x
By using this website, you agree to our use of cookies to enhance your experience.
Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies
Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies
COO
2952  Profile Views

About Me

Property business consultant, property industry journalist and commentator, helping property professionals and estate agency businesses maximise their full potential. Providing clients with clear, strong, solutions to their business problems. Writing analytical articles on trending property topics.

If you want to have a no-obligation free chat please call me on 07535 029676 or email me at andrew.stanton@estate-agency-insights-strategies.co.uk. linkedin.com/in/andrew-stanton-2a50b6191

my expertise in the industry

Thirty three years as a property professional.

Andrew Stanton's Recent Activity

Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies

From: Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies 15 November 2019 17:02 PM

Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies
IS RIGHTMOVE MAKING THE WRONGMOVE? First published 22nd October 2019 There are many agents grumbling about the way Rightmove is treating them, and some commentators have actually used the term abused. This seems a harsh term but looking more closely - the real possible abuse that is arguably at play, is the fact that Rightmove possibly charge agents different amounts, for the same service. So a new agent that wants to use Rightmove, pays more than an existing client for the identical service, and though it would seem sensible to discount to a multiple branch enterprise, many agents would be staggered at how little some agents in their town, village or city are paying, when they are paying substantially more for the same service. Now Rightmove can use any model they choose - if agents are unhappy - well they can choose not to list on Rightmove, but this economic advantage/disadvantage plays fast and loose with agents who are at present under considerable financial pressures. Maybe agents should set up an anonymous forum and post how much they are charged per branch/office and what level of service they are provided, I think this would be enlightening for all. No-one minds paying for a product or service, but some argue that the many customers at Rightmove may be subsidising the minority. Personally, I think that within three-years Zoopla who are re-aligning their model and who are substantially cheaper than Rightmove, may well offer 'self-listing' for the general public. As one of the online property portals jockey for market share and domination. Given the cost, I think many agents would 'eat' the fact that they are listing on a site with the 'self-listing' general public, as Zoopla's cost base is much lower than Rightmove. If Rightmove tried to launch this iniative, it would possibly cause a rebellion as agents would not want to pay a premium rate and compete with self-listing vendors. Estate agency, and by this I mean the whole property sector - is undergoing a period of change, just as other industries are. New technology is pushing this along and the customer or consumer is king (or queen) once again and they want service at the click of a button. And if enough of them want to market their own homes, because it is easy (obviously I know it is anything but easy) then this sentiment may change things. Lastly, the imminent departure of Scott Forbes , the present Chairman of Rightmove, who has been in place for nearly a decade and a half, may be the sign that things may not stay on the up for Rightmove for ever. Maybe, producing profits of over 65% a year, can not be sustained, especially in the property sector where many agents are trading on a margin as low as 3 or 4%, and in some cases a serious minus number.

From: Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies 15 November 2019 10:25 AM

Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies
It's me I am back again, I have just had a look at Purplebrick's annual accounts, and they have gone from their last year end April 2018m 152.8M cash in the bank to only 62.8M cash in the bank in April 2019, since which time they have had some hefty bills to pay to close down operations overseas. So that is a 90M burn in a year, which given they had income from upfront fees of probably 100M plus is not good news, that's a burn of 7.5M a month, I bet the executive toilets are made out of gold. Also, and I find this fascinating the way the company sets out its spreadsheet, Revenue 136.5M, cost of sales (56.6M), gross profit 79.9M, gross profit margin 58.5%, BUT THEN THEY ADD IN ADMIN AND MARKETING COSTS admin costs 61m, marketing costs 70.7M, and we get the operating loss of 52.3M. Call me stupid and many do, but the admin and marketing costs (Purplebricks adverts on multi-media, all the head office staff costs) are costs before any profit, just as in a traditional agent where you have income, expenditure and gross profit, you do not record a profit in the accounts and then add in the incidentals like your 60% staff costs or your advertising budget of 15%. Maybe, Purplebricks shareholders are not familiar with balance sheets. With only 60M in the war chest it will be interesting to see the interim accounts mid December and the full accounts next April, I think that mountain of cash at the bank may well be down to 20M, and then we will see if Purplebricks wins any golds at the Olympics.

From: Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies 14 November 2019 10:11 AM

Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies
It's me I am back again, I have just had a look at Purplebrick's annual accounts, and they have gone from their last year end April 2018m 152.8M cash in the bank to only 62.8M cash in the bank in April 2019, since which time they have had some hefty bills to pay to close down operations overseas. So that is a 90M burn in a year, which given they had income from upfront fees of probably 100M plus is not good news, that's a burn of 7.5M a month, I bet the executive toilets are made out of gold. Also, and I find this fascinating the way the company sets out its spreadsheet, Revenue 136.5M, cost of sales (56.6M), gross profit 79.9M, gross profit margin 58.5%, BUT THEN THEY ADD IN ADMIN AND MARKETING COSTS admin costs 61m, marketing costs 70.7M, and we get the operating loss of 52.3M. Call me stupid and many do, but the admin and marketing costs (Purplebricks adverts on multi-media, all the head office staff costs) are costs before any profit, just as in a traditional agent where you have income, expenditure and gross profit, you do not record a profit in the accounts and then add in the incidentals like your 60% staff costs or your advertising budget of 15%. Maybe, Purplebricks shareholders are not familiar with balance sheets. With only 60M in the war chest it will be interesting to see the interim accounts mid December and the full accounts next April, I think that mountain of cash at the bank may well be down to 20M, and then we will see if Purplebricks wins any golds at the Olympics.

From: Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies 14 November 2019 10:09 AM

Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies
If tracksuit Vic, is correct, and his company sells three times as many properties than any other agent - why has the company made ‘a full-year operating loss of £52.3 million.’ this year? Vic is a little prone to throw away lines - 'the company is not for sale’, just at the point Axel Springer is likely to take the company private. Maybe the three times was just another off the cuff comment. For me, and I have been crusading on this point for two years, is what is the conversion rate of listings to exchanges? I have read Purplebrick's company statements in the past boasting of a 73% and the 81% conversion rates, but no proof. The reason this is important to know is that in a pay upfront model, sale or no sale, if half your clients get no exchange on their property - shouldn't that be something that Vic talks about. I even offered a £1,000 of my own money for anyone from Purplebricks to prove this 81% conversion rate, not a single taker. Why? because I feel it likely they complete on average on every second property they list, in line with industry norms. My proof - click on rightmove today - see how many Purplebrick properties are listed for sale and how many are sstc - the ratio around 50%. Is this a true figure well, given that 28% of the sstc will fall through and rightmove keeps sstc on site for a number of months, any skewing of data about balances out. Put it this way, if you were selling 80% of your stock then around 80% of your stock on rightmove would have a sold sticker on it - that is not the picture I can see. I am more than happy for someone to prove me wrong, any takers?

