Online agents increase market share by 57% in a year – but still have just 5% of market

There has been a “significant shift” towards using online agents, a new report on the housing market claims.

It says that in the second quarter of this year, they increased their market share by 57% compared with the same period last year.

But despite the dramatic uplift, they nevertheless had only 5% of the overall market between April and June.

And despite oft-repeated claims by online firms to sell homes more quickly than the average, the report says they actually take longer in terms of the time between ‘selling’ and completion.

It says that in the second quarter of this year, high street agents exchanged on 265,192 homes, compared with 12,583 exchanges by online agents.

The new report is from customer intelligence firm TwentyCi, and is the first in what is intended to be a quarterly series.

The company claims to have a 99.6% view of both the property sales and rental markets, and compares each quarter’s performance with the same timespan a year ago.

It says its reports are driven by data, and not by survey or sentiment.

Its first report says that the UK housing market is “surprisingly buoyant”, with the number of exchanges up 6.3% year on year, and up 28% on the first quarter of the year.

Altogether, it says there were some 278,000 exchanges in the second quarter.

The report includes some interesting maps, showing the overall number of moves – into both purchased properties and rental accommodation – per region.

In most regions the numbers were up, but in London, the east midlands and East Anglia the numbers were down.

The report is here – and seems more interesting than most:

http://insight.twentyci.co.uk/twentyci-national-homemover-audit-q2-2017

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69 Comments

  1. Simon Bradbury

    Interesting.

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  2. Chris Wood

    I’m guessing all of the call-centre agents will be shouting about 57% market share increase (which I strongly question) but keeping VERY quiet about the time taken to sell and number of actual sales (not yet cross-referenced), especially when compared to claims of 88% instruction to completion success rates made on BBC MoneyBox by Mr Bruce.

     

    You weren’t expecting me NOT to comment on this story, were you?

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    1. Property Ear

      Good point and –

      Professional agents, offering a thorough and ethical service can boast that, despite the intimidation by the likes of PB, they retain 95%, yes – NINETY FIVE PER CENT of the market,

      Have no fear you thoroughbreds, the rags won’t stay the course!

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      1. Bless You

        Like i said to our rightmove rep…i dont care what market share onliners have, ..its the fact they are PAY ANY WAY agents and the duped vendor cant afford to change agents cos they ve paid anyway….

        Iam not sure what quality rules Rightmove have to allow an estate agent on its site but when the BBC finally get hold that PAYANYWAY is restrictive practice and not good for the consumer they might change their ridiculous policy.

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  3. AgentV

    Wonder how much of the 57% uplift is down to people picking up the phone believing they can sell their how for free, and get a full estate agency service, as portrayed on the TV adverts they have seen?

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    1. cyberduck46

      Probably a very tiny number as people who own houses are generally not that stupid.

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      1. AgentV

        But they pick up the phone to confirm what they hope but doubt….and then they are realed  in, having taken the bait…..

        Cynical marketing…..just like selling leasehold new build houses with onerous ground rent terms that make the properties difficult to sell in the future.

        Do you think all the tens of thousands of people who have bought those in the last few years were ‘stupid’?

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      2. Beam Splitter

        It’s classic bait-and-switch marketing which is controversial at best, and hugely unethical at worst. Why shill so hard for onliners anyway Cyberduck? They demonstrably provide poor service and lower the public opinion of estate agency even further. I know some folks are only in it for a quick buck but other firms are passionate about the industry and hurt to see it slip so much.

        I know standard hybrid/high street agencies also have a few (a lot) of bad eggs, but the trick is to drive the service level up, not down.

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    2. Property Paddy

      Yes I think this is going to be a very telling time for the cca, all very well getting the upfront fee “to save thousands” but if reality is they don’t actually sell then what next ?

      Will the cca continue to win new instructions with their reputation diminished and still falling?

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      1. AgentV

        When people have been marketed to as ‘instruct us to sell for x amount’ or the like, and then haven’t sold (but still had to pay), will there be ambulance chasing companies preparing to follow through, encouraging mass complaints?

