Posts with tag: high street estate agent

One in Five High-Street Estate Agents at Risk of Going Bust

Published On: August 3, 2017 at 9:42 am

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Categories: Property News

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One in five high-street estate agents in the UK are at risk of going bust following a surge in online alternatives, a new study has found.

Almost 5,000 high-street estate agents are showing signs of “financial distress”, reports accountancy firm Moore Stephens.

One in Five High-Street Estate Agents at Risk of Going Bust

One in Five High-Street Estate Agents at Risk of Going Bust

Traditional firms are likely to have higher property and staff costs, and are struggling to compete with low-cost, fixed fee online estate agents, the report claims.

The research also indicates that the growth in property websites has undermined the role of estate agents.

Moore Stephens’ Mike Finch says: “Traditional high-street estate agents’ profit margins are being squeezed from both sides, from cut-price online competitors to their larger counterparts on the high-street, who are forcing them to up their spending or give up the race.

“Many areas across the UK are over-saturated with estate agents, and competition is becoming too much for some smaller businesses.”

The study follows a slump in profits announced last week by two of the UK’s largest high-street estate agents.

Countrywide – the UK’s biggest listed estate agent – said that pre-tax profits for the six months to June were £447,000 – down from £24.3m in the same period last year.

Revenue and profits at Foxtons also dropped in the first half of the year, as the London-focused agent pointed to “unprecedented” economic and political uncertainty hitting the property market.

The group said that revenue fell by 15% to £58.5m in the six months to 30th June, with pre-tax profits plummeting by 64%, from £10.5m to £3.8m.

A separate study has found that planning applications for new shops have dropped to an eight-year low, amid continued growth of e-commerce.

There were 6,525 applications in England in the year to March – almost half the number in 2008-09, and down by 11% on 2014-15, according to Lendy, which provides property finance and development loans.

Greater Manchester recorded the greatest decline in retail planning applications last year, it reports.

Liam Brooke, of the firm, adds: “The continued softness in the retail property market shows no sign of abating. Retailers are shunning and shutting bricks and mortar shops.

“The Government needs to find a way to encourage retailers to give the high streets a face lift. Big brands are continuing to shift their focus towards their online services.”

Landlords, have you considered using an online estate/letting agent?

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Complaints Against High Street Estate Agents Soar by 32%

Published On: October 6, 2016 at 8:33 am

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Categories: Property News

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Complaints upheld against high street estate agents have soared by 32% in the past year, according to the latest report from The Property Ombudsman (TPO).

Almost all of the complaints were resolved in favour of the complainant, resulting in record payouts for the consumer – the largest of which was over £16,000 for a lettings dispute.

Complaints Against High Street Estate Agents Soar by 32%

Complaints Against High Street Estate Agents Soar by 32%

The Ombudsman, Katrine Sporle, warns high street estate agents of the importance of a good reputation.

She says: “Overall, this is good news for consumers and redress, but not so great for the reputation of agents, who collectively paid out over £800,000 in awards. My message for those agents is simple: Pay more attention to TPO’s Codes of Practice and raise your standards.”

Last week, TPO announced that it is updating its Codes of Practice for all those in the property industry: /property-ombudsman-updates-codes-practice/

However, the report does indicate that online and hybrid estate agents continue to wage war against their high street counterparts, with many, but not all, excelling in the customer service they provide.

One of the leading online agents in the sector, eMoov.co.uk, was voted the best in the country out of over 25,000 high street and online estate agents, based on the service it provides to customers.

The Founder and CEO of eMoov, Russell Quirk, says: “It’s almost becoming an estate agency tradition that every year, TPO releases its report on the industry, and every year, the poor practices of the high street sector in particular result in an increase in complaints on the previous year.

“The high street sector is struggling in the current industry environment to say the least, and, despite being squeezed for market share by online and hybrid agents, are only getting worse, rather than pivoting with the new age of estate agency and offering a better customer experience for a fairer price.”

He continues: “Luckily, the customer now has the choice and, thanks to websites such as TrustPilot and AllAgents, can separate the good from the bad, based on reviews from real customers. That’s why at eMoov, we concentrate on how we treat the customer, not the money we gain, and our TrustPilot rating of 9.5 and our rank as number one agent out of 25,800 via AllAgents is a testament to that.

“Despite this positive evolution in the industry, selling or buying a home can occasionally be an expensive and sometimes fraught experience. The Government must now really step in and introduce licensing for all estate agents, in order to regulate against the bad guys, of which there seems to be many.”

If you’re buying or selling a property, does this news put you off using a high street estate agent?

High Street Agents Extinct, Says easyProperty Boss

Published On: August 26, 2015 at 12:43 pm

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Categories: Landlord News

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Two branches of Hunters estate agents have moved onto the high street, but an online-only firm believes this isn’t necessary.

Both Hunters offices, in Tring and Leighton Buzzard in Bedfordshire, are owned by franchisee Caroline Murgatroyd.

They were previously operated out of town, but Murgatroyd believes that a high street location raises the brand’s profile.

Hunters’ franchises are often started from the franchisee’s own home or in out-of-town offices.

But Robert Ellice, the Chief Executive of online agent easyProperty, insists online is the only way to go: “I don’t believe any estate agent starting today would believe they need a high street office.”

Murgatroyd opened the Tring office in the autumn of 2012 with just two staff members. The team has now grown to eight members of staff in the last three years.

She says: “We’ve experienced a massive difference since relocating to the high street and the branch is a lot busier now. So many people look into our display window, which is attracting more walk-in clients.

“The uplift in business was immediate and we’ve seen a 20% increase in activity, which is exactly what we were looking to achieve with the move.”1 

Hunters in Leighton Buzzard, opened by Murgatroyd six months ago, has also moved to the high street.

Its Branch Manager, David Lawrence, comments: “The business has really taken off and we’ve tripled our workforce in the short time we’ve been operating. Our new office makes us more accessible to our clients, which is very beneficial.

“I am very confident that displaying the Hunters brand on the high street will further raise the company’s profile.”1 

In a recent interview, Ellice states: “Being online, we don’t have to charge over-the-odds prices to cover expensive overheads. This makes us more agile and able to respond to what customers really need.

“When I started writing my business plan, I felt so excited because I was rewriting the rule book with easyProperty.

“High street agents are extinct, they just don’t realise it yet. More and more people are putting faith in online transactions, seeing online portals as the new norm.

“Having a shop-front no longer instils trust and credibility, especially for estate agents, so there is a significant tide of people turning to online agents, which are faring much better in terms of transparency.

“The marketplace is moving away from bricks and mortar, and easyProperty is determined to drag it into the digital age.”1

Yesterday, easyProperty had 24 properties listed for sale on Rightmove and 326 for rent.

1 http://www.propertyindustryeye.com/high-street-agents-extinct-but-just-dont-realise-it-yet-says-easyproperty-boss/