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The EA industry has enjoyed a boom for a decade where house prices only went up and it only required a semi-articulate description of a property, combined with an optimistic guess as to valuation, and a sale was quickly obtained in the hothouse conditions created by one of the world's biggest ever asset bubbles.

Thus a whole generation of 20 or 30 somethings became 'estate agents' riding out in their cheap shiny suits and polyester ties; none of them old enough to remember the crash of the late 80s and too poorly educated to question the bigger picture which now presents itself. I speak simply of demographics, fundamentals, UK personal debt, rising unemployment, potential IRs, the carry trade, and a whole raft of other considerations that I will not bore you with because they have been well articulated already on this forum. What grasp will these low-grade people have of these complex subjects and how can they possibly present the vendors with the sophisticated advice they deserve?

But let's look further ahead. Consider the freedom and transparency created by the internet; the ability to create virtual tours of one's property for sale, to write up one's own intuitive property description couched in a language likely to appeal to the potential buyer and to take the time to photograph the best aspects of the property for upload to your personal internet property advertisement. Are EAs capable of providing a level of support equivalent to what one can provide for oneself? Do they have the brains? I very much doubt it.

So who will need these Spivs in the future; more importantly which system do you envisage which will inevitably replace them?

Edited by Red Baron

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So who will need these Spivs in the future?

The only reason anyone needs them now is because they're too busy working 23 hours a day to pay their mortgage and their gas bills to have time to sell their own house. In future? I reckon there'll be some virtually automated online system that puts house-hunters and properties together and has a computerised system to take care of all the nonsense that currently commands a heafty commission. I imagine it will be pioneered by someone like Richard Branson or Stelios.

Will estate agents survive? Propably not... because they're too greedy. Any competent businessman uses the boom years to build up a surplus that can be uses as a cushion during the bust years. Somehow I don't see the likes of those working at Foxtons to be interested in being so sensible with their money.

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I imagine it will be pioneered by someone like Richard Branson or Stelios.

Very good point.

Sooner or later someone is going to see the huge opportunities available to cut through the archaic system of house selling in the UK (as represented by the EA industry) and replace it with something fit for the 21st century.

Shall we write to Stelios?

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Dont all shout at once, but is that not what right move, fish for homes and the like are all about. And lets not forget that every estate agent up and down the country has a web site. I fror one would love to see an honest, people friendly, no frills site, however I think that they have already cornered the market.

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The only reason anyone needs them now is because they're too busy working 23 hours a day to pay their mortgage and their gas bills to have time to sell their own house. In future? I reckon there'll be some virtually automated online system that puts house-hunters and properties together and has a computerised system to take care of all the nonsense that currently commands a heafty commission. I imagine it will be pioneered by someone like Richard Branson or Stelios.

Will estate agents survive? Propably not... because they're too greedy. Any competent businessman uses the boom years to build up a surplus that can be uses as a cushion during the bust years. Somehow I don't see the likes of those working at Foxtons to be interested in being so sensible with their money.

The technology to do the automated online system is here now. What will make it work or not work is if it gains critical mass. I've seen some property websites advertised, but when I look, there might be two houses in my area or similar. What's needed to make it work is marketing.

As for estate agents, while I can see a reason for them, I can't see the necessity of having so many of them. Every tiny little village seems to have several estate agents. And even a smallish city has tens of them in the city centre and then more in every shopping centre. It must cost a lot of money to run all these businesses, and the money to support this is coming out of somebody's pocket.

Billy Shears

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Dont all shout at once, but is that not what right move, fish for homes and the like are all about.

Well they allow you to enter your spec and inform you when something that matches appears... but what I'm talking about is something infinitely more sophisticated – Something that has an automated system to take care of all the entire purchase.

I see it like this:

1: Vendor decides to sell.

2: Registers with 'EasyHouse' who passes an account number to surveyor.

3: Surveyor carries out survey and fills details in online.

4: House details and survey info are now online for potential buyers to see.

5: Buyer sees house and decides they like it.

6: Buyer browses different mortgage options and clicks on their choice. Their details and the house details are send to the lender who uses the details to see how much they'll lend against it.

7: Lender informs buyer who, if the loan offered is sufficient, requests a viewing.

8: Viewing takes place.