From: Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies 14 November 2019 09:38 AM

Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies
Rightmove may well be out of step and be seen as the Wrongmove. There is definitely dissent being muttered by many of my clients, with many agents grumbling about the way Rightmove is treating them, and some commentators have actually used the term abusive when describing their relationship with the portal. This seems a harsh term but looking more closely - the real possible abuse that is arguably at play, is the fact that Rightmove possibly charge agents different amounts, for the same service. So, a new agent that wants to use Rightmove, pays more than an existing client for the identical service, and though it would seem sensible to discount to a multiple branch enterprise, many agents would be staggered at how little some agents in their town, village or city are paying, when they are paying substantially more for the same service. Now Rightmove can use any model they choose - if agents are unhappy - well they can choose not to list on Rightmove, but this economic advantage/disadvantage plays fast and loose with agents who are at present under considerable financial pressures. Maybe agents should set up an anonymous forum and post how much they are charged per branch/office and what level of service they are provided, I think this would be enlightening for all. No-one minds paying for a product or service, but some argue that the many customers at Rightmove may be subsidising the minority. Personally, I think that within three-years Zoopla who are re-aligning their model and who are substantially cheaper than Rightmove, may well offer 'self-listing' for the general public. As one of the online property portals jockey for market share and domination. If you look at other countries, agents do list against self-listing vendors on main portals it is just that at present the UK does not. Given the cost, I think many agents would 'eat' the fact that they are listing on a site with the 'self-listing' general public, as Zoopla's cost base is much lower than Rightmove. If Rightmove tried to launch this iniative, it would possibly cause a rebellion as agents would not want to pay a premium rate and compete with self-listing vendors. Estate agency, and by this I mean the whole property sector - is undergoing a period of change, just as other industries are. New technology is pushing this along and the customer or consumer is king (or queen) once again and they want service at the click of a button. And if enough of them want to market their own homes, because it is easy (obviously I know it is anything but easy) then this sentiment may change things. So, maybe the real battlefield is not the annual rise in subscription to Rightmove and their 60% profits each year, it is making sure that your agency is adopting the new wave of proptech tools and systems to future proof your business. Yes, Rightmove is causing a chill out there and agents are cooling towards them, but there may well be a far colder arctic winter coming for agencies who wait too long to prospect the new way of doing business. Which will be high levels of face to face service backed by technology which allows an omni-channel service to the ever demanding general public, who are turning their backs in droves on businesses based on old trading models rooted in the last century.

From: Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies 12 November 2019 06:43 AM

Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies

From: Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies 07 November 2019 12:13 PM

Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies
Hi James, how does the reporting stink? If you read all of the documentation on the case, it goes like this, Countrywide between 2008 and 2018 had in place a policy agreed at CEO level to keep the money in the company account, all 10M of it. Paul Creffield when alerted to it, fully co-operated with the RICS investigation, but - Paul Creffield did not become CEO discover the deceit and report it as a whistle- blower. No it was an outside audit that picked up on the situation, which if let undetected may well have continued. In fact if you look closely at Paul's statement in mitigation he seems very much to make the case that because Countrywide does billions of pounds worth of mortgages a year, have a massive RIICs prescence, and has a huge 800 (?) strong office presence with many branches in all the towns and villages, it would be a travesty if Countrywide were too badly damaged by the affair as it would possibly upset the property industry as a whole. (TOO BIG TO FAIL). In other words - Countrywide had in place by its own admission a questionable practice, the internal transfer of client funds, which was company policy. Then by chance an outsider found out about it, and of course if your are the CEO of the day you are going to be as helpful as you can, but I think that to play the card of TOO BIG TO FAIL, is a dangerous one, because if Countrywide is founded upon financial services and has within in very notable and trustworthy RICCS personnel, shouldn't the bar be set higher rather than lower, as a warning to all. The panel in their judgement under mitigating and aggravating matters, actually states that Countrywide were using the fund to inflate their profit provision. As a matter of balance I am told by those who know that Paul is a very good at what he does, but I wonder if the matter had not come to light, would anyone at Countrywide have seized the nettle. Also where does the leave the likes of former CEO's Amanda Platt for example, and the auditors and the Chief financial officers? You may not think it but I actually love Countrywide, it is just a shame that all the talent was sacrificed during various regime purges, maybe they should invite some of those who can do the job back, as I feel unfortunately there are other icebergs about to present themselves in front of HMS Countrywide.

From: Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies 05 November 2019 12:39 PM

Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies
Any measure to reduce failed sales is to be embraced including reservation fees, which many in the industry have seen before. Fundamental buyer’s remorse though is a harder thing to overcome, and no study has been done to quantify this factor and there seems little chance to remove it from the property sale equation. On the positive, due to advances in the proptech arena, companies like Offr are putting together solutions to minimise both the period of time taken to get to exchange, whilst equally as importantly having buyers fully qualified at point of sale, and the property pre-packaged conveyancing wise, with a fully transparent offer process leading into a seamless post sale agreed process where vendor seller and the agent and the conveyancing process is front and centre. It is not a criticism but a sad reality that many agencies have become front loading, win the instruction, list it, sell it to a buyer, send out the memo of sale, and then... there seems often - a black hole of nothingness for weeks, and it is at this point the sale process is at its weakest and the fall throughs occur. RoPA are keen to see the fuller adoption of pre-conveyanced property prior to point of sale, some may mutter it is HIPS mark 2, but the difference is with proptech innovations which were not around before, far from hindering the sale process, motivated vendors can meet motivated buyers, on a business model where an omni channel approach of accountability means that post sale being agreed there is no longer that mysterious black hole where nothing seems to be going on. With dashboards, and mobile phones, the stakeholders in the sales, the agent who carries the cost of aborted sales, the vendor and the buyer and the conveyancer who also have to absorb lost costs when sales fail, will actually in real time be interconnected, rather than sitting waiting for ‘something’ out of their control to happen. Whilst not all sales can be saved, pre- qualification of buyers, and pre-registration of properties, and an integrated, interconnected and transparent process which the agent and the other stakeholders are equally a part of, may well with the new technology that the millennials and generation z take for granted, move the industry away from the old model. A model where agents sell property, solicitors do the legals, to a more enlightened, transparent and collectively biased process where all parties board the train at the same point and have a ticket to the same destination. Now that is a train ride that most estate agents whose margins are being squeezed would definitely like to be on.

From: Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies 05 November 2019 06:36 AM

Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies
Is it time that Countrywide got rid of its rotten apples. Back in August 2018 Himanshu Raja - Chief financial Officer at Countrywide, was until it was voted down to receive £7M of company shares, and Paul Creffield Group GMD was to receive £8M of shares. This was at a time that the scandal of the £10M funds was known to the company, but not disclosed to the shareholders. Then in early Spring 2019, Countrywide were fined £215,000 for Anti Money Laundering lapses, and now they have been fined another £100,000 for financial irregularities. Given that Mr Creffield is himself fully supportive of RoPA, and a single regulator. Is it not time for him and Himanshu to do the honourable thing? Two months ago Mr Creffield when asked about RoPA said, … 'We're really supportive of regulation because we believe it will help create a level playing field with all agents expected to have the same expertise, It'll be good for the consumer too.' More worryingly for all parties, including perhaps Baron Best who heads up RoPA is Mr Creffield's further comments regarding RoPA, ' Because of Countrywide's scale, we've been consulted frequently (by RoPA) on proposals during their preparation, and we've conducted some pilot projects.' Now if the new regulatory framework that a forthcoming government may back comes into being in the form of RoPA, should some of its architects be coming from Countrywide's top management team. For me they would be the last people I would look to. If Paul Creffield advocates root and branch industry regulation - then Countrwide should itself be a beacon of this industry change, at present it is a bonfire of vanities, which given the proximity of November the 5th is very apt. Matches anyone.

