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Matthew Payne
Matthew Payne
Business & Property Consultant
1907  Profile Views

About Me

Business and property consultant offering strategic consultancy services and executive coaching to property businesses and property people looking for guidance and support to fulfil their potential, become more compliant, commercial, effective and profitable.

Get in touch at aficionadoproperty.com t. 07970 773 847 e. matthewpayne@aficionadopropertyconsultants.co.uk

my expertise in the industry

I worked in the independent and corporate property world for 25 years, working my way up from trainee estate agent to Managing Director of a multi-million-pound estate agency in London delivering record profits in the years that followed. Working closely with my teams, clients and customers in sales, lettings, property management, land and new homes afforded me an intimate 360 degree understanding of a transactional residential property business and the people it served.

Matthew's Recent Activity

Matthew Payne

From: Matthew Payne 02 October 2020 10:21 AM

Matthew Payne

From: Matthew Payne 04 June 2020 08:27 AM

Matthew Payne

From: Matthew Payne 30 April 2020 11:01 AM

Matthew Payne
Putting predictions on the housing market or any other market aside, just think of people’s base instincts; I think many commentators grossly underestimate or conveniently ignore how nervous people are about getting CV19, and most of us have still not had it. Ignore all the chumps on the news misbehaving, most people are staying at home trying to avoid getting contaminated. Most people I speak to about the situation are going to be very cautious when the lockdown ends, in terms of changing their lockdown behaviour too much. I know of dozens of examples where people have been told not to come back to the office until October or January, or where they or their businesses are reengineering their routines and lives to accommodate a self-imposed lockdown for many months yet. There is always a range of opinion, some people more bravado than others, I am pretty relaxed about it, but feel a responsibility to others. About 2/3s I have spoken to are scared of getting CV19, and the vulnerable group is huge from asthma sufferers, to diabetics to anyone due for surgery who can’t risk getting it, to anyone who has had chemo in the last year or so, to grossly overweight and unfit people, to those with respiratory illnesses or any serious illness, smokers & vapers, and then there is of course the middle aged and the elderly who are more at risk of dying from it anyway. I cant see many people rushing down the pub in May if that’s when it ends, or even June, July or August, or rushing to buy a house, or off to the garden centre or wherever until there is some confidence in being able to stay healthy and alive, it’s not all about the economy and jobs, albeit that will play its part too. I know people quote the risk of dying is low, 3% or thereabouts, but a friend of mine put it very succinctly the other day. "If I put 100 skittles in a bowl and said help yourself, how many skittles would you eat if I told you 3 of them would kill you?" And that’s an average. If you are in the vulnerable group a load of skittles in the bowl will do it, and even then it’s not just about you, its who is close to you that you then infect. Social distancing will also play a huge part in our lives for probably the next 12 months, and that will simply slow everything down, reduce capacity and services and sometimes just make certain things unattractive to do. My travel agent tells me people are cancelling their prebooked holidays hand over fist for later in the year, not rushing out to book one. Social distancing in any resort or hotel will ruin most holidays. Think of the queues at the bars, no swimming/splashing allowed, some pools may not even be open. Imagine the kids boredom! I agree there is pent up demand for all sorts of stuff and people will want to move house, but I cant see people sacrificing their health or that of their family in order to satisfy it, so whilst there may be gradual improvements in many markets over the summer and autumn, it is going to be painfully slow until people start to feel safe once more, and I cant see that happening until testing and vaccinations are widely available.

From: Matthew Payne 22 April 2020 12:24 PM

Matthew Payne
I can understand why agents that are doing it feel the need to list new instructions, they have numbers to hit which are now essentially unachievable this year, and of course up front fees put some cash in the bank now, but agree with sentiment above, it is not in a vendors best interests at all and creates a huge credibility issue that could cause much more damage later on. Time should be better spent on preparing for the end of this lockdown talking to people, data mining and setting themselves up for when it is over, considering how to upscale the business that is inevitably being run very skinny at the moment when normal trading activities are allowed once more. Instructions should be accepted on a deferred basis like a lot of agents do in December, advice should be not to list now. I dont see any value in these virtual viewings and valuations suggesting that we continue as normal, especially when the government has very publicly put the housing market on hold, looks desperate in fact. Any supposed purchase will still be conditional on a physical viewing at a later stage whether they know it now or not, conditional on them still having a job, conditional on them having the same confidence they may feel they have now. Inevitably you will never achieve as full a price now as you would be able to in what was a looking like a promising Spring market, and anyone making an offer will be opportunistic. Any deals put together now will be held together will sellotape and not worth booking. Similarly, with very little underwriting taking place, surveyors at home, councils closed, any deals done will be no further down the line than when the lockdown ends, so I don't see what is to be achieved with a business as usual approach for anyone, agents included.

