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Written by rosalind renshaw

A new ‘women-centric’ estate agency proposition launched yesterday in Essex.

Alexandra Rose Estates has female franchisees operating as virtual agents in Brentwood, Chelmsford, Havering & Thurrock, and the North Essex area.

The head office is in Colchester and there are plans to open a high street office this autumn.

The aim is to take the concept nationwide and possible franchisees are being told that estate agent experience is not necessary as full training and support will be given.

The plan is to attract businesswomen looking to make a positive impression on the UK property market and facilitate their entry into the industry, said a spokeswoman for the firm. Each franchisee will pay from just under £10,000.

The (male) managing director, Christopher Walkey, a freelance estate agency marketing trainer and property video producer, said: “Alexandra Rose is launching to capitalise on the gap in the market for women-centric estate agency services which offers both buyers and sellers a unique new concept within the industry.  

“Research shows that women want to enjoy the highest standards of customer care together with the best marketing tools available including video tours, professional photography and home-staging by qualified interior designers.

“Alexandra Rose is generating significant interest within high-end residential property and we are confident that our unique concept will enable us to breathe new life into the industry on a nationwide basis.”


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    Aaaaaaand 16 months later the website is now just a page saying "we will be launching soon". Oops!

    Something tells me Christopher Walkey and his partner Sean Sidney got the better of the deal compared to the "5 successful, professional women, from different career paths [...] with an underlying common transferable skill - the right Mindset."

    Good thing the husbands of those 5 successful women had £10k and more to burn. I imagine Messers Walkey and Sidney are certainly grateful for their £50k windfall.

    • 03 November 2012 20:12 PM
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    Barely seven months later - home page still active, property search disabled.

    That fairly took the EA world by storm, didn't it?

    • 25 January 2012 13:10 PM
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    How sexist is this! Women only!!! Are you going to offer a "men's" only opportunity? If not, you're being sexist and discriminatory!! Shame on you!!

    • 16 January 2012 23:20 PM
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    Funny that - they have a strange attraction to us men as well, Country Lass... ;o)

    • 22 June 2011 10:08 AM
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    @ Anna Key

    You said it sister!

    That being said, I do like the 'women only' sections in some gyms.....

    • 21 June 2011 14:49 PM
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    I thought I wouldn't comment on this as I had nothing nice to say and if nothing else, I had a good upbringing.

    But now I just want to say, I HATE women only things with a vengeance. As a woman I have busted a gut since the early 70s to be taken seriously, i have fought tooth and nail for equality whilst not sacrificing my natural charm and grace (or sense of humour).

    This pathetic women only hype just gets folks' backs up, GRRRRRRRRR!

    • 21 June 2011 14:16 PM
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    Anybody who pays £10,000 for a franchise which has absolutely no prescence, anywhere, and has no past experience in Estate Agency, what so ever, deserves what they get.

    Is Angela a creation of two face stuck together??

    • 21 June 2011 12:38 PM
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    So - the article states "The (male) managing director, Christopher Walkey, a freelance estate agency marketing trainer and property video producer"

    That would be the SAME "Christopher Walkey (Property Marketing Expert)" as proclaimed on Facebook...

    Please, people - anyone who has benefitted from "training" by Mr Walkey; or come across his "expertise" in their line of work - give us the low-down as I have never heard of him and certainly can't find anything of note online to warrant any of these statements...

    Brian Brian (so good they named you twice? ;o) ): OUCH - that's below the belt, Sir. NEVER, EVER accuse a woman of a hair incident. She'll come out fighting...

    However, having gone to the website (curiosity killing this particular feline...), my earlier comments to 'Deb' now seem totally justified. Approximately 550lbs weight of women - NOT ONE OUNCE of meaningful relevant experience!

    Not sure if I'm reading the site correctly - but are these ladies doing this as second jobs? Much being said about what appear to be their existing careers - nothing about why they now choose Agency over past life...

    So - you want to exploit a niche market, Alexandra Rose Estates. However, you have neither the reputation nor the guns to shoot out the competition.

    Your 'join us' brochure takes an absolute age to download (and don't kid me that this is due to high traffic!)

