x
By using this website, you agree to our use of cookies to enhance your experience.
STAY CONNECTED!
    
newsletter-button
Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights And Strategies
Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights And Strategies
Property business consultant, property industry commentator, analyst and strategist - traditional and online models.
1898  Profile Views

About Me

I do a lot of thinking, and I provide clients with solutions to their business problems, and write analytical articles on trending property topics. I also provide statistical models for both start up and developed business models, advising on PropTech and other disciplines. I work with start up and mature businesses, single and multi-branch agencies, COO's, Directors and personnel at all levels.

So if you need some help, a full company M.O.T, future proofing ideas, or strategies for maximising profits, please contact me today in the strictest of confidence at: - Andrew.stanton@estate-agency-insights-strategies.co.uk

my expertise in the industry

I have been in property for over 30 years, and I have a consultancy which encourages clients to make more profit, have more fun and have more time off, and plan for the future. Having been a business owner and having experienced corporate estate agency, I have utilised all of this experience to guide and offer options to clients, some of whom have, with help from me and their own input raised their game and have a genuine sold market share in excess of 46% or have become estate agent of the year in their category.

Andrew Stanton's Recent Activity

Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights And Strategies
I wish you well with your new enterprise, but I would advise a different approach to selling property for no fee. I deal with a huge volume of new start businesses and give them advice and usually they do low fees in an attempt to gain business. Many are started by seasoned professional persons such as yourself who if employed would command a large salary due to their experience and expertise. So, why would you work for nothing? The other point is this, vendors on the whole do not want a cheap fee, surveys suggest only 12% of vendors are fee sensitive searching for the lowest deal - hence online agency having 7% to 10% of the market. What vendors want is a proper agent, be it bricks and mortar, hybrid or online, they want service and a sale, if you can provide this you will develop your brand and make profit. At present every agent unless they dominate an area will go out to 10 market appraisals and 3 and a bit will come to the market with that agent, a 32% conversion rate. That conversion rate is the same if you charge zero fee or 3%, the reason being that fee is not the determining factor - the person sitting in front of the vendor is the determining factor and I am sure Dean that you and your team are very good at what you do, so why do it for nothing? I always say to my clients when they ask what fee they should charge this: - breakdown your true running costs of selling a property including the cost of marketing the 48% of property you fail to sell, so cost of office real or virtual your overheads, salaries, marketing, tax etc, plus a 28% margin for your gross profit. Usually the figure is around £2,800 - there will be regional differences, I then say to the business owner, each time you achieve under £2,800 as a fee you are running at a loss, above this you are making money. It is up to you if you want to do selective discounting to achieve market share, but profit is the one thing that every business must achieve to survive. One of my clients adopting this attitude, banked an additional 42% in the first six months of their next year, having explained to the vendor at market appraisal the cost of sale and what level of service they could provide if they charged a realistic fee. Some agents do cheap fees and if that works great, but people forget that many dominant agents charge high fees, because vendors trust the brand because the agent has for years done a great job.

From: Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights And Strategies 09 May 2019 10:40 AM

Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights And Strategies
So, share price 685p, at its height, now share price 7p down from 10p in recent weeks. Tell me again why after a multi- bailout less than 12 months ago anyone would buy shares in Countrywide? The remaining shareholders will sell their stock, and with no buyer wanting this huge,flabby company, the best pieces will be sold off, the remainder closed, leaving a very depleted rump of an agency which will trade on, losing money hand over fist until it closes, or the thinking at the top changes. Very sad, maybe top management might stop trying to convince everything is fine, get a plan, make the necessary cuts and sell off what is required to recapitalize, take a look around at retail, here company's are either adapting their business model or calling in the liquidators, sure things are tough, but that is when really good executives shine. That after all is their job, rain or shine - return a profit, safeguard jobs and plan for the future. I would start with high fees, high levels of customer service and high levels of successful sales. The rest will sort itself out, if you have a product or service the public want it will not be google ads that make them seek you out, it will be your market share. Unfortunately, time has now run out for Countrywide and this Easter bunny is looking more and more like a steaming Turkey long before Christmas. The more the company says, we will not be selling off the profitable parts of the company, the more it sounds as if that is exactly what they must do to try to survive. Note also Purplebricks share price has in recent days crashed also, to sub 118p from a near 145p plus position only a few days ago, it seems the cruel crosswinds of reality are starting to blow in the face of lots of non-profit making property sector companies, whilst some companies in the sector will produce healthy profits by the close of 2019, as they have different marketing models that actually work.

From: Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights And Strategies 25 April 2019 05:53 AM

Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights And Strategies
I think Professor Andrew Baum, would do well to actually spend some time in the industry he talks so condemningly about. A couple of years ago I remember him stating from his ivory tower that “The process (buying and selling property) is not satisfactory from anyone’s point of view. Estate agents aren’t aligned with the vendor, they aren’t motivated to get the best price or best execution, [they just want] a fast sale,” he says. “There’s a lot of money to be saved and therefore a lot of money to be made from tech platforms that can make that process more efficient.” Andrew then went on about Purplebricks and other online agencies being the start of a Proptech revolution. Well my thoughts are that agency is a contact sport, and that is why some agents, the ones who have spent years in the same community and have worked countless hours, are making very large profits. Why? Because they do look after buyers and vendors and they do take a professional pride in what they do. In contrast the new boys (onliners) are raising tens of millions, spending far more than they raise and offering the clients - buyers and sellers a bargain discount level of service. Years ago in the mid 1990's I was using an automated system alongside a really good team of sale people, so Proptech is great, but like having a bespoke suit made by a tailor I am sure a robot can be programmed to make a suit, but the personal dynamic would be missing. I like and embrace technology, but I think that just because billions of dollars is being put into start up Protech in America does not mean that any definitive solution will be found anytime soon.

