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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Some agents receiving government grants already, says Guild

Some estate agents are now receiving small business grants from the government, according to the Guild of Property Professionals.

Guild chief executive Iain McKenzie says: “Campaigning by The Guild and other industry players … is starting to bear fruit. The grants are going to be the lifeblood that see many estate agents through the next few months so we are pleased to see that our members have started getting payments within as little as eight days or less from the date of their application.”

One such Guild Member, Jonathan Waters from Foxhall Estate Agents in Ipswich, says that he was surprised by both how easy the application process was and how quickly the payment was made. 

“We filled in the necessary forms, as I am sure most estate agents have, and sent it to Ipswich council on April 2. They replied saying that the money would be paid five days later, and on April 7 the £10,000 grant was in our account.” 

And he continues: “It’s not every day that you get money from the council, so definitely a highlight in a period of lows. I must admit that I thought they would put in as many hurdles as possible, but that wasn’t the case at all. In fact, quite the reverse, they have made it as simple and fast as possible.”

Waters also says getting agreement to a £20,000 overdraft from his bank to get his company through the Coronavirus period was also surprisingly straightforward - although he accepts this may not be the case for agents dealing with other banks.

“The money was made available within 20 minutes of putting the phone down. So, in less than an hour we were able to secure a financial safety net for our business, if needed,” he explains - although he says the interest was a staggering nine per cent. 

He adds that, like many agents, the business had a healthy pipeline of sales that has now been temporarily locked, so having £10,000 come in from the council, along with the additional £20,000 available, should help see them through for the next few months.

“We have around 32 sales running at the moment, with all but two indicating they still want to go ahead and move. This is largely attributed to the fact that one of the staff we haven’t furloughed is our sales progresso … whose position has now become one of the most important in the business” says Waters.

And he continues: “While we have always attached a high level of importance to the need of a dedicated person in the role, it is even more vital now. With every agent finding new business very thin on the ground right now, she has been communicating with all parties and reassuring them during this uncertain time – a crucial element at the moment.”

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    We didnt even apply - the Money just landed in our account. Impressive action from our Council.

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    please could someone advise me on this one, I applied for the 10k grant and have been declined by Leeds City Council 'as I am not a rate payer' - which is true, because my RV is under £12,000 pa, I'm totally confused as far as I'm concerned I'm entitled to the grant. (I had 2 branches upto last summer, paying rates at both - I then closed an office and Leeds City Council told me - I no longer had to pay rates.

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    It’s amusing to see various organisations taking credit for campaigning for these grants. They are a European Union obligation as UK are still part of the EU. What triggered the payments was the inclusion of estate agents as retail businesses therefore being allowed to be exempt from business rates. This was going to happen whether the Guild,RICS or NAEA campaigned or not.

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    I had an issue myself and so have other people with getting the council to give out grants to estate agents as it can get technical. I used a great rating company cityrates.co.uk it’s worth having a chat with them anyone with issues.

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    Nice free ad!!

     
  • Andrew Stanton Proptech Real Estate Influencer - Analyst - CEO Proptech-PR

    With the base rate at 0.1% and overdraft facilities at 9%, that is a staggering rate of interest to be paying for any banking facility, so good to see the banks are helping out as per usual.

    Also, though salaries are typically 60% of the cost of running an agency, so if the teams are being furloughed, and owners are topping up the 20% shortfall, that still means owners need to find 52% of the monthly overheads minus any residential business completing.

    Obviously rental income if the size of the portfolio allows will help but, very soon with lockdown for the foreseeable, the £10,000 grant will perhaps be less than is required, hopefully not.

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