Opinion: How much longer will investors in online agents wait for the gold rush?

How much longer can online agents continue to make multi-million pound losses year on year without investors realising they are throwing good money after bad and finally pulling the plug?

Yopa has just filed its 2017 accounts with Companies House – over three months late and potentially facing a financial penalty for doing so.

The accounts reveal a massive loss of £18m, on top of the prevous year’s £14.25m loss, the worst we have seen.

I dread to think what their loss will be like for 2018. Surely even the very wealthy Barclay family realise they can’t keep throwing money away like this?

E-Prop Ltd, the company which licenses easyProperty, made a £9m loss with £22.8m liabilities for the year ending December 2017.

It chose not to declare its income for that period but confirmed it relies on funds from parent company eProp Services PLC, which also owns Fine & Country and the Guild.

As I’ve always said, for any of the internet estate agent start-ups they need at least £28m in marketing spend to get any form of brand recognition.

So are easyProperty going to put their money where their mouth is?

It could bring down the Guild and Fine & Country if they genuinely believe internet agency is the way forward and we look forward to our streets paved with orange boards!

In its audited accounts the directors of E-Prop Ltd state that there is no certainty that this support will continue, although they have no reason to believe it would not do so.

Surely one good reason if it continues to make a loss is because agents aren’t rushing out to snap up the easyProperty licences?

According to TheAdvisory, easyProperty listed just 13 properties from January 9 to 23: that’s not going to pay off the debt, grow the business or make profit.

Meanwhile Housesimple, for the year ending March 2018, made a £13.5m loss – compared to £9.8m the year before.

Rather shockingly, its turnover was only £2.5m, while its marketing expenses alone were £8.7m.

On top of this, it had its usual bills and portal fees, plus a headcount that had risen from 59 to 93.

Having looked at how many properties it has on the books, I estimate it’s spending something like £3k per acquisition just on marketing – that’s without all of its other costs – three times more than it charges to sell a property.

It’s simply unsustainable.

Moreover, after all that marketing, you’d expect it to have a much bigger market share by now.

The same goes for Purplebricks which, in its most recent interim results, showed a loss of £25.5m, having spent an indecent £39m on marketing.

Having said that, it must be rubbing its hands with glee when it looks at everyone else’s figures.

We have already seen the administration of Emoov and Tepilo (although now in reincarnation, is this business going to find £20-£30 million to get a foothold again?) and the closure of Hatched.

I doubt if the 2018 figures, when reported, will be better for any of the online agents, not least because recent reports suggest they currently have around 7% market share between them, nowhere near the figure they should have reached by now.

There have been many winners and losers in the race for online dominance.

Google, Facebook and marketing agencies have reaped millions of pounds from the online agencies’ spend. And yes, there are vendors with an easy sale who have indeed managed to save money.

But everyone else is a loser – those customers in chains or with difficult sales who didn’t get the customer service they needed; those other agents spending extra time picking up the pieces to hold a sale together; and those self-employed internet agents working silly hours trying to make ends meet.

Not to mention those investors who are holding out for the long-term gold rush which looks increasingly like it will never come.

* Paul Smith is CEO of high street chain Spicerhaart. The rest of his regular monthly column appears below

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56 Comments

  1. Property Poke In The Eye

    I know I am not allowed to say these companies have misled the investors, so I won’t say that, in case my comment is removed. 😉

    FSBO/DIY is not a mainstream model and will never make a decent profit for shareholders.

     

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  2. DomPritch134

    Maybe Paul Smith should worry about his branches sending out mailers to Purplebricks clients telling them that they are potentially insolvent and then subsequently apologising (confusing PB with Emoov).  
     
    Although strangely enough there was not one article or mention of this here although well publicised elsewhere. Not that I’m saying because he is a monthly contributor this was why it was failed to be covered.

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    1. Sophia Snighper

      Bit churlish Dom? From what I heard if it weren’t for Paul Smith you’d be stuck with a splash’n’dash, littl’ bit a laminate, job’s a goodun tart up your purple pals had failed to sell

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    2. PeeBee

      So – one person in one branch gets it wrong.  Okay – we get it.  You’ve highlighted the issue that we all knew about already.  Thanks for that.  I’ll even go one step further:  
       
      Note to all Agents – dom-boy is watching.  
       