    And as for your social media offering - ouch!

    "‎'Top Tips on How to Sell Your House' No 159 - Make some fresh coffee or bake bread, the smells help create a warm, welcoming feeling." VERY 80's...

    How about Top Tip No 1 - Choose an Estate Agent who knows what they are doing!

    Oh - yer board's awful as well, by the way. Need binoculars to read the LARGE print.

    • 20 June 2011 16:04 PM
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    It vwill never work, none of them will want to leave the office first to do a viewing as the others will talk about them.

    • 20 June 2011 15:45 PM
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    Just looked at the site - nice although I feel I need to point out that poor old Angela may have experienced a little 'slippage' of wigage on the photo shoot - may put of potential customers !


    • 20 June 2011 14:48 PM
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    This new business release has certainly caused a stir!

    I don't think these women are offering estate agency to men only, it would appear they will offer their estate agency services as per every other estate agency, otherwise they would be challenged legally?

    Some franchise estate agencies are very successful and failure rates would compare similar to going it alone? Though it is important to make sure that your franchise and the franchisors are fully behind making the business (and ladies) a success with backing, support and knowledge.

    Agree that training is at the very least the most important part of any business, hopefully these ladies haven't been left to fend for themselves?

    Women no doubt can do just as good a job as men, though these ladies aren't attacking men in anyway by offering their services to the consumer, like every other business trading, they believe they offer a great service?

    Luck plays an important part in any business yes, but how do you become good at any business without starting somewhere and gaining experience - Are we saying we need to leave UK estate agency to those that currently work in it full stop, unless you take a degree in estate agency which I believe does not exist and certainly not required to allow you to become an estate agent?

    Lots more to say, but must get on with my own work!

    • 20 June 2011 13:54 PM
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    Does "Deb" exist

    or was her post written by one of the charlie's behind this.

    If as a chap I was to apply and be turned down I would sue.

    Be afraid, be very afraid

    • 20 June 2011 13:35 PM
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    I've purposefully kept out of this one so far, however now I rish the wrath of at least one poster.

    Deb: Before you spit fire - I am NOT an Estate Agent, so I neither fear your entry into the field; nor do I begrudge you success if it comes to you.

    HOWEVER... This is what I read:

    * Five paragraphs of carefully worded sales hype
    * More buzz-phrases than you could shake a stick at
    * A bit of 'Girl Power' thrown in for good measure, and


    Sorry - but your collective "transferrable skills"; "mindsets"; "CDA's" - and even your previous successes in business mean NOTHING in the world of selling houses. It has been tried before on innumerable occasions and never works.

    I sincerely wish you good luck - but I really don't think you comprehend how much of it you are going to need...

    Estate Agency is certainly NOT a man's world - BUT IT IS AN ESTATE AGENTS'!

    • 20 June 2011 10:46 AM
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    You clearly believe in this concept, good luck.

    However... Proceed with caution here - You're on dicey ground alienating yourself from the men.

    One has to hope that at this stage you didn't part with a full £10K (Obviously being its not yet established or proven). I'd seriously look to challenge these guys on what you are getting for your money. You now have a Franchise for a business that is not established and is questionable - the comments below say it all really albeit a little bit cynically.

    I'm just not sure why you'd need a franchise and what these guys are going to give you for your money. Do they really have all the experience and expertise necessary for support estate agency franchisees? Reading into it, its doubtful.

    it's probably much more efficient for you and your partners to pool you resources and be totally independent.

    Good Luck!

    • 20 June 2011 10:01 AM
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    The query is why are the two "owners" of the franchise male and what exactly do they do in return for a 10k buy in and percentage of all profits .... Also who have they tried to step on to get to this stage .... Just saying....sounds quite patronising. Pretty little women pay us 10k, do the hard work while we sit pressing refresh on our website...

    • 19 June 2011 07:28 AM
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    We better leave it now mate, I can see where its going and we don’t want to start up setting all the Chicks now do we?


    • 18 June 2011 18:12 PM
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    A couple of questions.
    Is there a uniform?
    Can I help to design it?