From: Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies 30 October 2019 19:11 PM

Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies
Over half a billion pounds spent / invested in online agents in the UK. Profit ZERO. Reason - the cost of capturing a new client and running the online model costs 23% - 32% more than the fee being charged. That is why Purplebricks have just hiked their fees up by another £100 a unit, closing the gap between online fees and traditional fees. All online agents continue off the back of upfront fees and referral fees, sale or no sale, those online agents seeking no fee or no upfront fee will be out of cash within 12-months. Traditional agents are still mainly going down the no sale no fee route. Personally if I set up again today, I would go the 'charge the client for the service provided' route with regular monthly payments for work done so far. £x for listing, £x for exposure on websites, £x for viewings, £x for agreeing a sale, £x for qualifying buyer, £x for dealing with sale up to exchange - which in terms of hours is most costly part of process, £x for exchange, £x for aborted sale. So as the weeks tick on - the vendor is incentivised to reduce price, if the property has been fully and professionally marketed without a buyer being found. This would mean agents could charge 'lower' fees as they would be invoicing all vendors, rather than just invoicing the 50% of vendors who get to exchange and building in the cost of the 'other' property that they marketed but failed to sell. Eg, you list 10 at £400,000 at 1% = 10 x £4,000 potential fee or £40,000. You sell subject to contract 7 and 2 fall through before exchange, so you invoice 5 at £4,000 = £20,000. So you have shouldered the cost of marketing the other 5, and got no money from the vendor as a fee. In the alternative version you list 10 at £400,000, and you charge all 10 a fee based upon the work you actually carry out. 12 viewings, one aborted sale and then a re-sale, 30 hours of sales progressing etc. Five sales go through and five do not, but because every vendor is paying something then the fee to all could be less, so instead of 1% payable to the 5 who exchange, you charge in real terms 0.6% to all 10, so that is 10 x £4,000 x 0.6% = £24,000 income in and each vendor as an average is paying 40% less than the a 1% fee. Happy vendors and more income in, as well as a steady income flow, if all vendors are billed on a monthly cycle, much better than waiting five months for a fresh instruction to become a paid for invoice.

From: Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies 30 October 2019 07:48 AM

Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies
I mentioned Vic Darvey CEO of Purplebricks who is a very bright man, and so I thought it right to show some balance on pay upfront online models. But, when he says things like the company is ‘not for sale’, or the company is going to change how it charges customers - the question I am going to ask is … Is Vic there? As I think he might be a little light on strategy. For me, the only great thing about Purplebricks for investors in its shares, was that on paper it seemed to be the mother of all cash cows. It appeared, and that was always the illusion, that with a positive cashflow from upfront fees, that it would once established make huge profits, without a costly bricks and mortar empire of offices, populated by expensive employed staff. The truth, now the smoke and mirrors are no more and the business model is clear for all to see, is that you can strip out the staff costs, the managers the negotiators etc who sell property and just have listers (even better if they are self-employed), but if your business campaign runs on a multi-million pound spend on television, web, radio and every media medium – it does not matter how much cash you are getting upfront, if the spend per unit listed far exceeds the cash you get in. Close scrutiny of the annual accounts of Purplebricks show a worrying conclusion that gross profit runs at about 45%, but when ‘marketing costs’ and ‘admin’ costs are added in that 45% gross profit becomes a negative figure. Purplebricks were closer to making profit when their turnover was 50M plus, they made a 5M loss. They then bragged that when turnover doubled, they would hit profit. Instead the 5M loss grew into a multi-million loss. The only thing keeping the Purplebricks empire afloat is the model of cash upfront, win or lose for the vendor. This pays the Local Property Experts and covers some of the costs of the business. If Vic feels that he is going to change the model, the cash input will dry up, and if the company has to wait 5-months for properties to sell and complete, from point of instruction, those multi-million monthly costs will eat the company and Vic alive. Perversely, I am not a luddite, I like new technology, and online agents (in concept) but I think that proptech should deal with the backroom stuff, as it does for many online and traditional agents. Allowing estate agents to have more time to be agents, to spend face to face time with clients, rather than be a replacement for them.

From: Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies 29 October 2019 16:54 PM

Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies
Peering through the smoke and mirrors, this is an average upfront fee model of £1,039 (if there are 10 viewings) per listing. Plus referral fees on top for I assume conveyancing and finance. The 140 sales is an irrelevant figure, as the business runs I assume on instructions and upfront fees. So, 140 sales is probably 200 listings in 6 months (140 = 70% of total listings the rate of unexchanged sales generated). That is 33.3 instructions x £1,039 = £34,598 + referral fees, approx. £11,500 = £46,098 income a month. Or £553,176 per annum income - not profit. Costs - 25 members of staff, average salary £25,000, plus car or car allowance plus taxes etc, £687,000 a year. 40 outsourced staff, average £8,000 a year, £320,000. Total £1M. Typically wages = 60% of company costs, so running costs for all other parts of company will be another £665,000 a year. So total costs a year for company to break even are 1.65M, or £137,500 a month. To break even - at £1,384 a unit, they need to list 100 a month, at present they are listing 33.3, so they need to triple their instructions to break even (and that is without paying any of that 1.2M back). The other kicker is that the pay upfront model - has failed - even Vic at Purplebricks has seen that the general public will not do repeat business if they pay in advance and get no sale, and have to pay twice with a second agent who charges on results / exchange of contracts. Especially as in the industry agents on exchange on half of their stock. I assume and it is not clear in the piece - that Imovehome is a pay up front and pray model, rather than a pay on results model, if not - well an awful lot more than 1.2M is going to be needed to be injected in the coming months. Even if you could triple your through put of instructions - what else will increase? - yes you got it - staff costs and running costs, so the break-even will be in excess of 2M, which means no profit ever.

From: Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies 29 October 2019 16:37 PM

Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies

From: Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies 22 October 2019 09:27 AM

Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies
Whilst I respect Iain's viewpoint - the real possible abuse that is arguably at play, is the fact that Rightmove charge agents different amounts, for the same service. So a new agent that wants to use Rightmove, pays more than an existing client for the identical service, and though it would seem sensible to discount to a multiple branch enterprise, many agents would be staggered at how little some agents in their town, village or city are paying, when they are paying substantially more for the same service. Now Rightmove can use any model they choose - if agents are unhappy - well they can choose not to list on Rightmove, but this economic advantage/disadvantage plays fast and loose with agents who are at present under considerable financial pressures. Maybe agents should set up an anonymous forum and post how much they are charged per branch/office and what level of service they are provided, I think this would be enlightening for all. No-one minds paying for a product or service, but some argue that the many customers at Rightmove may be subsidising the minority. Personally, I think that within 3 years Zoopla who are re-aligning their model and who are substantially cheaper than Rightmove, may well offer 'self-listing' for the general public. As one of the online property portals jockey for market share and domination. Given the cost, I think many agents would 'eat' the fact that they are listing on a site with the 'self-listing' general public, as Zoopla's cost base is much lower than Rightmove. If Rightmove tried to launch this iniative, it would possibly cause a rebellion as agents would not want to pay a premium rate and compete with self-listing vendors. Estate agency, and by this I mean the whole property sector - is undergoing a period of change, just as other industries are. New technology is pushing this along and the customer or consumer is king (or queen) once again and they want service at the click of a button. And if enough of them want to market their own homes, because it is easy (obviously I know it is anything but easy) then this sentiment may change things. (E-A-I-S)

From: Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies 22 October 2019 08:40 AM

Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies
I think that Adam Day is and was a giant in the way he thought about agency, he was the torchbearer for a new type of estate agency, and it saddens me that he is now recruiting people who in about 16-months will possibly find they have poured their money into the eXP adventure, with a nil return. Can I back this up? Well, the industry has four main models (with some variants), model one,self-employment, set yourself up and work for yourself possibly employing staff . Model two - corporate agency/or independent agency where you work for the 'boss' - this can be very lucrative and is low risk, many earn more than self employed estate agents running their own show. Model three - franchise agency, pay a lump sum to join the club, then a percentage of turnover (not profit) every year to be part of the group, in return receive training, CRM and have red tape dealt with. Model four - Umbrella - a hybrid of the franchise system, a quasi-franchise/self employment. To my mind and I know there are many exceptions, the winners in these models are - franchisors - they are taking a constant amount of money regardless, if franchisee fails they get another to fill the space. Employed people, they get job security no risk of their own money being lost - yes they can lose there job, but re-employment is very easy in the agency sector. Then and it is more tricky to say who are winners - the self employed can be real winners - but they can be losers, if not financially they may not enjoy the pressures of running a business and being an agent. But, I have always thought that at the bottom of the list, those with most to lose are your eXP type agents. Probably not capital rich, and yet they will have to pay money out and at the same time they really are in the self-employed mode, so a double whammy. Thoughts anyone?