      Strange that you’re having a pop – seeing as it appears one of Mr Smith’s company branches sold your latest flip where your PurplePals apparently failed, dom-boy.  
       
      But no-one will run an article on that interesting piece of indusrty news either, I guess…

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    3. WiltsAgent

      Come on Dom, over five years and none the onliners can make a profit. How long until they do 7, 8, 10 years?. And then how long to recover what has been spent so far? And wait until someone wakes up and realises the LPE’s aren’t ‘self employed’. None of these not for profit organisations is viable as a business, just a chance for some to make a quick buck selling shares.

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  3. GPL

     
    Fools do indeed rush in ……and keep doing do.
     
    Just imagine if Purplebricks revealed their actual Sales info, how much each sale was costing them ……I suspect eyewatering!    
     
     

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    1. AgencyInsider

      There now GPL. You have criticised PB and earned a dislike – which, pound to a penny, came from you-know-who  – and who at this very moment is in the corner, quivering with pleasure at having inflicted such a crushing blow on behalf of his purple masters. His sole role in life when not on the golf course being to ‘protect the preshusssssssssssssssssss’.

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  4. Hillofwad71

    “How much longer can online agents continue to make multi-million pound losses year on year without investors realising they are throwing good money after bad and finally pulling the plug?”
     

    Seems that Quirk starting his new PR career “selling the dream” self-appointed spokesman for the industry  is now endorsing this view .Flagging  up that the whole online model is unsustainable  ,Convenientally  forgetting of course this wasn’t the story he was spinning only last summer to hook investors into parting with money to keep the lights on at Emoov!

    Short memory !

     

    Quirk in a recent interview has said

    “There’s a psychological belief that if something looks too cheap to be credible … then it’s not credible.”

    “Questioned the strategy of Doorsteps, an online agency that charges £99 as a basic fee: he said it can cost well over that sum to list a property on Rightmove and Zoopla for six months, and he doubted whether even with referral fees or other indirect income such a pricing policy can be sustainable.

    Referring to the online sector’s low-price strategy overall he continued: “It’s not only questionable from an economic point of view, there’s no need … People are suspicious of it. It’s too cheap.”

     

    Quirk – who admitted he was completely wrong with predictions some YEARS!!! ago that online agents may take as much as 50 per cent share of the market – now says it is possible they may reach 10 per cent by the end of this year and 15 per cent ultimately.

     

     

     

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    1. JonnyBanana43

      Quirk – Delusional

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      1. ArthurHouse02

        I think delusional may not be the legal term some are looking for

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  5. KevKFH

    It’s incredible that these firms are so resilient – a tough market and they still hang on by their finger nails

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    1. Chris Wood

      “It’s incredible that these firms are so resilient – a tough market and they still hang on by other people’s money” (Fixed that for you)

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  6. Ouch18

    These ‘Online Agents’ are just Tumbleweed that will eventually blow away.  What does Online Agent actually mean anyway because most high street Agents are on more online portals than than online agents!!

    Theyre a complete con, existing on other people’s money with clueless ‘local experts’ lol and even more clueless call centre staff!!

    We needed to check a chain with Purple Bricks this week and we were told categorically that their vendors buyer hadn’t yet got his mortgage in place even though a sale was agreed in November.  After further digging it turns out that the surveys done, searches are back and they are ready to complete in two weeks!!!

    Shocking and that is every time!

    Countrywide finally fell off their big high horse so I’ll sit back and watch online agents and Rightmove rot over the next couple of years !!

     

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  7. cyberduck46

    >But everyone else is a loser – those customers in chains or with difficult sales  
     
    What about the customers who saved thousands of pounds like me?  
     
    What about the customers who save on Estate Agent commission because of competition provided?  
     
    Just my 2p. Back around 11:30am   
        

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    1. AgencyInsider

      Like the surgeon who has a 50% death rate in patients he operates on?
      What about all those other patients who he saves. They are happy, aren’t they? They got great value out of his work. 
      Nothing at all to worry about in his performance. Is there?

