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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Agent shuts business and rips into 'lying sellers and lazy solicitors'

Maverick Cornish estate agent Chris Wood has quit the industry with a stinging attack on those who have “taken their toll” on him over 30 years.

Wood, who ran his PDQ Estates business in Helston, has in recent years had high profile disagreements with Purplebricks, the National Association of Estate Agents, the Advertising Standards AuthorityZoopla and others. Previously he had campaigned against portal juggling - the alleged listing, de-listing and re-listing of properties by agents.

Some weeks ago he shut his firm's office saying he would continue to operate mostly online: however, now he has closed down the business completely, claiming that a potential buyer was unable to commit.

In a long and personal closure message posted on his company website in recent days, Wood says he will look after clients who accepted offers subject to contract on their homes through to completion, but would otherwise cease trading. 

In addition to paying tribute to some property professionals with whom he worked - saying it has been “a privilege and an honour” to deal with them - he gives a chunk of his statement to a stinging attack.

He says: “The current market conditions and thirty years of fighting with lazy solicitors, ‘computer says no’ call-centre lenders, over-zealous surveyors, incompetent estate agents in chains and a small, but significant, number of buyers and sellers who believe they can lie through their teeth or change their minds with impunity despite causing incredible distress and cost to everyone around them, have taken their toll.”

Wood - who was in the industry for 30 years and ran PDQ for 18 years - says he will now focus on another business concern and charity work.

Meanwhile media reports in Lincoln suggest there is no clue found yet as to the sudden closure of a popular estate agency in the city.

Burton & Co Property Centre closed towards the end of last week, clearing its windows of property details and erecting a closed sign overnight.

The company’s website no longer functions, its listings have been removed from Zoopla, and attempts by Estate Agent Today to leave messages have been unsuccessful.

The firm was established in 1986 with a substantial office just off Lincoln city centre’s High Street.

  • Rob Hailstone

    Article headline should read:

    Agent shuts business and rips into 'lazy solicitors, ‘computer says no’ call-centre lenders, over-zealous surveyors, incompetent estate agents in chains and lying buyers and sellers.'

    Either way, Chris sounds pretty p****d off!

  • Matt Faizey

    I can empathise with him.

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    To be fair to Chris there is NOTHING in the paragraph below that is incorrect !!

    " lazy solicitors, ‘computer says no’ call-centre lenders, over-zealous surveyors, incompetent estate agents in chains and a small, but significant, number of buyers and sellers who believe they can lie through their teeth or change their minds with impunity despite causing incredible distress and cost to everyone around them”

  • Paul Barrett

    Unfortunately there will be many more EA ceasing trading.
    Some forced to.
    Some with feelings as expressed in the article who see the game isn't worth it anymore.
    When you have a vastly experienced professional operation like PDQ throwing in the towel this surely must set the alarm bells ringing especially amongst the less experienced EA.
    A presentation recently given by that vastly experienced property industry commentator Kate Faulkener suggest that about 20% of LA will shut down.
    Many of those will be EA.
    Just operating as an EA is rarely viable.
    If the LA viability goes then potentially this compromises the EA viability.
    LL would do well to withdraw any deposit funds that are currently held by the LA and convert to the insurance type of deposit protection where the LL holds the monies.
    Also LL should require rents to be paid directly and then pay the LA the relevant monthly management fee.
    The temptation for LA to do a runner when the Tenant fee ban kicks in will be enormous.
    LL should remove the temptation.
    Many LA ONLY survive because of Tenant fee income which also support their EA business.
    All I know is I wouldn't want any LA I use to have ANY control over tenant deposits and rents

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    Never comment on here but have to say I feel his pain. Estate Agency used to be rewarding however with hybrid sites and clients “want everything for nothing” attitude I feel a lot in our professional will start questioning whether it is worth it anymore

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    Best of luck Chris. The industry will be the poorer for your absence.

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    That's a joke! More time spend working for his customers and less about attacking others might have kept im afloat!

    Rule one: People in glass houses!