From: Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies 18 October 2019 10:55 AM

Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies
First off, I like Rollo's thoughts and I enjoy hearing different view points, but, I am a little lost at the his thought that 'self-employed' is the new future for estate agency, as there are 8,700 self employed estate agents out of 17,800 agents in the UK, ie, private individuals or partnerships who run their own businesses. Many of these self-employed agents have been in place 30 years or more, some more recently. Then there is the franchise model, a person sets up, either under their name or a brand name, and they pay a fee to join the franchise, 1k to 50K as a one off payment, they then pay 5% to 35% of turnover (money banked to the franchisor, usually with some kind of override, say paying an extra 5% or more of any monies banked over 150k in a year. The franchisee gets all the red tape dealt with, CRM provided, training and the support of the company and other branches. The other model is corporate agency, a person goes and works for a large network of offices owned by a bank or building society, or a self-employed person who has grown his or her kingdom so large that there are many offices, and there needs to be an army of people to run the empire. There is an umbrella model, which is currently on trend, a hybrid of the franchise system. Where I do embrace that there is a change in the industry is that there appears on the face of it a left wing revolution taking place - and stay with me while I explain. I am fully aware that property is not exactly a Marxist goldmine. It may be the millennial generation or generation Z, but in many industries, people want as Rollo so aptly puts it 'freedom' to do their thing, as well as do work when it fits in with this. Also, as property grandee Chris Watkin has been teasing out in his debates, managers of estate agents and listers of estate agents seem on the face of it to be generating the wealth but only getting a small amount of the reward. So, here is the socialist rhetoric - the ownership and non-ownership of the means of production is central to his distinction between capitalists and proletarians. So the manager or the lister may be creating tens of thousands of pounds of profit through their labour, but it is the estate agency owner - (or the mill owner in the classic theory) who gets the lions share. The vibe in the air is that managers and listers can cry freedom and liberate themselves by rising up and carrying out the work for themselves, and in so doing re-define when the work is done and how much they get paid for the work. But, this is utopian, as if you work for yourself, you need 118K of capital to set up and survive, until you get out of year two, as no cashflow in for first 5-months, or if you work under an umbrella or a franchise, you have to factor in maybe an extra 30K of costs to buy in plus another 30K each year you trade. So, you are in the grip of the capitalist system. Speaking as a retired estate agent with over 30 years of industry experience, who took the plunge and set up on my own agency, my advice - if you are the type of person who likes risk, is willing to work twice the hours of agents in corporate agency (many of whom are brilliant agents), then in year three you will earn double what you earn now, but, you will have to have deep pockets. The other factor at work, is that in theory with the advances in proptech (I am an advovacate and had in 1996 one of the earliest versions) a single person could run a whole agency on their own, supported by technology. But, the monthly cost or burn, of your CRM etc is usually far higher than employing two members of staff and using a couple of laptops. That is why the glorious revolution will never come, there may well be great managers and listers and property managers and negotiators who want to run their own business, but if and when they do - they will follow the same mould as the business they leave behind. Yes, they can take an afternoon off for a child's birthday, yes they can work from home, or their car or the coffee shop, but, agency is increasingly more about the customer - as the boss of IKEA has recently commented, and businesses need to spend more time with them and that means more hours on the clock, the exact opposite of the 'red revolution ideal' of working for yourself so you can fit me time in around the work. Andrew Stanton estate-agency-insights-strategies.

From: Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies 17 October 2019 13:34 PM

Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies
If anyone wants to set up their own agency - here are the figures based on an office in the high street, if you go serviced office or work from home, or coffee shop, broadly speaking costs are about the same as you pay more in terms of online presence for your business to grow the brand. The question is why would you want to pay 30k a year to KW on top of this? 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. On a serious note if you have a business that is in the doldrums or you are in the first stage of running your agency business, just reach out and I am more than happy to give free advice. That is right, free advice backed by 34 years of agency experience, all of it in the UK.

From: Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies 16 October 2019 12:02 PM

Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies

From: Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies 16 October 2019 11:50 AM

Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies
I want to start by saying that I admire anyone who gets off their bottom and tries to do something, as in the case of hardworking Ashkay. But, I think the words 'endless possibility with the internet' is a truer reflection of what is now gripping the business sector, as there is an awful lot of misdirection and as Mr Trump likes to put it fake news out there. For a kick off - I do not think Ashkay is a millionaire, and I am sure he will not mind me saying this, he has sold shares in his jointly owned company for over £800,000, and he and his family member retain a substantial amount of shares. But the company is not listed on the stock exchange or the AIM so the shares he holds are without value. Regarding the present value of Doorsteps, I think the annual accounts are due in September so I reserve judgement as to what profit has been made in the last year, but I would be surprised if it has made any profit. Which means that Ashkay has lots of shares in a company that does not make any money and is propped up by crowdfunding. What I am trying to convey is that - a lot of harm has been done to estate agency, because the outside perception of the general public is that property professionals are millionaires, when in fact most are for the hours they work on a minimum wage. Perhaps, then, people in the public eye such as Ashkay, would be better off encouraging the 'youth' to focus more on having a solid education, rather than dreaming up the next big thing on the internet, which inevitably these days seems to be funded by numerous individuals who dig into their own pockets and fund enterprises which never make a profit or give a dividend to them. Personally, having qualifications and a degree, back in the day when only 5% of the country had degrees, opened doors for me, so I still think that as a back up in case the internet does not bring riches … get as much education and learning under your belt.

From: Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies 15 August 2019 06:54 AM

Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies
There is always one - and usually it is me but if the article is a simple case of arithmetic, then let's start by getting the figures correct. UK completions do fluctuate annually between 1 million to 1.2 million, so correct. The number of agents 16,500, I think that a little low, but close enough, and of course 5,000 pure rental agents who from time to time sell the odd property. But, 10% of property that completes each year does so with no agent involved, so David Westgate's main thrust is in fact even more pertinent, lots of agents chasing 900,000 completions. Where will it end? - Well they always say that what happens in America, comes across the pond, and did you know 75% of realtors only sell 2 or less properties a month, and only the top 5% of realtors earn over 300,000 dollars. So pretty slim pickings (not the cowboy). This then could be the future - in the UK. As could the American multi-listing system … I fully agree that there is more competition - Since 1985, when I first became an agent, there has been a 500% increase in estate agents and only a 74% increase in housing stock. In answer to how many how many estate agents are trading within a 10 mile radius of large town, which I use when discussing with my clients the need to sharpen their approach to getting new stock, in say a town of 180,000 inhabitants, I tell my awe inspired clients that there are 221 Estate & Letting Agents, 71 Letting Agents only, 71 Estate agents only 363 agencies in total – trading in a 460 sqm radius which is an agency every 1.25 miles. (Plus online agents.) But, I am not sure that in the future there will be less agents, I think there may well be more, and these will be single individuals 'property people' who list and sell and are at the core of a geographical area, the property specialist, low overheads, hi tec, but also available, knowledgeable and charging a fee that covers costs and a margin on top to make it worth while to do the job. Vendors and Landlords do not want cheap fees, they want service and value for money, perhaps Proptech can be the salvation of the industry after all.