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      1. cyberduck46

        It’s not 50%. According to GetAgent, only about 10% listed with another Agent after 14 months. Even these might have been poached by Agents offering to reduce their fees by the amount paid to PB. They certainly tried their best getting my property from PB 🙂 In fact didn’t the author of this article approach PB customers with a story that they were about to go bust?

         

        Anyway, hardly the same thing as a surgeon is it? The more your property worth the more you save when comparing with commission based Agents who load the costs and all the profits on the 50% who do sell, charging time wasters and delusional sellers who think their property is worth more than it is nothing.

         

        Just two different approaches. Plenty of happy customers I imagine who saved thousands with PB. Paul Smith forgetting that fact in his rather biased article.

         

         

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    2. Estate_Agent_Memes

      @cyberduck – how do you know you saved thousands? A proper agent could have got you considerably more, but as you did it yourself you will never know.

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      1. cyberduck46

        A High Steet Agent might have got less.
         
        I sold for more than 2 of the High Street Agents suggested I list at. The other just suggested a rather wide range and the price I got was slightly ahead of the mid-point.   
         
        The price I got compared favourably with my neighbours sale.  

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    3. Sophia Snighper

      You didn’t save “thousands of pounds” 
      You’re forgetting thanks to all your boasting and telling us ALL about it, your sale is one of the most observed sales in history.  Quack, Quack, Quack…… £700k against £630k I was told by the local agent…… If you had sold for £630k you would have saved thousands but you didn’t, did you?  At the price you sold for you were about £20,000 short of what you’d’ve got if that (unfairly richer than yaow) agent you told us all about had sold it.
      My guess is you are telling everyone you saved money when the truth is, you **** out,BIG TIME!

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      1. Woodentop

        And his losses on share value with PB?

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        1. cyberduck46

          One of my best ever investments.
           
          Made 50% (approx.) in a matter of months. Compare that to your post office savings account Woodentop 🙂
           
           

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          1. Woodentop

            That’s strange because when you first jumped on here about your shares and your delight for PB, the value was not far off what it is now! As to the post office … I don’t need to use them or invest in shares, I made an honest living out of hard work and fair business practices and provided a living for many business’s and employees that contributed to the well being of this country.

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            1. cyberduck46

              The current price is irrelevant because I sold my shares a good while back. Had a couple of short flirtations since then one profitable, one not. Overall one of the best investments ever in 30+ years of investing but only a small part of my investment portfolio.

               

              I also made an honest living out of hard work and contributed to the well-being of the country and the world even. I think most people do that in the form of tax at least. Most people who’ve worked hard also have investments in shares, usually in the form of a pension. I have a very small pension compared to most people as I only ever paid a couple of one-off contributions into a scheme. There’s also a tiny pension from a couple of years working part time while I was getting my business off the ground. Instead of investing in a pension I have typically invested any “savings” in property and shares.

               

              Finished discussing this now.

               

               

               

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      2. cyberduck46

        Sophia, I refer you to my comment above re. price.  
         
        Seeing as you know so much about my sale, check out the sale of my neighbours property and report back. I’ll then fill you in on who spent more on the properties over the years.  
         
        My next door neighbour sacked the first local Agent they used!      

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        1. Sophia Snighper

          The fact is you did not save thousands as you keep claiming, you wasted nearly a year of your life not getting one over on an agent so you could to downsize, equity release and fold a SEO, PPC business that was struggling to compete.

          I appreciate my telling of your tale ain’t so glowing as your version but that is about it, isn’t it?

           

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          1. cyberduck46

            Sophia,

             

            I think I can detect some bitterness but feel free to make things personal  and speculate about whether I am telling the truth if you want but that’s not the subject that was being discussed which is whether I saved thousands of pounds using PurpleBricks and whether the article is somewhat biased in forgetting to mention the savings people make.

             

            I suggest you take a look at my neighbour’s experience selling if you think traditional agents can do any better. They had to sack their first agent. The price I got compares well with what they achieved and they spent a lot more improving their property than I did.

             

            Take a look at how many agents a house down the street was listed with before it sold. On the opposite side of the road about 10 houses down from mine. There’s another one on the same side as mine was which is roughly opposite it and that is on the market off the market. Multiple Agents if I’m not mistaken.