From: Matthew Payne 30 March 2020 10:50 AM

Matthew Payne
Everyone's views are understandably influenced by the RM rate they are paying and whether they feel that is good value or not. A cooperative approach is the only way to tackle these price rises for independents anytime soon, which is effectively all the corporates have done. 600 branches, 800 branches carry a lot of negotiating muscle and they use it. RM won’t care about losing a handful of smaller agents who protest, and if anything, that adds fuel to the fire as they hike their prices even more the following year to those that are left to compensate. Rightmove has created this monster but not because of expense alone, but due to a very inconsistent and perverse charging model applied very differently to small independent and large corporate agents along with the fear factor its historic dominance has allowed them to create, that it is a necessity in your businesses if you want to succeed. A 1 branch independent agent is paying as much as 11 times more per branch than the biggest agents after they have had their corporate discount applied which they can also fix for 3 years, so the largest agents can choose to invest the saving in other marketing campaigns that generate them better quality leads from elsewhere, hence they are never critical of what it costs. (I know what they charged me as an independent and then when we became part of a corporate) Further, the rates quoted to the smallest agencies are so inconsistent, some might think RM is charging whatever they think they can get away with, as the fear with the smaller agents as with newspaper advertising 15 years ago, is RM is something they cannot manage without, and will destroy their business if they don’t have it. The more fear RM smell at each review meeting, the more expensive it gets. Ever wondered why they don't have a rate card and always want to agree new terms in a meeting? So, food for thought when you consider whether it’s worth the risk to leave… Firstly, the world isn't dependent on any portals property or otherwise anymore or has a loyalty to any particular app or website and clearly Zoopla has woken up to that. Apple, Google and others have made it so easy for us not to need to. The high tech has moved on monumentally in the last 5 years let alone the last 19. Google is only 2 years older than RM but look at how much it does now, how advanced it has become. When I look for property or anything for that matter I use Google, Siri if I’m out and about, not any particular portal and I get to see all of what I am looking for wherever it is listed, whatever website, and more people are doing the same. I used to go on particular sites, but search engine reliability has improved so much, and it is so much quicker. It’s a similar challenge for Amazon, I used to go there as my default, but I now trust Google to send me to the right places, give me the best choices, and I don’t shop on Amazon half as much as I used to, because in fact it’s not the cheapest place or has the best products all the time as they like RM would have you believe. Secondly, independently, if you are developing your own customer capture and engagement strategy at a local level in your communities and more broadly digitally with search engines always in mind, you can service the public to a large extent yourselves anyway, now that some (not all) of the Proptech that is out there has been road tested, improved and works. A combination of these means you will be able get in front of customers without dependence on RM, and perhaps that is what a lot of commentators here are finding. If you are already on Zoopla or OTM your properties will be easily found out there and on your own site, and a minimum £3000 a month saving for a small agency gives them a lot of options to do other things. Thirdly, consider the digital generations. My teenage kids don't use PCs anymore or type unless forced to, that's not even a cultural necessity for young people now to search for stuff they want to find, it’s all voice driven, Siri & Google Home. They don't know any different, they look at me with my laptop, typing away, sending emails manually, using the telephone like I'm some dinosaur. They run their lives front to back digitally through Google, Snapchat, Insta and YouTube. That’s it. No text messages, no browsers, no apps, no phone calls, no emails, no print media. They are your customers in about 5 years’ time, some older ones already are, are you ready for them? I note that most agents don’t have Insta or Snapchat accounts, some are not yet even on Facebook, or they are but never post anything, so maybe not. Soon will be the glasses with a heads-up virtual display in front of your eyes walking down the street, it’s not long. Apps have become passe already, who uses them, websites are mobile optimised, I’ve deleted most of mine? Thought tech is already here in the new F35, that’s next. Think Tony Stark, you will think or request 3 bed houses in Doncaster and they will appear in front of you in the middle of your kitchen for you to pull apart like virtual lego, and it’s not that far fetched. Google will take the lead role no doubt as always. RM was invented at a time when us 40 somethings were young and even we don’t use it anymore like we used to. Unless they have a secret masterplan, a revolutionary game changer about to be announced then they barely have no place in the lives of Gen Y and no chance whatsoever with Gen Z, they simply don’t communicate or operate digitally in a way that RM needs or expects them to. Should precious marketing resources be better spent elsewhere in context of value and relevance?