    • 18 June 2011 10:06 AM
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    Well done Deb, I wish you well.

    Having set up 4 brand new, cold start agency offices during my career, albeit High Street venues and I must admit, 2 of them corporate, I just know the slog and money drain you are about to embark on.

    If only the public would flock to your door from day 1, It will astonish you that they prefer the old established no matter what you say, no matter how you present yourself, no matter what discount you offer, no matter how much you advertise. It will confound you, test your resolve and confuse you. You must not get downhearted, keep going. As you look at your bank balance dwindle as you pay Rightmove, Zoopla, the printer, the local newspaper, et-al for the 6th month running and that first sale you agreed 6 months ago falls apart just as you thought it would exchange, really, dont despair, keep going.

    There is room for you.

    I will be watching, and I wish you well.
    You sound very much like a determined female TV presenter who struck out to do something 'different', unfortunately we hear no more of that concept either.

    It is about time someone like yourself and your colleagues had some success. I just hope you don't tip a fortune down the pan chasing a dream while you line the pockets of a 'Franchisor'.

    If you talk to any franchise experts they will tell you in no uncertain terms that you should only part with your money to buy a franchise if it is a tried, trusted, tested and proven brand. Anything else is simply handing over cash to someone who has had a good idea but not the financial whearwithal to carry it through, they want you to finance their idea and skim the profit if it works or bid you farewell if it fails, taking your money with them.

    Aside, any good agent can be male or female, build a reputation in their location and grow a good business, no matter what the brand, ours is a 'people' business. Bad agents fail, no matter what brand. You must, must, must know the business inside andout to be a winner.

    I do wish you well, come back next year and report.

    • 18 June 2011 09:45 AM
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    Why all the negativity...

    I am one of the ladies that has embraced the new Alexandra Rose concept. What attracted me to the Franchise, was the strong ethos and ideals that are core to their business model.
    They are not just words, they look to empower the women that work for them, ensuring they have the right skills and back up to represent them.

    This has brought 5 successful, professional women, from different career paths together, with an underlying common transferable skill - the right Mindset.

    As individual franchises we will look to transform our local markets and together as a team create a recognised brand that is synonymous with trust, openness, and exemplary customer service.

    After reading some of the comments I am even more convinced that we have something that appears to be lacking in the industry, the want to make a change, and and a can do attitude!

    Be sceptical if that makes you feel good...but watch this space this concept is real and will be a bench mark for others to aspire to...men and women!

    • 18 June 2011 08:18 AM
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    @Tim M

    Very good / quick

    I shall tell all hot, flat hunting 30 and upwards women that come to Jonnie & Co they are classed as MILFs.........

    I'm sure they won't mind, in fact what about an EA just for MILFs.............can't believe it took me all day to think of it!


    • 17 June 2011 22:32 PM
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    Jonnie . . . . .everyone knows, a (M)ummy ( I)'d ( L)ike to sell my (F)lat.

    Well ... I recon.

    • 17 June 2011 22:02 PM
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    @Tim M

    What's a MILF, go on, tell us


    • 17 June 2011 21:50 PM
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    Not a fan of the £10k thing . . . . but you cann't expect them to give it away.

    At least they do have a (I'm guessing 2 - video / prof presentation & female thing) u s p . Their new (recruiting) website is slick, it puts many Ea's websites to shame.

    As a salesperson I do like actually having something different / better / more to offer.

    No, I don't work for them, and no, I'm not a Milf.

    • 17 June 2011 21:29 PM
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    @ Country Lass

    I am with you on this! ;>)

    • 17 June 2011 17:10 PM
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    Who remembers 'MOUSESALE.CO.UK' launching their home based agency via this medium? Was it 2 years ago? or perhaps more? I cant remember.

    I just looked them up.

    Total listings.... 135 Nationwide.... Wow !

    Total world beaters.
    Yes, obviously the way things are going to go.

