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‘Godfather’ of estate agents says larger fees would improve service

If UK agents were paid higher fees they could perform a better service to the public.

That’s the view of Mark Hayward, who last week left Propertymark after 10 years during which he had been chief policy adviser and chief executive. He has been described as the ‘Godfather’ of UK agency having seen his entire working life in property.

He says UK agents are currently the lowest paid in the world and if they were better rewarded they could reasonably be expected to provide an even better service - for example, possibly taking a transaction to the stage of a binding contract rather than simply securing a sale and then handing the process over to a conveyancer.


Hayward - who has now become involved in PropTech as an adviser to the Just Move In platform - makes his claim in an exclusive interview with Estate Agent Today. 

He was a long-standing member of the Regulation of Property Agents working party; its report still sits with government, which has expressed broad support for its recommendations for much greater training, regulation and higher standards amongst agents.

Hayward tells Angels Media chief executive Nat Daniels what he believes will happen to his group’s recommendations, as well as giving an insight into why Propertymark and its constituent bodies - NAEA and ARLA in particular - appear less high powered than, for example, the US National Association of Realtors.

It’s a 10 minute video interview, just for EAT readers - you can see it below. 

  • Chris Arnold

    Like putting the chicken before the egg. If they offered a"better" service, they might be able to charge more. But here's the point : You get paid big money for Who you are, not for what you do.
    Vendors will pay more if they have trust that the agent can deliver on the promises. Unfortunately, most don't.

  • C B
    • C B
    • 06 January 2022 06:32 AM

    Who described him as the Godfather?


    He did… when he wrote this article.

  • Richard Rawlings

    Completely agree with Mark re fees and binding contracts. Both these issues are instantly solvable and would elevate the status of our fabulous industry. I don’t think a better service would necessarily deliver higher fees though - we already do far more for our clients (but not buyers) than agents in most other countries as we are so deeply involved in fiddly sales progression. Abroad, most agents are hands off once a deal is agreed, due to binding contracts. We charge pathetic fees for a job very well done mostly. It’s just that agents have been weak/desperate in the face of cheap competition and are usually poorly trained in the art of persuasive pitching.

    Carl Smales

    Richard, you are the reason why my company was able to gain the self belief needed to charge higher fees.

    You showed us how the clients would be happy to pay more if they achieved more!

    I will always be in your debt.

    Happy days!

  • Murray Lee

    Thought I was the “Godfather” .. well at least of Golders Green :-)

    Hit Man

    That's what I thought when I saw the headline the Godfather I had to read it but was then disapointed to find it was a mistaken identity.

  • Andrew Ireland

    Does a Godfather “ice” people he doesn’t like?
    Anyway we have Godladies down here in Devon

  • icon

    Estate agents fees will continue to remain low as long as the large corporates are run by accountants and owned by shareholders who prioritise market share over profitability.

    Fees have never related to quality of service or skill, save for the skill of self respect and understanding how a P&L works.

  • Carl Smales

    If you give the best service and get the best results, people are happy to pay a higher fee.

    No one wants to be part of your test!

    Prove you are worth you fee and people will be happy to pay.

    But that means you must be honest and act with integrity, stop over valuing to get a listing bonus and roll your sleeves up and put some hard work in to prove you are worth the extra fee (rather than just going for a quick & easy sold).

    Happy days!

  • icon

    In 2022, prevailing low-fee/fee-cutting mentality will lead to the much overdue cull of inferior agents.

  • icon

    Godfather of Estate Agency my arse, more like a gelding horse, he has no balls. For all the time he was at Propertymark he made no impact, membership went down and the financial accounts were a mess. If he feels this way why did he not do something whilst he was in a position to influence the selling and buying process? Reason, just collect a nice big salary and do nothing for the last 10 years+

  • icon

    Percentage fees create "Predatory Estate Agency" where the Valuer is in the clients front room to screw the client for the biggest percentage fee they can get away with. If agents worked on and advertised only fixed fees then competition between agents would move away from fees and towards who offers best value and service for the client. Not higher fees just fees that are visible, understandable and reflect what an agent actually physically does to market and sell a property.

    Kristjan Byfield

    You don't buy a new Porsche for the price of a Ford Mondeo- why should agency be any different?!

  • icon

    I get so bored with people who are not estate agents and just pontificating "trainers" going on about fees.

  • Phil Priest

    Let me understand this, estate agents 'pay' NAEA and ARLA a membership in order to be regulated by the body you are paying for... why would either of these organisations have any interest in implementing wholesale changes to process and put more pressure on those who fund them...

    Don't bite off the hand that feeds you?!?!

    Unfortunately though, the majority of problems are caused by the minority of agents.

    Until a system similar to studying law is introduced where it becomes a profession requiring some statuary education and recognised qualification then it will continue to be an industry in which most people 'fall into'. The training and education is then relying on the owners / colleagues in the estate agency to train the new staff, and in so many varying levels of customer service.


    I'll explain it very quickly for you. Propertymark bills about £8m per annum from agents paying for training and qualifications which enable them to display a badge, which as it currently stands makes absolutely zero difference to their ability to win instructions.

    Propertymark want to make wholesale changes to the process in order that they can force, BY LAW every single estate agent in the land sign up to their qualifications, licencing and regulation taking their income from £8m to something probably closer to £20m or more.

    Meanwhile the qualifications and education will do nothing to improve "customer service" because
    a) Enforcement will still be carried out by the underfunded NTSEA
    b) As you rightly say the majority of training is carried out on the job to different standards.
    c) Qualifications do not teach you how to be "professional" (just look at the IFA industry.)

  • Richard Copus

    A gelding horse has more concentration than a stallion, its mind is focused better, it doesn't get hot under the collar and often performs its task better! That's why trainers and owners like them. I presume that's why you described Mark Hayward as such, Mark Long.


    Richard, thank you for your reply. I have read your profile and obviously you are a very learned man with great experience, but please tell me what Mark Haywood achieved at Propertymark whilst he has been there? Falling membership numbers, accounts issues with HMRC and as someone else has mentioned the abolishment of tenant fees which negatively effected every Estate Agents income. Therefore from what i can see as like he did as an Estate Agent he has failed in his duty and Propertymark should of got rid of him years ago. As to the horse analogy, I'd rather be a stallion than a gelding, at least i would still have my balls. What the industry needs is a strong leader who is not afraid to ruffle feathers and stand up to government and the legal profession in order to help Estate Agents and consumers create a better moving experience. Mark Hayward was never that man and never has been. He, should like every old horse be put out to grass and enjoy his retirement. He has no place in this industry anymore.

  • Kieran Ryan

    Of Course more in fees is very much welcome, However, not sure why Propertymark were NOT more voiceful against the government banning 'Tenant fees'? Very dissapointed in their stance! Pot & kettle comes to mind!

    Kristjan Byfield

    The TFB is one of the best things to happen to the PRS in recent years- wish it had happened years ago.

  • Richard Copus

    Hi Mark,
    A bit more than many EIG and PIE contributors appreciate in my opinion, but he could have done a lot more for the grassroots - the real people in the industry who are on the frontline. There's loads wrong with Propertymark, particularly in its reincarnation, but one thing it has done has kept the industry and its problems in high profile within Government, which is more than one can say for the RICS.


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