9: Buyer wants to go ahead and clicks 'buy' on the 'EasyHouse' page for their chosen house.

10: Info is transferred to lender who arranges mortgage and the purchase becomes binding once confirmation is received that the money is available to transfer and the buyer finally confirms.

Okay, I realise this can be refined, but that's basically what I'm seeing for the future.

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So who will need these Spivs in the future?

Hopefully no-one.

Just a little anecdote - a friend of mine lives in a beautiful block of flats on Richmond Hill. Of 8 flats, 3 are currently on the market and have been for the best part of the last year. One recently switched to an online 'ea' and guess what... that's the only flat that is under offer. The others, on with high street agents, are sticking. These flats were going for 280K+ but asking is now down to 250K and the offer received was apparently below 230K. All moving in the right direction :)

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Well they allow you to enter your spec and inform you when something that matches appears... but what I'm talking about is something infinitely more sophisticated – Something that has an automated system to take care of all the entire purchase.

I see it like this:

1: Vendor decides to sell.

2: Registers with 'EasyHouse' who passes an account number to surveyor.

3: Surveyor carries out survey and fills details in online.

4: House details and survey info are now online for potential buyers to see.

5: Buyer sees house and decides they like it.

6: Buyer browses different mortgage options and clicks on their choice. Their details and the house details are send to the lender who uses the details to see how much they'll lend against it.

7: Lender informs buyer who, if the loan offered is sufficient, requests a viewing.

8: Viewing takes place.

9: Buyer wants to go ahead and clicks 'buy' on the 'EasyHouse' page for their chosen house.

10: Info is transferred to lender who arranges mortgage and the purchase becomes binding once confirmation is received that the money is available to transfer and the buyer finally confirms.

Okay, I realise this can be refined, but that's basically what I'm seeing for the future.

Uh Oh...

House is stuck in a chain... 4 houses long.

Who acts as the go between, or is it a free for all?

How does the buyer view the property (quickly?) During the day?

What if the buyer lives a long way away and wants to view 6 houses in one day? How can this be organised?

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Uh Oh...

House is stuck in a chain... 4 houses long.

Who acts as the go between, or is it a free for all?

How does the buyer view the property (quickly?) During the day?

What if the buyer lives a long way away and wants to view 6 houses in one day? How can this be organised?

good points...

I can see the theory, and if I could work out a way to do it then I would, but let’s go through the stages -

1: Vendor decides to sell.

[how can they do this when they have had no marketing advice from an agent? well some can but not all]

2: Registers with 'EasyHouse' who passes an account number to surveyor

3: Surveyor carries out survey and fills details in online.

[he also charges £300 for a survey / details of the property – which is currently done for free by an estate agent. Please also note that the job of an agent is to provie marketing advice, something that a surveyor cannot do to the same extent because he does not deal with buyers every day of the week]

4: House details and survey info are now online for potential buyers to see.

5: Buyer sees house and decides they like it.

6: Buyer browses different mortgage options and clicks on their choice. Their details and the house details are send to the lender who uses the details to see how much they'll lend against it.

[mortgage brokers are not perfect either, but I use them and pay for there services for a reason, they take a load of hassle away and get things done]

7: Lender informs buyer who, if the loan offered is sufficient, requests a viewing.

[and how do they get to this point – call the owner direct, or do it through a call centre – either way has big draw backs. What about if the owner is an old, senile lady, and the “vendor” (decision maker) is the son, who works full time and wants all viewings accompanied? Please note that EAs tend to get higher prices for properties where keys are available for immediate viewings morning, afternoon or evening. i've just re-read your comment - the lender is then going to act as intermediary to arrange viewings... are they going to meet and assess the buiyer before sending them round, or are they going to accompany them. how much will the lender charge for this (each time, not as part of a flat fee conditional on sale)]

8: Viewing takes place.

[fingers crossed vendor is (a) still alive and (B) still in possession of their family heirlooms]

9: Buyer wants to go ahead and clicks 'buy' on the 'EasyHouse' page for their chosen house.

10: Info is transferred to lender who arranges mortgage and the purchase becomes binding once confirmation is received that the money is available to transfer and the buyer finally confirms.

