Time to head for Brexit: Let’s stop the scaremongering says Spicerhaart boss

Easier ways to end gazumping

The Government is reportedly exploring new legislation to stop gazumping. However, I, for one, believe that ministers shouldn’t meddle in market forces but should focus instead on making the whole transaction process easier and smoother.

At present, the average sale time is about 13 weeks. That’s three times what it should be, in my book. If the Government focused more on the things that hold up sales, which in turn enable other bidders to jump in with a better offer, we could almost eradicate the problem completely.

Why, for example, is there so much paperwork involved in the transaction process? Why can’t we have the electronic transfer of deeds as soon as the money is passed over or use electronic signatures to exchange contracts?

Why don’t we have one common trading platform to handle all matters including mortgage, survey and conveyancing, instead of the clunky systems we currently have? Why isn’t anyone co-ordinating an end-to-end solution, making it much better for everyone by speeding up the whole process?

Surely the Government should be investing in the Land Registry, not proposing to sell it off to a private company who will only be interested in making money from it? It’s such an important part of the selling process that the Government should not lose control of such an asset.

When a seller enters into a contract with an estate agent, we are paid to get the best possible price for their home. In order to do this, we must have a free market. To tie it up in legislation would be a recipe for disaster.

If you stop gazumping, it will be a charter for cheap estate agents who don’t have to try hard and will take the first offer. What incentive is there for high street or internet estate agents on fixed fees to work harder at getting the best deal? They just want their money so they can cut and run, keep their cashflow coming and move on to the next customer.

It’s all very well the Government consulting with industry bodies but they should consult with the whole of the estate agency market.

I say, let’s leave things as they are. Stop interfering. Let the market decide.

I’m for Brexit

Talking of markets, I’ve nailed my colours to the mast of the Leave campaign. I’ve listened intently to both sides of the argument and have no qualms about revealing my intent when it comes to voting in the EU referendum on June 23.

I’ve listened to the wide-ranging views of economists, politicians and leading business figures. There are those who say mortgage rates will rise, house prices will fall and the economy will crash. On the other hand, fewer immigrants will remove the pressure on housing and lead to a drop in both rental bills and the cost of buying a property for first-time buyers.

There is so much pent-up demand for property that to say the housing market will plummet is just crazy. Let’s stop the scaremongering and take a step forward into a brave new world – it’s time to head for the Brexit and I, for one, will be leading the charge.

Sell, sell, sell

The big corporates are awash with cash and are on the hunt for more branches to buy to widen their own property empires. Which is great if you’re in the market for selling.

But think long and hard about who you sell to. What are their motives? If they don’t share your own ethos, you can be sure your loyal staff will very quickly vote with their feet.

Most corporates put profit and shareholders first and will quickly replace your systems with their manuals of gobbledygook.

So look for an agent that puts people first and shares your family values. After all, don’t you want the best home for your best asset?

Congratulations to the OTM team

I want to end with my congratulations and thanks to the executive team at OnTheMarket for putting up with all the flack that they’ve experienced to date.

They’ve had to cope with constant criticism and adversarial conditions, bombarded with negative comments and challenged by corporate agents and their smaller disciples.

It’s a real shame that such a small percentage of people are constantly trying to weaken a brilliant idea instead of getting behind it. Everyone else will suffer financially as a result if the portals continue to strengthen their grip.


Email the story to a friend


  1. smile please

    Crikey an article by Paul Smith that is not a crude attempt to promote Spicers!

  2. nextchapter

    Paul Smith + Spicehart = gobbledygook.

    Don’t listen to him, he wants to take everybody down with him and regress back to his favourite era, back to his childhood, 1920s.

    That said, I do obviously agree with him on a few things. Transaction should be speedier, but that comes down to lazy ass solicitors and the tories are trying to sell everything off and should leave landregistry alone.


    1. Woodentop

      I think you will find he is flower power baby from the 1960’s.

  3. Tim Higham

    Obviously we will be staying in Europe. So let’s move on.

    As for estate agency, it was damaged with how easy it looked on ‘The Apprentice’, where London flats sold themselves, yet silly applicants thought they had played a hand.

    Many agents need to reign their egos right back; it is not always your skill, the property can sell itself.

    As for comments on the conveyancing process like…..”Why, for example, is there so much paperwork involved in the transaction process? Why can’t we have the electronic transfer of deeds as soon as the money is passed over or use electronic signatures to exchange contracts?…….the answer lies in the fact that certain chain estate agents played their part in ruining HIPS by making a profit out of them. You had your upfront information reducing the time lawyers needed to take to ask the others for it.

    The statement above also overlooks the complexity of the legal process, and just how much property law is involved in getting the law right. It is the highest area for claims against conveyancers, as it is so complex.

    We don’t use title insurance like lazy systems do, we have the best property recording system in the world, and so lawyers are needed to make it work.