             

            The evidence is there for you to see if you compare with my neighbour’s sale and it supports the argument that I saved thousands of pounds on fees.

             

            Enough for today, but feel free to speculate and make things personal some other time if that’s how you make yourself feel better about your own situation.

             

             

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        2. PeeBee

          ducky
           
          “…check out the sale of my neighbours property and report back.”
           
          Okay – you weren’t challenging me with that comment – but your were challenging (inserts wry smile emoji) nevertheless.  SO… it would be rude not to respond.
           
          To make this easier, I’ve highlighted the main differentials Your neighbour’s property:
           
          three bedrooms
           
          three receptions
           
          one bathroom, sep cloaks
           
          *  garage & workshop
           
          large plot Your property
           
          six bedrooms (marketed by your Agent as four – which absolutely boiled your wastewater
           
          four receptions (including two that could have been marketed as bedrooms and cooled your wastewater)
           
          *  one bathroom, one ensuite, sep cloaks
           
          *  garage & outbuilding
           
          larger plot
           
          The gross floor area of your neighbour’s property was listed as 135sq.m
           
          The gross floor area of your property was 253sq.m
           
          Based on size/price sold – your neighbour’s property sold at £3778 per sq.m.
           
          Based on size/price sold – your property achieved £2383 per sq.m.
           
          The most common model used in residential property valuation is the Comparable Sales Method (CSM). Applying the CSM, had your property sold at the same price per sq.m, you would have achieved the not-to-be-sneezed at additional sum of £352834.
           
          You could have bought 96,534 PB shares on the day of completion with that (based on share price of 365.5p).
           
          But there’s good news in all this – you’ve just got to look REAAAALLLLLLY hard for it.  And I have.  And here it is.
           
          The good news is that the 96354 shares you might have bought on that memorable day in October 2017 would today only be worth £154166 – so by selling at £350k below the ‘going rate’, you’ve saved yourself from losing var nigh £200k.  Takes a certain kind of clever to do that.
           
          Now – you were saying something about telling us who’d spent a sh!tload more on their gaff than the other – so… …the floor is yours ducky.  
           
          Or as I prefer to say
           
          #To_You (credit: Barry Chuckle 1944 – 2018)

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          1. cyberduck46

            I will have to deal with that one later. I did say it was enough for today but I’ll make an exception.   Don’t forget to check back 🙂    

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          2. cyberduck46

            >The most common model used in residential property valuation is the Comparable Sales Method (CSM)
             
            I’ll reply more fully tomorrow but that’s a poor way of valueing our two properties. Perhaps this explains why you only ever reached the position of Office Manager after so long in the business.
             
            They paid £160K in July 1999 for a 3-bed bungalow and I paid £185K in September 1998 for a 3 bed bungalow that had been converted into a 4 bed dormer bungalow with 4 reception rooms.
             
            Sounds like I got a real bargain then doesn’t it? Must have been a stupid Estate Agent who sold me my property.
             
            By that method you are suggesting it would mean that they would double the value of their 3-bed bungalow by adding another floor. Is that really how you went about valueing property? I feel sorry for the people you sold property for.
             
            I’ll show you a much better way to compare tomorrow. One based on the argument that Traditional Agents get the best price for their clients. 
             

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            1. PeeBee

              “I’ll reply more fully tomorrow but that’s a poor way of valueing our two properties.”

              Suggest you make representation to the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, ducky – that’s THEIR globally adopted valuation model you’re saying is el cr@ppo…

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            2. PeeBee

              “Perhaps this explains why you only ever reached the position of Office Manager after so long in the business.”
               
              I was going to let that remake pass, ducky – on the simple basis that it purely highlights your lack of knowledge on your chosen subject – me.
               
              But I can’t.
               
              I, personally, couldn’t give a fuppenny tuck what you think.
               
              I can’t for the simple reason that for many in our industry, the position of Branch Manager is their goal, and they will strive to attain it.  Those that are in that position are in the main perfectly happy and will remain in that position of responsibility for as long as they are able.  Those that aim for the next rung of the ladder often fail to achieve their goal – but that is not necessarily a reflection of their ability.
               