From: Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights And Strategies 10 April 2019 17:36 PM

Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights And Strategies

From: Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights And Strategies 02 April 2019 08:49 AM

Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights And Strategies

From: Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights And Strategies 16 March 2019 19:01 PM

Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights And Strategies

From: Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights And Strategies 16 March 2019 18:59 PM

Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights And Strategies

From: Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights And Strategies 09 March 2019 09:04 AM

Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights And Strategies
With the sales pipeline down by 20%, Countrywide's first quarter revenue will also be down by a fifth, add the loss of revenue due to the lettings ban which will start soon, and then transparency on referrals, I think that unless 30% of branches close, by this time next year there may be no Countrywide. Also, this nonsense about a 3 year plan and back to basics, this sounds very confusing. A three-year plan sounds like a communism and back to basics sounds like the conservatives. I turn clients businesses around in 6 to 8 weeks, if I said I have a 3 year plan to cut your debt and increase your profit, most of my clients would rightly tell me where to go. I like Countrywide, because in 1986 one of their brands made me a manager after only 14 months in the business, but back then they had a structure, and a strategy and an identity, that made them unique. Also, most importantly, they sold huge amounts of property and their fees were sometimes twice that of the competition and they loved the fact that they were the agent of choice. Last month I personally called over 150 agents as an exercise for a client, in those calls I spoke with a number of Countrywide offices, and they seemed to have two voices, either condescending and in your face or disinterested and beaten, there were plenty of other agents who had the same voice also. In contrast, the agents who were market leaders in their areas, either corporate agents or independents, had the same voice on the end of the telephone, professional polite, non-pushy, and interested in what I had to say. Many of those were mature agents who clearly were loving their job, or young men and women who reveled in customer care. Maybe, the COO's of this corporate should ring their branches, not to spy on their front-line team, but to understand that if prospective clients call and are greeted by negativity or a sales team who do not listen, then the business will not make profit. Sure, Proptech means only 7% of business comes directly from a telephone call, but if a branch has never made profit in the last 5 years, and by profit I am saying 28% gross profit on turnover in all disciplines, then maybe the front line troops are confused, badly trained and possibly in the wrong profession and the buck for that stops right at the top. Worringly, when top management say we are not going to sell off part of the company, that is very similar to the PM saying I have every faith in a certain MP, which often as not is followed by the said MP resigning. My diary is a little busy at present and I am away in sunny Barcelona on holiday until next week, but if Countrywide would like some sound advice, I can certainly impart it, and they would not need to wait another 24 months to start turning around those loss making offices. And those vulnerable offices about to go the same way with sales revenue and other revenue streams about to be cut. As a point of balance though I was an independent agent for half of my 30 year sales career, I also did time for another corporate who recently posted profits, more than twice those of Countrywide. It comes as no surprise that all the managers and teams I was privileged to work with, were always on it, and the management teams through to the COO's had a strong, strategy based on customer service. Also, though it was a corporate, each branch felt like a premier league independent agent, and had enough autonomy at branch level to make the customer feel the same way. And that is a very hard thing to accomplish.

From: Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights And Strategies 07 March 2019 18:53 PM

Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights And Strategies
A great piece Graham, perhaps now trading standards who appear to be on steroids will at last look at the claims of Purplebricks that they complete on 80% of the properties they list. Your story underpins the fact that 50% of vendors pay money to have a cake pushed in their face, ie, they pay a fee upfront, and get nothing but to dive head first into a cake. 'Cakemissery' In October 2017 I wrote a full article about online agents, in it I discussed Easy Property, Tepilo, Emoov, Housesimple, Hatched, Yopa and Purplebricks, I showed statistically that all of them completed on 50% of their listed sales or less, and that their cost base would kill them off. Easy property never got started and morphed into something else, Tepilo closed, Emoov closed (son of Emoov now opened) Housesimple appear to be on the brink and Hatched closed. This leaves Yopa and Purplebricks, well both of these are not making any money. The bottom line is always the bottom line, list two properties, complete on only one. Any agent who says they can complete on 8 of the ten houses they originally list is misguided. And with the new wave of Trading standard protocol upon the industry, all agents traditional and online will need to be declaring their referral fees - which will for online agents prove very interesting. I attach the first three pages of an article I wrote in October 2017, so the data is from that period - but my hypothesis about onliner's still holds true, over 40% of vendors pay for a service they never receive, and you can not run an estate agency with only 'Listers' doing the job of a manager a lister a negotiator, an administrator and a sales Progressor. By 2020, traditional estate agents will be dead, and online estate agents will sell half of all property in the UK. Written by Andrew Stanton - (Estate Agency Insights & Strategies) Oct 2017 This is a common enough headline and I thought so too, until I looked at the facts and realised; no online agent is making a profit, many online agents are propped up by large, regular injections of fresh capital, and the mature online estate agency model has no asset base and so no brand value. Let me explain my hypothesis, the business model behind traditional bricks and mortar estate agency is that they get revenue from, fees on completed house sales, usually on a no-sale, no fee basis. They also get further revenue from arranging mortgages and life cover and other insurances, or receiving fees for passing clients to providers of mortgages, revenues from solicitors for referring clients, and other add on services like the provision of EPC’s, etc. Now suppose you want to start a brand new traditional estate agency, how much profit will it make and when? and how much does it cost to set up and run? Here are the figures; it costs 30k to acquire premises and kit the office out and have all the IT hardware, systems, and office furniture in place. Then it costs 18K a month to cover the overheads, for a team of four-sales people and their salaries, cars, website costs, and all other costs to run the office and sell properties. A traditional agency trading 50-miles from the capital will then market and sell property in all price ranges, mostly from £200,000 to £600,000, and as the brand matures they may specialise in both the mid-range and the top end range £800,000 to £1.5M. On average they sell property at an average price of £360,000 and they charge 1.1% plus VAT, or around £4,000 plus VAT, £4,800 in total on a no-sale, no fee basis. In the first 12-months of trading – Year One - if they sell a property day one, the cheque for the completed sale arrives five-months later, and as they spend the first month getting property stock on the market, it is in their second month real sales begin. So, after six-months of trading they have spent 30k on setting the office up and 108k on running costs, that’s 138k, and probably they have received only 5k in on commission from completed sales. Over the next six-months their outgoings are another 108k, and the commission from completed sales dribbles in, plus VAT, at a rate of, 5k month six, 7k month seven, 10k month eight, 12k month nine, 14k month ten, 18k month 11, and 20k month 12, total 86k. So, 236k spent out, and 86k cash flow in. Profit; what profit? there is no profit, they are now minus 160k for the first year.  Over the next 12 months – Year Two - office costs are 19.5k a month, and income from completed sales is 26k a month. So 234k spent out, and 312k cash flow in. Profit; 78k for the second year. In the next 12 months – Year Three – office costs are 20k a month, and income from completed sales is 28k a month. So 240k spent out, and 336k cash flow in. Profit ; 96k for the third year. And more importantly at the end of year three, true break-even is achieved, all the start-up capital, that £160,000 pumped in and ‘lost’ in year one, has been repaid and from here on in they have a profitable business standing on its own two feet, with no need for further injections of capital to keep it trading. So, 160k ‘loss’ (start-up costs) in year one, plus the 78k profit year two, plus the 96k profit year three, means a 14k surplus on the venture after 36-months. In next 12-months - Year Four – office costs are 20.8k a month, and income from completed sales is 30.8k a month. So, 250k spent out, and 370k cash flow in. Profit; 120k. So on a turnover of 370k generated solely from commission in from completed sales, a gross profit of 120k, or a 23% profit margin. By year ten gross profit could be 400k. Now on this example I have purposely, not fed in the other revenue income streams, revenue from mortgages, life cover etc, because in the start-up phase, a lot of these income streams are neutralised by the start-up costs of an extra member of staff and new equipment, IT etc. For instance, a mortgage advisor costs 40k to sit in an office, and will take a year to cover his basic cost, earning no profit, but in year three of doing business they might generate 80k of profit, similarly an estate agency might set up lettings, again it will not become profitable until it has 40-properties let and managed, and so it will produce a negative cash flow for its first period of trading, but in year ten could generate 250k of profit. In a mature 10-year model, financial services can add up to 40% gross profit to the business annually and lettings can add 30%. So, if in year ten, selling property generated 400k gross profit from commission from completed property sales, moving on from the 120k of year four, then financial services would add 160k gross profit and lettings another 250k gross profit, plus solicitor introductions, re-mortgage business, new homes, so a total gross profit for the one office 800k plus. Now, if you opened 10-cold start offices, two would not make great profit, two would make super profit and the rest would be a mixed bag, due to local competition, lack of a good sales team etc. But, in the real world, statistically a 10-office cluster of agents will constantly generate at least a collective 2.4M gross profit, which ties in with the notion that a single office in year seven of its development should produce a 234K profit. Having looked at the traditional estate agency model for generating wealth, there are three other important factors at play; most ‘traditional’ estate agents only charge a fee on exchange of contracts, so on a no-sale no fee basis; nationally, 50% of all the property that an estate agent lists (takes to the market) in a year they fail to sell; estate agents get paid huge commissions which is unfair. The no payment until the job is done means that the agent is highly motivated to find a buyer; otherwise all the marketing costs are lost. Also, as their agency agreements are time specific as time passes, estate agents are more and more pressured to find a buyer before the vendor goes to a second agent. The fact that half the property stock does not sell means that the fee charged by the agent actually covers, all the cost of the sales of the property that have exchanged, and all the cost of the properties they listed and failed to sell. So, list two properties, sell and exchange on one, lose the other, and the fee from the sold one covers the marketing costs of both, plus profit margin. Interestingly, of the 50% of properties that are not sold by the first agent, over 60% of these are sold by the next or third agent instructed, so over 80% of property does get sold if it stays marketed. So, as an example if an estate agent generates 320k of revenue excluding VAT in a year, just from completed sales, that is, 80-completed sales at an average fee of £4,000 plus VAT, which is around 1.1% plus VAT of a 360k property sale price. This £4,000 plus VAT fee is in fact covering the cost of selling the property and the cost of marketing another property that was never sold, (one of the dead loss 50% which they lose to the second or third agent). The old chestnut that the agent gets paid a huge commission is debatable. Individual sales people may get a 5% or 10% commission of the fee, which is a huge incentive to sell the property, but their basic salary will be at a low level, and they will usually work at least a 50 to 60-hour week, and they will in the main be extremely skilled in their profession. So, if you start to work out their hourly rate, factor in their low basic salary and then factor in they earn commission at a rate before tax of either 5% gross of the £4,000 fee, so that’s £200, or 10% gives them £400, they are not going to be buying a yacht anytime soon. Also, I have illustrated that the onerous office costs month in month out, also mean that many managers or owners earn a reasonable amount, but again there is little fat in the business. The vagaries of the market, government intervention on stamp duty, general elections, etc, can often skew trading patterns, so with a good team a mature estate agency might trade on a gross profit of 30% plus. But, many agents trade on a margin of less than 10%, despite being number one in their areas, which is not indicative of inflated commissions being charged. Now, suppose you want to set up an online estate agency, how much profit will it make and when? And how much does it cost to set up and run? To my knowledge no online estate agency has yet made a penny profit as of October 2017, and some have been trading over eight-years. So, I am going to look at Purplebricks (UK), to illustrate the online business model and give an insight into how they trade, as from what I can see all online models are a variant on this company. Purplebricks (UK) or (PB) is less than three years old, and follows in the footsteps of Hatched and Tepilo some of the original trailblazers which were created five-years or more earlier. (PB) ‘the property market disrupter’ are by far the biggest online estate agency, claiming they will make a profit of around 6M in 2019. At present according to Rightmove, they nationally have over 28,000 properties listed online, over 16,000 for sale, and 12,000 under offer, an impressive tally. Though not profit making, they dwarf the online opposition in the number of properties they have online. Their share price is through the roof, as they generate a huge amount of cash through put, but no profit has ever been made. (PB) charges £849 including VAT, to list your home, and £1,199 including VAT in London, and their intention is to sell the property, but the fee is fully payable should the property fail to sell, unlike the traditional estate agents no sale, no fee proposal. On the surface the business model is low cost with many traditional estate agency elements stripped out, such as no bricks and mortar premises, and it is front end cash generative. There are no dedicated employed sales teams, as per the traditional estate agents, instead they have instruction getters or listers, termed Local Property Experts, (LPE’s) who are self-employed, and receive a commission per instruction listed. They then earn additional commissions from selling add on products and services such as; accompanied viewings, conveyancing leads and financial services etc. A big part of their business model apart from the ‘low fee’ is that they advertise they do not charge a commission, just a fixed low fee. Well given that the LPE’s get an instant commission somewhere in the region of £400, per property listed, a fixed percentage of the overall fixed fee charged to the vendor. This model strikes a strong chord with the traditional employed sales person sitting in a cosy office being paid £400 commission for a successfully sold and completed sales transaction. I wonder if vendors are aware that the nice young lady or gentleman sitting in front of them stands to personally earn an instant - £400 of the £900 plus VAT fee they are charging each time they get them to sign to sell, (even if the property fails to sell). I also wonder, and I know there is a Gig economy vibe out there, but will the tax man soon think these 450-people are really employed, rather than self-employed? 