From: Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies 18 July 2019 14:06 PM

Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies
Having just read the 56 page report, it seems based on the premise that as the general public do not 'trust' estate agents and property professionals there is a need to regulate. Lord Best who oversaw the report I know has a major background in property matters - but not perhaps a working knowledge of the industry at ground level. Apart from the obvious new levels of red tape, the cost of the new regulator to be paid for ultimately by the agents and property professionals, and the cost for training that the new report calls for, which once again will hit the profitability of all agents, I am struck that the report is saying that the present bodies who regulate the property profession are not fit for purpose, not really a ringing endorsement for those hardworking people. Given the government has not resolved Brexit, after three years, I think that this issue of more regulation for the property industry may well be kicked into the long grass as other more pressing issues come to the political fore. especially after next Monday evening. As a person who helps and develops agency businesses I am all for training and professional standards and codes, but - why does the government want to add more regulation to the property sector? Should car sales people, double glazing sales people and MP's not also have extra regulation based on the same premise that this report has, that a low percentage of folk do not trust them. Many MP's when elected have zero training or competency of being an MP, and yet they make decisions from the first day they arrive at the house, decisions that have ramifications for their constituents, maybe they need to have formal qualifications and annual tests to prove they are a 'fit' person as detailed in Lord Best's report on estate agency professionals.

From: Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies 18 July 2019 07:29 AM

Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies

From: Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies 13 July 2019 22:47 PM

Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies

From: Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies 09 July 2019 22:36 PM

Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies
Vic Darvey has obviously been speaking to Ashkay Rupareilia of Doorsteps who in his original pitch on crowdcube stated that by 2020, that's five months away online agents will have 20% of the property market. The reality is that Doorsteps has raised over £889,000 from poor private investors with two rounds of cash raising at crowdcube, and the company has failed to make a penny profit. I think it is time that 'fake news' regarding online agents as being the future of agency should be faded out - and people start to look at the reality. They tell me Ashkay is a millionaire, but is this true? His company is valued at 18M, (how?) and he has sold some shares of an unlisted company for £889,000. If the company stock/shares was listed on the stock market or even the Alternative stock market and the shares had real value, then the holding that Ashkay and his relative has would indeed make him a millionaire, but holding massive amounts of shares of an unlisted company - which is set to need further funding is just another empire built on thin air. Looking at the Purplebricks figures, just released Vic Darvey would do well to look at the actual running cost of the Purplebrick operation. In 12 months PB have burned through 90M of their cash. Or burnt 7.5M every month for the last 12 months. A year ago they had 152.8M of cash, now they have 62.8M. Regarding the UK arm of the company, the supposedly profit making part, the Purplebricks balance sheet is very creative. In the period 2017 – 2018 (3rd July) it states that in the UK it made 74.4M in revenue, and the cost of sales was 31.3M, giving a gross profit of 43.1M, or gross profit of 57.9%. But, then in the next line down in the accounts, when admin costs of 19.5M are added in, and marketing costs of 21.4M are added in the operating profit is 2.2M (not 43.1M). 2.2M as % of 74.4M revenue = 2.9% return. Also, it had 152.8M cash as a war chest to trade forward. In the period 2018 – 2019(3rd July) it states that in the UK it made 90.1M in revenue, and the cost of sales was 33.3M, giving a gross profit of 56.8M, or gross profit of 63%. But, then in the next line down in the accounts, when admin costs of 24.8M are added in, and marketing costs of 26.7M are added in the operating profit is 5.3M (not 56.8M). 5.3M as % of 90.1M revenue = 5.8% return. But, the company as a whole had no longer got 152.8M cash as a war chest to trade forward, this had reduced to 62.8M over the 12 month period. So, the company had burnt through 90M in 12 months, or 7.5M a month. Given that Axel Springer injected over 130M into the company in the recent past, when the share price was three times its present level, it is unlikely that a further round of funding will happen, which means that even with closing down operations in Australia and America, commissary to all those self-employed realtors, the cash burn will continue for the scaled down Purplebricks model, with over 30M a year used in tv and other advertising alone, to keep the brand alive. Even if the cash burn is only 3M a month, in a year that is 36M, and as can be seen increased revenue in the UK, has only yielded a wafer thin return, so even if the average fee was to rise another £100 and revenue was 120M in the UK next year, the admin and marketing costs will grow even larger, and it could be a case that they make a 5M profit, but the cash to trade forward will dwindle by year end 2020 to only 26.8M or less than 9 months of capital to trade forward into 2021. What the accounts actually show is that the true cost of the sale for the Purplebrick online brand is prohibitive, as in;- In 2017 – 2018 is 74.4M monies in, 31.3M + 19.5M + 21.4M monies out, or 74.4M monies in, 72.2M monies out. Giving a true cost of sale of 97% of revenue generated. And in 2018-2019 is 90.1M monies in, 33.3M + 24.8M + 26.7M monies out, or 90.1M monies in, 84.8M monies out. Giving a true cost of sale of 94% of revenue generated. So the other money or cash washing around Purplebricks – comes not from making vast trading profits, but from raising capital from private investors and then from investors, private and blue chip companies when it was launched on the Alternative Investment Market. The allure of the company and its perceived value is that it has few fixed tangible assets or employees, though HMRC are likely to think that the Pimlico Plumbers have a lot in common with the self-employed LPE’s, but without high street premises (those assets), the company is forced to continue spending a multi-million budget on reminding the public that they exist. Am I anti-Purplebricks and online agents? No, I just feel sorry for the investors backing them, and as each online agency fails, Emoov, Tepilo, etc they damage the reputation of the industry as a whole. Vendors losing upfront fees paid in good faith and self-employed hard working estate agents losing their livelihood and investors losing their life's savings. The only winners are the banks and finance houses and brokers putting together these online companies who are charging vast fees, that is where a substantial amount of revenue disappears to. Lastly, Chris from my experience most estate agents I have dealt with over the past 33 years do not have a mentality of get em on get em sold. The mentality is do a good job each and every day, the actual listing and selling part of agency is only a small part of the process, it is the other multi-component parts of an estate agents day that most agents take a great pride in. As most agents are sole traders or a joint partnership, these people take a huge pride in what they do, as it is their name over the door, and their money on the line if things get tough. That is why many independent agents deliver massive profits each year as they are part of the community, they do not need to fake it - they are it.

From: Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies 04 July 2019 08:44 AM

Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies
Cash Management Cash Generation and Cash Burn. In 12 months PB have burned through 90M of their cash. Or burnt 7.5M every month for the last 12 months. A year ago Purplebricks had 152.8M of cash, now they have only 87.8M. Regarding the UK arm of the company, the supposedly profit making part, the Purplebricks balance sheet is very creative. In the period 2017 – 2018 (3rd July) it states that in the UK it made 74.4M in revenue, and the cost of sales was 31.3M, giving a gross profit of 43.1M, or gross profit of 57.9%. But, then in the next line down in the accounts, when admin costs of 19.5M are added in, and marketing costs of 21.4M are added in the operating profit is 2.2M (not 43.1M). 2.2M as % of 74.4M revenue = 2.9% return. Also, it had 152.8M cash as a war chest to trade forward as of July 2018. In the period 2018 – 2019(3rd July) it states that in the UK it made 90.1M in revenue, and the cost of sales was 33.3M, giving a gross profit of 56.8M, or gross profit of 63%. But, then in the next line down in the accounts, when admin costs of 24.8M are added in, and marketing costs of 26.7M are added in the operating profit is 5.3M (not 56.8M). 5.3M as % of 90.1M revenue = 5.8% return. But, the company as a whole had no longer got 152.8M cash as a war chest to trade forward, this had reduced 62.8M over the 12 month period. So, the company had burnt through 90M in 12 months, or 7.5M a month. Given that Axel Springer injected over 130M into the company in the recent past, when the share price was three times its present level, it is unlikely that a further round of funding will happen. Which means that even with closing down operations in Australia and America, commissary to all those self-employed realtors, the cash burn will continue for the scaled down Purplebricks model, with over 30M a year used in tv and other advertising alone, to keep the brand alive. Even if the cash burn is only 3M a month, in a year that is 36M, and as can be seen increased revenue in the UK, has only yielded a wafer thin return, so even if the average fee was to rise another £100 and revenue was 120M in the UK next year, the admin and marketing costs will grow even larger. And it could be a case that they make a 5M profit, but the cash to trade forward will dwindle by year end 2020 to only 26.8M or less than 9 months of capital to trade forward into 2021. What the accounts actually show is that the true cost of the sale for the Purplebrick online brand is prohibitive, as in;- In 2017 – 2018 is 74.4M monies in, 31.3M + 19.5M + 21.4M monies out, or 74.4M monies in, 72.2M monies out. Giving a true cost of sale of 97% of revenue generated. And in 2018-2019 is 90.1M monies in, 33.3M + 24.8M + 26.7M monies out, or 90.1M monies in, 84.8M monies out. Giving a true cost of sale of 94% of revenue generated. So the other money or cash washing around Purplebricks – comes not from making vast trading profits, but from raising capital from private investors and then from investors, private and blue chip companies when it was launched on the Alternative Investment Market. The allure of the company and its perceived value is that it has few fixed tangible assets or employees, though HMRC are likely to think that the Pimlico Plumbers have a lot in common with the self-employed LPE’s, but without high street premises (those assets), the company is forced to continue spending a multi-million budget on reminding the public that they exist. All financials taken from the Purplebricks - accounts as posted today.

From: Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies 03 July 2019 21:53 PM

Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies
If a double glazing company received an upfront payment/fee, on the promise that they would install a double glazed window, say at a cost of £1,000 to a client. And in a year they had 65,000 customers, but only installed 31,200 windows failing to put the other 33,800 double glazed windows in - I think the company would have major issues with trading standards. So, if an online agent receives an upfront fee, on the promise they will provide a service that allows a vendor to complete on the sale of their home, say at a cost of £1,000 or probably more. But only completes on 48% of sales - why does trading standards not take issue? When Emoov failed, twentyci, stated that sales rates of instructions to sales was low, and from this I extrapolated that completion rates would have been less than 40%, so 605 of vendors paying out good money for no return. I am not saying that online agents should not charge upfront fees, but they should give accurate conversion rates to potential vendors before the vendors part with their cash. Purplebricks say they convert at 80% from instruction to completed sale, I am offering £1,000 to anyone who can prove this, as I think they convert at nearer 50%, which means last year nearly 35M of fee was paid by vendors who did not get sold, or in the case of a double glazing company did not get a double glazed window put in. It is time that 'transparency' was the order of the day - if clients are paying cash upfront based on trust; on the no sale no fee basis, which over 90% of estate agents use -the trust is balanced the other way with the agent taking the risk that if they do perform a fee will be forthcoming.

From: Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies 02 July 2019 11:33 AM

Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies
Stanton’s £1,000 Purplebricks Conversion challenge. I have never been frightened to put my money where my mouth is, and in response to Lee Wainwrights ex-CEO of Purplebricks statement that Purplebricks completes on 80% of instructions they list. I Andrew Stanton – property analyst, consultant and journalist, from estate agency insights and strategies – throw down a £1,000 prize gauntlet to any former or present employee of Purplebricks, who can prove this statement to be true. Since 2017, from my own in-depth analysis I proved that Purplebricks only completes on 48% of the instructions they list or less. And I have repeatedly asked for proof that this is incorrect and found no takers. I can give you an up to date example, on Rightmove 27th June 2019, Purplebricks had in one area Meridian, a total of 3,159 properties showing as either for sale or under offer. 1,844 listed for sale, and 1,315 listed sold subject to contract, so only a 58% conversion rate, which allowing for a 28% cancellation rate on the 1,315, gives 946 completions or a conversion rate of only 29%. I am willing to lodge £1,000 with EAT, for 28-days, and the first person from Purplebricks, who can show the EAT team proof that Purplebricks does complete on 8 out of 10 instructions they list, will receive the £1,000. The only rules are that, the conversion rate must be over a 12-month period, and if any LPE seeks the £1,000, they must have listed for more than 12-months. So, Jan to Dec 2017, 96 properties are listed by an LPE, Stanton would require verification that 77 of these addresses completed having been sold by Purplebricks; at any point after they were listed. Purplebrick’s in their company annual statements have been stating that they have been completing at a rate in excess of 80%, and some months ago I contacted National Trading Standards Estate agency team, querying this. Stating they probably only completed on 50% or less of property listed. Which meant over £35M was paid out in upfront fees from vendors last year, who failed to achieve a sale. The response was that that until the public complained no action could be taken. I am not singling out Purplebrick’s about completion rates on property listed, this is just an industry norm that agents only complete on 50% of the properties they are instructed on. Given this ‘truth’ perhaps there might be merit in charging a marketing fee on all instructions, based on services rendered. Any person wishing to claim the £1,000 reward, please contact Graham Norwood who can act as referee, if I am incorrect I am more than happy to pay up and shut up. The clock starts ticking today the 29th of June. I will let you all know if I had to pay out.

From: Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies 29 June 2019 11:50 AM

Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies
Stanton’s £1,000 Purplebricks Conversion challenge. I have never been frightened to put my money where my mouth is, and in response to Lee Wainwrights ex-CEO of Purplebricks statement that Purplebricks completes on 80% of instructions they list. I Andrew Stanton – property analyst, consultant and journalist, from estate agency insights and strategies – throw down a £1,000 prize gauntlet to any former or present employee of Purplebricks, who can prove this statement to be true. Since 2017, from my own in-depth analysis I proved that Purplebricks only completes on 48% of the instructions they list or less. And I have repeatedly asked for proof that this is incorrect and found no takers. I can give you an up to date example, on Rightmove 27th June 2019, Purplebricks had in one area Meridian, a total of 3,159 properties showing as either for sale or under offer. 1,844 listed for sale, and 1,315 listed sold subject to contract, so only a 58% conversion rate, which allowing for a 28% cancellation rate on the 1,315, gives 946 completions or a conversion rate of only 29%. I am willing to lodge £1,000 with EAT, for 28-days, and the first person from Purplebricks, who can show the EAT team proof that Purplebricks does complete on 8 out of 10 instructions they list, will receive the £1,000. The only rules are that, the conversion rate must be over a 12-month period, and if any LPE seeks the £1,000, they must have listed for more than 12-months. So, Jan to Dec 2017, 96 properties are listed by an LPE, I would require verification that 77 of these addresses completed having been sold by Purplebricks; at any point after they were listed. Purplebrick’s in their company annual statements have been stating that they have been completing at a rate in excess of 80%, and some months ago I contacted National Trading Standards Estate agency team, querying this. Stating they probably only completed on 50% or less of property listed. Which meant over £35M was paid out in upfront fees from vendors last year, who failed to achieve a sale. The response was that that until the public complained no action could be taken. I am not singling out Purplebrick’s about completion rates on property listed, this is just an industry norm that agents only complete on 50% of the properties they are instructed on. Given this ‘truth’ perhaps there might be merit in charging a marketing fee on all instructions, based on services rendered. Any person wishing to claim the £1,000 reward, please contact Graham Norwood who can act as referee, if I am incorrect I am more than happy to pay up and shut up. The clock starts ticking today the 29th of June. I will let you all know if I had to pay out.