    There is a place for all, I will keep watching

    • 17 June 2011 17:09 PM
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    @ rantandrave

    I agree that estate agency express looks a little cheap, and I wouldnt want to be one of their franchisees walking about in a £50 suit with a £20 camera from argos but hang on.....They have 1690 listings! Now I'm pretty sure thats probably double what it was last year, and that was double the year before. Now I dont mind you High St boys putting your fingers in your ears and pretending online agency is a joke but the reality is that the internet is changing the face of estate agency and if you draw a graph on market share anyone with more than 1 brain cell can see that within 10 years from now these online companies will most likely gobble up the High Street. Its survival of the fittest. Grey Squirrel vs Red Squirrel.........sorry to get serious last thing on a friday!

    • 17 June 2011 16:45 PM
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    I really really would love to work in an office full of women, when i get out of jail i will be sure to apply

    • 17 June 2011 16:44 PM
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    FTB Dan has a point.

    Why is it that you cannot promote yourself if you are male, middle class, married, white with children, work hard and provide a good service?

    Strangely like most of the Agents I know. (There are also a few very notable exceptions who all feel the same way who do not belong to this group)

    How about an award for that.

    • 17 June 2011 16:42 PM
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    What a load of rubbish £10k for what? You may as well set up on your own and do it. I think its rather sexist anyway not to have a men in a business. What ever next a McDonalds with female employees only. A really silly idea.

    • 17 June 2011 16:32 PM
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    If it was that good an idea, Harry Hill would already have done it and made a few million ! wouldn't he?

    How about a new franchise idea, home based of course, called 'Blaggit & Scarper' ?

    Surely that has legs ? £9,995.. thats £5 cheaper.

    Anyone want to be my partner? cost to you, £2.5M (it was my idea after all).

    I am watching this one, sides hurting.

    • 17 June 2011 16:01 PM
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    Thinking about it, I wouldn't actually WANT to work in a women only office. Mainly because I find it tends to have a bit of a bitchy atmosphere with out a bit of testosterone to even it out, buy also can you IMAGINE 'that' week?!? My Gods there would be less risk of an explosion if you went pogo-ing in a minefield!

    Plus it cheers the day up to have a few attractive men around! ;-)

    • 17 June 2011 15:24 PM
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    Indeed Jonnie. I find this lot to be at the front of this:

    Agreed though, lets not get everyone fired-up again...

    • 17 June 2011 14:41 PM
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    Really? That astonishing, I had no idea there was such an awards night coming up.

    Words fail me


    Now, I don’t want this thread to loose is humour today but your new concept is already happening all over the show and started happening around the middle of November 2007, as I say I don’t want everyone getting all punchy, not on a Friday anyway but a lot of us are onto this magical idea and are making a good living and there’s no franchise fee, you don’t have to be female, you just need to be good.


    • 17 June 2011 14:31 PM
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    Sheilas Deals.........brilliant James.....!

    • 17 June 2011 14:09 PM
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    What happens if an employee wants a trans-gender operation and becomes a chap?

    Will they be fired?

    • 17 June 2011 13:09 PM
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    A women only estate agency liked the 'female touch' and wanted to send flowers to a purchaser on the day they moved into their new home.

    On the day of completion the flowers arrived at the home and the new owner read the card; it said "Rest in Peace".

    The new owner was angry and called the estate agency to complain.

    After he had told the agent of the obvious mistake and how angry he was, the agent said. "Sir, I'm really sorry for the mistake, but rather than getting angry you should imagine this: somewhere there is a funeral taking place today, and they have flowers with a note saying, "Congratulations on your new home".

    Boom, boom...

    • 17 June 2011 13:00 PM
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    @ Ajax

    "Jonnie asks:
    What next, a property awards dedicated just to women?
    You couldn't make it up:

    The Property Awards for Women 2011 celebrates the invaluable contribution women make to the property industry."

    .....I think that might have been a little joke, Ajax?.....(FFS)

    • 17 June 2011 12:43 PM
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    My Australian wife is opening a rival to my property company called Sheila's Deals

    All of her very cute staff will drive around in open top pink coupes, wear low cut tops, and insist that it is the man of the house who is there for the free val

    I think it might top this lot

    • 17 June 2011 12:37 PM
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    Or how about an EA for vendors who price their properties to acheive a quick sale... Oh, hang on, turns out there are increasing numbers of those about.

