresholds at all. A percentage tax always increases in line with the value of the item being taxed - therefore more expensive properties automatically pay higher taxes anyway. Stamp duty should be simple. Take the average wage. Calculate a sensible value based on a couple both earning that average wage taking a sensible mortgage with a sensible deposit. Index link it to the market. Anyone buying under that price pays NO SDLT. Anyone buying above it pays 2%. That means that Mr & Mrs Average buying an average property at an average price will not pay stamp duty. Unless of course they want to. Then everyone else (without exception) pays 2% - which is fair. I do not get why you should pay 5% or more because you buy a more expensive house. If the income tax system was dealt with correctly (which looks as though may be happening now) then surely you are taxing someone twice for the same thing. PS - I am Mr Average and own a normal 3 bed semi, not a mansion, but I do aspire!
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Posted Date: Wednesday 7th August 2013
What odd comments below. @MBN3 - really? with booking fees as high as they are (£5,500 for a decent rate out of Abbey - WTF?!!!) @RC - surveyors have ALWAYS phoned agents for comparables - I have spent 20 odd years providing them - always happily and honestly - this is NOT a problem and should be encouraged. The problem is dodgy agents lying to try and blow a sale and pick up the pieces afterwards. I am training to be a surveyor (after 20 years in the business) and my mentor was telling me how poor the situation has become. In pound notes, the average fee earned by the surveyor is the same as back in the mid 80's. With the effects of inflation and the additional costs of insurance, etc (much, much higher now) this makes the job of just doing Homebuyer & Valuation Surveys almost not worth the effort. The main cause of this is intermediary panel firms - sometimes there can be two companies between the surveyor and the building society. Worse still, the surveyor has to pay an annual subscription charge. Each one needs to get paid - that's why they are there - and it's not worth them doing it for less than £100. So, the building society charges the customer £600 and takes their admin fee cut, the panel companies take their admin fee cut and the surveyor has to pay out for all the insurance, petrol, his CPD (now there's another potential rip-off...?), etc. He or she will be lucky to see £150 profit out of it. Surveyors are professionally qualified - it takes nearly as long as becoming a doctor! They shouldn't earn an average wage (£26,500 - BBC website Nov 2012), but should earn a decent wage, let's say £50k a year. To earn that (after costs of course) they would need to be doing an absolute minimum of 7 homebuyers surveys a week. It is difficult to find out the number of resi surveyors out there but a recent RICS estimate puts it at 9,000. This requires 3 million surveys/ transactions per year. There were 932,000 completions in the UK in 2012. There were an average of 30,000 remortgages a month in 2012. The total of just under 1.3m surveys is way short of the mark. Even if you take into account aborted sales & remortgages it is still far too few. If you think that you as agents have had it rough, spare a thought for all those poor surveyors who trained hard for years for a job promised great prospects and has fallen apart around their ears.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 7th August 2013
Never met him, don't know the guy. But he must be one very smooth talking, charismatic guy who talks a good game. I assume that that is how he got the job. I assume that his other interests might have got in the way a bit. I also assume that he kept telling the guys at Movehut that they were doing this wrong and that wrong. I assume the guys at Movehut didn't like it very much. BTW - Movehut is not a good name. Rightmove - spot on! Rolling Stones - brilliant! Zoopla - who would have guessed...? Movehut - sounds like a decision made by committee "Which is the least bad?"
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Posted Date: Monday 12th August 2013
There's a great picture of me on Facebook (if you know where to look...) fast asleep in the living room of a house that me an a colleague were taking on. He was there to take photos, floorplans and virtual tours. This was our third take on in a row, the previous two meeting vendors, this one with keys. I was there to do paperwork, ID, etc and as the designated driver. I got bored and this was in the days before Angry Birds... ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
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Posted Date: Wednesday 14th August 2013
We've had trouble waiting for surveys... "Well, I'm not getting mine sorted until my buyers have booked theirs - after all everyone knows that their mortgage isn't agreed until it's booked and I don't want to pay my £1500 booking fee until I am sure that I have a buyer." Cut to me smashing my forehead repeatedly against a brick wall.
