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By Graham Norwood

Editor, EAT, LAT & LLT

Graham Awards


Over And Out - An Editor Departs…

For the record, this isn’t my last Industry Views for Estate Agent Today, although by the time you read this I'll be handing over to my successor as editor of EAT.

I’m still doing fortnightly Industry Views columns and one or two things elsewhere in the Angels Media stable, but after more than eight years it’s time to take things a little easier.

You’ll be in safe hands - so safe, in fact, that my fear is the new editor, Marc Shoffman, will take EAT to greater things than I managed. Marc is an excellent journalist on a range of subjects, and a specialist in property: he used to freelance for Property Industry Eye, back in the day when it had a larger readership than EAT. (See what I did there?)


I can only hope that Marc has as much fun and fascination as I have enjoyed.

It’s invidious to pick out ‘best stories’ but, honestly, what a rollercoaster ride it’s been. At the risk of displaying the ‘old bore’ characteristics that I’ve always disliked in others, the trade news since 2014 has been amazing. They don’t make stories like these any more…

My first months were at the peak of the cloak-and-dagger creation of OnTheMarket.

It’s hard to believe now, under the collegiate stewardship of Jason Tebb, how hostile the period was when OTM was born. The ‘one other portal’ rule, mocked even by some of OTM’s creators behind the back of the then-CEO, was in retrospect the root of much of the animosity that ran throughout the agency industry at the time.

The shock sale of Zoopla four years later, when OnTheMarket was at its lowest, was perhaps the other big portal story of my period as editor - certainly more important, on reflection, than the ultimately unsuccessful campaigns against Rightmove.

The acquisition of ZPG by an American investment firm has long-lasting significance because it was an early soiree of large-scale private equity into the British agency industry - it paved the way for what’s happening now with, for example, the Lomond Group.

And then of course there was Countrywide.

Three chief executives came and went, possibly suffering from decompression sickness given the velocity with which the firm’s share value plummeted. The company tried moving online, then Back To Basics and was eventually sold for a fraction of its earlier value. What a waste, of money and talent and time.

Throughout its final years there was an unprecedented number of past and current employees contacting EAT on an almost daily basis seeking to expose the latest management incompetence.

And how could I talk about the past eight years without mention of Purplebricks? To paraphrase the late musician John Miles, Purplebricks was my first story and I’m sure it will be my last.

If ever there was a lull in proceedings from 2014 to the present, you could count on Purplebricks to liven things up. It was the Will Smith of its day, grabbing headlines although it always inflicted punishment on itself, rather than others.

Even the most recent past chief executive Vic Garvey (who if you don’t read this until late April is possibly the most recent past chief executive except for the other two more recent ones) described the agency as “the story that keeps on giving to journalists.”

That was after I spoke with him about the lettings division crisis…or was it the class action by former local property experts… or perhaps the huge churn amongst senior manage-ment...or maybe it was squaring the tremendous success of a reshaped business strategy with a falling market share. One of those things, anyway…

Bizarrely the Covid-19 pandemic was an amazing and ongoing story, too, slightly scary as it was in its earliest period when we worried not just for our industry and jobs, but for ourselves and our loved ones.

I’m not sure if this is how I want to be remembered as editor of Estate Agent Today but the highest readership figures were around the time when the market was closed and in a parlous state as uncertainty gripped the industry.

I like to think this surge in interest was because people looked to EAT for information, delivered calmly and at speed as the crisis unfolded in early 2020. The less charitable interpretation, of course, was that was when agents were twiddling their thumbs at home and hadn’t yet discovered how to make banana bread or got hooked on Ozark.

So after all that it’s with more than a little sadness that I depart as editor of Estate Agent Today, although as I am continuing with Letting Agent and Landlord Today I am delighted to continue working with the terrific team at Angels Media.

They really have been the most enthusiastic, supportive and fun group of people I have had the pleasure of working with during what I laughingly call my career as a freelance journalist. And, although I have never told them, they have also been by far the most prompt payers (take note Murdoch’s News Corp, which remains very much the slowest).

A final thank you must go to you, dear reader - there are more of you now than back in 2014, but I hope you will remain edgy, informed, and quick to correct.

You deserve the very best in a trade publication, and I know you will get that from my suc-cessor and the Angels Media team. Until the next time…

*Graham Norwood's last round of EAT stories will appear on Monday, after which Marc Shoffman will take over as editor. Graham will continue as the editor of Letting Agent Today and Landlord Today and can be found tweeting about all things property at @PropertyJourn

  • Nat Daniels

    On behalf of myself and all the Angels, we salute you sir. We’ve had some fun times, ‘working’ lunches and uncoverings (is that a word?) together of some major scoops.
    A legend, on his own keyboard.

    Big G has left the building… well, not quite!

  • Craig Vile

    I will miss reading your awesome articles while eating my Weetabix in the morning Graham!
    You have been a rock in the industry, and I wish you all the best, my friend.

  • Simon Brown ESTAS

    You will be a hard act to follow Graham. Your journalistic style has the paved the way in the property press over the last 8 years. Thank you for your insights and industry breaking stories. So glad you will still be doing the fortnightly column.

  • Stephanie Rady

    You'll be sorely missed on Estate Agent Today, Graham. Wishing the new editor all the best - big shoes to fill!

  • icon

    Glad to hear we will still be hearing from you Graham, you are a strong pillar in the property news community. Thanks for all the well informed articles and breaking news you've brought to us over the years, always well researched and measured in opinion. Big shoes to fill indeed for your successor.

  • icon

    We will miss you on EAT Graham, you've been a fantastic Editor of the title and its always such a great read!
    Good luck to Marc Shoffman taking over!


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