    • 17 June 2011 12:25 PM
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    Further to my earlier post...I forgot to mention that I also give a free Snickers bar to all my Vendors...

    • 17 June 2011 12:21 PM
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    My agency deals exclusively with women only clients. Don't mind if they're married, so long as hubby's up in the city. Great fun. Ding dong.

    • 17 June 2011 12:19 PM
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    A 'women only' policy is not a USP, it's just a coincidence otherwise it's illegal, still this article allows me to share a cool quote:
    Because I am a woman, I must make unusual efforts to succeed. If I fail, no one will say, "She doesn't have what it takes." They will say, "Women don't have what it takes."

    • 17 June 2011 11:26 AM
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    I was going to blog on this but you lot have come out with stuff that has had me crying with laughter and done a far better job than I could do.... Brilliant!

    • 17 June 2011 11:19 AM
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    Jonnie, absolutely love the HPC agency idea. Here is another wacky idea, how about an agency that enabled the greed fantasies of vendors by marketing their properties at 2007 levels plus about twenty grand. They could use lines like “you can’t go wrong with property” and “property always goes up”. Of course such an agency would be lucky to sell 1 property a month and would be under constant threat of closure.... but....... oh wait..............that isn’t funny at all.

    Still they could always blame it on a lack of mortgage lending if they got closed down.

    • 17 June 2011 11:06 AM
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    Very interesting ..... watch this space!

    • 17 June 2011 10:43 AM
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    Jonnie asks:
    What next, a property awards dedicated just to women?
    You couldn't make it up:

    The Property Awards for Women 2011 celebrates the invaluable contribution women make to the property industry.

    Over the next few months nominations will be accepted from all corners of the property world from buying to selling, letting to new build and from finance to customer service.

    Our panel of judges will bring together their many years of experience, wealth of knowledge and eye for excellence to choose the winners from each of the categories.

    The award ceremony will be presented by Karren Brady at The Innovative Property Show on Thursday 3rd November 2011. The venue is the iconic Wembley Stadium, please visit the Innovative Property Show's website for further venue details; www.innovativepropertyshow.co.uk

    • 17 June 2011 10:39 AM
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    Excellent posts......smiling on them all.....

    Love the idea of HPC agency 1/2 price properties, very very funny.

    Pure class.

    • 17 June 2011 10:31 AM
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    I do admire the arbitrary unfairness of the articles idea and of the suggestions that have followed in the comments. Perhaps this principle of arbitrary unfairness could be extended to property auctions.

    i.e. you think you have won the bidding on a lovely £300,000 cottage in the New Forest and after the money has come out your account you get handed the keys to 400sqm of industrial lockup space on Glasgows docks.

    • 17 June 2011 10:30 AM
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    Well its nice not to have been the one to have posted the silliest / most sarky comments for once…….am I getting sensible in my old age?

    Anyway, its Friday and as some have kicked off with it lets have suggestions for niche estate agencies, I like the Wigan one and the Brighton one.

    Im opening an HPC only one – everything will be half price. I think im onto something here……………….off to get my banner ad on HPC sorted


    • 17 June 2011 10:13 AM
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    By the way - I am not denying that the equal rights etc have been made a mockery of. I am saying the idea (if it actually could go live) would work (not the franchise though!).

    • 17 June 2011 10:02 AM
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    BA. It will never catch on, fool ;-)

    • 17 June 2011 10:02 AM
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    In 'my' experience, female agents are much more helpful, approachable and generally give a much better service. Don't get me wrong, there are some excellent male agents too, but I have NEVER encountered an arrogant, dis-honest or slack female agent...I have seen countless males that make up the above, who think they are God's gift and have the completely wrong attitude and approach. I am not saying this is the norm across the country, but it is definitely the case in my neck of the woods.

    Now, like Jonnie says it is essentially 'just another' franchise and £10k is a bit steep, especially if the poster who said there is no website is correct.

    But, if this theory was implied in an office location in my local area, it would certainly have legs and hold it's own, getting a good slice of the pie.