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Posted Date: Monday 19th August 2013
@S A L - immoral? No it is not immoral, the queue of potential buyers means that an agent has no choice, after all the actual job of an agent is to sell a property for the best price possible - it would be illegal for us to do otherwise. However, whether or not it is RIGHT is a different matter altogether. If I was thinking of buying right now I certainly would not be stretching myself - it seems to be a crazy idea. What happens when the base rate returns to normal? There is a definite bubble building in London. Outside the M25 it's not so bad, but again when the London market corrects itself, as it surely must, that will create a downward pressure on properties in the rest of the country - it always does.
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Posted Date: Monday 19th August 2013
@LW, @DB, @RE Are you sure...? Costs of moving for an average(?) house: Average house price: £238,976 (BBC website) Agents' fees (1.8% national average fee - apparently): £4,301.56 Solicitors fees: £600 Mortgage fees: £500 Survey fees: £500 Removals: £600 Do you include decorating, carpets and new things? I would say no, because people are just as likely to redecorate their current homes, but why not included it just because. Decorations and other stuff: £5,000. Grand total £11,501 VAT on this grand total is £2,300 Which is less than the stamp duty that is charged. When you get above £250,000 and to 3% SDLT the VAT, etc doesn't even come close. You would need to triple the number of transactions to even get close to replacing the Stamp Duty take. I guarantee that this isn't even nearly possible because of the lack of mortgages. Just because you think it's a good idea, doesn't make it work
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Posted Date: Wednesday 21st August 2013
Whoops! One of the problems of running a website that stores user data!
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Posted Date: Monday 30th September 2013
Oh god.... (long drawn out painful sigh) Toby - your right, but it is actually to stop them making losses. Yes - STILL! The government are tightroping across the finest of fine lines between economic collapse and successfully getting through the credit crunch (yes - still). It will take at least 5 years to make the smallest of small differences to the planning system. Developers will only build if they can see demand. This will create a mad rush. Which will lead to a bubble. Which will go on to support our massively overpriced property values. Oh god....
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Posted Date: Monday 7th October 2013
After reading several (but not all - life's too short) of the comments here it occurred to me to ask some questions. What is the job of an estate agent? Are we being legislated out of existence by the back door? But then it occurred to me that in this day and age of information overload, all you really need to do is provide people with 30 page brochures, essentially filled with local nonsense info that basically covers all bases. You include each topic area with suitable disclaimers. You don't print them out, you just send links from your website. It's also on RM, Zoop, AM (when it launches), etc. You make it as relevant as possible and you add in the details you can confirm. Maybe even get the owner to fill in a Property Information Form that gives you extra info to include. Most buyers/ tenants won't read past the second page and will certainly stop looking after the 2nd page of no photos. That covers you for disclosure issues,
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Posted Date: Monday 7th October 2013
BTW I'm not suggesting that you should misbehave in any way, for me this is about covering all my bases. Include a general area info section that is repeated for all properties in such and such a postcode. Include a transport section likewise. Ditto schools. Mention road names, etc. Local history, etc. You do not tailor it for each property as this would be unfeasible, but you could do it per postcode.
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Posted Date: Monday 14th October 2013
First, let me agree with you all that this is a rum deal - to say "free forever" and then do a complete "U-turn" is quite thoroughly embarrassing and somewhat unfair, but that said the website users can always vote with their feet (or mice...). This lady IS for turning (couldn't resist it). Let me also say that I am an agent. For all the other comments made, you really do need to be careful of sitting in your ivory towers. Consider that the Sony Walkman ruled the world, until the iPod came along and took the crown and most of Sony's profitable business. If an EPC guy can visit a property for less than £50, then he can do a floorplan and photos for an extra £100. £150 per visit - 2 properties a day and he is on £70k a year with very little outlay other than petrol - how many negotiators earn that? If he is specifically employed by the online agency to do this, even if he is self employed (probably with a service level agreement contract) then the online agency have covered their bases. Are you suggesting that in this day and age of data overload that Mr & Mrs Average could not have a quick look around to find out how much all of their neighbours sold for? Add 10% because it was last year, add £20k because my house is better than your house, add £10k for negotiating room. That's what most agents do as far as I can tell - you can harp on about "local knowledge" all you like, but most negotiators tend to be early 20's men with fast car fetishes, although I must admit that more and more ladies are working in the industry these days. The average property owner has very little respect for estate agents because our public image is so slimy. Add to that the fact that Rightmove makes most of them think "you agents are all the same aren't you?" and you have a real, real problem.