              Your comment, in clear attempt to belittle me, belittles many – and you owe those people an apology, Sir.
               
              I have many lines on my CV, ducky… many titles.  Each one of them I am proud of, as in each one of those roles I carried out my duties to the best of my ability.
               
              And whether the role that a person fills is that of street-sweeper or brain surgeon, that is all that can and should be asked and expected.
               
              As if we didn’t know already, you have confirmed yourself as the kind of person who will barge past a street-sweeper to shake the hand of a brain surgeon.
               
              One day you may be grateful that a street-sweeper is gracious enough to shake yours.
               
              You’re a clever man, ducky – you’ve made everyone in your captive audience painfully aware of your work-related qualifications over the last week; of your vast and varied experience, and demonstrated beyond a shadow of doubt that your opinion of what you think is the be-all and end-all of everything, never to be dared questioned by those with inferior knowledge (read opposing opinion) to your own.
               
              But clearly you’ve ducked the important lessons in life.
               
              More fool you, ‘clever man’.

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              1. cyberduck46

                PeeBee, I choose to belittle you because you have done the same to me on many occasions. Others too.

                 

                Nothing wrong with the position of Branch Manager I just knew you wouldn’t be happy with that position with your huge self esteem and belittling approach to others. Yes I’ve read your condescending advice on the PIE forum telling people asking for advice not to bother trying to be an Estate Agent. Seen how you attack people on here trying to make them look small.

                 

                A completely different character to the very polite and helpful PeeBee poster over on the building.co.uk forum. Just different approaches at getting people to like you I suppose.

                 

                I find you and some of the people you mix with to be egotistical frauds and self-serving hypocrites.

                 

                I think your claim “Rightmove have tried to bullsh*t me that the unique property reference can be and often is changed on listings – funny how it’s never done on any of mine across 3 branches!!” says a lot. Branch manager of 3 branches? Your listings?

                 

                You are way off the mark in your assessment of me but that doesn’t bother me one bit. I don’t value your opinion.

                 

                Whilst I have your attention could you quantify how much these Google positions rummage4 are repeatedly mentioning are worth to Agents? ‘smile please’ suggests that after a long time of using PPC he has refined his efforts to be worth about £3. Looking at the terms rummage4 are targeting and the ones I’ve seen them rank for I’d estimate this is a pretty reasonable valuation, perhaps a little high even.

                 

                Over to you.

                 

                 

                 

                 

                 

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                1. PeeBee

                  Ducky

                  “A completely different character to the very polite and helpful PeeBee poster over on the building.co.uk forum.”

                  Same person.  Call a digging implement exactly that, wherever I am.

                  On the subject of which – back to the latest hole you dug for yourself.  Yesterday, you posted

                  “…you only ever reached the position of Office Manager”

                  Today, a futile attempt to backtrack –

                  Nothing wrong with the position of Branch Manager…”

                  Two very contradictory statements, ducky, of what is clearly your opinion of the position of Branch Manager.

                  However you attempt to backtrack, I’m sure the EYE audience will form their own opinion on that.

                  For the record, I value your opinion far less than you state you value mine.

                  You have no safety catch, ducky – you’re on automatic fire – and your lack of consistency, twinned with self-confessed social ineptitude, gets you every time.

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                  1. htsnom79

                    Lol this is hysterical, cyberduck you would do well to appreciate the skills of a branch manager, a good one, in this trade, I’ve said it before but you know nothing about this trade.

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                    1. Property Pundit

                      Why is this guy so absolutely, unequivocally, unbelievably embarrassingly triggered every time by the mention of the rummage project? He was down the other pub – using his real name mind – having yet another go at the same time as being on here. Is it possible he’s convinced himself it was his idea all along and that, given ALL the experience and qualifications he keeps telling us he has, he should be involved? Best treatment is to not engage.

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                  2. Anthonyw

                    Thats my thumbs down PeeBee,
                    I don’t like the sarcasm you sometimes spout sorry!

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                    1. PeeBee

                      Apology unnecessary, Anthonyw.  Except that there is no sarcasm whatsoever in that post.

                      Just truth.

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                  3. cyberduck46

                    No backtracking PeeBee, explanation already given.

                     

                    >Same person.

