There’s a growing trend for estate agents to quit big-name corporates and either go independent or join US-style brokerages, a top agent says.
Camilla Dell, managing partner at sales and buying agency Black Brick, says she has seen this become particularly common in London and means sellers have many more routes to the market than before.
“In the recent tough market, estate agents have been cutting their fees to win business and, in many cases, this has hit the income of some of their leading agents” she says.
“We’re seeing a growing number deciding to go it alone, whether as sole agents or by joining brokerages that follow the US model, where the agents are self-employed but share some overheads.”
There’s substantial evidence to back up Dell’s assessment.
The new US-led agency concept - eXp UK - launched in November but within three months declared it had recruited over 50 agents in this country.
Its new recruits came not just from online and hybrid firms but from traditional agencies too, including Mark Bentley, a past president of the National Association of Estate Agents.
In addition, two former high profile Savills agents have this year announced that they are joining freelance agency operation Keller Williams UK.
In January it was revealed that a senior ex-Savills figure - Tanya Blake, former head of country lettings - was setting up a market centre for Keller Williams. More recently it was revealed that she had recruited Ryan Toms, another senior lettings figure at Savills with more than 16 years’ experience in the industry.
In the first days of the New Year another new self-employed agency business - called Properly - was set up by Mariel Roe and Michael Whittaker, who have a combined 40 years of experience in the industry at JLL, Felicity J Lord and Sequence.
And just last week Agent & Homes - set up by former Countrywide and LSL senior figures Rollo Miles and Bob Crowley - claimed one of its agents had earned £200,000 in a year from the brand’s Notting Hill hub.
Miles said it was time for agents to shed the traditional business models which he claims stifle individuals’ earning potential.