From: Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies 29 June 2019 11:48 AM

Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies
Stanton’s £1,000 Purplebricks Conversion challenge. I have never been frightened to put my money where my mouth is, and in response to Lee Wainwrights ex-CEO of Purplebricks statement that Purplebricks completes on 80% of instructions they list. I Andrew Stanton – property analyst, consultant and journalist, from estate agency insights and strategies – throw down a £1,000 prize gauntlet to any former or present employee of Purplebricks, who can prove this statement to be true. Since 2017, from my own in-depth analysis I proved that Purplebricks only completes on 48% of the instructions they list or less. And I have repeatedly asked for proof that this is incorrect and found no takers. I can give you an up to date example, on Rightmove 27th June 2019, Purplebricks had in one area Meridian, a total of 3,159 properties showing as either for sale or under offer. 1,844 listed for sale, and 1,315 listed sold subject to contract, so only a 58% conversion rate, which allowing for a 28% cancellation rate on the 1,315, gives 946 completions or a conversion rate of only 29%. I am willing to lodge £1,000 with EAT, for 28-days, and the first person from Purplebricks, who can show the EAT team proof that Purplebricks does complete on 8 out of 10 instructions they list, will receive the £1,000. The only rules are that, the conversion rate must be over a 12-month period, and if any LPE seeks the £1,000, they must have listed for more than 12-months. So, Jan to Dec 2017, 96 properties are listed by an LPE, Stanton would require verification that 77 of these addresses completed having been sold by Purplebricks; at any point after they were listed. Purplebrick’s in their company annual statements have been stating that they have been completing at a rate in excess of 80%, and some months ago I contacted National Trading Standards Estate agency team, querying this. Stating they probably only completed on 50% or less of property listed. Which meant over £35M was paid out in upfront fees from vendors last year, who failed to achieve a sale. The response was that that until the public complained no action could be taken. I am not singling out Purplebrick’s about completion rates on property listed, this is just an industry norm that most agents only complete on 50% of the properties they are instructed on. Given this ‘truth’ perhaps there might be merit in charging a marketing fee on all instructions, based on services rendered. Any person wishing to claim the £1,000 reward, please contact Graham Norwood who can act as referee, if I am incorrect I am more than happy to pay up and shut up. The clock starts ticking today the 29th of June. I will let you all know if I had to pay out.

From: Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies 29 June 2019 11:43 AM

Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies
On the 18th of October 2017, I proved that Purplebricks converted only 48% of listings to completed sales, the full article is on my website estate-agency-insights-strategies for anyone who is interested. I was in contact with Anthony Codling at that time and sent him my analysis plus a comment that using PB was the same as same as flipping a coin, ie a 50% chance of losing your fee paid upfront. Anthony also did his own analysis based on tracing a sample of instructions and seeing what amount completed as recorded at Land registry. Despite requests from Purplebricks, they have never disclosed their conversion rate, but the failure of Emoov (1) last year does give some interesting insights into the online model. I also posted a comment some months ago that ... ' 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'. The big story is that instead of focusing on the financial sector and banking and PPI, maybe Trading standards Powys, should be looking at PBI - and looking to refund the 50% of clients who paid fees upfront in good faith and got a cake in the face. By my reckoning their are tens of millions of pounds paid by vendors in good faith that has been squandered on 20M plus a year media advertising on the brand alone, which should have been used to 'market' and successfully allow vendors to complete. This money should go back to all clients who received no sale. I think Chris Watkin is a top boy - and he injects debate into the property arena, what beguiles me is that the property bodies, and regulators sit on their hands whilst misery is being dealt out to vendor victims. I make my living out of analysing all aspects of the property world, but in a former role I personally oversaw the marketing of over 8,000 instructions, thousands of which I personally listed, and the conversion rate was always the same, list 10, sell 7 subject to contract, of which 2 fall through prior to exchange, 5 exchange - 50% conversion. In a very hot market, you might sell 8, but 28% are always going to fall through. So, if Mr Wainwright has any figures that he wants to show me, that contradicts the industry norm, please give me a call.

From: Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies 25 June 2019 11:25 AM

Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies
I am a great fan of Graham, and I find all that he writes gives both sides of the story, but I am a bit baffled regarding the figures quoted by Karl Rusk. Who I have no doubt is a very hardworking estate agent. The first point is that 'turnover' was £60,000 year one, £145,000 year two, £290,000 year three, and projected £400,000 year four. Was this Karl's personal turnover, ie, in year one did he turnover personally £60,000. Being 25% commission on the instructions he personally listed, with Purplebricks obtaining the other 75% of the fee or £180,000. Or does the £60,000 turnover year one represent, 61 instructions signed up at an average fee upfront of £975. From which Karl would have received 25% , or £15,000, but as he would have a guarantee over-ride of £2,000 a month he would have earned £24,000 as his turnover. Out of which he would have to run his car, pay his taxes and pay for his holiday and sickness cover etc. In year two if £145,000 turnover is the total fee earned, 25% to Karl, 75% to Purplebricks, at an average fee of £1,200 that would represent 121 instructions from customers paying upfront. So, Karl would have received £36,250 as his turnover before car costs and tax, given that all of these were his own instructions and not fractionalised instructions from LPE's working in his territory. In year three if £290,000 turnover is the total fee earned, 25% to Karl and 75% to Purplebricks, at an average fee of £1,300 that is 223 instructions from customers paying upfront. So, if all these 223 instructions were Karl's that would give a turnover figure to Karl of £72,500. But, if you work 48 weeks a year (as you take 4 weeks holiday) and you lose two weeks in December and two weeks in January as no one lists their home then, that leaves 10 months to list, so Karl is listing 22 instructions a month, which given that the industry conversion rate of MA's to instructions is 32%, means Karl went to 69 MA's a month. In year four if £400,000 was the predicted total fee earned, 25% to Karl and 75% to Purplebricks, at an average fee of £1,4000 that is 285 instructions from customers paying upfront. So, 100k turnover for Karl, but he was visiting 838 properties to generate his 100k. So 83 MA's a month. Having followed the rise and decline of many online agents, including Purplebricks, I do think at the heart of the business is the same muddled pattern when it comes to figures and profit and loss. Each unit that Purplebricks markets (and do not get me started on that) or lists costs Purplebricks the fee they receive upfront and an extra 12 to 18% more than the fee they charge, so although they have great cashflow, as no sale does not mean no fee, they can never make profit. And profit pays the bills, pays dividend's to the shareholders and keeps the share price buoyant. All I know is that from speaking to many ex-LPE's they annually turned over on average £24,000 to £28,000, out of which they had to pay for their own holidays and run a car, and they would go to around 100 MA's a year, not 838.

From: Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies 24 June 2019 23:15 PM

Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies
Truth hurts - hyperbole = are exaggerated statements, my statements are based on facts. So, statement one - market capitalisation was at its highest 1000m today it is 303M, statement two - share price today dipped to 96p at 11.48 am, its highest share value was 523p, statement three - all of the shares that the Bruce's held have been exchanged for money - so cashed in, statement four Michael Bruce has left the company as it has a new CEO, statement four on 3rd of June 2019 Woodford's investment vehicle was suspended for 28-days, and on 25th of June he is up to see the regulator to explain amongst other things his operations in Guernsey, and why he circumvented the usual financial norms risking heavily other peoples money, Statement five - closures - according to the FT PB ' in Australia, which last year the group predicted would be the first of its international markets to turn a profit, Purplebricks is leaving entirely. The US operations meanwhile face a strategic review and material cuts to investment in marketing and other overheads. The board will “more closely [consider] the opportunities and risks associated with a materially scaled back business” there. That leaves just the UK and Canada.' Statement six - Purplebricks complete on only 48% of the properties they list - this is perhaps the biggest statement of fact that everyone should get their head around, meaning that 52% of revenue is generated from clients who get nothing in return - not even a cake. Statement seven - well hopefully Truth Hurts you are getting the picture - the truth does hurt and that is why Purplebricks will soon have burnt through its cash mountain, with an annual 26M spend on brand awareness advertising alone - those cake adverts do not come cheaply.