                     

                    Let’s have a look at some of your statements elsewhere?

                     

                    building.co.uk forum: “DON’T ask a homeowner who is selling. OR an Estate Agent – they have a vested interest in telling you what you want to hear”

                     

                    Never seen you talk like that here. In fact you spend most of your time (or did) focused on 1 particular agent? Trying to make yourself popular perhaps?

                     

                    twitter dm: “The majority of Agents are @rseholes – and that’s me being polite! Too far up their own tailpipes to remember what their role is in this exercise – IF, that is, if they ever knew actually what it was in the first place…”

                     

                    So dishonest, @rseholes and lacking intellect/knowledge? I wonder if you are this “same person” when you are courting Agents to join up for rummage4property?

                     

                    Now let’s have a look at the helpful and polite building.co.uk PeeBee…

                     

                    “It would be enormously helpful if you were to state whereabouts you are based – or are prepared to travel to get the experience you seek. There are a couple of employers who frequent this forum who might be in a position to help…”

                     

                    “I engage in banter, craic…call it what you like. I say nothing in malice, also I am careful not to insult nor to denigrate”

                     

                    “SJ – welcome back! You’ve been a miss, Siree…”

                     

                    Just a quick sample, not the same PeeBee as far as I’m concerned. Somebody who now waits in the background waiting to pounce and try and ridicule anybody who posts positively about something you disagree with.

                     

                    Just a big bully now really. And clearly don’t like it when the tables are turned.

                     

                    “Your comment, in clear attempt to belittle me, belittles many – and you owe those people an apology, Sir.”

                     

                    What a hypocrite! They were untrustworthy @rseholes not so long ago.

                     

                     

                     

                     

                     

                     

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                2. Anthonyw

                  Why do some of you keep attacking cyberduck? He speaks so much sense. It is as if someone doesn’t agree with the consensus on here they are shot down. I may be new here but it bothers me that cyberduck is always targeted in this way. It is like there is some little elite club on here that supports each other and any newbies are excluded from it. We all have valid opinions, they may not be aligned with everyone’s thinking/beliefs but they are stil valid.

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                  1. AgentV

                    Anthonyw 
                     
                    Why do some of you keep attacking cyberduck?
                     
                    Just maybe because he goes out of his way to damage other people, even including tracking them down to their small family supporting businesses and doing whatever he can to find anything to try and hurt them!
                     
                    Just a thought!
                     
                    BSOS23PC

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                  2. Property Pundit

                    ‘I may be new here’

                    Stick around a while and you’ll understand.

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                    1. Property Pundit

                      See cyberduck46
                      JANUARY 27, 2019 AT 08:26   see what I mean?

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                  3. Woodentop

                    People respond to his often nonsense and self-contradiction. Loves to hate agents and throw the knife in whenever he can from his single minded and limited imagination.

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                  4. cyberduck46

                    Anthonyw. take no notice, it’s the same with others and it’s been like this pretty much since I said anything positive about PurpleBricks.
                     

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    4. Woodentop

      No disputing would save yourself on commission and that is the only name game of these companies. But as the majority of the housing market AROUND THE WORLD are saying, that is not the service they expect from estate agents. The only people who are using them are those that want to save on commission for less service. There will always be the cheapskates but they do not realise the far reaching impact they have on others directly and indirectly and how it can bring a market down where everyone including themselves ends up losing.    
       
      The current format of the new breed hybrid on-liners that you support are non-viable business operations that cause people to lose money and jobs while you save on a piddly commission!  

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      1. cyberduck46

        Woodentop,  
         
        Overseas was always going to be a tough nut to crack. After the initial success in the UK Directors would have been remiss if they hadn’t given it a try overseas. If investors want to invest more to carry on it’s up to them.  
         
        I’m sure a lot of those who choose PB are people who have felt let down by High Street Agents or who don’t think they are worth a percentage of the asset value of the property. Not necessarily cheapskates.  
         
        Back around 4pm to discuss further.
         

