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A company claiming to be the UK’s first not-for-profit agency has been set up in Cornwall.

Run by a committee, it will charge a flat fee of £399 (no VAT) to list the property, with all profits going to local charities and other good causes. It pledges that ‘not one penny’ will go to its shareholders.

The package includes internet advertising – it mentions Zoopla but not Rightmove – and local newspaper advertising, charged at cost. It also includes boards, professional photography and property details,

imove Cornwall, based in Wadebridge and Truro, and was the brainchild of Mark Green, its chairman, who describes himself as an experienced estate agent.

He said: “We list the property in the usual way – professional photographs, floor plans, provide a ‘for sale’ sign etc – then their property is listed on property portal websites.

“Vendors from there take control of the selling process, showing buyers their home and negotiating a sale. We provide constant support for each customer to guide them through the process.”

The online agency covers the whole of Cornwall and says it has been set up as a community-led social enterprise.

Its constitution promises to offer customers a platform similar to traditional estate agency services, but at low cost, and with all profits donated to local charities. The agency promises to tell customers in advance which charities and other good causes will benefit.

The constitution says that vendors who instruct the agency to sell their property anywhere within Cornwall will become non-voting members. A management committee will have the power to veto members.

The committee, which also has powers to fund-raise, will be elected annually at AGMs and meet at least four times a year. One-third of the committee will enable the business of the agent to be carried out.

According to the constitution, 50% of profits after tax will be given to registered charities and 50% to non-charitable good causes in Cornwall.

The agency is gathering local sponsors, which are contributing services or goods, in return for which they are recommended on the website.

www.imovecornwall.org

 

EDITOR's note: We apologise that this story was removed in error for a short period today. Unfortunately, the removal took with it the read statistics and all the earlier comments.

Comments

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    This is not a new idea, it does not work, its a 'home based' agency with 'cheap fees'. Tell us if it is in business in a years time. Im watching.

    Simon, make sure it is PMA Act compliant, EA Act compliant and ML Act compliant. I recommend Hong Kong Solicitor: Sosuemee & Co. if you get it wrong.



    Vendors want top service, top price for their property and great advertising. They also want stress free progression, help booking in surveys, help with reduced offers at point of exchange, help with negative surveys, help with under valuations by banks, help on moving day with keys and more. Buyers require and seek after sale service with stop cocks, gas, electric, missing keys, redirected mail, etc. etc. Not a lot fir your £399.

    When you get fed up you wont provide the service required. Referrals are the life blood of any good agency. For this we do a good job for good pay.

    If you are legitimate about charity status I wonder if you would mind publishing your break even cost? I imagine about a minimum £150,000 pa to be in business, which means you will need in excess of 30 sales a month, currently it would follow you then need over 100 instructions per month to achieve these sales.

    In my view, it is not a business. As I said.. watching you.

    • 31 May 2011 13:52 PM
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    nothing new this - I've been running a non profit estate agency for the last 3 years, not intentionally though

    • 31 May 2011 11:57 AM
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    This is not a new idea at all. I seem to remember a charitable organisation called Share & Care in Bournemouth operating with charitable status being registered with the Charities Commission and having Rightmove membership. Can't find any trace of them now so obviously the idea didn't take off. It is far too easy to register any charity in the UK. The service is not all charity as obviously the key staff members will demand a salary. The charitable status gives many benefits ie payment of low busines rates and tax. Long live the established High Street Charity shops! I cant afford to buy my clothes anywhere else. As for buying and selling houses - use a good trusted local estate agent who knows the market and will make a legitimate profit for both the vendor and themselves.

    • 30 May 2011 23:50 PM
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    What can I say PeeBee, Sarfangletere is a nice place! Been keeping up with what's happening, but been too busy to really post anything, as unlike some discourteous individuals I answer questions or responses! Did you ever get a response from good ole Petey-boy?

    Plus by the time I have a few minutes to write, someone else has already made a similar point!

    • 29 May 2011 13:07 PM
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    All the best with Imove, hope it works well and expands.

    • 29 May 2011 12:29 PM
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    Well done Simon, I think it's a fantastic idea. Good luck.

    Seems like some of the other agents on here are scared of a little healthy competition.