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  4. Simon Bradbury

    I would be interested to understand what, according to the authors of the report, is the accepted definition of an ‘online agents’.

    Nearly ALL estate agents are ‘online’ and I have genuinely yet to hear an acceptable ( and fair ) definition of this market sector.The lack of such a definition makes it extremely difficult to to accurately measure market share.

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    1. AgentV

      They are ‘online listers’

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      1. levinyl91

        Agree with you Simon but I think the fact is they are online only without offices

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    2. dave_d

      The only sensible definition that I can think of is one that doesn’t have a high street presence.

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    3. Thomas Flowers

      ‘Pay day’ agents know the day they will be paid whatever the outcome.

      Proper estate agents do not know this day from the outset or whether they get paid at all.

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      1. AgentV

        For the ‘Pay day’ listers their sale is completed once they put the house on the portals!

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    4. Property Paddy

      I thought it was generally accepted that we (trad agents) call them CCA call centre agents and everyone else call them all sorts of names !!!!!!!

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  5. AgentPink92

    Considering the huge TV spend by the likes of PB, Housesimple and Tepilo and the fortunes being spent on Google PPC advertising by all of the major onlinesrs + the small market share base they started from – I don’t see a 57% increase as being anything to shout about and I fail to see why Chris Wood strongly questions the figure.

    Put it this way, I bet the combined advertising spend of the OA’s has doubled or even trebled in the past year (swallowing all of that crowdfunding etc) so a 57% increase in market share is 3.5% to 5% is hardly a great return on investment.

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    1. Chris Wood

      I question the figures as the ones I had earlier this year showed a market sector drop from a high of circa 5% to below that figure. As you correctly say, at those very low levels of market share, any increase over a given time period will, likely, be a headline-grabbing percentage figure but, a real-world statistically insignificant number compared to the whole market.

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  6. AgentV

    Why did NTSEAT issue a warning about misleading claims and adverts several weeks ago, and yet to date very little appears to have changed?

    What happens next?

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    1. dave_d

      Nothing happens, that is why the ASA is a joke.

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    2. Chris Wood

      The case is compelling but when you only have a team of three or four people to police an industry of tens of thousands, things don’t move as fast as many (especially me) would like.

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  7. Malcolm Barnard

    It is worth noting that the report refers to exchanges not share of properties on the market. Quote from the report: “Finally, there has been a significant shift towards using online estate agents. While they still only represent a small portion of the overall market (in terms of exchanges).”

    The figures quoted in the report are based on Q2 2017 v Q2 2016 which showed (according to their data) 265,192 exchanges from High Street Agents v 12,583 exchanges from Online Agents giving Online Agents a 4.53% share of total exchanges.

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    1. PeeBee

      Had the “online” Agents exchanged on a mere 86 units less then we would have been looking at a headline figure of FOUR percent, not 5.

      Just think about that figure – eighty six exchanges – such a small number that has made a statistic change so radically.

      Eighty-six exchanges… over three months… that’s less than one a day, isn’t it?

      Between HOW many “Agents”?

      HOW many staff?

      ACROSS THE ENTIRE UK.

      Cracking job.  Keep it up, boys and girls…

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  8. Knownothing89

    What sources are they using?

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  9. cyberduck46

    Most of that 57% increase in market share was by one company who completed their national coverage at the end of 2015.

     

    If a company has 70% of the online market and continues to increase the number of transactions by close to 100% every year then that 5% figure grows pretty rapidly. If that one company has 3% of the market for new listings then that company alone will increase the sector market share to 8%, then 14% in a couple of years if the rate of growth is maintained.

     

    Of course that’s a big “if”. It’s a fast changing world but there are limits to how fast things can grow.

     

    My neighbours are listing their property. They are an old couple and I asked them who they were listing with and they told me the agent they went with and said it was because they have the best brochure. I’m 56 and most of my friends have never bought anything off the internet.