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        1. Woodentop

          Still making a loss and why would over seas be a tough nut to crack. Same principle and model being used and failing as it is in the UK. PB offers the customer nothing but a saving in fee, but can’t guarantee a sale for the charge and REFUSE TO DISCLOSE HOW MANY THEY ACTUALLY SOLD and FOR HOW MUCH, so the jury is out on whether they undersell or not. Period. In some places around the country the PB charges are not that big a saving, some other on-liners are cheaper and charge only for success and ALL those on the High Street provide more service, which costs more. HELLO DUCKY, the public are using these high street agents … wonder why!!! You constantly go on about saving money, wake up, PB don’t and can’t ever hope to offer the same level of service as the High Street. If the consumer wants servive, it costs with the overheads that come with it. If they don’t, then they can choose to use the likes of PB.

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          1. cyberduck46

            >Still making a loss and why would over seas be a tough nut to crack.
             
            Other UK companies have failed. Different cultures part of it.
             
            >You constantly go on about saving money, wake up, PB don’t and can’t ever hope to offer the same level of service as the High Street.
             
            Well, no I don’t constantly go on about it. If there is no evidence that Paul Smith can provide as to online agents achieving lower prices then a non-biased article should have mentioned the saving in fees. 
             
            I have friends who sold with PB too. They researched and had been following local house prices before listing and were very happy with the valuation from a very experienced Agent, the service provided and the price achieved. saved them thousands in fees too. So with a very small sample of 2 that makes 100%.
             
            In terms of service I suppose it depends on what you want and certainly it’s looking like about 94% of sellers prefer to stick with traditional agents. Doesn’t change the fact that those who do use PB save thousands on comission – my own experience suggesting traditional agents don’t sell any quicker or get a better price. If you believe that the amount of reduction on the listing price is anything to go by (I don’t) then a fairly old analysis of data by Which? suggested traditional agents reduce by more.
             
            If traditional agents want to demonstrate they achieve a better price then it’s been a long time coming. There must be thousands of examples where PB have sold next door to a traditional agent who has sold recently. The fact that nobody has demonstrated with a large random sample statistical approach, comparing similar properties, also suggests to me, that on the whole there’s nothing in it.
             
             
             
             
             
             
             
             
             
             
             

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            1. Woodentop

              You do talk utter nonsense and just don’t know when to stay quiet. You remind me of the stereo type who is a TROLL and can’t admit they are wrong when found wanting.

               

              Still making a loss and why would over seas be a tough nut to crack.

              You: “Other UK companies have failed. Different cultures part of it”.

              Is that your answer, it isn’t an answer, frankly makes absolutely no sense and as you seem unable to make a valid argument, therefore my statement stands as correct as it is supported in the big world by FACTS published by PB & Co’s.

               

              You constantly go on about saving money, wake up, PB don’t and can’t ever hope to offer the same level of service as the High Street.

              You: “Well, no I don’t constantly go on about it. If there is no evidence that Paul Smith can provide as to online agents achieving lower prices then a non-biased article should have mentioned the saving in fees”.

               

              Fact: Yes you do and its in print on PIE. Paul Smith may not have provided evidence for you to try and wriggle out of this subject, but who said he did! If you worked within the industry you would know from personal experience who is selling below market value. You have no knowledge on the subject so cannot confirm or deny and any argument you make it based on NO FACTS.

               

              The FACTS: PB and YOU refuse to disclose data every time challenged to prove they are not under valuing, under selling and true number  that actually achieve a sale that goes to completion. Strange as PB have that information!!! FACT: Any agent who charges a fee for just listing a property has no incentive to list the property at the right price, no incentive to achieve the best possible price (legal requirement) and no incentive to provide an after service to completion, that will erode their profit. PB as an example tick all those boxes which you support. This is not the case with the operations of High Street agents.

               

              You: “Doesn’t change the fact that those who do use PB save thousands on commission”

               

              Never said it did, to the contrary, that is the sole reason for someone to consider using PB and is their message to the public.

              As to the rest of your rant, FACT: High street agents are not in the dock every week for breach of code of conduct and the Estate Agents Act, so if there are some under sales it isn’t rife as you would seem to suggest. Considering the thousands of agents and millions of sales, this would show up over decades and there has been enough regulators during that time to have weeded it out into the open if there was a problem. You need to remember (but wouldn’t know as your not in the industry) the agent takes instructions from the seller as to the advertised value, some are spot on, some are low often for vendors ambitions/direction and some are high. The number of complaints to the TPO confirms the FACT that agents in general are well behaved and  a very small minority misbehave. How many times and fines have PB now received for misleading the public and accused of not operating within the bounds of ethical and legal requirements? so they are not squeaky clean and we are also talking about their operations worldwide as well as in the UK!!!!