[erm, what about getting a solicitor to check the lease, or doing searches – or is this all done up front, if so let’s add £500 legal fees to the upfront costs before you even start the process – and do you trust the vendors solicitor to check everything for you?]

I appreciate the sentiment, but a good agent is a competent professional who will get top money for your property (my last purchase was an absolute bargain – the vendor didn’t go through an agent). To try to simplify the whole process like this is not easy. What you have proposed seems to basically be the Home Info Pack, put on a computer and made legally binding once you have the mortgage and click the button.

You seem to be assuming that all this is easy - it ain’t! You are also assuming the problem is the EA – it isn’t, it’s the whole system. And most importantly you seem to be completely forgetting that the whole thing involves huge sums of money, along with rights and responsibilities of ownership… whatever info is put in front of you really do want to put a lawyer to check things are ok for you.

Also, what happens when the bank valuation comes along and suggests £500 of damp proofing needs doing? Who negotiates this for you? A solicitor at £100 an hour (or rather 2, one for vendor and one for buyer), or an EA who does it all as part of the flat fee to vendor? Or does it automatically come off the price (which few vendors would agree to as theoretically they could agree to sell for £100k and find the surveyor recommends £50k work which means they can’t buy the house they are going to, which means they can’t sell).

How does the system handle chains then? they work because exchanges are simultaneous.

What about all the curtains and carpets – is this all decided when the surveyor comes round on day one – of does a call centre negotiate this later?

It’s all lovely in theory, but the fact of the matter it is an extremely complicated process. Trying to systemize the process seems to me very much like the government writing lesson plans for every class in the country – it wouldn’t work, some kids need to be taught in different ways and a decent teacher recognizes that and changes his lessons accordingly… reciting from the script would fail as often as it worked, however good the script was.

your logic implies to me that doctors are pointless... just walk into the GP surgery, get a blood test and 5 mins later walk out with the drugs and instructions from a vending machine... it may well work sometimes, but computers / systems / machines (delete as appropriate) are not that clever yet.

Mags “Just a little anecdote - a friend of mine lives in a beautiful block of flats on Richmond Hill. Of 8 flats, 3 are currently on the market and have been for the best part of the last year. One recently switched to an online 'ea' and guess what... that's the only flat that is under offer. The others, on with high street agents, are sticking. These flats were going for 280K+ but asking is now down to 250K and the offer received was apparently below 230K. All moving in the right direction”

My guess (and it is only a guess) bnased on those facts is that 3 people wanted £270-280k. The market doesn’t quite justify those prices (mayybe 260, 250, who knows), the desparate vendor decides if he is going to get shot on the cheap he may as well save himself a couple of thousand by doing it online, therefore one sold on the cheap, two less desparate vendors holding out for higher prices (which they may well get). And when you say online agent, which one?

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I hope they are a dying breed.

I speak from experience of selling my house. Useless. I had to do all the viewings!? What did I get in return for the fee they wanted? A couple of newparer ads and (free) entry onto rightmove. The 'Estate agent' offered no added value, and expected 4% in return for their non-effort.

Web sites that allow people to sell property directly have to be the way forward. There is room for agents at the top end, and/or with specialist property. But I would urge them to give themselves a professional moniker other than 'Estate agent'.

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From what I have seen in a very limited time - 10 days the EA's actually do absolutely nothing to "sell" the house.

I used to work for SAP selling their systems and my goodness you worked hard explaining the features, adavantages and benefits and that was/is a fantastic product.

My current role as an EA involves answering the telephone, making the tea, printing details and stuffing them in envelopes and opening the front door to allow people inside to look at a house.

There is very little selling actually goes on, if a viewer says they don'tlike something or the rooms are too small then my collegues just say sorry I'll find something else and put the phone down, no managing expectations or helping viewers see beyond decor etc and the EA I work for is leading the market here :o

Money for old rope, but then as I will be paid 1% of the 1.5% fee I can see why they have such staffing problems, hows an EA to buy a house on that salary !!!

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Whilst agreeing with the general principle that things will change and the internet only agency type services will gain more market share, I can't see us being made redundant for a while yet. There will be consolidation though.