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Posted Date: Monday 14th October 2013
This Help To Buy thing is actually quite dangerous. If you read the fine print, then after 5 years you start paying interest as follows: base rate + RPI + 1% for every year over 5 years. In year nine (so 2023) your "government sponsored" second mortgage will be costing you the best part of 10% APR. This assumes base rates go back up (which they will) and RPI stays where it usually does. If you get a good pay rise, you can buy them out. If you don't then your going to be stuck. If the banks change their income multiples you're going to be stuck. If deposit requirements stay the same (likely) then you are going to need a 30% rise in the value so that you can afford to buy them out. The terms and conditions even state that the reason for this ratchet system is to force people to buy themselves out of it. Looks like a whole load of misery to me.
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Posted Date: Friday 18th October 2013
Actually I think it is very difficult for property owners to make up their minds which agent to use. I guarantee though that they don't just wake up one morning and say "I'm going to call the agents in" - I bet you that decision takes months. I would say that people do pick up the local paper in those months and they can make a subliminal choice by association ("Oh, that looks just like my house - that's a good price, which agent was it?"). In my area people are deluged by leaflets (maybe 3-4 a week from agents) and generally ignore them on a daily basis, but again I bet they take it all in subliminally. I have heard time and again "You agents are all the same" - something I call The Rightmove Effect. But I also bet that people will investigate their area by checking this out too. And "Sold" boards - there really is no better way of working out who is good at selling houses near where you live - if you are even just beginning to think about thinking about it you will automatically start to pay attention. As the old adage goes "50% of advertising money is wasted - but which 50%?" We have stopped advertising in the paper, but only time will tell.
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Posted Date: Monday 21st October 2013
Supply is definitely the problem - but in a closed environment it is difficult just to "make" new room. Yes you can sort brownfield sites and others, but this process takes years and came to a complete halt because of the credit crunch. Costs of building an average property are now £150 per square foot - this cannot be manipulated because there is an international commodities market (for the materials) and there is a national minimum wage (for your labour costs). That means that no matter how clever a developer you are, building a 100m2 starter home is going to cost £150,000. This does not take in to account various Green initiatives, Section 106 payments, apportioned losses due to the social housing elements that are often given away to appease the council. The price for the land will be (in major part) dictated by its transport links to Central London - the easier it is to get there (on average) the higher the price. Add in professional (and unprofessional) fees, finance costs and of course a profit margin after tax and the price sky rockets. I work in Epsom and New Build values are about 400ft2. From what I can tell the developers are doing well enough, but the quality of fittings is pretty poor - the surface looks OK but I guarantee that in 5 years when people come to re-sell there are going to be all levels of hell.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 23rd October 2013
What a crazy move by Agents Mutual. I can see how it might seem like a good idea from the point of view of the general public (only barely however). However, considering how poorly the industry views NFoPP, it is likely to really dent interest from the people who are going to pay the bills. I read this and my heart sank.
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Posted Date: Wednesday 23rd October 2013
BTW I don't think that I would sign up to AM because I pay for RM, Zoopla, plus a couple of local websites, plus a local newspaper website, plus a local magazine website, etc. Whilst I can see the point from AM's point of view, I am just not convinced that it is a good idea from my point of view.
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Posted Date: Friday 6th December 2013
@Why and @ARLA Member - an interesting question and one that I took up with Mr Hamer just a few days ago. I was checking to see if our published complaints procedure was correct. It occurred to me that we have members or ARLA, NAEA, RICS and ARMA at our office - so which of them should I put in the procedure. Did I need to put in all 4? Did I also need to put in TPOS? My question to TPOS was essentially - what is the pecking order? His advice was put down TPOS, as the others will probably refer a complaint to them in the end anyway. Plus, if a complaint is made to TPOS which is turned down by them, ARLA and the rest will take that result into account whereas TPOS will (probably) start a new enquiry.
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