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Online estate agency eMoov is asking the National Association of Estate Agents for clarification about the organisation's membership of the board of Agents' Mutual in the light of the new portal's ban on online agencies - some of which are NAEA members.

eMoov chief executive Russell Quirk has written to NAEA managing director Mark Hayward.

Quirk wants to know how it is equitable in any way for the NAEA/NFoPP to formally sponsor and manage the Agents' Mutual organisation when it blatantly seeks to exclude a part of the estate agency industry that the NAEA itself is apparently committed to fully representing

The full text of the email is reprinted below; it was sent to the NAEA by Quirk on October 8 and although Hayward sent a holding response within 10 minutes, asking to be given time to consider your comments no further reply has been received since.

Dear Mr Hayward

I wonder if you would be kind enough to clarify the position of the NAEA/NFoPP for me in respect of the forthcoming Agents Mutual/OnTheMarket portal

As an industry trade body, your published ethos on membership of your organisation is as follows:

Membership is open to individuals who accept the Association's aims and rules. To be eligible for membership of the National Association of Estate Agents your firm must be actively involved in the sale of residential property. If this is not the case you are not eligible for membership'.

Further, that with regard to online estate agencies':

'Currently if you can meet the normal criteria then you are able to apply.'

My firm, emoov.co.uk, is an estate agency. We visit each home that we list for sale and compile appropriate media in full. Just like a high street estate agent.

We arrange viewings and provide vendor feedback. Just like a high street agent.

We negotiate offers on behalf of our selling clients. Just like a high street agent.

And we oversee each transaction from offer acceptance through to completion, liaising with buyer, seller, mortgage intermediaries and lawyers. Just like a high street agent.

We are estate agents. Indeed, a number of our sector are members of the NAEA, e.g House Network and Hatched. I have been an estate agent for 17 years, as was my father before me and his before him. I am an estate agent.

Your association is very clearly a professional body that represents all estate agency firms and as your website narrative clearly states, multiple times.

But. the NAEA/NFoPP has chosen to accredit the forthcoming Agents Mutual portal with it's formal approval and support. And, moreover, an NAEA/NFoPP representative sits on the Agents Mutual board.

Your press release of October 2013 is clear in that respect and in that the NAEA will be providing a governance role to Agents Mutual:

'NFoPP will also take an immediate seat on the Board of Agents' Mutual Ltd and play a full role in its governance, representing the interests of those NFoPP members who have, or will, choose to join Agents' Mutual'.

The thing is Mr Hayward, I've been told adamantly by Agents Mutual that they won't allow me to become a member of their portal or to advertise my clients' homes on their website because I am a so called online estate agents. My company was labelled as parasitical' by Ian Springett, the Chief Executive of Agents Mutual.

Parasitical to whom, one wonders The consumer Certainly not. The estate agency establishment Well, that's more questionable.

I don't understand why Agents Mutual are excluding what they term cheaper' estate agents when we are clearly to the consumer's benefit in that regard. The Government have of course supported new ways of delivering estate agency services as per their OFT 2010 report into home selling. And so it's hard to reconcile how it's acceptable on any level to exclude us as online estate agents. Indeed, do Agents Mutual have a fee threshold in pounds that is acceptable and, as it appears they do, what is that exactly I wonder £4000 £2000 Because whatever it is, it's bound to exclude old fashioned bricks and mortar' agents here and there I suspect.

The question of service levels has been raised by Mr Springett as reason' that an internet based estate agent should not be allowed to join Agents Mutual. Yet over 200 independent reviews at AllAgents.co.uk place emoov.co.uk as the 45th best estate agent in the UK for customer service, out of over 12,000. So one wonders why an agent that is do demonstrably within the top 1% of ALL UK estate agents, should be prohibited from listing on a website that holds itself up as being for the benefit of the consumer'

It's hard to fathom.

Harder still though is how the NAEA/NFoPP can possibly be aligned with the Agents Mutual ethos as I've set out above.

Could you please clarify for me how it is equitable in any way for the NAEA/NFoPP to formally sponsor and manage the Agents Mutual organisation when it blatantly seeks to exclude a part of the estate agency industry that the NAEA itself is apparently committed to fully representing as a professional body

I'd welcome your explanation.

Thanks in anticipation.


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    @Guest (Guest)

    Why not Stop the wittering and choose. Time will tell.

    • 21 October 2014 13:09 PM
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    To Guest (MCS)
    Do you think the NAEA should be endorsing, as well as joining the Board of such an 'exclusive restricted entry club'

    • 21 October 2014 12:22 PM
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    OMG PeeBee, I actually haven't seen your comments but I'm not surprised. is it possible we might agree on something It seems to me that history is full of instances where the 'silent majority' stood around and watched while the powers that be did things they knew were wrong, apartheid, homophobic laws, The Nazi's. The few who spoke out were eliminated or put in prison for long periods but eventually those few were recognised as being right all along. Now while it may demean these serious subjects to compare them with AM I'm afraid I do see an element of discrimination, bullying and rabble rousing, all for motives that are questionable to say the least. It's simply wrong to create a regressive anti competitive cartel that dictates to its members and chooses who it wishes to exclude and include. The latest debacle of making a portal exception for Scotland and then claiming the decision is inline with the one member one vote policy is the equivalent of announcing night is day 'because I say so'. I realise I am in a privileged position of influence and there is a responsibility that comes with that but I feel I have earned the right to speak and write my mind. At the beginning my instincts were against the whole concept of AM, I distrusted the motives of the founders and I loathed the exclusivity rule. However, I endeavoured to remain open minded and even tried making some constructive suggestions. My open mindedness was met with actual disdain and as the wagon has carried on rolling it is becomes more and more apparent what a farce the whole this really is. You know what they say, if it looks like a duck and it quacks it's probably a duck.