The main reason we exist is that people do not like to do their own dirty work. I would say at least 50% of vendors are greedy, grasping, petty and obstinate. And they simply don't want to deal face to face with the person who is going to buy their biggest asset. They want a solicitor to get them through the nasty legal stuff and an agent to serve them up a buyer on a plate. Let's face it, we take a risk when we market a house. Plenty of vendors simply change their mind after I have spent a thousand quid marketing their house.

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Red Baron,

Do you think HIPs might speed the decline of the EA?

To be honest I don't know.

Part of me says it's 'jobs for the boys' - the pals of the EAs receiving a gratutious leg-up to produce a document largely ignored by buyers who will probably want the comfort of their own independent survey anyway.

On the other hand, properly administered, and in principle it could be a useful development.

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Plenty of vendors simply change their mind after I have spent a thousand quid marketing their house.

Where does this a thousand quid come from? What is the marketing process? I'm seriously interested.

btp

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From what I have seen in a very limited time - 10 days the EA's actually do absolutely nothing to "sell" the house.

I used to work for SAP selling their systems and my goodness you worked hard explaining the features, adavantages and benefits and that was/is a fantastic product.

My current role as an EA involves answering the telephone, making the tea, printing details and stuffing them in envelopes and opening the front door to allow people inside to look at a house.

There is very little selling actually goes on, if a viewer says they don'tlike something or the rooms are too small then my collegues just say sorry I'll find something else and put the phone down, no managing expectations or helping viewers see beyond decor etc and the EA I work for is leading the market here :o

Money for old rope, but then as I will be paid 1% of the 1.5% fee I can see why they have such staffing problems, hows an EA to buy a house on that salary !!!

SAP sucks :P

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Dont all shout at once, but is that not what right move, fish for homes and the like are all about. And lets not forget that every estate agent up and down the country has a web site. I fror one would love to see an honest, people friendly, no frills site, however I think that they have already cornered the market.

Yep they`re all busily shuffling their propositions and doing lots of big thinking as we speak. There will be only one, maybe two that does an Amazon..look at who has bought up the portals and why..with the exception of rightmove they are all still owned by huge media cos. Trinity snapped up smartnewhomes for a pittance (for them) to streamline the new ads rev through the web and local print, smart could do very well.. <_<

Whilst agreeing with the general principle that things will change and the internet only agency type services will gain more market share, I can't see us being made redundant for a while yet. There will be consolidation though.

The main reason we exist is that people do not like to do their own dirty work. I would say at least 50% of vendors are greedy, grasping, petty and obstinate. And they simply don't want to deal face to face with the person who is going to buy their biggest asset. They want a solicitor to get them through the nasty legal stuff and an agent to serve them up a buyer on a plate. Let's face it, we take a risk when we market a house. Plenty of vendors simply change their mind after I have spent a thousand quid marketing their house.

it is also a habit, look at the amount of folk that still buy a holiday from a shop FFS :lol::lol: In this day and age :o Expedia amounts for what 1% of the market place?

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Mags “Just a little anecdote - a friend of mine lives in a beautiful block of flats on Richmond Hill. Of 8 flats, 3 are currently on the market and have been for the best part of the last year. One recently switched to an online 'ea' and guess what... that's the only flat that is under offer. The others, on with high street agents, are sticking. These flats were going for 280K+ but asking is now down to 250K and the offer received was apparently below 230K. All moving in the right direction”

My guess (and it is only a guess) bnased on those facts is that 3 people wanted £270-280k. The market doesn’t quite justify those prices (mayybe 260, 250, who knows), the desparate vendor decides if he is going to get shot on the cheap he may as well save himself a couple of thousand by doing it online, therefore one sold on the cheap, two less desparate vendors holding out for higher prices (which they may well get). And when you say online agent, which one?

It was the one with those black and yellow boards up all over the place... Property Broker I think it's called. Those boards are like a swarm of bees! Yes it is Property Broker... Here they are.

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It was the one with those black and yellow boards up all over the place... Property Broker I think it's called. Those boards are like a swarm of bees! Yes it is Property Broker... Here they are.