From: Matthew Payne 13 November 2019 22:23 PM

Matthew Payne
It needs resolving but adding another layer of bureaucracy to an already painfully slow process is not the solution. Buyer and vendor behaviour are a symptom of a broken system, not the system has become broken by their behaviour. Think of the practicalities of this proposal that would affect normal everyday people. A buyer can’t be expected to commit blindly to a transaction for 19 weeks, on the back of a handshake, with the vendor providing them with very little detail about what they are buying, hence they do their due diligence. In the 90s, things happened a lot quicker, a search took 2 weeks at most, an expedited search 48 hours, you could get a freehold deal over the line in 4 weeks. Unless you get the vendor to provide full disclosure, a survey in advance, to sign an affidavit that there have been no material omissions then there is still so much to establish, especially on leaseholds, hence subject to contract, subject to survey. Likewise, a vendor cannot be expected to make the same commitments for different reasons for 19 weeks, to a buyer who drags their heels. Does a buyer need to demonstrate their financial capabilities in the same way? Do you then need to go all the way down or up a chain to do the same thing? Then there is other mitigation, in a third of a year, a lot of life stuff can go on, people lose their jobs, get promoted, get pregnant, become ill, there could be many innocent and legitimate reasons why buyers and vendors could no longer honour their commitments. In the real world away from affluent parts of London where buyers and sellers no doubt keep £1000 in loose change in the centre arm console of their Bentleys, £1000 is a huge sum of money to jeopardise on a system that needs fundamental reform. Why should the average UK buyer spending less than £250,000 and saving sometimes for years to pull their deposit together, be told they have to put down a £1000 deposit that they will lose if they don’t proceed, which more often than not is not simply because they have changed their minds, hardly ever in fact. It’s title defects, survey results, down valuations, collapsed chains, search results, neighbours, personal challenges meaning they can no longer buy (or sell) at all because it has taken so long. The list is endless and one you can’t legislate for. If you do allow a huge list people will just declare that reason anyway, nothing will change. If you deny any mitigation list at all, you will punish people for things beyond their control. People will quickly work it out and the market will grind to a halt from the bottom up, people won’t move. It feels like a cottage industry is being created again like HIPs just to make some cash, not solve a problem. The wagons are circling, I note there are already a few companies popping up ready to go with these agreements. The focus should be on getting all stakeholders together lenders, lawyers, councils, agents, HMG and establishing how it can be done as quickly as it was 20 years ago, not force people to accept the current broken system because it’s quick and easy.

From: Matthew Payne 22 October 2019 12:08 PM

Matthew Payne
Like with anything the government has introduced in the recent past it has to be properly stress tested, something they havent done with many pieces of legislation in the PRS which has had a negative fallout on tenants as many predicted for example. We have seen a similar attempt at this in the past with HIPs that failed spectacularly. Any beta testing should very much include whether it would further reduce transaction numbers which is a real possiblilty. I put together 1000s of deals over years gone by, with persuasion, one off viewings, local VIP work, spotaneity many of which would not have happened if I had been asking people for £1000 up front and where they may not get it back. One of the biggest challenges is always how a fall through is determined. Reasons can be manipluated by buyers and vendors, and then there are countless other mitigations, loss of employment, divorce, bereavement, promotions at work, illness that may influence why a buyer or vendor does not proceed. Defining fault/blame fairly seems like an impossible task especially as one comment has already suggested. How do you determine what is a bad survey result for example? Is there such a thing as a clean survey on a Victorian property, they have all got a bit of damp or loose roof slates. Some buyers pull out over such things, others will use them as excuses to pull out if they have seen a better property. I can't see how there can a workable template, there are too many variables, but if you make it too black and white, ie pull out or dont pull out, then tranasction numbers will plummet.

From: Matthew Payne 21 October 2019 10:07 AM

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