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Independent agents' chief wants NAEA to expel 'insulting' online firms

The founder of the trade group seeking to represent independent agencies says he hopes the National Association of Estate Agents considers expelling agencies that ‘insult’ the majority of its members.

Once again Charlie Wright, who set up the Charter for Independent Estate and Letting Agents, has focussed on Purplebricks.

In a blog on the group’s website he says of the NAEA: “Their silence over the marketing conduct of PurpleBricks who openly insult the majority of their member base is staggering and I can only hope they are having urgent discussions as to how they can change their rules and expel any member who behaves in such a way.”

In the rest of the blog - which is a more general critique of corporate agencies’ superior marketing budgets compared with those of independent operators - Wright says the NAEA and the Association of Residential Letting Agents have “resolutely refused to stand up for independent agents, because of course their articles prevent them from favouring any one member, or group of members, over any other.”

Wright says the Propertymark bodies make “a first class training organisation and I commend their courses and qualifications to every individual who wishes to further their professional expertise” but says in terms of branding “the NAEA/ARLA is unable to help independents in the battle against corporates and call-centre agents.Their hands are tied and it’s not their fault.”

The argument developed in the blog is that even high-achieving independent agents end up losing instructions to corporates and online rivals because of the strength of their marketing spend.

“The long term drip-drip effect of corporate marketing on the home selling/letting public is probably the only reason that corporates win any business at all. Yes, there are some perfectly good corporate agencies out there with some of the best individuals of all working in them. However, when the governing motivator is hitting monthly targets set by head office, this necessarily precludes the ability to go the extra mile for the client in the way that independent agents do all day, every day, whilst getting no public credit for it” he writes.

“The poor industry reputation is absolutely in the interests of corporate and call-centre agents. It is precisely how they market themselves against the ‘hordes of rogue independents who deserve the terrible reputation they have’” says Wright.

You can see his full blog here.

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    As I have opined for some time that NAEA/ARLA now seem to have not much interest in their members real problems. They have now morphed into profitable consumer 'protection' and 'training' organisations. Members should realise this.

  • Rob  Davies

    I do find the vitriol against PB a bit over-the-top. Painting them as this big enemy, this big evil that needs to be stamped out. There are things I don't particularly like about them, but the reaction from traditional agents does seem a bit defensive. I think PB are the real deal - in terms of investment, funding, brand recognition, PR, TV advertising, etc. Much more so than any other online or "hybrid" agency.

    That doesn't mean they won't hit the buffers in a few years, but I think it's more likely that their market share will grow. Criticism of PB is valid, but when it becomes a hatchet job I become a little uncomfortable.

  • Kristjan Byfield

    This piece isn't directly about PB it's about an organisation, funded by members, that uses its consumer representation (despite have alwys no consumer brand recognition) as a reason not to kick out a company that is publicly attacking our entire industry. If national marketing campaigns flaring poor public perception of our industry, and organisations we fund allowing this to continue unabaited whilst retaining membership, then that is concerning. It's not what they do but how they go about it and the reaction of those partes that should defend their industry/members. We are not in any way asking online agents to be kicked out, they serve a genuine purpose and service in our industry, but those that attack our industry surely don't respect it so shouldn't be entitled to membership of the trade they continue to tear down. That's all.

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    NAEA/Propertrymark, or whatever they are currently called, seem to me to be utterly pointless. I have paid subs to them for the best part of 30 years and I cannot remember a single time when they actaully did anything pro-active and supportive of its member. It seem to spend more time preparing and recommending legislation and redtape to tie our hands, that online agents simply ignore. They have, however, spent considerable sums of our fees on rebranding lord knows how many times! Perhaps its time they took a long hard look at themselves and worked out what their priorities actually are.

  • stephen  wolfenden

    This is not about what NAEA or Propertymark want, it is about what your customers want. This isnt anything new, the agents offering real customer service, value for money, and who act in their clients best interest will always grow their market share. As a buying agent I find quality agents in every type of business,be it corporate, independent and online, equally I find poor agents in every sector.Quality individuals who know their properties and who go the extra mile are the agents I seek out first of all, this is often about the individual and not the company. Focus on the needs of your client and your business will be fine.

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