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Steve Harwood
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Steve Harwood
This gets more and more interesting. I had dinner with a friend yesterday evening who has been looking into this more closely. With the evidence emerging that Agents Mutual have signed many agents at very low rates (£50 seems to be their favourite), that the following statement in their Information Memorandum provides a cast iron argument for anyone who wants to be released from their contract - and a potential route to recover all monies invested through the courts if they can be bothered: "For agents which make no term commitment to list with the portal in advance, listing fees will be set shortly before launch. They will be higher than the tariff for Silver members and will not be fixed." So it is surely game, set and match for anyone who signed as gold or silver at full rate before or at launch. There is a second line of attack that Agents Mutual have opened themselves up to and that may provide a 'get out' for any agent who is paying their full rates. That is that this organisation is a mutual; everyone is equal and that includes pricing. Any agent who signed one of their contracts at their full rate can argue that they only did so because they believed this. They can also argue that the portal simply cannot keep its commitments on marketing and product development if Agents Mutual are signing agents at low rates as the projections made in the same Information Memorandum were all based on agents paying full rate. So, if you are paying the full rate to Agents Mutual, the real question is 1. are you happy doing so, and 2. do you want to continue. If the answer is 'No' or either of these questions, you have a pretty strong argument to get out whether you signed before, at or after launch.

From: Steve Harwood 13 April 2016 07:55 AM

Steve Harwood

From: Steve Harwood 12 April 2016 09:01 AM

Steve Harwood

From: Steve Harwood 23 March 2016 08:27 AM

Steve Harwood

From: Steve Harwood 10 March 2016 07:46 AM

Steve Harwood

From: Steve Harwood 26 January 2016 07:44 AM

Steve Harwood
Simon, interestingly the full testimonial for Raine & Co (published by PropertyPortalWatch) suggests that they have pulled away from Zoopla but they are advertising on it today! So 33% of their testimonials are clearly out of date. How embarrassing! Full testimonial: Mike Marsh Raine & Co Hertfordshire and Mayfair Nine offices, a mixture of sales and lettings November 2015 We decided to join OnTheMarket.com as soon as we reviewed the strategy and costs. We didn’t take much persuading! We were fed-up with Rightmove and Zoopla because of their ever-increasing fees. Whenever we have met representatives from the other major portals, we have felt that they are more focused on increasing the portal’s income than on providing a high level of service to us, their estate and letting agent customers. It was our industry which built Rightmove and Zoopla into the powerful giants which they are today with their enormous profits and stock market valuations. We know that as traditional high street agents who are proud of Britain’s estate agent industry and the service it offers, it is time to put an end to this ludicrous situation. As agents who provide the precious property content, it is absolutely in our power to do so with our own alternative portal. We were very pleased to learn that the executives behind OnTheMarket.com had already launched a property portal which was an overwhelming success in the form of PrimeLocation. This gave us reassurance and confidence in the leadership of Agents’ Mutual and they have not disappointed us. When it came to which portal to drop, we debated it because it was a difficult decision. Being so close to London, we were concerned about dropping Zoopla but we chose to retain Rightmove on the basis of the superior volume and quality of the leads it was generating for us. The leads supplied to us by OnTheMarket.com are of an extremely high standard. We hear frequently from our customers how user-friendly OnTheMarket.com is and how cleanly it displays the properties on the market. In my own opinion, it is only a matter of time before the property stock on the portal increases and OnTheMarket.com will be able to compete head-on with Rightmove.

From: Steve Harwood 07 January 2016 15:13 PM

Steve Harwood

From: Steve Harwood 08 December 2015 09:48 AM

Steve Harwood

From: Steve Harwood 01 December 2015 07:09 AM

Steve Harwood
Graham, The bias against AM is very simple. You - and Mr Crayson here - are in business to serve your customers. If they have received 18 versus 197 leads over a period (looks like this guy operates at the top end of the market so not a volume game), and consciously removed themselves from Rightmove which I assume delivers the same or more than Zoopla, then that is a disservice to his customers. I completely understand the selfish reasons for signing up to this long term, but your customers are not interested in the long term, they are interested in the next (hopefully) three months while you sell their house. It is dishonourable behaviour. Another reason for being vehemently anti-AM is that the current situation in our market is that there are two portals I subscribe to; primarily because my customers expect it. If AM is successful it is either because it has replaced Z or because there are now three portals I have to advertise on. In either of those scenarios I HATE the outcome. The thought of me having to advertise on a website that is ostensibly controlled by a bunch of posh boys in Mayfair fills my heart with hatred (don't try and kid me that my 1/6000 share will give me any control - doesn't stop them pouring money into Country Life and whatever other selfish, irrelevant to 99.99% of the population projects that they cherish), and the thought of having to pay for three portals is equally unattractive. This will go down as an own goal for our industry and those who aren't happy should come away - quickly - before they end up in a worse situation than the one they are in today. What a complete and utter shambles.

From: Steve Harwood 29 October 2015 09:10 AM

Steve Harwood
I think the problem Joe, is 'you don't know what you don't know'. Every time this subject has come up Agents Mutual has said 'the company is satisfied that it is operating within the law', suggesting that advice has been sought and the project cleared. There are two aspects to this comment that are disingenuous: 1. Competition law is not a static thing. As a business becomes more established and holds a greater market share, its ability to operate at the margins of what would be considered anti-competitive changes. Any business that has over 40% of share in a market (and this could be a very specific geographical market), is considered by the CMA as dominant and therefore could find itself being investigated if there are suspected misdemeanours. 2. Agents Mutual have said that the COMPANY is operating within the law. They have carefully offered no comment on the behaviour and liability of their members. I am amazed that no-one has picked up on this. I know of some areas where agents have been getting together (in some cases almost all agents) and collectively deciding what portal to choose and which to drop. This is illegal and Agents Mutual will be able to offer them no protection if the authorities do decide to operate. All in all many - in some cases very reputable - agents have placed their business, staff and customer's well being in jeopardy with some very 'loose' behaviour. If the CMA do decide to look into this, it could be explosive for those agents who have been behaving as if they were in the Wild West...

From: Steve Harwood 12 October 2015 08:05 AM

Steve Harwood

From: Steve Harwood 01 October 2015 12:28 PM

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