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Graham Awards


Self-employed agents - the way forward for the industry?

Many of the leading advocates of the self-employed estate agent business model have talked about why many want new recruits with absolutely no estate agency experience.

“They come with no baggage, they’ve got no preconceived ideas, they've got no nasty habits left over from the traditional route” explains David Brierley, who bought easyProperty from the owners of Fine & Country and the Guild of Property Professionals last year. He says some 25 per cent of his current representatives are non-agents, and he’s on the look out for more. 

“We do find people from the military or police background are disciplined to follow process, so if they’re personable people and they enjoy meeting people and helping people, and follow process, then for me that’s a good start” says Andrew Benn, chief operating officer of Keller Williams UK, another agency that follows a self-employed model. Around 20 per cent of his firm’s agents have arrived with no agency background.


Peggy Su of Remax says many of her company’s franchisees prefer to recruit those “who don’t come with baggage.” She says numbers vary significantly across offices but within London she believed around 60 per cent of those working under the Remax label are not former estate agents.

The revelations come in a video interview with eight of the country’s leading agency heads who operate the self-employed or associate business model.

The others are Sean Newman of Newman’s, Steven Heard of My London Home, and Steven Wayne of Benjamin Stevens.

In addition, the video interview includes contributions from two firms adopting the self-employed model but who do employ only experienced agents - that’s Adam Day of eXp UK and Nicky Stevenson of Fine & Country.

The eight of them debate many other aspects of the self-employed and associate model, which appears to have become an increasingly popular model in recent years, through online operators like Purplebricks and through more traditional agency activities centred on hubs and market centres.

The video debate is a lengthy one but considers how self-employed agents work, how much they receive in potential income and benefits from different companies , whether they can work with other firms in the property sector at the same time, and whether self-employment is a better - or worse - option in the current virus period.

It’s a unique opportunity to get so many key names from the industry in one virtual place, and our thanks to leading industry consultant Chris Watkin for sharing this opportunity exclusively with Estate Agent Today reader. 

The video is below.

  • Rollo Miles

    At agentandhomes.com we value experience and property knowledge above training and earning fees off recruiting non experienced agents.

    You can only truly give proper property advice if you understand what your clients are going through and have a wealth of experience to guide and advise them correctly.

    For us being self Employed means the freedom to work when you want, how you want , where you want. To set your own fees and be in control of your life, without the restraints of middle management and artificial targets.

  • adrian black

    Experience is absolutely essential in selling a property - agree that only a little is needed if all an agent does is list a property, but proper selling, giving first rate advice and excellent service and seeing a transaction through to exchange and completion and dealing with all the issues that often arise requires competence, experience and knowledge


    If someone took the time to learn and take the Level 4 qualification in estate Agency (which all self-employed agents will need to take if ROPA comes through) - then surely they will able to operate under an agent umbrella - as long as that umbrella organisation guided and supported them?

  • icon

    Agents will join white table platforms that give them far better tech than franchises or corporates and pay much less for that and data driven lead gen services.

  • Mark Wilson

    If prices fall 20% to 30% and the number of transactions drop by 50%, are either of these assumptions so far fetched? Revenue decline 70%. You do the maths, how will agents survive?


    The pie might be smaller Mark Wilson - yet the better agents will survive and stop prostituting themselves on the altar of cheap fees


    Your figures are simply delusional Mark.

    Mark Wilson

    Richard, when you say I am delusional, I take it you think prices will fall more and transactions levels will be less than half?

  • Richard Copus

    I can't think of anything better than an ex-copper or soldier selling my house. His/her experience of conveyancing will be a boon to making my transaction go smoothly and his/her knowledge of the construction of my property, my leasehold arrangements, the problems with the footpath that goes through my garden, the tiny cracks in my house which of course are not important because it was built in a former mining area, his/her knowledge of land law to help smooth over the conveyancing process and be able to talk with solicitors, will all make life easier. And of course not to mention their unique experience of telling people what to do.
    Hardly surprising our reputation is at rock bottom. Thank heavens the government will at long last be bringing in a minimum standard of competence to allow estate agents to practice.
    On an aside, the self-employed model which most of these people are advocating is likely to be viewed under recent HMRC guidelines as employment in all but name and be treated accordingly for tax purposes.


    Richard - if you watch the recent hour interview i did with Sean Newman - a man who has been doing self-employed estate agency for 10 years - HMRC have already looked at his self employed model twice and are satisfied with it

  • icon

    Haha that's what they all are!!
    Failed in career sell real estate.
    This industry will drop the. 30-50pc underperformers and the professionals will survive


    ..and why cant those professionals be self employed Angus?

  • Chris Arnold

    I think it's a risky bet taking on people that have no experience and it's amply demonstrated in USA where there are millions of realtors, most of whom sell only six or so homes a year. With the current economic climate, there won't be any problem finding people, but whether those people stay the course is another matter. It doesn't help homeowners if there's little stability.
    For some like KW, that matters little. What matters to them is an ongoing source of revenue from training these new recruits in methods that are at best questionable.

  • Richard Copus

    Glad HMRC are satisfied with it Christopher, but that's the least of my concerns.


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