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Emoov troubles ‘do not mean the end for hybrid agents’

The high profile financial difficulties faced by Emoov and the recent fall in the share value of Purplebricks do not mean the concept of the hybrid estate agent is dead.,

That’s the view of Rob Bryer, founder of The Good Estate Agent, which describes itself as the original hybrid agency in the UK.

“The trouble is some companies have rushed into this market thinking a low fee, low service product is what the customer wants. This simply is not the case. Your property is your biggest investment and customers want great service not a no frills option” says Bryer. 


“Like the story of the Hare and the Tortoise, we’ve been building slow and steady since 2010 without borrowing or investment and we are beginning to win the race” he claims.

Bryer says the top franchisee in his company took home just over £18,000 last month, and he claims this monthly level “is not uncommon”, and is impressive for a single agent operating from their own home.

He says his network of franchisees now numbers over 100  with up to 25 more signing up each month; he makes almost daily changes to The Good Estate Agent’s bespoke software platform that he created himself. 

Bryer says the key to success for his franchise operation is emphasising a work-life balance; he says he currently starts his day with a driving lesson for his 17 year old son whilst on the way to school and then a visit to the gym.

Two years ago Bryer advertised franchises at his agency from £5,000 upwards.

The Kent-based firm provides what it describes as “full training, access to an online property and applicant management system, website, telephone and email support” and “takes care of the major brunt of the work such as the administration, Rightmove and Zoopla advertising as well as telephone and email enquiries” - leaving the franchise owner with all the time to go out and get the business.

Meanwhile high-end agency Jackson-Stops, which has 46 offices nationwide, has launched a new website in a bid to - in its words - “offer a 24/7 experience via its online site” as “more hybrid estate agents launch to the market.”

The firm says the new website signals the start of Jackson-Stops’ digital strategy to enable clients that want to access a range of digital services.

The website includes a ‘My Jackson-Stops’ portal providing buyers with a virtual space to keep a record of their recent searches, saved searches and saved properties, allowing them to quickly find and consider relevant homes to view.

Nick Leeming, chairman of Jackson-Stops, says:“As we as a nation become increasingly digital savvy, consumers’ property searching habits are evolving as well – particularly amongst younger buyers. We understand that as a national estate agent we must react to these changes by providing a wider range of services and content online, which is why we have decided to make significant updates to our website.

“We have been operating as a traditional estate agent for more than a century and know how important our traditional values are to our clients. Despite now taking a more digitally-led approach, which will allows for a number of services to be available 24/7, we will continue to retain and offer the inter-personal skills and experience of professional agents on the ground.”

  • Mike Riley

    Well done Rob, proving the "proper" hybrid model yet again.

    The industry and press need to stop referring to PB etc as hybrids or agents. They are advertising platforms with few bells and whistles added, no different to Autotrader really, hence huge media companies interest ( Axel Springers in PB or Northern and Shell in Emoov.) Being paid regardless of the result is not acting as an agent. They have proved that tech can be used much better and most importantly they have provided yet more evidence that the industry is changing from one of being employed to self employed.

    At some point the city will wake up and realise that the chips they have placed betting on a low cost model is the wrong trend to back. There is huge change afoot, but it isn't that one.

    Having earnt over £1m in commission working as a hybrid agent, I hope that more people in the industry will read this article and the one about my old Romans colleagues doing £140k in a month using an off the shelf online franchise. Then realise that they can either work less and earn the same, or work the same and earn at least double, by stepping away from being employed by an agency and becoming freelance. Doing it for themselves online or otherwise.

    Kinda like everywhere else in the world apart from the UK.

    PS Rob, the original hybrid claim is incorrect, you may want to edit that in future press.

    PPS £18k in a month as a top performer is amazingly low I thought.
    Agents working similar models have top performers breaking £30k per month on occasion and most I know of is £70k in one month by sole agent working from home on his own.

    I'd love to hear more success stories like that....

    Any agent done over £100k in a month on their own working from home, someone must have?

    Rob Bryer

    Thanks Michael. Re the original Hybrid I define Hybrid not as an agent setup working from home. There are tons of those and always have been especially in lettings. I define hybrid as a network of agents working via a centralised support system within the same network. Anyway that point doesn't really matter. The main thing is that it works and our agents are benefiting. Would be good to chat at some point.