    But too many corporate agents would rather align with ‘lawyers’ who know almost no law, and just want to take a very high referral fee, thus causing the very slow conveyancing that receives the above criticism.

    1. Property Pundit

      ‘Obviously we will be staying in Europe. So let’s move on’.  I’d stay in bed on June 24th if I was you.

  4. Eric Walker

    I think the presentation on the EU debate at Lettings Live cemented the views for many and changed the minds of doubters. Leaving is very scary.

    1. rayhan

      I for one felt a little insulted to be told how to vote by someone hiding behind numbers, graphs and their own personal bias.

  5. Property Paddy

    Perhaps we could have a referendum to see if we would like Paul Smith to leave Europe & the UK. it’s about time he retired anyway.


  6. The Outsider

    “Lets stop scaremongering”, then goes on to scaremonger about what will happen if OTM fails.

  7. International

    Having only recently started to look at Property Eye, what I find most amusing is the ‘points scoring’ that the regular contributors like to make, particularly when one of the  industry leaders posts a really well balance view.

    On this occasion I refer to that of Paul Smith, who I think has got it right on all points he makes. Well done Paul.

    1. smile please

      Welcome to Eye, International (strange you know the regular posters already!).

      As a no doubt avid reader of comments and hopefully soon to be prolific poster yourself, you will see many regular posters like Paul Smith have an agenda to drive, Usually it is availed news story trying to promote Spicer’s which i have said above. Often it just usual corporate propaganda that those in the industry know is …. well not strictly true.

      When somebody on here decides to come out and try and increase their exposure or that of their firms and they and not strictly telling the truth they can only expect to taken to task on the inaccuracies.

      But as long as people are polite and not too sweary and have some thought put into comments its welcomed, as this stimulates debate.

      Tends to be two camps here one that is pro high street good ethical agency and the other that is…. well … not. Given most the readers and contributors of this site are pro high street agency its not surprising third party companies, portals, online listers, corporate agents get a rocky ride. As in the main they are about taking away service and just trying to increase profit with no thought to service.

      I as i am sure others hope to see more posts from you in the future.


      1. International

        Thank you smile. I doubt I will ever become a prolific poster as I need to spend most of my time tying to do the things that a decent high street agent should do !

        1. smile please

          Takes 30 seconds to post, 😉


  8. Claire

    So he’s ‘listened intently to both sides of the argument’ ?? Then has come up with only one reason to leave… that same old, same old, immigration. When will the Leave Campaign have any other reason other than ‘to stop them foreigners coming over here’?!

    Firstly, leaving does not automatically stop any immigration, secondly, more immigrants came from outside the EIU in the past 12months than in it, so how will leaving stop those? Thirdly, the ones here are not going to be sent back ‘to where they came from’ and finally, immigrants contributed more to the economy than they took from it.

    Why can’t we have a referendum on stopping automatic benefits to British born and bred claimants who will never work a day in their lives but we have to provide housing for them.

    I know which I’d rather have in my Country.

    1. Woodentop

      That’s racist!

    2. Property Pundit

      Immigration resonates. Uncontrolled immigration terrifies people. The polls agree. Live with it.

  9. Certus

    How about leaving to save jobs. Thats real.

    The EU wants a United States of Europe – that is clear. to achieve this they need more members. To help Turkey achieve the GDP required they paid FORD 70m euros to move van manufacturing from Southampton to Turkey.  Similiar has happened many times to Turkey, Poland and Slokavia to aid membership. Ford employed 180,000 in UK 10 years ago and now just 13800 by taking grants and moving jobs abroad. Indesit, Rootes Group, Jaguar, Dyson, Hornby, Metal Box, Gillette,Texas Instrments to name just a few who have done the same.

    So essentially the EU has paid grants to take our employment elsewhere – for their ultimate gain.

    LEAVE will safeguard JOBS

  10. hodge

    A couple of things.

    1 OTM has done us a world of good even if you don,t like it.

    Many years ago i took over a chunk of the old Cornerstone empire and they were paying through the nose for a broadsheet page of property £1100 per page in Portsmouth.. In those days we were selling flats for 30K?

    As soon as i introduced another paper then suddenly the cost halved and a NEW tabloid paper came out. Result.

    The more choice the more the costs come down.

    As for Brexit, Think it through.   Fund managers have already factored in a cost of exit so there will be little change there.

    Out corporation tax is one of the lowest in Europe so i don,t see international investors wanting to go to France or Germany.

    As for immigration it,s nothing to do with where you come from, it,s to do with the ability to say no were full as opposed to EU telling us to take more.

    As for Mr Smith, well his portfolio of estate agents have never made (as I,m aware anyway) significant dollar from the Branches he has. so perhaps we just look at the source again.




You must be logged in to report this comment!

Leave a reply

Thank you for signing up to our newsletter, we have sent you an email asking you to confirm your subscription. Additionally if you would like to create a free EYE account which allows you to comment on news stories and manage your email subscriptions please enter a password below.