     
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    Total agree Charlie, however you always get stupid comments from the likes of Richard who automatically assumes that Chris and his company didn't spend time working for his clients. Smaller estate agents live and breath their company and probably spend far more time with their clients and a lot less on holidays to ensure they provide the service that is required.

     
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    Check out this moron Richard Buttersmead's post history on here. At least he's consistent.

     
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    It’s a shame to see anyone shut the door on their business but the issues listed are the same issues that have affected the industry over time. No doubt there was room to recommend property lawyers and understand the process - managing expectations is a must as the process is still so historic.
    Stuart Forsdike
    PCS Legal

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    I have to say I feel for Chris, I too have spent 30 years in the business and still the biggest frustration is incompetent solicitors, in all my years I have only dealt with a handful who didn't operate as if conveyancing was below them, and agents as a matter of course should be dealt with contempt, there is still excitement and enjoyable challenges in the business, and clients who see the value in our service, sadly more and more are first being stung by the on-liners before returning to a conventional agent..

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    It really is easy to blame "incompetent solicitors" for the ills of the conveyancing process. Had we agents embraced the potential offered by HIP's for agents to take control of the process ourselves perhaps the industry would not now be suffering the worst service delivery I can remember in my 50 years in the business. How many agents lazily accept the clients choice of conveyancer rather than pro actively recommending the services of one that the agent knows from experience will deliver the service required? Good conveyancers are out there they just need agents to recognise their commitment to service delivery and whole heartedly support them.

     
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    Sadly he missed out the Government's obsession with picking on estate and letting agents to sort out their own housing mess, whilst it's okay to ban letting fees etc, it's apparently not okay to ban mortgage arrangement fees, but then again, MP's only have chums in banks, not letting companies.

  • Babonday Brian

    I get knocked down but buy bet bup bagain... aint no lying bricks going to keep me down.

  • Gavin Brazg

    Onwards and upwards sir!

  • James Robinson

    Chris Wood, I think we all feel your pain, in the last 30 years I've got out of the industry twice for exactly the same reasons and others. Buyers and sellers with spinning moral compasses, greed, incompetence, government policies and regulations, property taxes, ripoff portals the list grows daily.
    From reading these comments I think there is a tinge of envy of your decision and ability to be able to just walk away.

  • Paul Barrett

    The same applies to LA and LL aswell.
    All in all it seems industry professionals are under attack like never before.
    Yet it seems rarely is this of any advantage to the end user.
    So why bother with all this extra hassle!?

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    As long as you're happy son!

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    I remember HIPs. That's where the conveyancer refused to use the searches in the pack and did them all over again. Mmm.

  • B Singh

    I’m sorry but who actually cares?

    It’s part and parcel of Sales

    Try dealing with the 30year issues in a day

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    You are right, I am pretty sure that any experienced salesperson in any sales industry could come up with a very similar complaint.

    Trouble is, all too many get into this business thinking it will be easy. Frankly, what business is easy?

     
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    He has, everyday for thirty years

     
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    Michael, he never said it was easy or we get into this business thinking it will be easy. He is a business owner (like myself) and at one time we could all concentrate on the "sale side of the business", however as the business owner we multitask on everything from accounts to AML as well as all the other day to day running of the business. Then you have clients that see hybrid agents with low commission and your client expects the same or you rely on a sale that the client pulls out off at the last minute with no financial cost to them. After 30 years good luck to him, I can understand why he has had enough.

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    Basically the buying and selling of property in the UK is a total mess and now councils are setting themselves up as vigilanty sheriffs of all they command to collect unearned tax/fees/licenses the system is becoming too complicated for poor mortals. You can take poor which ever way you wish.

    In my dealings I have found a very good solicitor. He has his own property interest as well and that is his interest. He also knows how to get the "best" out of other solicitors. Always interview a prospective solicitor about how they get on with property work. Another good bet is to ask the estate agent involved. I know this is frowned on but do it any way even if you just get a hint as to which way to walk down the street outside to look for a solicitor.

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