    • 17 June 2011 10:01 AM
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    Dear Court of Human Rights..........

    • 17 June 2011 09:58 AM
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    Jonnie, not sure why you thought you'd get in trouble for that? It's the truth!

    FTB Dan, what's that 'don't pitch to the bitch' thing? Must have missed that! ;-)

    It is a tad sexist that it's for women only, and to be honest I don't think its a USP I would have any interest in. So for that reason, I'm out.

    • 17 June 2011 09:57 AM
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    A spoof story...barking mad...a breach of equal opportunities...or a spin to promote the video tours business...or just plain silly...I can't decide which!

    I own and run a traditional estate agency that offers good old fashioned service together with modern technology...how about that for a proper concept?!

    • 17 June 2011 09:56 AM
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    Anyone who tried a men only franchise would be hounded from dawn to dusk 24/7. Marvellous discussion platform Rosalind.

    • 17 June 2011 09:54 AM
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    I have a Wigan only estate agency. We only tend to deal with Wiganers, which means I have a unique concept.

    Can I have an article, too?

    • 17 June 2011 09:45 AM
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    my website focuses on the midget/dwarf marketplace. All of my properties are like the set from 'Lord Of The Rings', I myself stand at 3ft 4in so feel that I can do these clients justice by being able to look them in the eye when giving advice. There is a tiny gap in the market for orphaned midgets which Im hoping to capitlalise on soon.

    • 17 June 2011 09:39 AM
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    This company doesn't appear to have a website, yet, if we are to be believed has managed to attract for female franchisees (Essex girls)......there is a joke in there somewhere.

    • 17 June 2011 09:33 AM
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    My agency is located in Brighton - We only deal with homosexuals and lesbians, but its a huge market.

    • 17 June 2011 09:31 AM
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    I am launching an estate agent franchise. It is called Humongous Homes. We buy and sell houses on behalf of the super-obese. Our target client is those who are too fat to for their property or those who have lost weight and no longer need extra wide doors or removable windows. All viewings come with a free supply of donuts. Some people say the concept is offensive. I say i have just segmented the market.

    Though just because you can segment a market, does not make it a good idea.

    Does anyone else have ideas on how to segment the market?

    • 17 June 2011 09:16 AM
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    So how can this concept possibly work?

    They can not only hire women, or accept women only franchisee, they would fall fowl of equalities legislation and be sued in a pretty open shut case by the first male to apply, and that wanted a fat settlement.

    They can hardly accept only female vendors; any vaguely sane EA wants lots of instructions, not some arbitrary barrier to the majority of instructions that will be male or male/female.

    And who is going to put their house on the market with an EA that accepts female only buyers.

    So apart from a weak attempt to gain a little publicity, I fail to see how this concept can last contact with the real world. The only thing I can possibly think of is they leave out the line ‘don’t pitch to the bitch’ when training the new recruits.

    • 17 June 2011 09:16 AM
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    Im going to (possibly) get in trouble here,

    Right, let’s put aside the issue of franchised areas on this personal agent / no office thing – that matter got a good old airing on the Century 21 article the other day, I think we should also turn a blind eye to the fact that this whiffs of a PR / press release jobby that should be classed as an advert……..and to the point;

    Girls are really good in EA, it’s a fact. And one that passes a lot of people buy, especially the pillocks that come on here getting all puffed up about the stereo type spivvy sharp suit, spikey hair type. In some areas the staff mix is very much weighed towards females and at all levels and for year’s lettings has been dominated by women in many areas.

    So there we are – an industry full of decent women has now got a special place for them to work……………not that they need it mind. So this fact appears to make this news look like a slightly conceited effort to drape a USP over what is essentially another dull franchise idea

    ………… what next – a property awards dedicated just to women? Madness.


    • 17 June 2011 09:05 AM
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    Oh what cheeky fun!

    Perhaps someone would like to launch a ‘Whites Only’ estate agency too.

    • 17 June 2011 09:04 AM
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    Mmmm equal rights springs to mind in these days of equality

    • 17 June 2011 07:17 AM
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