From: Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights And Strategies 04 March 2019 07:46 AM

Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights And Strategies
Quote from Gosling CEO of House Network - in 2017 “As more people feel comfortable with the online model, we expect online agents to grab a bigger slice of the UK estate agency market. Currently, online estate agents have around 5% market share. We believe this will increase to 15%–20% by 2020,” In 2016, the business received £13m of investment from Carphone Warehouse founder, Sir Charles Dunstone. The Reality in 2019 So far this year - online agengies are only 5.2% of all new listings, with many big online brands going South since last September, together with 10's of millions of institutional investors / private investors money. The ever growing list includes, Tepilo, Hatched, Emoov - though son of Emoov has been born and now probably House simple. Unfortunately there will be more to follow, Doorsteps at £99 an instruction are looking vulnerable- they will need to crowdfund again soon to bail them out, but this time I think that the investors at crowdcube will think 800k invested, zero profit … time to keep my money in my pocket especially with the winds of Brexit upon us. Of course there is still PB - yet to make a penny profit. But the good times - well average times, judging by share price may be at an end, especially as all agents are about to come under scrutiny due to the new Trading standards for estate agents, calling for transparency over fees. No longer will PB be able to say no commission, or commissary when they have to explain the 25% referral fee that every self employed Local Property Expert trousers per pay upfront instruction. I foresee cash flow drying up when prospective vendors are made aware, sale or no sale, the person in front of them is about to get an instant £250 just for listing their home. Now that is misery, cake in the face anybody?

From: Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights And Strategies 02 March 2019 10:44 AM

Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights And Strategies
I am not about to become paranoid, but following on from an earlier comment I on an EAT piece about about Countrywide's woeful balance sheet, we now have as Graham puts it the National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team, confirming that in its opinion - to be tested by case law - that failure to tell prospective clients about referral arrangements could make all estate agents (including Countrywide) face criminal charges. Pandora's box is at last open, in the name of transparency, those very helpful folk at the NTSEAT feel that if estate agents for instance fail to tell a prospective vendor that the solicitor they are recommending, gives that agent a fee as a referral, then the agent could be open to a criminal court action under the CPRs and probably action by NTSEAT who could close them down. As Graham has also so aptly put, the new NTSEAT (14 page) guidelines are that estate agents must be transparent and plainly communicate to a prospective client: - '(a) The price of its services, including any “compulsory” extras; and (b) Where a referral arrangement exists, that it exists, and with whom; and (c) Where a transaction-specific referral fee is to be paid, its amount; and (d) Where a referral retainer exists, an estimate of the annual value of that retainer to the estate agent or its value per transaction.' This sounds on the face of it a really good idea, let the consumer know all. But, if you are a huge corporate like Countrywide, Connells, etc, and you do refer your solicitor business to a certain solicitor, how will it sound if the agent has to say, 'Mr vendor we feel you may want to use XYZ solicitors, you do not have to, but be aware we get a £120 referral if you do, and annually (and this is the kicker) we as a company receive 2M a year from that solicitor for recommending them.' Do you think the agent will get many takers? It is not just solicitors referrals, that the NTSEAT are talking about, it will cover everything where a referral exists, EPC's, surveys, you name, the agent will need to declare a monetary interest and an annual sum that they receive. In Countrywide's case I am informed that for every £1 of revenue generated by the sale fee, an extra 40p of revenue comes from other income streams, solicitors, mortgages etc. So, I assume that referral fees are at play in this 40p of revenue. What happens if this golden goose, stops laying? On a separate topic, what I find most fascinating in the NTSEAT guidance notes is the sentence … 'Plainly the most important information in deciding whether to accept a service is the price of that service' So trading standards want to protect the consumer, as the starting position for all consumers is knowing the price of the service? My thoughts are, consumers would actually like to know the quality of the service, relative to the cost. And what I mean is this. An agent gets £120 for referring a client to a solicitor, and the company earns 2M a year in referral fees. So, that could look to be a questionable practice. Much better that the client uses some other solicitor, and the agent earns no fee and there is tie up between the agent, the conveyancing of the sale, and the vendor. Is that a better system though? A vendor uses a solicitor who is unknown, they may be great they may be not too good, they may speak to the agent as the sale progresses, they may not. Or, an estate agent recommends a company that it has a massive connection with, yes it receives a referral fee, but due to the huge volume of business, there is also a commercial incentive to get Mr or Mrs Vendor exchanged. Not only this, - there are highly developed software and hardwired processes in place, and management teams both within the estate agency and the solicitors, all with a common aim of getting as many properties exchanged. This interdependence I think is not a bad thing; having had solicitors and conveyancers over the years who never return a call or seem to do anything at a pace (not all) I would rather place my clients sales in the hands of a fully focused large solicitor practice who has the staff and the technology to perform. Luckily, those days are behind me, but my fear is that in the pursuit of transparency, agents might find they are 'pushing' clients away from using their preferred solutions - a brilliant solicitor solution, a brilliant survey solution - and 'pushing' clients out into the unknown. I could be wrong, but if clients no longer take up the recommended suppliers of other related services, because of the money that the estate agent gets as a referral fee, then this lost revenue stream could see many agents struggling. Lastly, referral fees exist in many, many areas of commerce, so will trading standards be searching these out and making the world transparent for all folk, including the beleaguered estate agent?

