One of the UK franchise holders of US-based Keller Williams has accused this country's agency industry of being "complacent and unimaginative" - and so is organising a cocktail party to sell a high-end property on his books.
Ian Richardson, who operates the KW franchise in the north Cotswolds, says the US model of offering commission to agents who bring buyers to high value homes on sale, is superior to the "complacent attitude of many agents" operating in the UK.
“For too long, agents in the UK have been complacent and unimaginative – there’s no excuse for that kind of attitude. If you want to sell a £3m property, you need to show it to its best advantage, and that doesn’t mean spending 30 minutes guiding potential buyers through a cursory tour – sellers deserve more than that” he says.
A press release from Richardson says his approach, by contrast, "doesn’t stop with arranging and overseeing viewings" - for example, he is organising a cocktail party for potential buyers of one home he is marketing.
“The key issue here is that it’s not just potential buyers who are going to want to see this stunning property. I am a huge advocate of supporting other agents – we’re supposed to be a network with one end goal, so to that end any agent attending the event who then brings me a buyer will get 0.5 per cent commission despite it not being their instruction" he says.
Richardson's outspoken comments come just as Keller Williams' first national market survey says that high end sellers of £2m-plus homes across the country are now cutting asking prices in a bid to find buyers.
The survey, compiled from data by around 40 of Keller Williams' 90 UK agents, says properties priced from £500,000 to £2m continue to sell well.
But above that, and particularly in prime central London, "there has been a slowdown and some people are actually decreasing prices to generate interest." One client told the agency to slash £100,000 off his asking price.
The firm says that in other areas of the UK, mainly northern England and Wales, there had been no movement in prices at all during the three months to September.
While 55 per cent of its agents had seen prices stabilising only 28 per cent - mostly in London - reported prices increasing.
The firm says 60 per cent of its enquiries come through referrals; another 25 per cent came via Rightmove and 15 per cent directly from its website.