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    1. Mark Walker

      Can an agent whose transactions are like these https://uk.trustpilot.com/reviews/59783ccba64b41086cef0337 increase them 100% year-on-year?

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      1. cyberduck46

        I don’t think the small number of negative reviews will be the problem, especially as Estate Agents have such a poor reputation.

         

        See http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/news/article-1701340/Top-10-most-distrusted-professions-in-the-UK.html

         

        Estate Agents are 5th on the list of most distrusted professions : “consumers have long been wary of estate agents and car salesmen working on a ‘sell at any cost’ commission-based approach.”

         

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        1. Chris Wood

          It’s not a small number (all negative reviews are pounced on and removed and, verification is such a painful process that many give up) whilst un-verified positive reviews remain. Also the case that Trustpilot appears to be breaking its own Ts and Cs’ but amalgamating hundreds of individual sole traders and ltd companies under a separate PLC.

           

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          1. AgentV

            One thing is for certain……knowing how easily it can be manipulated I will never trust multiple positive reviews I read on TP ever again. In actual fact I have now stopped even considering it as a review site….and I also know of many, many people that are coming to the same conclusion.

            If you are reading this TP, this manipulation is severely damaging your business…..how can people trust anything that is on your site, now they have seen how it realy works?

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          2. cyberduck46

            Chris, I’ve just checked and there are unverified negative reviews so it’s not true that all negative reviews are pounced on. Have you never been to a good hotel or eaten at a good restaurant that has negative reviews? I certainly have.

             

            Even if the public did think PurpleBricks offered a poor service this would only put them on a par with traditional agents from what I can see in regard to public opinion. So not really the determining factor in choosing an agent which is the point Mark was making. This is why I don’t see negative reviews being something that will particularly affect growth.

             

            Most people I speak to tell me they think estate Agents are useless and do nothing for their commission. Being told to reduce your price is pretty standard when your property doesn’t sell after they’ve given you a high valuation. Pretty much what the negative review was saying about PurpleBricks.

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            1. Garret2

              The difference is – with PB they have ALREADY paid….

              That’s got to (at somestage) put them in a league below traditional estate agents in the public opinion stakes.

              Also, lets not forget the mysterious case of PB’s Facebook review page being disabled once 1 star reviews had reached north of 33%.

              PurpleBricks – “Monetising naivety since 2014”

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              1. cyberduck46

                >The difference is – with PB they have ALREADY paid….

                 

                So the fact that there are so few verified negative reviews on TrustPilot is even more significant.

                 

                >Also, lets not forget the mysterious case of PB’s Facebook review page being disabled once 1 star reviews had reached north of 33%.

                 

                But PurpleBricks promote reviews on TrustPilot so as a consumer you wouldn’t really look to FaceBook. Those with positive opinions would not go looking to give a second review so it would be mostly disgruntled customers who complain or competitors looking to damage PurpleBricks.

                 

                TrustPilot might not be accurate but it’s at least it’s a level playing field. I know that Foxtons use it. You’d think that if it was so easy to manipulate then we’d be seeing Estate Agents with 100% positive reviews making it difficult for PurplBricks to claim to be the highest rated.

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                1. Garret2

                  It’s never a level playing field when you as the service provider are the one requesting the reviews (and choosing at what point in the customer journey to request them).

                  As to why other estate agents have not replicated PB’s success on the TrustPilot – I’d say that’s because they haven’t invested in putting in place the systems neccessary to populate their profile with “pre-completion” reviews.

                  PurpleBricks – “Monetising naivety since 2014 (with the help of TrustPilot)”

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                  1. cyberduck46

                    >It’s never a level playing field when you as the service provider are the one requesting the reviews (and choosing at what point in the customer journey to request them).

                     

                    It’s a level playing field between service providers because you are in control of what you do. You can ask for a review whenever you want so it’s the same for everybody.

                     

                    >I’d say that’s because they haven’t invested in putting in place the systems necessary to populate their profile

                     

                    Exactly. This would be the approach to take if you wanted to compete on a level playing field rather than bicker about how unfair everything is. How difficult would that be? It might even increase customer service levels.

