How much would a tenant have to pay to secure a £1,000-a-month flat through estate agents Foxtons? A total of £420, while the landlord would have to pay another £2,448 for Foxtons to find the tenant and manage the property for a year. It is these sorts of extraordinary fees, common across the fast-growing lettings industry, that are (finally) provoking a revolution in new online players, and that will see high street estate and letting agents go the same way as Blockbuster, HMV and Lunn Poly – business models blown apart by the internet.
Neil Woodford, the ‘star’ fund manager who in August pumped £7m into the Purplebricks.com online agency, has turned out to be top of his class for returns.
An assessment of UK equity income funds over the past six months shows Woodford’s own fund, Woodford Equity Income, to be the most successful with backers gaining 7.4 per cent.
A For Sale By Owner website says that a number of online agencies are really private sales sites in all but name.
Franki Chaffin-Edwards, of The Little House Company, said they are simply dressed up to look like agents, for no other reason than to secure listings on Rightmove and Zoopla.
Chaffin-Edwards, who is community and content manager at the private sales website, emphasised that her comments did not apply to all online agents but specifically to some of the cheaper operators.
None of Britain’s burgeoning number of online estate agents has succeeded in breaking into the Fast Track 100, a barometer of successful private companies.
eMoov chief executive Russell Quirk says the role of traditional estate agents has been overstated and that their principal purpose in many transactions is to act as “a conduit to get properties on to the portals.”
Stalwart supporters of the traditional estate agency model had better not watch Sky next Wednesday - that’s when the outspoken online estate agency eMoov has its first TV ad.
The agency, founded in 2010 by estate agent Russell Quirk and since last December linked with Hamilton Bradshaw Real Estate - owned by former ‘Dragon’ James Caan - has bought space for a 30-second ad highlighting the savings it claims can be made when selling on eMoov in comparison to traditional high street agents.