  • Simon Shinerock

    The problem we have as an industry isn’t high fees, it’s low fees. All agents are ‘Online’ it’s a contrived distinction. A high st office doesn’t mean you are low tech and equally low cost doesn’t mean high tech. It seems to me that the real argument here is about whether a competent agent needs the security and support of an employer, or whether, without much capital, they can earn more working from home. This is not a new choice, granted the Internet has made it more accessible but individuals who work from home will still be at a disadvantage and will need real talent and determination to compete.

    Mike Riley

    In principle, I agree with most of that.

    My view is we have a structural issue in the UK estate agency market which will continue to be exposed for all sorts of reasons. That the average "agency" can no longer keep most of the "agents" fee.

    There is going to be a serious talent crunch due to years of under investment by many agencies in training, poor and inflexible working conditions and low pay for many new recruits into the industry.

    The demand for talented agents is going to be very high and the company with the solution that provides those people with the best support and earning potential will win.

    We are now at a phase in the industry where companies providing an average solution to that problem with struggle to justify how they keep most of the agents earnings.

    The city and other investors are about to realise that they have seriously zigged when they should have zagged by backing an online advertising model.

    Then after the battle and all the waffle over the last 5 or 10 years about online and high street has calmed down, the dust is going to settle and when it does a load of hobbits will be standing there looking around ( a bit like The Good Estate Agency today and Ewemove and others) and say bloody hell we are still here, with even average agents earning more than they ever did working for an agency and enjoying more flexible working.

    Others will want to join them and realise what they have been missing.

    My bet is that the industry will finally realise that the majority of the ones left standing are going to be agents who keep most of the fees that they generate every day, not the agencies.

    I am now going to get my coffee and avoid any more Lord of the Rings metaphors this year.

    SImon we should have a chat, I concur with most comments you put on here.

    Rob Bryer

    I agree Simon. I have never liked the term "online agent" anyway. That model has never really worked. It's all about getting the good agents.

  • Richard Spiller

    Def not the original...I started Red Homes in 2005 and I got my idea from Homeweb who started in 2004...its the way forward thou.

    Best month I have done working from home was 19 sales(twice) £28k approx

    Mike Riley

    Richard well done, I'm keen to meet.

    Nigel Adams

    Agreed Richard. I started BigBlackHen.com on Exmoor March the 14th 2005. Homeweb were before us in Devon. We are now in Hertfordshire after I moved up here in 2010. I remember Red Homes as you had the franchise model. We were all way before this agent. And as we're still going don't need anyone to tell us that our models work.

  • icon

    It's up to the Agency to keep up to date. Move with the times and invest in there people.
    The quicker we are all qualified the industry will go forward leaps and bounds.
    Let's not debate High Street V Hybrid.
    Let's all do a good job for our clients. And guess what there the ones who pay us.

    Rob Bryer

    Agreed. I am looking forward to the day when qualification becomes mandatory. There will always be room for all models and the best agents will win.

  • Tony Sinclair

    Getting a bit fed up with these self promoting posts thinly disguised as genuine articles.
    Next please....

    Rob Bryer

    Self promotion is what being in business is all about Tony! :-)

  • Andrew Stanton PROPTECH-PR A Consultancy for Proptech Founders

    Estate agency is a cottage industry, and will continue to be, good estate agents are divesting themselves from offices, and making good profit, and also there are many established bricks and mortar agents in towns villages and cities that have a great team who make massive profits year on year. The biggest revolution though is the agent working from home - and Rob Bryer's approach is brilliant - it is just what a confident sales person needs, freedom to list and sell with support on a daily basis.

    But, the estate agent working from home is really no surprise as many industries, surveyors etc have been doing this for a long time. Giving a choice if I started again would I have an office and sit in it on a Saturday or a Sunday, no I would rather be networking whilst having a coffee at the local, in between appointments a much better life balance which is why staff retention is such a problem in the industry at present.

    And working from home should mean bespoke service should mean the highest level of service and highest level of fees as Simon says.

    And the term Hybrid? all agents are hybrid, changing daily, all are online, all have to conform to new red tape, all have to adapt to the new property tech and communication channels that the public chose to use. Rant over where is my coffee? And then meeting with Zara (my dog) and some blue sky thinking whilst we trail over the countryside. Yes agency is changing - but it is still a service industry, customer is king and you can not get around those trading overheads, so which ever model you are working, build in at least 28% gross profit or probably you are doing a lot of hours for a small return.


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