From: Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights And Strategies 01 March 2019 00:49 AM

Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights And Strategies
Purplebricks are ahead of the curve, for sure, the curve being get all clients to pay upfront. When the 50% who pay upfront never get to completion and the news leaks out, and new vendors feel this is not a great idea, and cashflow dwindles, then countrywide who made a 5% profit or lsl can swoop in and buy them? That sounds very likely, after all there must be many traditional agencies out there itching to buy a company that has never made a profit, and if anyone quotes to me the fact that the uk part of PB is making a profit, if you add the non uk losses, which are mounting daily it will be interesting to see where the share price of PB is by June. My advice, have a good look at the final balance sheet of Emoov and the monthly spend these onliners seem to need, bearing in mind they have no branches, very little staff, and yet they rack up huge debts, each sale unit actually making a loss. The only disruptor online agents seem to be, is to shareholders bank balances. Maybe Axel Springer will buy more shares, their original investment has dropped by nearly 40%, maybe they have more money to burn. After all with a slowing market, less property coming to the market and a business model which relies upon new vendors paying cash directly day one into PB, it is might be a great idea to be the biggest owner of shares just at the point the share price drops below 100p a share, five times lower than a share was worth 36 months ago. To mis-quote the Prime Minister, when a company has a share price going through the floor, and although the revenue keeps increasing year on year, if each year your losses also get bigger and bigger, then the business model is flawed and does not work - simples.

From: Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights And Strategies 27 February 2019 07:15 AM

Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights And Strategies
Whilst I do not think online agents can be seen as a Ponzi scheme, in that some vendors have seen a return on their investment, eg they got sold and completed having paid into the scheme, for many though that is not the case, and increasingly some people are feeling that paying upfront may be the next PPI scandal in the sense that vendors are paying upfront for no return. So I think Purple Bricks and other pay upfront online agencies are going to come under increasing scrutiny as many vendors appear to be paying upfront and receiving nothing in return, and the figures appear to be very large. If you look very closely at this independent analysis commissioned by Purple Bricks by the data experts twentyci which cover the financial year 2017 to 2018, there seems to be some contradictory claims. In the twentyci report, and I quote ... Purple Bricks were looking for a reliable, respected and independent data source to establish answers to a set of questions about their performance in the financial year 17/18′ And Purple Bricks are … ‘No1 at selling houses: 81% of listings sold within 12 months’ Then there is a helpful graph in the same report which shows an annual picture of Purple Bricks results, it shows 64,000 new instructions, 48,000 properties sold subject to contract and it shows 38,000 properties exchanged. Now the ratio of exchanges to new instructions 64,000 to exchanges 38,000 is 59%, so Purple Bricks are not selling 81% of the instructions. But the worrying thing is, if the company gets 59% of vendors exchanged, it fails to get 41% sold or exchanged but still charges them on average £1,100 as an upfront non refundable fee, which is 41% of 64,000 vendors at £1,100 or 28.86M of fee for nothing. Readers of this are going to say the figures are wrong and skewed etc, but twentyci also did a similar report on Emoov and Tepilo, post the recent failure of these two online companies. And the WHICH organization recently had sight of this twentyci report and said that the conversion rate of the online pay upfront company was 53% of instructions to sold subject to contract, if you then discount the 53% by 30% the usual industry fall off for cancelled sales you get to an exchange rate of around 37%. WHICH states that … ‘Major online estate agent Emoov, which also owns Tepilo, has gone into administration, potentially leaving thousands of home-sellers out of pocket by as much as £2,995. James Cowper Kreston, the firm appointed to act as administrators for Emoov, says the company currently has 5,000 properties listed for sale or sold subject to contract. Of this total, around 80% have paid upfront for the service and are at risk of losing money from the collapse.’ Also, WHICH states, ‘Exclusive data provided to us by TwentyCi shows that over the past 365 days, Emoov had approximately 8,000 new instructions. The firm accounted for approximately 0.5% of the estate agency market in 2018. Around 53% of new instructions received by Emoov typically went on to be ‘sold subject to contract’ and the average price of a property listing was £375,000. Tepilo’s figures are rolled into this data as its activity is merged with Emoov. Now for a very long time I have been saying that online pay upfront agents should be telling potential clients the true conversion rate of their service, and I wrote a recent article using data from Rightmove on – Tuesday November 13 – (prior to the collapse of Emoov and Tepilo). It is roughly gives a market snapshot of the then six major online brands (two under the ownership of Emoov). These were the figures from Rightmove. Doorsteps – 2,054 properties listed, 1,321 for sale, 733 under offer not exchanged, 28% conversion of listed to sold subject to contract.(Minus 30% cancellation rate gives exchange rate.) Yopa – 5,501 properties listed, 3,539 for sale, 1,962 under offer not exchanged, 35% conversion rate. Purplebricks – 37,531 properties listed, 21,142 for sale, 16,389 under offer, 43% conversion rate. Emoov – 2,504 properties listed, 1,696 for sale, 808 under offer, 32% conversion rate. Tepilo (owned by Emoov) – 1,740 properties listed, 1,162 for sale, 587 under offer, 33% conversion rate. HouseSimple – 1,140 properties listed, 763 for sale, 341 under offer, 30% conversion rate. You will notice that Emoov and Tepilo, had a conversion rate around 32%, which if you take the 53% figure being instructions converted to sold subject to contract as in the twentyci report, and then say the normal fall through rate for the property industry of 30% between sold subject to contract and exchanged was slightly higher for these two brands, say a 35% fall through rate you get to the 32% exchange rate, reflected in the Rightmove figures which would mean 68% of vendors mostly paid upfront for nothing. Also the auction/estate agent who 'bought' the Emoov/tepilo listings has said that many vendors actually paid nearly £1,500 upfront, rather than less than a £1,000 as was the low headline figure being offered by the onliners. The added upfront fees were for viewings and other services.

