Agent Provocateur: Alison Platt’s Countrywide missed a trick but at £1 it’s now a cheap buy

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.


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  1. JustPlainSavage04

    I will make you an offer for halve of the money, 50p for 40% of the company.

    1. P-Daddy

      At a current sp of 90p, you are now offering a considerable premium and I will recommend your offer to the shareholders JPS04, get your cheque book out!

  2. Hillofwad71

    Price is what  you pay ,value is what  you get.!

    For your £1 you take on £195m debt  accumulated purchasing business where revenue has fallen and offices closed.A Board Of Directors who have sat back .handed over the  reins to an individual to adopt an individual  approach alienating the  the majority of the staff

    The SP  has just hit  a new low at 91.49p ! Need a new industry name with gravitas  very soon

    Lets not forget the staff  aren’t shop assistants but highly trained .property professionals with years of experience who either  have kept quiet for fear of losing their well paid jobs or been planning their  next move. Lions led by Donkeys

    Furthermore its a people business and it beggars  belief that despite  forking out millions effectively for individuals  with a good name, enviable  clients lists and an ability to earn fees not one has been  considered suitable as main board material  Those that have  are part  time with a clutch of other directorships  elsewhere


    The proof is in the pudding .Platt  might have gone but the old regime remains Pass the port.

  3. Woodentop

    Remember Cornerstone, they lost the habit.

  4. Ed Mead

    BTW, and for the avoidance of doubt, I clearly meant buying shares at £1, not the company.

    1. Hillofwad71

      Its already dipped below 90p today so lets hope you kept your hand in your pocket. I guess you are subscribing to  “the sum of the the whole  of the parts is greater than the whole” theory Maybe so but that’s son the assumption that the star players decide to  remain insitu and that isn’t guaranteed


      Dont forget  the debt-the banks haven’tand they will be calling the shots Andy Martin come and rescue the day !



  5. Hillofwad71

    Shame CWD didn’t spend some of that  £195m more wisely and followed suit into somebody like Viewber When can I invest my £1 !!


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