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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Why are only 25% of estate agents in NAEA Propertymark?

Propertymark, combining both the National Association of Estate Agents and the Association of Residential Letting Agents, claims to speak for the industry.

Yet it’s estimated that only 25 per cent of estate agents are members of the NAEA and some 50 per cent of letting agency branches are in ARLA.

Why that is the case is the question put today to the new Propertymark chief executive Tim Balcon by leading industry consultant Chris Watkin.

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In a video interview exclusively on Estate Agent Today, Balcon explains why he believes membership is currently at that level and how increased transparency in the industry - particularly if the Regulation of Property Agents recommendations on training are implemented - will drive agents into the NAEA.

Balcon believes estate agency will increasingly become a profession - not simply a job - and the business, training and managerial skills required by those in the industry are precisely what Propertymark will be able to offer.

The interview also talks money - the huge sum which Propertymark takes in each year, and the allegations surrounding Balcon’s own salary as CEO.

It’s a fascinating seven minute no-holds-barred piece - the first of several video interviews with Balcon which will be on Estate Agent Today and Letting Agent Today during the coming week.

Our thanks to Chris Watkin for sharing it with our readers - you can see the video below.

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    My goodness that low, although not surprising given the high annual membership fees, who are others using then?

  • Richard Copus

    The NAEA is often knocked, but it provides excellent educational services, free legal advice for agents with problems and regular updated information on legal and regulatory matters to help and protect members. Its main problem is that increasingly many agents don't consider themselves professionals but salesman and rally against doing anything like taking a few exams or keeping updated CPD because they don't see why they should. Also in reorganising itself, the Association destroyed its branch base which was its bedrock. The NAEA membership was at its highest around 15 years ago when most PPDs still aspired to something more and there was regular input and discussion between the top and grass root members.

  • Algarve  Investor

    I think he comes across well, and as Richard says above, it's easy to knock the NAEA and Propertymark more generally, but they do seem to do plenty of good work and £250 a year (if I heard that right) does sound like a bit of a bargain.

    The toothless and reactive rather than proactive criticisms probably hold some muster, but as we've seen with RICS recently - which has always been viewed as pretty squeaky clean and the barometer for all other trade bodies - even the most respected trade bodies have their problems.

  • Matthew Fine

    Left them years ago. I asked at the time why they thought they had the ear of the government when every time a new property announcement was made they acted shocked. They spent so much of their member’s money cosying up to the government only to be ignored when laws were debated. The public have absolutely no idea of who they are & what they offer. Perhaps they need a better PR to inform and educate the public because they have failed to do so after 30 plus years. I wish the new guy lots of luck and hope he has the 'boys club' tie or he won’t last too long.

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    In my view it's for those agents that need advice, bit like never leaving home. Whilst pretending to be on your side, these types of organizations, do nothing but lobby the government to try and become mandatory to justify their existence, forcing everyone to be a member under the guise of improvement. Good agents survive alone and these organizations lead to cost for everyone.

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    The same for ARLA. We had staff do the training to become members and then get told a couple of years later that they cannot now use the accreditation and the Directors of the company have to now do the training - just money making for them, and a waste of time for agents - and very negative for those staff that have gone to the effort to become members in the first place. The training that you HAD to do each year to remain members was also old and repetitive..... really not worth the time, effort of money!

     
  • Murray Lee

    Having been a member as a Fellow since 1984 (maybe earlier as only a "member" I feel that, although they do offer a lot of useful resources to agents , they have never established themselves as real professional body like the RICS. They also have never raised their their profile enough to be the true Professional Body the public respect. As far as Im aware no one has asked me if Im a member of NAEA or ARLA. They need to improve their profile (and they should have backed the @saynotorightmove campaign!)

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    The new CEO doesn't come across as very "dynamic" but I will wait and see.

    I became a member in 1979 and a Fellow in 1987; passed my CRLM in 1999 and graduated in Business Property Management in 2003, and am now a retired Fellow although my main business was residential lettings and management. I don't really care anymore but Richard Copus knows his stuff and should be listened to.

    There is no other Professional body for Estate/Letting Agents of any similar standing. The training courses are generally good although many are cancelled if they are not in main centres through lack of numbers. You generally have to travel and perhaps stay overnight. City courses are often oversubscribed but not those elsewhere.

    The RICS is for surveyors rather than agents and should not be directly compared.

    Propertymark has a big problem with the ever changing number of Housing MInisters as they often have to repeat everything they have discussed with a Minister only to find he or she is moved after 6 months and the cycle begins again.

    Housing is low priority in Government despite what they say, and since George Osborne was Chancellor, landlords have been kicked about everywhere as they cow-tow to tenants supposed needs and then wonder why the PRS has 250,000 fewer units to let. UC is virtually impossible to obtain for under 35s if single so it's a recipe for homelessness methinks. They don't think it through. Sorry I went off at a tangent somewhat.



  • Andrew Stanton CEO Proptech-PR    Proptech Real Estate Influencer

    Given the present RICS debacle and the opaque nature of Propertymark, and its concentration of power at the top, and its documented inability to pay huge sums of VAT to HMRC over several years - and at the same time casting itself as the de facto regulating voice of the industry - maybe Mr Balcon needs to understand that most agents ridicule organisations that are based on hypocrisy. My advice would be to kick off his premiership by apologising to all the paying members of the organisation, being transparent with what happened with the HMRC, and explain if the accountants and the chief financial officer has been changed, and if not - why not. My understanding is that if VAT is not paid a director can be fined, barred from office or imprisoned for ten years, so my question is - in the interests of the NAEA membership what interest or fine or other measures did the HMRC take when it was 'discovered' that the VAT element had over a number of years not been paid over. The offence is fully documented in the 2019 end of year annual report, but no financials, exactly how much VAT was underpaid, who was in charge and where are they now. Maybe Mr Balcon would like to answer these questions, before going forward with a new membership drive.

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    The statutory accounts currently available for Propertymark are to year end December 2019, Balcon was appointed in October '20, so nothing in the available accounts could indicate remuneration for Balcon, yet.
    The accounts state that Director remuneration was a rather unusual £26,000 which strikes you as odd for an £8m turnover business, until you read on a little further and discover on the very last page that "key management personnel" were paid £536,969 up £85,939 from 2018's £451,030. Delightfully opaque.

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