From: Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights And Strategies 18 December 2018 10:28 AM

Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights And Strategies

From: Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights And Strategies 14 December 2018 18:52 PM

Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights And Strategies
I think Purple Bricks and other pay upfront online agencies are going to come under increasing scrutiny as many vendors appear to be paying upfront and receiving nothing in return, and the figures appear to be very large. If you look very closely at this independent analysis commissioned by Purple Bricks by the data experts twentyci which cover the financial year 2017 to 2018, available online on the Purple Bricks website under investors on the title page, there seems to be some contradictory claims. In the twentyci report, and I quote 'Purple Bricks were looking for a reliable, respected and independent data source to establish answers to a set of questions about their performance in the financial year 17/18′ And Purple Bricks are … ‘No1 at selling houses: 81% of listings sold within 12 months’ Then there is a helpful graph in the same report which shows an annual picture of Purple Bricks results, it shows 64,000 new instructions, 48,000 properties sold subject to contract and it shows 38,000 properties exchanged. Now the ratio of exchanges to new instructions 64,000 to exchanges 38,000 is 59%, so Purple Bricks are not selling 81% of the instructions. But the worrying thing is, if the company gets 59% of vendors exchanged, it fails to get 41% sold or exchanged but still charges them on average £1,100 as an upfront non refundable fee, which is 41% of 64,000 vendors at £1,100 or 28.86M of fee for nothing. Readers of this are going to say the figures are wrong and skewed etc, but twentyci also did a similar report on Emoov and Tepilo, post the recent failure of these two online companies. And the WHICH organization recently had sight of this twentyci report and said that the conversion rate of the online pay upfront company was 53% of instructions to sold subject to contract, if you then discount the 53% by 30% the usual industry fall off for cancelled sales you get to an exchange rate of around 37%. This is available on the WHICH site online. In this piece by WHICH, it is stated that the ‘Major online estate agent Emoov, which also owns Tepilo, has gone into administration, potentially leaving thousands of home-sellers out of pocket by as much as £2,995. James Cowper Kreston, the firm appointed to act as administrators for Emoov, says the company currently has 5,000 properties listed for sale or sold subject to contract. Of this total, around 80% have paid upfront for the service and are at risk of losing money from the collapse.’ Also, WHICH states, ‘Exclusive data provided to us by TwentyCi shows that over the past 365 days, Emoov had approximately 8,000 new instructions. The firm accounted for approximately 0.5% of the estate agency market in 2018. Around 53% of new instructions received by Emoov typically went on to be ‘sold subject to contract’ and the average price of a property listing was £375,000. Tepilo’s figures are rolled into this data as its activity is merged with Emoov. Now for a very long time I have been saying that online pay upfront agents should be telling potential clients the true conversion rate of their service, and I wrote a recent article using data from Rightmove on – Tuesday November 13 – (prior to the collapse of Emoov and Tepilo). As it roughly gives a market snapshot of the then six major online brands (two under the ownership of Emoov). These were the figures from Rightmove. Doorsteps – 2,054 properties listed, 1,321 for sale, 733 under offer not exchanged, 28% conversion of listed to sold subject to contract. Yopa – 5,501 properties listed, 3,539 for sale, 1,962 under offer not exchanged, 35% conversion rate. Purplebricks – 37,531 properties listed, 21,142 for sale, 16,389 under offer, 43% conversion rate. Emoov – 2,504 properties listed, 1,696 for sale, 808 under offer, 32% conversion rate. Tepilo (owned by Emoov) – 1,740 properties listed, 1,162 for sale, 587 under offer, 33% conversion rate. HouseSimple – 1,140 properties listed, 763 for sale, 341 under offer, 30% conversion rate. You will notice that Emoov and Tepilo, had a conversion rate around 32%, which if you take the 53% figure being instructions converted to sold subject to contract as in the twentyci report, and then say the normal fall through rate for the property industry of 30% between sold subject to contract and exchanged was slightly higher for these two brands, say a 35% fall through rate you get to the 32% exchange rate, reflected in the Rightmove figures which would mean 68% of Emoov/Tepilo vendors mostly paid upfront for nothing.