                     

                     

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                    1. Garret2

                      So let me get this straight – you’re saying “if you can’t beat them join them”?

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            2. Sidy7213

              I think you need to spend some time looking at the PB negative reviews in relation to some traditional agents negative reviews. The shear anger and disbelief from the PB cleints is ferocious and nothing like a negative TA review. Its way beyond levels of service and not being able to get a call back, this is giving people’s details away, it’s people losing out on property, it’s vendors having money taken out of their account regardless, it’s people signing up to an unknown loan agreement and a firm of solicitors that is bottom of the barrel and not knowing a thing about it and having to pay for it, it’s not being able to excersise the 14 day legal cooling off period …..do you want me to continue?

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        2. Estate_Agent_Memes

          @cyberduck46 Yawn – old news, literally in your links case, it’s from 2010!!! ((pace palm))

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          1. cyberduck46

            So Estate_Agent_Memes you reckon Estate Agents have suddenly become more trusted since 2010?

             

            Have a look at a few of the articles published here over the last few days.

             

            I’m just looking at all the index of legal cases that have been brought against Estate Agents over the years. 18 pages of them with about 40 cases per page.

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            1. AgentV

              Out of interest what are most of the cases usually about?

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              1. cyberduck46

                Well looking at the first 3 cases under the letter B we have:

                 

                1) Unfair commission terms.

                2) Express Authority

                3) Negligence in respect to a sub-agency.

                 

                If you want any more detail than that i recommend the book “Law of Estate Agency” by John Murdoch.

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                1. Chris Wood

                  There are far too many agents who do not know the law of agency of all business models and types; however:

                  1) Such as an advert “instructing to sell” when there is a circa (unknown) 50% chance of actually selling and no apparent cooling off period?

                  2) Such as customers complaining the property was made live when it was not explained that by doing so they would incur full costs/ effectively waive their cooling off period?

                  3) Such as, say, a small limited company or sole trader, sub-instructing a property to another sole-trader/ Ltd company and/ or a PLC (or vice-versa) without expressly obtaining that clients permission?

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  10. levinyl91

    The bubble will burst soon enough…I will be looking for front row seats when it does 🙂

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  11. cyberduck46

    >And despite oft-repeated claims by online firms to sell homes more quickly than the average, the report says they actually take longer.

     

    Just read the report and what it says is that it takes longer between selling and completion.

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    1. Chris Wood

      Giving the lie to the oft quoted (and published) quote/ advice by PB that they don’t chain check as sales go through more smoothly when we  leave the solicitors to get on with it (paraphrasing)

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      1. AgentV

        In the past three months we would have had a third of our sales fall apart completely, if we had just left it to the solicitors and we hadn’t have done all we could to chase, check, cajole, reason, address and hold hands with all the parties concerned.

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        1. cyberduck46

          AgentV,

           

          Can you substantiate that claim?

           

          There’s no doubt that Estate Agents pester you all the time but who’s to say how effective this is? The solicitor I’m using refuses to take calls from Estate Agents because they are such a nuisance.

           

          The average fall-through rate according to Rightmove is 15%.

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          1. AgentV

            I can substantiate them yes….I wouldn’t have said it if I couldn’t.

            Examples include where someone was threatening to pull out because of the time needed for final completion, and the conveyancer couldn’t be bothered to explain to the vendor that it would take five working days for the money to be drawn down from the buyer’s lender, another where arguments have broken out between solicitors blaming each other about whether a query raised late on, to be sorted with indemnity, could have been or was raised earlier, and examples where an MOS have been sent out and weeks later a chase has revealed the solicitor has not started the process because they have not had the pack back from their client, but equally have not chased them or even asked us to chase them.

            Those are the ones that come straight to mind.

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            1. cyberduck46

              AgentV,

               

              What you are referring to are threats of pulling out.

               

              People make threats all the time and don’t go through with them.

               

              You also don’t know whether somebody else would have acted if you didn’t.

