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Consumer group criticises estate agency industry awards

A consumer group says it is giving what it calls “the top 1,000 estate agents in England and Wales” badges to display in their windows for free - and in the process, it has taken a swipe at the range of award events that already exist for the industry. 

The HomeOwners Alliance says the awarding of the badge is based on “impartial performance data such as success, speed of sale and price achieved” using a tool that it has created to allow consumers to compare the performance of 18,000 agents.

In a statement revealing the new badges, the HOA says: “The Top Performing Estate Agent badge is free for agents to use in their marketing materials, in contrast to the British Property Awards, which charge a licensing fee of £199. Because it is based on impartial data the badge is also more meaningful than other types of awards, as they are self-selecting or based on criteria that are irrelevant to homeowners, such as whether the agent has bought a table at a dinner.”  

Paula Higgins, HOA chief executive, hammers the point home in her comments about the badge. “It is important that this is an objective scheme based on issues that matter to the consumer, rather than whether the agent has bought a table at an awards dinner.” 

The HOA has also released two agents’ testimonials about the badge.  

Felicity Blair of Roy Brooks is quoted as saying: “It's great when an independent body affirms that you are doing a good job, and this news from HOA is exceptionally rewarding. It’s great to have a tool to help sellers identify agents that are most accurately determining values, as we believe this is key to a successful sale.”

Alec Jupp of ElephantLovesBristol, said: 'We are very pleased to be recognised as a top performing agent by the HomeOwners Alliance in what is a very competitive market place.'

Higgins says the badging is part of her organisation’s efforts “to take the chance and risk out of choosing an estate agent, and help homeowners choose one that is best suited for them based on their performance data rather than their sales patter.” 

She says the badge “should be a factor to help homesellers make an informed decision, whether it’s based on getting the highest asking price, selling quickest or how much they pay in fees.” 

The HOA tool assesses how likely agents are to sell a home, determined by the percentage of all properties found advertised by each agent on websites during the last 180 days that were subsequently advertised as sold subject to contract.

It also looks at whether they achieve the asking price – this is calculated by dividing the sold price as recorded by the Land Registry, by the initial advertised asking price averaged for what the HOA calls “a representative sample of properties found advertised by this agent on websites during the previous 180 days.”

Finally, it also claims to measure, on average, how long agents take to sell a property. This is determined by calculating each agents’ average time to reach sold subject to contract for all properties advertised on websites during the previous 180 days.

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    I wonder whether the HOA normalise their data to take account of different locations and property values..... so they're not comparing "apples" with "pears", so to speak ?

  • Algarve  Investor

    Seems a bit petty from the HOA. I don't think the industry should be criticised for celebrating the work for agents, so long as the awards are justified and deserved.

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    I agree with 'Algarve Investor', seems petty. This data is nothing new either, getagent has been providing this to consumers for a while now and it is very limited. Any agent who consistently undervalues property is highlighted as a great agent? hmm

    e.g. Agent 1 values a house at £340,000 and gets an offer at £350,000 within 1 week.
    Agent 2 values the same house at £360,000 and sells it at £355,000 within 4 weeks.

    Agent 1 is classed as satisfying all their criteria if the sale goes through, but does this make them a great agent? Having said that, I understand this is just to encourage agents to promote the HOA so i'm probably taking it a little too seriously.

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