From: Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights And Strategies 14 December 2018 18:46 PM

Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights And Strategies
For a kick off the share price of of PB has fallen from 320p in Jan 2018 to 154p in recent days, so that speaks volumes about the value of the company. And Neil Woodford's fortunes with his other top companies he has invested in such as a major housebuilder Keir have seen the share price drop by over 25% in the last week. Also Axel Springer paid 125M for 37,722,221 PB shares at a cost of 125M, so £3.07p a share – now 8 months later they are getting £1.50p a share – they are going to be very upset, as that is only 63M. Also, at start of year when share price was £3.22p a share Michael Bruce’s shares were worth 33.218,147 x £3.22p = £106M – now same shares worth £49M so he is not poor on paper but the second he or Neil Woodford tries to sell the price will get hit further. Neil Woodford whose investors holds 88,446,245 shares had in Jan £265M – now worth £132M. If Woodford sells more than 0.75% of a share this triggers an automatic red flag at the Alternative Investment market AIM, so he is unlikely to do this. In terms of inward funding, there was an initial investment of £7M, then through share raising they raised 25M and then another 75M when they decided upon the idea of going into other markets in the world. On top of this they have had positive cash flow (pay upfront model) in 2016, 2017 and 2018 of 18.6M, 46.7M and 93.7M last accounting year (ending in April 2018). Plus the 125M earlier this year from Axel Springer for 12.5% of the company, which after tax and other costs nets down to 100m THE 100m THEY ARE NOW TALKING ABOUT. So scores on the doors, 7M, 25M, 75M, 125M = 132M money invested in, plus 18.6M, 46.7M, 93.7M, positive cash upfront = 159M Grand total of money = 291M – and still they made 26M loss last financial year (off of 93.7M cash flow in) And they had a few months ago about 150M cash in the company, which sounds a lot, but a year ago they had 70M cash in the company, and if Axel Springer had not injected 125M, they might be sitting on 25M. 70M to 25M shows they are burning through capital very quickly, yes they have bought other online brands in other parts of the world – but they are generating zero profit, so on a spread sheet they are liabilities rather than assets. If the pay upfront/online model becomes a NO GO as trading standards think Emoov and Tepilo clients were stung, in the sense that according to WHICH they only converted 35% of instructions to completed sales, but had a fee upfront on most instructions anyway, then PB might have to go no sale no fee which would make their cash flow go from 100% positive to 50% in 18 weeks, ie half stock sells and it takes 18 weeks to get the completion money in - if you are lucky. Now it may not be smoke and mirrors but saying you have 100M to spend so that makes you untouchable is a dangerous gambit, especially if you have never made profit and your model is based upon cash upfront and in 2019 there will be less instructions for all so declining market, and less upfront fees. Remember also that other financial burden of the online model, you have to pay millions and millions on tv and other media because the second you stop your marketing spend your brand is forgotten and you do not have a single office in the high street. I think that costs and lowering revenues, and the reversals that PB are getting world wide may make them more vulnerable, and if that share price continues to drop - it was once in excess of 500p a share to the original 93p level then things are going to get interesting.

From: Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights And Strategies 13 December 2018 09:39 AM

Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights And Strategies
Estate agency is a cottage industry, and will continue to be, good estate agents are divesting themselves from offices, and making good profit, and also there are many established bricks and mortar agents in towns villages and cities that have a great team who make massive profits year on year. The biggest revolution though is the agent working from home - and Rob Bryer's approach is brilliant - it is just what a confident sales person needs, freedom to list and sell with support on a daily basis. But, the estate agent working from home is really no surprise as many industries, surveyors etc have been doing this for a long time. Giving a choice if I started again would I have an office and sit in it on a Saturday or a Sunday, no I would rather be networking whilst having a coffee at the local, in between appointments a much better life balance which is why staff retention is such a problem in the industry at present. And working from home should mean bespoke service should mean the highest level of service and highest level of fees as Simon says. And the term Hybrid? all agents are hybrid, changing daily, all are online, all have to conform to new red tape, all have to adapt to the new property tech and communication channels that the public chose to use. Rant over where is my coffee? And then meeting with Zara (my dog) and some blue sky thinking whilst we trail over the countryside. Yes agency is changing - but it is still a service industry, customer is king and you can not get around those trading overheads, so which ever model you are working, build in at least 28% gross profit or probably you are doing a lot of hours for a small return.

From: Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights And Strategies 06 December 2018 09:05 AM

Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights And Strategies
If there is enough pressure from the 2,000 plus vendors who have jointly lost over £200,000 of upfront fee, plus any upfront Tepilo lost fee, and Purple Bricks had to move to a no sale no fee model that would be game over. As PB get 100% of fee on every instruction at present and their average fee is now around £1,300. If they moved to no sale no fee they would only get paid on 50%, as they list 10, sell 7, cancel 30% and exchange on around 50%. And they would have the 16 week wait from point of sale to money in on completion that most agents suffer. The only reason PB keeps rolling on is that it has zero liabilities, LPE's who are 'sel employed' and lots of cash rolling in, the fact they never make profit seems to be a non factor, but in time investors will want a dividend on their shares. Given that market analysts including Motley fool who comment on the Purple Bricks 58% share price drop this year since Jan, things are not rosy at all. As Roland Heald from The Motley Fool put it today in his article ' The Purplebricks Group (LSE: PURP) share price has fallen by 58% so far this year. Should we ignore mounting losses? My colleague Graham Chester reviewed Purplebricks’ half-year trading update recently. I agree with his view that we don’t yet have enough information to know whether the firm will hit its growth targets this year. What I do know is that the near-term outlook for the firm seems to be worsening. One year ago, analysts expected the firm to report earnings of 2.3p per share on sales of £169m in 2018/19. Today, forecasts indicate a loss of 10.8p per share on sales of £173m. It’s a similar story in 2019/20. Forecasts for earnings of 10.4p per share have been replaced with an expected loss of 4.6p per share. One reason for these downgrades is that the group’s international expansion has been ramped up. In the short term, this means that profits from the UK business are being swallowed up by operations overseas. Is PURP a genuine disrupter? If the group’s global expansion is successful, this business could become a genuine disrupter, like Amazon. Personally, I don’t think this is likely. Purplebricks’ business model seems more like evolution than revolution to me. Its sales and property listings still depend on a small army of estate agents (630 in the UK). The only difference I can see is that they don’t have offices. Although the firm’s fixed-fee model is different to a traditional commission rate, I believe mainstream agents will be able to adapt their pricing to become more competitive if they need to. Purplebricks may well cause estate agents’ profit margins to fall. But I don’t think it’s a truly disruptive business. For this reason, I view the shares as expensive and risky.'