               

              I would suggest to claim a third of you sales would have fallen through cannot be substantiated.

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              1. AgentV

                I am not going to argue with you, because I know the truth, and that is what is important to me. I don’t care really what you think, and about if you believe me or not. My opinion that if we were not proactive ‘after sale’ we would lose a third of our sales still stands.

                Oh by the way in the first example, the solicitor told me their client had pulled out and quote ‘There’s nothing more I can do and I am not going to waste any more of my time on it’. And if we hadn’t have acted, who else would have? We had a vested interest in it completing, but more than that…. I cared about the buyer losing a property they really wanted!

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              2. Garret2

                > The average fall-through rate according to Rightmove is 15%.

                Not so.

                Rightmove say that 15% of all sales that fall though “come back” to market.

                Rightmove do not say when that observation was made nor if it has ever been updated.

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      2. cyberduck46

        Chris, I imagine your paraphrasing leaves a lot to be desired. 🙂 After all you’ve just claimed that “all negative reviews are pounced on and removed” which clearly isn’t the case.

         

        Do you have the actual published quote?

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        1. Chris Wood

          You are correct. I could have been misinterpreted. All negative reviews are pounced on and this has been documented and all are removed (temporarily) to see if they “breach guidelines”. However, I have written statements from a number of customers (verified) who claim that the verification process required by TP was so onerous that it appeared to be a deliberate deterrent for negative reviewers to go through the verification process.

          There is more to come on the TP story.

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          1. PeeBee

            Just like Blue Peter – here’s one they made earlier…

            uk.trustpilot.com/users/567acc840000ff0001f6566f

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          2. AgentV

            There is more to come on the TP story.On Watchdog perhaps?

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          3. cyberduck46

            Chris, when I look at a sample of negative reviews I see some that are verified and some that aren’t.

             

            Might it not be the case that reviews that come straight from an email invitation are not removed and not verified because it is clear the review comes from a PurpleBricks customer?

             

            However anybody can enter a review if my understanding is incorrect. So might it not be the case that when a negative review comes from a person who just goes directly to the TrustPilot site (rather than via the invitation email) then the review is verified?

             

            Do you have evidence that this is not the case? I certainly am suspicious of your general statement that all negative reviews are removed. I believe if this was the case all negative reviews would be marked as verified reviews.

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            1. PeeBee

              cyberduck46

              You want a review that’s been through the trauma of being #nuked and then reinstated?

              Try this one for size:

              https://uk.trustpilot.com/reviews/59563315dacd1d069c95f763

              I have the screenshot, from 30 June, when it was “reported” and removed for

              Here’s what I Tweeted to @Trustpilot when the review was first removed

              https://twitter.com/Agent_PeeBee/status/880781496218521600

              Of course this is not an isolated case – simply the most recent I can lay my hands on.

              Feel free to offer one of your usual explanations to help the companies squirm out of this embarrassing farce.

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              1. cyberduck46

                PeeBee,

                 

                If somebody left negative feedback about me and I couldn’t identify them as a genuine client I would ask for that review to be removed pending verification.

                 

                The alternative approach of leaving a review whilst verifying would allow competitors to pile in with hundreds of fictitious negative reviews.

                 

                I would go as far as saying I would expect this approach to be pretty standard.

                 

                Of course if you can show me that a negative review that has originated from an email invitation had been removed then I would i) be shocked and ii) be quite happy to inform trading standards about it myself.

                 

                Do you have proof of this? Just seeing that negative posts have been removed and then seeing them return is what you would expect to counter the problem of competitors posting fraudulent reviews.

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                1. PeeBee

                  “If somebody left negative feedback about me and I couldn’t identify them as a genuine client I would ask for that review to be removed pending verification.”

                  Sir – YOU ARE COMPLETELY OVERLOOKING THE CLEARLY EVIDENT FACTS. But then I would expect nothing less.

                  That aside, I would like to sincerely thank you for (albeit in an unmistakable “OOPS!! moment” fashion) providing confirmation that you get an email invitation to leave a review…

                  …that’ll do nicely – helps us immensely!