    • 29 May 2011 00:14 AM
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    Whatever next! Not for profit means that they have no profits to plough back into the business and grow the company, take on better staff, take out better advertising, move to a better location etc. etc.

    The whole reason that the UK economy is stuggling compared to the Hong Kong economy for example is that here in the UK, businesses are taxed so heavily that there is seldom much profit remaining to grow and develop businesses, which can grow to hire more staff, earn more profit and continue to grow. Hong Kong taxes it's people and businesses to a tiny extent and considering it was a British colony, they have overtaken us here in the UK. Okay, why bore you with all this?

    Well any company should be generating profit and should not be embarrased to do so. If it grows and hires more local staff and those staff spend their money in the local community, then other people in the community will benefit.

    Great, they give some money to charity, excellent, very noble, but at what point should charity begin at home?
    Tell you what, lets give all our money away shall we!
    Am I allowed to say this? Should we be classed as a disgrace if we don't give money to charity?

    Actually, I do donate a few pounds every month straight from my account to Diabetes UK as it goes, but should I give them all my profits too, surely not!

    Wouldn't it be funny if this not for profit agency went down the pan because they didn't have the money to invest in better advertising or staff and couldn't sell any houses, so people gave up using them.

    Me, I'm off to hire another admin assistant to help proforma all my house sales! Seriously I am sorting it out on Tuesday, cos we almost can't cope anymore. Oh wait, perhaps I should give all our spare money to charity instead!!!! No, stick to plan A, hire another admin assistant, phew that was close!!!

    • 28 May 2011 21:52 PM
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    @ Simon Willis

    You have something most agents don't have. A usp.

    As a sales person myself, I would find it easier selling what you have, than selling what 95% of box standard agents have.

    Plus a very worthy cause to benefit also. Go for PR and you won't need the good luck I was going to wish you.

    • 28 May 2011 19:52 PM
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    Response to first comment by Paul. I take it you have not had the oppotunity to look at our website (www.imovecornwall.org), Actually there is only one thing customers of imove Cornwall pay extra for and that is local newspaper advertising (if they decide they want to do that). And they will be able to buy small boxes, quarter page, half page and full page ads at cost price.

    As an online agency we do not provide some of the added services a high street agent would 'sometimes' provide, such as accompanied viewings.

    imove Cornwall is providing a cost effective platform for sellers. It's not everyone's cup of tea and we may only attract a small percentage of the market, but what we are doing is putting something back in to the community.

    We exist because some people need a cheaper alternative to a high street agent and some people think it's quite good that we are doing some good with the fees we earn. Right now we are raising money for a £5million dedicated hospice for children in Cornwall.

    • 28 May 2011 18:01 PM
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    Agents in the dim and distant past in norther climes used to charge a flat fee for the sale and add for advertising, boards etc etc.

    This is one where it will be £399 plus:
    Rightmove, Zoopla, own company web site, newspaper ads, board, window card, printed particulars to hand out, phone call costs for a ring round, accompanied viewing costs for staff car petrol and insurance, a contribution to the PI insurance ad infinitum.

    Looks cheap but it will be expensive just like these in house solicitor firms who charge extra to complete in less than 28 days and removal firms who quote the job up to 2 pm and charge extra for after. When did you last sell a house where the removal firm was in round and out by 2 o'clock?

    No doubt there will be plenty of fools who will part with their money.

    • 28 May 2011 10:56 AM
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    I have seen it all now......

    • 27 May 2011 22:49 PM
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    Country Lass - welcome return!!

    I've been worried - what with you and Jonnie disappearing around the same time and all... :o(

    • 27 May 2011 17:04 PM
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    The whole article got deleted by accident, including the comments.

    • 27 May 2011 16:45 PM
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    @local agent

    Me deleted too! Why Rosalind?

    • 27 May 2011 16:40 PM
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    Is there nothing that the former Pink Floyd lead guitarist won't turn his hand to?

    • 27 May 2011 16:36 PM
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    This is just what estate agency needs. Prices are falling, transactions are not even 50% of what they were and now people are setting up to do it for free? I cannot understand the share prices. RMV I get but why are companies like LSL not being marked down even a bit?

    • 27 May 2011 16:01 PM
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    We have been sensored!!!!

    • 27 May 2011 13:53 PM
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