    • 21 October 2014 12:12 PM
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    emoov's 'opinions' are based on a false understanding of AM who are offering a service to agents.
    All agents, online or traditional, have a choice (freedom to choose) to join an exclusive restricted entry club or not. So stop wittering on and choose.

    • 21 October 2014 12:12 PM
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    Ah yes, the same NAEA which deleted, without the permission of the contributing participants, a recording of a presentation which pitched an inclusive, non- discriminatory mutual property portal. A recording which stated NAEA would not support AM because of their tiered membership and one portal rule. A presentation in which the NAEA appointed 'independent' industry expert turned out to be an ex-colleague of Mr Springett and who later joined the Agents Mutual Board.

    • 21 October 2014 11:57 AM
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    Spot on - brilliant email Russell will look forward to the reply from NAEA/NFoPP.
    Although I'm sure you are not actually interested in joining this dead horse !

    • 21 October 2014 09:45 AM
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    For once, I wholly agree with eMoov and Russell Quirk. Never thought that would happen. Quirk's mouth usually works ahead of his brain, but on this occasion he has put across a very reasoned, valid argument and AM would do well to take note. Otherwise, as I've said from the very start, I fear they are doomed to fail.

    • 21 October 2014 09:22 AM
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    I agree with the comments about the NAEA - it's not right and Quirk raises some valid points. But just a week ago (on this site) someone else from emoov was saying that AM will not have the marketing power to compete with RM and Z... so why do they care so much

    • 21 October 2014 09:05 AM
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    Agents Mutual Ltd (Accounts filed 20/10/2014)
    Balance Sheet
    Date Of Accounts 31/01/14
    Tangible Assets 39,920
    Intangible Assets 0
    Total Fixed Assets 39,920
    Stock 0
    Trade Debtors 15,764
    Cash 109,844
    Other Debtors 0
    Miscellaneous Current Assets 1,723
    Total Current Assets 127,331
    Trade Creditors 123,185
    Bank Loans & Overdrafts 0
    Other Short Term Finance 0
    Miscellaneous Current Liabilities 0
    Total Current Liabilities 123,185
    Bank Loans & Overdrafts and LTL 210,000
    Other Long Term Finance 210,000
    Total Long Term Liabilities 210,000

    Capital & Reserves
    Date Of Accounts 31/01/14
    Called Up Share Capital
    P & L Account Reserve -165,934
    Revaluation Reserve
    Sundry Reserves
    Shareholder Funds -165,934

    Other Financial Items
    Date Of Accounts 31/01/14
    Net Worth -165,934
    Working Capital 4,146
    Total Assets 167,251
    Total Liabilities 333,185
    Net Assets -165,934

    • 21 October 2014 08:59 AM
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    And so it begins...

    Agents Mutual are doomed to fail. Restrictive practices don't work.

    • 21 October 2014 08:37 AM
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    Actually, Mr Shinerock, Mr Quirk is echoing a point that I have been asking for quite some time (which I am sure you are already aware of, being an infrequent 'contributor' to that site...) but has so far been ignored by all at Arbon House - or anywhere else for that matter. I would refer you to where and when I have raised the issue - but I doubt you'd like me directing people to 'The Dark Side'... ;o)

    • 21 October 2014 08:24 AM
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    Russell, you have pre-empted a point I was going to make in one of a series of anti AM articles I am writing for Industry Views, check out the latest one to see if you agree, note the ridiculous childlike abuse I have attracted from AM devotees, no counter arguement, just attempts at playground bullying. The more this sorry tale develops the more tawdry and embarrassing it becomes for all associated with it.

    • 21 October 2014 07:14 AM
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    NFoPP are taking a big risk in our name when (as Roger points out) 75% of the market is not (so far) interested in the Agents Mutual project.

    Mark - you need to start listening to the silent majority here. I work hard enough to maintain the excellent reputation I have in my markets to have it ruined by such a maverick strategy.

    If Agents Mutual have the support it claims to have, why not compete on a level playing field and drop the requirement to limit my marketing in January. The market in London is cooling fast and there is no way I can risk dropping rightmove. Drop this silly (and anti competitive) condition, and - at a sensible price - I will support this project.

    • 21 October 2014 06:55 AM
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    The longer this story runs, the more it becomes clear that the Agents Mutual project is no more than a fine dress placed on the ugly frame of an extended cartel attempting to build barriers around itself. Does no one realise the potential consequences of this

    Mr Hayward, as much as emove et al are an irritant (an overblown one in my opinion), the national association under your stewardship is sleepwalking into scandal by associating itself with this anti-competitive project.

    It is fine for private firms to take that risk, but you represent the industry, and you are taking a big risk here promoting a potentially illegal activity on behalf of 25% of your members.

    I would certainly be interested to know what legal advice NFoPP have taken in this regard because even my limited knowledge in this area tells me the project is on very shaky ground.

    • 21 October 2014 06:51 AM
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    A well reasoned email in a level headed tone from emoov for a change. Maybe they are maturing a little.

    • 21 October 2014 06:40 AM
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    Quite right too. This type of anti-competitive behaviour should not be allowed in our country.

    • 21 October 2014 06:05 AM
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