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        2. PeeBee

          cyberduck46

          Here’s the actual words used – as seen in responses to @trustpilot 1-star reviews of what disgruntled customers refer to as the company’s near non-existent/appalling/useless/disastrous “post sales” efforts:

          “It is important to note that at the point you accept your offer, the best people to assist you moving forwards would be our Post Sales Support Team. Their role is to support and guide you throughout the transaction should you need them, however we often find it is best to allow the conveyancing process to progress naturally as most sales will complete smoothly without the need for updates, which can take your solicitor away from performing the role they do best, your conveyancing.”

          I personally think that Chris’ version is infinitely more transparent.  Some might say the company would do well to learn from this.

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          1. Chris Wood

            Thank you PeeBee, I knew you’d have the quote 😉

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          2. cyberduck46

            PeeBee,

             

             

            So you will see that neither you or Chris are correct if that is the statement that Chris was referring to when he came to the conclusion:

             

            “Giving the lie to the oft quoted (and published) quote/ advice by PB that they don’t chain check as sales go through more smoothly when we  leave the solicitors to get on with it (paraphrasing)”

             

            often find it is best” is what Chris & you seem to believe means always.

             

             

             

             

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            1. PeeBee

              “…“often find it is best” is what Chris & you seem to believe means always.”

              I will try to keep this proper easy peasy – cos clearly good-old ‘simple’ has done a fly-past on you.

              Chris stated

              “…the oft quoted (and published) quote/ advice by PB…”

              which, if you look, is exactly what it is.  OFT-quoted.  How many example links do you want me to post?

              The fact that they OFTEN STATE that they find it best to leave chains to their own devices would be taken by the reasonable person on the street that this is what they tend to do.

              Unless you tell me that they give you – being a currently “SOLD STC” customer of the company – the tick-box or otherwise stated election method option of them chasing the sale or leaving it to flop around on its’ belly and either live or die, then I think that any reasonable person would take it as read that the second option would be their standard practice based on the evidence in front of them.

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    2. AgentV

       longer between selling and completion

      Which is by far the most relevant statistic. Anyone can achieve a very quick ‘offer accepted’ on reasonably priced properties in the current market. We often have popular properties that we could have claimed as being sold within three days, the first weekend of viewings, with acceptable offers coming in on the day.

      However, we have then carried on with further viewings for a week or so more and accordingly achieved much higher offers. In the end it looks as though it has taken us three to four times as long (maybe 12 days) to sell as some of our competitors in the area do with popular properties…….but without doubt we have achieved the better end result for the Vendor!!!

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      1. wardy

        Who could possibly dislike that comment? (other than a complete moron)

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    3. htsnom79

      Cyberduck46, you’re obviously a bright lad or girl and for the most part I enjoy your contrary contributions, if you have shares in pharma I’m sure you’re all over the equivalent chemistryindustryeye forum or whatever,  but AgentV is recognisably proper in terms of what we do, your preference is customer or consumer, we think client, there is a difference

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  12. htsnom79

    Too late

    http://m.lse.co.uk/markets/shareprice/chat.asp?share=PURP

     

     

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    1. PeeBee

      Nah… He WAS a shareholder… then he sold them.

      Then, apparently, he bought them again.

      THEN, apparently, he sold them again (quite recently as declared here on EYE)

      So… he must have bought again, in order to want to sell… AGAIN.

      Here’s one for the (law-abiding) Agents in the room:

      Doesn’t a shareholder of an Estate Agency have an obligation under S21 EAA 1979 to declare his/her interest in the company as a “connected person”?

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      1. Chris Wood

        Yes. So, if LPEs have been advising clients* or marketing/ selling homes without declaring a personal interest, that may well be in breach of Section 21. Another job for NTSEAT to add to their long list of issues to consider (including, as Cyberduck recently pointed out, the issue of sub-agencies also needs looking at)

         

        *and passing personal data to another company

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