               

              Talking values, is it true you had to reduce your value by £100,000 with PB to achieve a sale? Who was wrong, you or PB?

               

              Its time you got of your horse with anti high street agent agenda which, FACT you have demonstrated in print on PIE for a long time. If you continue in this vain, you should not be surprised for agents to react to your decision to print tosh which is misleading and antagonistic on their property industry forum.

               

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              1. Property Pundit

                The fact that nobody has demonstrated with a large random sample statistical approach, comparing similar properties, also suggests to me, that on the whole there’s nothing in it
                Ladies & Gentlemen, another absolute gem from Mr Lawson. Shame it will probably be missed by most readers of PIE.

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              2. cyberduck46

                Woodentop,
                 
                Just picking up on a couple of the many things you bring up. Last post in response to you but if PeeBee or Sophia Snighper (new member who knows an awful lot about my sale, strange fur a lurker to give themselves such a name) wants to discuss PeeBee’s ludicrous attempt at comparing the price of my property with next doors’  then I’ll carry on with that. Both seem to have run away with their tails between their legs.
                 
                Using the CSM method – that really says a lot.
                 
                I accepted an offer of £603K which was after it was reduced from £700K to £630K pretty quickly. That offer fell through and it was no fault of PB’s it was just a difficult situation with the money being controled by a trust managed by solicitors a long way away. The girl who was beneficiary of the trust was disabled and her parents who were local really wanted the property but the Trust wouldn’t meet the price after the survey as I suppose they were being overly cautious.
                 
                Anyway, I’m sure you’ll claim a local agent could have done better but if you look at other nearby properties, particularly my immediate neighbours’, they were all marketed by local agents and quite frankly they didn’t manage to sell quickly using their methods. Like I say, my neighbour sacked their first agent and other properties went through multiple agents with one of them on and off the market from before my listing and still not sold unless I’m mistaken.
                 
                >Is that your answer, it isn’t an answer, frankly makes absolutely no sense
                 
                Well do some research. I can think of a few companies who have struggled or failed when taking their business overseas. Marks & Spencer & Tesco come to mind. I believe Estate Agent Foxtons even gave it a go. 
                 
                It’s a generally recognised issue.
                 
                See https://www.firmex.com/thedealroom/seven-epic-fails-by-businesses-that-tried-expanding-into-foreign-markets/
                 
                Businesses carry on back home.
                 
                As for the rest of your comments I really don’t have the time. I’ve read your comments here and elsewhere and don’t think you have the expertise to comment on an international business that is a PLC. Each country is different and if you can’t see that then there’s no real point in discussing anything really.
                 
                What is it you do for a living? You say you have a business, what does it do?
                 
                Oh Woodentop, you might also wish to consider the other point I made originally “What about the customers who save on Estate Agent commission because of competition provided?”. Not that I’m going to reply if you comment 🙂 there just isn’t enough time in the day.
                 
                Back tomorrow to read any responses.
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                    

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    5. smile please

      What do you mean saved yourself thousands?, did you not have to reduce your price by 100k!!!!

      FFS! – If that is not an expensive agent to use i do not know what is!

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    6. WiltsAgent

      I’m just happy for my small business employing 5 people to be vastly more profitable than the entire online estate agency sector.

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  8. Edenio

    Still think there’s room for online agents in the lettings sector. OpenRent grew from 0 properties in 2012 to having the largest amount of listings of any agent in 2015, just by automating bureaucratic tasks. Yes, they only handle tenant find (at the mo) – but there’s still more that can be improved.

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  9. RichardHill61

    Other people’s money!

    Does anyone really believe the Director’s give an S H I T about the loses?

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    1. P-Daddy

      Actually I believe they do….but only when its too late! They don’t have enough skin in the game in the early days and so run wild chasing hypothetical business valuations

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