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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

'Secret' project aims to help traditional agents combat Purplebricks

A ‘secret’ proposal called Project UHA was put to a hand-picked group of agents on Friday with speculation suggesting it centres on a lead-generating initiative aimed at helping traditional agents.

There may also be a possible online operation to syphon off business currently going to Purplebricks and other onliners. 

A pitch was put to a group of agents on Friday, with the project appearing to be led by Iain White, a former Romans managing director and former Countrywide director. 

Those agents attending the demo on Friday were mostly personally invited and had to sign multi-page non disclosure agreements. It appears one possibility put forward was the creation of an online agency, with a new brand name, which would try to combat Purplebricks and bring additional revenue to traditional agents who would separately continue to promote their High Street brands.

White was also the coordinator of the OnTheMarket Action Group which last year attempted to link agents with contractual or service provision grievances against the OTM portal. White also urged OTM member agents to oppose the proposed floatation of OTM’s parent company Agents’ Mutual.

Also involved in Project UHA is Mal McCallion, who almost two decades ago helped set up PrimeLocation and in 2015 established the review company raterAgent.

More recently he worked with Callwell, the PropTech lead management tool, and now he operates Growtion, a start-up business consultancy.

McCallion is an advisor to OneDome, yet another PropTech business which is believed to have had a presence at Friday’s meeting. 

White has tweeted that the project is all about “collaboration” while McCallion has been reported as suggesting the project is helping to safeguard traditional agents - and may require a hefty eight figure investment to take off.

One agent present on Friday was Kristjan Byfield of Base Property - a founder member of the CIELA independent agents’ group and who is launching his own deposits compliance PropTech service this year. 

He tweeted afterwards: “So that was the most exciting and well-rounded Proptech pitch I’ve seen in a long time!”

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    About time proper Estate Agents got off their hands and came out fighting against the smoke and mirrors which is PB-should have happened 2 years ago.

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