From: Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights And Strategies 06 December 2018 08:42 AM

Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights And Strategies
Countrywide’s share price is not the only concern, last year it made losses of over 220M, having made a marginal profit the year before of over 15M. It has raised 120M a few months ago by offering shares at an all time low, but this recapitalisation exercise will only sustain them for 8 months. I started with Countrywide in 1985, and so have fond memories, but the basic principle of the company then was: – high fees, high level of service and dominant market share, which attracted top flight well paid staff. We are now in 2019, well almost and Countrywide should have pruned back all offices that have never made profit, and of course not tried to re-invent itself as a low upfront model. They failed to do this over the last 3 years. The basic cost of selling a property and getting it exchanged is about £2,300, if you factor in marketing costs and sales progression. If you charge less than this your business will make a loss, obviously there are bolt on’s, financial services, solicitors introductions. But you can only charge a higher fee if your offices perform, and the public wants to use your brand, the recent woes of John Lewis illustrate that just because you have always done well historically, in 12 months that can all be wiped out. I wonder two things, has the present CFO ever been an estate agent? Has Himanshu Raja spent anytime in any of the 'back to basic branches' to see how despondent and beaten the sales teams are? I ask this question as not so long ago, most people on the Countrywide board including Aliso Platt had never done agency, and actually looked down on those who had.

From: Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights And Strategies 05 December 2018 06:17 AM

Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights And Strategies
I am a little lost why the Tepilo Emoov Urban merger would have cost 100M? The best I can come up with is that think a newspaper speculated some months ago that a tie up of Tepilo and Emoov would create an agency 'valued at 100K', (but not sure who would put that value on it.) I do know at the time of the tie up of the the two Tepilo and Emoov from the accounts last filed for Tepilo, no profit had been made. Emoov appear not to have made any real profit if you take out crowdfunding and other funding, and Urban well no profit there either. So a tie up of three concerns who do not make profit, but by getting larger they will now start to have critical mass and turn things around? Well Purplebricks certainly have a lot of critical mass, and have a huge amount of throughput of capital, mainly as all clients have to pay and many upfront and those who do not pay in 10 months or less. But still after year four, it has a collective loss of 47M. Maybe 2019 will be their year, but, their losses this year are far larger than last year, and their turnover has grown by the biggest margin so far. So cash into the company hugely increased, with also an injection of 125M for a 12.5% stake of the company, but the largest losses so far? Maybe it is me, but should the figures not be going the other way? I will be told that Purplebricks are acquiring other businesses, and when the model matures, all will be ok, but the present share price, at around 178p, well down from the heady 500p plus a share, tells me that the city is not so convinced. Thoughts? So, a bit like Doorsteps which valued itself at nearly 10M when it started trading, and is now offering it's services for a £1, having never made a profit. Yes it has raised over 1.2M in private fundraising, thanks to crowdcube, but you soon burn through that if the true cost of sale is around 2.5K, and you are charging a fraction of that. For me there seem to be two models, online agents who charge low fees, (but the cost of sale is identical to the traditional agents with offices) who keep on getting capital injections to subsidise the sums they do not charge the client. And traditional agents who charge on average in the UK around 1% or 3.5K, so a nominal 1K of profit per sale which allows businesses to cover their costs and grow.

From: Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights And Strategies 19 November 2018 17:55 PM

Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights And Strategies
Hi John You are right … No online agent has made any money - they generate cash, but not profit, in last 4 years Purplebricks has announced collective loses of 47M. Despite selling 12.%% of itself for 125M this year. Their balance sheet though is awash with money. Unlike the final accounts of Tepilo which were a horror show, and that company has been trading many years so is a mature business. Now merged with E-moov it will be interesting to see what happens next. Then there is Yopa, which has a strong cashflow, but if you deducted the tens of millions that has been poured into it, like Housesimple, you would say that the future is not one dominated by online only agents. I think online agents will populate about 10% of the housing market, that is because about 10% of vendors are looking for a cheap fee, so there will always be a market for this type of agency. Regarding investors looking at figures, I do not think they ever do, for example Doorsteps, valued itself at nearly 10M before it ever traded a penny, and when it looked to sell less than a 5% share of itself on Crowdcube, it raised just under 400K in a few weeks, and then a year later it raised another 800K plus in a second round of crowdfunding. So over 1M of investment capital. But if you look at the annual accounts on companies house how much profit have they made and how much of the money they have been handed is still left? This means that the shareholders will not get a dividend so no return on their capital. Identical to Purplebricks - no dividend over the past 4 years. Hope that helps - Andrew

From: Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights And Strategies 15 November 2018 16:11 PM

Zero Deposit Zero Deposit Zero Deposit