I have heard of them, but I know little about them... I wonder how much they got compared to what an agent acheived? I a certainly suspicious that the seller is the one out of the 3 who thought.... sod it, let's price to sell, and if we're doing that we may as well DIY and not use an agent. I have just searched by E15% and London all prices and have failed to find a single property... if I was a serious buuyer I would not bother checking the site because there is so little on... what percentage of buyers who are looking in an area buy having seen a board? (25%?) How many use property broker? (2%?) Let's say 60% of buyers use rightmove and another 20% are likely to have been into the office of the decent local agents where they are looking and it would seem to me a reasonable guess that a local agent using rightmove butno local press will have at least 3 times the coverage of property broker. (Guestimate, but I bet I'm not a million miles out)

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A couple of things... "selling" a house is not like selling double glazing... if you talk someone into it, then chances are sometime in the 2 months to exchange of contracts they'll change their mind. You can't tell someone a room is big enough for their needs when they are standing in it saying it isn't. and as for pursuading people to view, on the one hand people say "why did that agent waste my time, I wanted 2 double bedrooms, not 1 double and 1 single" and on the other the vendor is saying "why don't they exaggerate a bit to get me more viewings." You can't have it both ways.

"I speak from experience of selling my house. Useless. I had to do all the viewings!? What did I get in return for the fee they wanted? A couple of newparer ads and (free) entry onto rightmove. The 'Estate agent' offered no added value, and expected 4% in return for their non-effort."

tahoma

Had it occurred to you that rightmove costs money (per office not per property, so it is a fixed cost not a marginal one). They pay rent, and staff wages, insurance, phone calls, postage, and maybe a car. 4% is a very high fee though (for britain - in an international context it is low). where are you based and how much was the property on the market for? Did it occur to you to ask whether they would accompany viewings (a decent agent will ask whether you want all viewings accompanied, and then accompany them if you do - though they may be more expensive than an agent who does not accompany all viewings)

had it occurred to anyone that the cost of an EA is -

(Price They Acheive - Fees - Price You Would Have Got on a Private Sale) x -1

eg

(£100k - £3k - £95k) x -1 = -£2k

ie in this case they actually provide a service for a net payment to you of £2k. Clearly it all depends on what you could have sold it for privately incomparison to what they achieved but surely people are either lazy or stupid, or they believe that agents will get them a better price than they could acheive privately. As an ex-agent I would always use an agent to sell, and will do my best to avoid them when I buy - as a buyer I want the opposite of what a EA is trying to do for the vendor..

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I have heard of them, but I know little about them... I wonder how much they got compared to what an agent acheived? I a certainly suspicious that the seller is the one out of the 3 who thought.... sod it, let's price to sell, and if we're doing that we may as well DIY and not use an agent. I have just searched by E15% and London all prices and have failed to find a single property... if I was a serious buuyer I would not bother checking the site because there is so little on... what percentage of buyers who are looking in an area buy having seen a board? (25%?) How many use property broker? (2%?) Let's say 60% of buyers use rightmove and another 20% are likely to have been into the office of the decent local agents where they are looking and it would seem to me a reasonable guess that a local agent using rightmove butno local press will have at least 3 times the coverage of property broker. (Guestimate, but I bet I'm not a million miles out)

Who knows... all we know is that they are becoming a very popular way of marketing a property going by the number of boards around. Interesting what you say about agents 'achieving' prices. I thought EAs always claimed that the market dictated prices!

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Who knows... all we know is that they are becoming a very popular way of marketing a property going by the number of boards around. Interesting what you say about agents 'achieving' prices. I thought EAs always claimed that the market dictated prices!

The market dictate price. But there is one market - everyone looking to buy - who use the big portals / EAs etc, and a much smaller sub-market who are looikng on property broker. The market determines the price, but if you are only marketing to a small sub-market your options are limited.

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The market dictate price. But there is one market - everyone looking to buy - who use the big portals / EAs etc, and a much smaller sub-market who are looikng on property broker. The market determines the price, but if you are only marketing to a small sub-market your options are limited.

Lol! :rolleyes:

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Lol! :rolleyes:

interesting retort. surely, other things being equal, advertising increases price and / or volume. i am not saying that every private sale is done on the cheap, or that agents get top money every time, but generally speaking the more exposure a property gets the higher the price. Agents maximize exposure.

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Unfortunately, just like cockroaches, they're resiliant little b*ggers. The if the internet was going to kill them off it would have done so long before now.

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  • 301 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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