Last week’s news was dominated by what happened at Countrywide.
Running that business is not an easy job to have been doing and some brave decisions have been made along the way.
Providing a service fit for the next generation is a challenge and Countrywide’s sheer size, in an industry notorious for its unwillingness to change, makes things even tougher surely.
I, for one, wish former chief executive Alison Platt all the best and certainly feel that a company with so much inherent ‘rightness’ must be a cheap buy at £1.
Big companies can often have an advantage when trying new things.
Getting them wrong can be ameliorated across a bigger network and I think their decision to launch their door-opening fixed fee direct offering under the same brand as their local high street perhaps missed a trick — they are, after all, one of the few companies with a nationally recognised brand.
Launching under the Countrywide banner might well have yielded a better ROI.
Meanwhile, any hopes that Alison Platt’s departure would arrest the fall in Countrywide’s share price appear to have been dashed, after it fell to another new low yesterday.
The shares closed at 94.9p, dropping nearly 6% during trading, having recovered slightly from an earlier low of 92p.
Bringing buyers and sellers together
As an agent the very last thing I ever wanted to do was get buyers and sellers together.
There are lots of debatable reasons but it seems there is more of an appetite these days to solve issues directly, especially at a time when agreed to exchange times are at an all-time high.
My old friends at AVRillo have developed something I’m surprised we haven’t seen before.
When an impasse develops they simply get all parties, buyer, seller and opposing lawyer on a video conference.
If it has been done before I’ve missed it.
There are endless proprietary systems — Skype, WhatsApp, Viber etc — to facilitate this, most have used them anyway at some time and as a bonus it actually uses the 60% of visual communication that even a conference phone call misses.
Last week whilst on a dreaded conference call I actually heard someone snoring.
Such video calls can be made at any time now too, given that phones/tablets have all the functionality required.
Of all the things I’ve heard about recently aimed at speeding up the selling process — and there’s plenty of proptech out there trying – this simple first gen solution, allied to some good old-fashioned lawyering skills, is one of the best.