From: Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies 20 June 2019 12:43 PM

Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies
I am amazed that purplebricks will be looking to put any money into an Olympic vanity project when its market capitalisation is down by over 60%, its share price is only 20% of what it was at its height, all the Bruce clan have divested themselves of their shares, Michael Bruce has exited the company, Neil woodford’s equity company has been suspended and he is up before the regulators later this month. Add to this the closure of most of the overseas operation of the company and the fact that despite taking millions in upfront fees from vendors who failed to get a sale the company has yet to make a penny profit or return a dividend. So, the Olympic tie up is being funded not from profits, but by the 50% of vendors who continue to pay upfront for a service ... the successful sale of their property, which they will never actually see. At some point trading standards will scrutinise the business model and realise this is not an equitable situation. Maybe if axel springer take the company private, and change the model, maybe actually employing the poor long suffering local property experts, and maybe adding some sales people to actually *sell’ the property that is listed then purplebricks might survive. If the share price goes below 96p the original opening price which seems likely, I think that the falling share price will underpin the recent d decline of this dot com business. Which may well go the route of tepilo, emoov, (version-one) hatched, etc, all of whom ceased trading less than 12 months ago, and did nothing but burned cash and lined the pockets of the advertising and marketing industry, and created losses for many unlucky shareholders, and created hardship for those who were not paid salaries when some companies closed overnight, unlike the orderly exit of hatched, which had an enlightened management team who decided to cut their losses and focus on traditional agency, which they do so well.

From: Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies 20 June 2019 06:49 AM

Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies

From: Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies 19 June 2019 16:03 PM

Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies
Pricing and price falls is often a minefield of mis-information, are asking prices falling or selling prices falling? My own take on where prices are in the south east, is they will sell for about the value they did in mid 2017. At the point the government manipulated the stamp duty bands once again, which saw a spike in transactions and sales prices achieved, and brexit had yet to take a hold. Based on this I recently took advice from an excellent local agent derrick bell, from giggs and bell in Luton who dealt with the probate sale of a family member, and instead of listing at 2019 asking prices, we listed just above 2017 selling prices, the result a sale agreed in 12 days from being listed on the major portals. Yes, the final selling price was lower than the listing price, but a sale was agreed. The point is - statistics, and I spend my life as an property analyst, can be used to prove most things, and zoopla supporting a softening of prices is a general truth, but in a brexit housing market, which itself is based upon a market that has been rising since 2013, it is not unlikely that a boom bust price adjustment is likely, as house inflation tends to go in 8 to 10 year cycles. And I like many have sold in the 1988 broken market onwards, know that what goes up will come down ... a bit but over two decades property usually increases by two and bit times it’s original value, which even allowing for inflation is the best financial return out there, and a better return than renting.

From: Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies 18 June 2019 07:50 AM

Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies

From: Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies 14 June 2019 07:41 AM

Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies
First a wave of IT personnel redundancies, then branch closures, now sales progression personnel, very soon even the top executives in their ivory tower will feel the reality that making multi million pound losses is a really stupid idea and decide to exit or be helped on their way. If you look at the composition of the board and their lack of industry knowledge, or the sound bites that have been coming out since the departure of Platt from supposedly experienced directors - it is clear that this slow motion car crash could have been minimised 6-months ago. A one off - closure of non-profit making offices (a big list) the sale of some of the assets (a smaller list) a one off programme of redundancies - with perhaps franchises being offered to the brave who could make marginal offices profitable if not constrained by ingrained and out dated practices. Countrywide - the clue is in the name - maybe it should be less of huge flabby loss making empire sprawling across the country - and cut itself down to size - and become a lean keen selling machine. Another major problem it has, is that CW t is top heavy with many middle aged and older personnel - I am not being ageist I am 56, but young blood often helps, because in 10 years - the usual cycle of a successful business these people become the mature advocates whose core values carry companies into profitable times. In the mid 1980's when agency exploded in the UK with banks and building societies buying up small independent agents to sell their financial wares, lots of 20 something estate agents joined the industry, and their work, motivation etc powered the movement. Many of these people are now in high places, but estate agency has changed and CW is a classic example of a business being run as though we were back 35 years ago.

From: Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies 12 June 2019 11:25 AM

Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies
Axel Springer - that is the interesting factor - they paid for shares a year ago at three times the level they are now able to buy shares at - so on the one hand - a great time to gain control of the business - but on the flip side - having a controlling interest of a business that does not make profit - is that a logical step? Well done to the Bruce's - Purplebricks has been Goldenbricks for them, and even Mr Woodford is ahead of the game (in terms of getting money out of Purplebricks), though it is questionable that his daytime job - running an investment portfolio of only a limited amount of companies - which has dropped by over 60% in value in recent times - will be scoring points with those investors who invested with him). Purplebricks if it survives in its present form might limp along hoovering up those vendors who want to play Russian roulette with an upfront model, which pays off 50% of the time, if the property listed is 260k in value or less - but a pure online agency - is not going to be the system of the future for a 'contact sport' like estate agency - the human factor is still an extremely important part of the mix. Countrywide - less than 4p a share - when it was over 530p a share in the last 5 years, this leviathan is already dead, it may make it to September - but I think a fire sale of any assets will come well before this, together with a mass of closures. A real shame - but out of this will come the new wave of agency - many capable survivors will set up and provide excellent service and be rewarded with financial rewards many times greater than they now earn, as they will follow their own path, utilising the skills they have and the training that corporate agency gave them.

From: Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies 10 June 2019 20:17 PM

Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies
With a media frenzy around Neil Woodford - apparently even Radio 2 Jeremy Vine is commenting on NW's fall from grace - the only question is - will a new investor jump in? Will Axel Springer buy more shares, or will the 'online disruptor' become another dot com dream and be allowed to rest in peace. As stated previously with a traditional agent, 160K of seed capital utilised to start and fund a cold start estate agency branch will in 36 months be paid back in full plus a profit of 5%, in 48 months profit will be 20% plus. Given the tens of millions that 'online disruptors' have squandered, with 5 large online concerns closing or failing in less than a year, I could have used all the lost money and have built a traditional 1,000 branch agency in the UK, and would actually be paying a dividend to shareholders. Until people realise that tech is moving forward in every industry, and just to say we have an online model that is better than a traditional model - does not cut the mustard, especially when online estate agency is actually more expensive to run than traditional estate agency. After nearly 5 years, PB has never made a profit, still charges all vendors an upfront fee, and still only completes on 50% of the properties it lists, and the need for more funds to prop it up as it burns through millions on advertising to keep the brand name alive is one of the reasons that it has failed. If the public thought PB was a good thing - it would not need to rely on running adverts telling everyone how brilliant it is because it does not charge commission.

From: Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies 06 June 2019 07:23 AM

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

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

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

Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies

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

Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies

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

Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies

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

Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Andrew Stanton Estate Agency Insights Strategies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Zero Deposit Zero Deposit Zero Deposit