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Donna Kerwick

Client Liaison Manager at Gnomen Ltd

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The five most important estate agency news stories of the summer

Unfortunately summer is coming to an end now, but what an eventful few months it's been.

Property Software, Estate Agent Websites, Estate Agents, Letting Agents

There was of course the historic EU referendum in June the result of which most people are still getting to grips with now and another successful Olympic Games, taking place in Rio de Janeiro.

In the world of estate and letting agency it's been far from quiet. As we move in to autumn, here at Gnomen we've been reflecting on our industry and have put together a run-down of five of the most important estate agency news stories of the summer.

You may not agree, but here are the five events that took place over the last few months which we deem to be the most important and interesting to estate and letting agents...

1. MartinCo buys EweMove

Earlier this month, one of the UK's largest franchise agencies announced in its latest trading update that it had purchased a hybrid estate agency. MartinCo reported that it has acquired 90 branch franchise agency EweMove for 15 million.

Why is this important?

This is another sign that some of the industry's big boys believe that the hybrid model is here to stay. First Connells bought hatched, then Savills invested in YOPA, then Countrywide launched its own hybrid agency.

Technology is becoming an increasingly important part of our industry and it's vital that estate and letting agents now have an excellent website complemented by easy-to-use comprehensive property software.

2. Rightmove is dominating mobile mover market

Back in July, Rightmove revealed that it has an 81% share of the mobile home mover audience. At the same time, the portal reported that its mobile and desktop market share of audience was 77% and that it received a record 765 million visits in the first half of 2016.

Why is this important?

These impressive figures show once again that Rightmove is the UK's leading property portal and therefore the reason why the vast majority of estate and letting agents choose to advertise their properties on this website.

3. Countrywide announces 59 branches to close

At the beginning of September, Estate Agent Today revealed that Countrywide would be closing 59 of its branches in the coming weeks. The Group says that these closures are part of its ongoing 'Building our Future' initiative.

Why is this important?

This announcement is another indicator of the huge restructuring which has been taking place at the UK's biggest estate agency group since Alison Platt was appointed as CEO.

It would suggest that the organisation is looking to put more onus on its fledgling hybrid service. Due to the high number of closures, there are many areas where a competitor will be disappearing, something which could have a positive effect on a high number of agents.

4. Industry bodies warn against portal juggling

In August, the National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team (NTSEAT) released a statement backed by the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) and two of the redress schemes warning agents not to take part in so-called 'portal juggling'. This practice is when agents deliberately remove and re-list property listings on the major portals.

Why is this important?

Since taking over from the Office of Fair Trading a few years ago, NTSEAT has been relatively quiet. Releasing this statement shows the organisation as well as the NAEA and the redress schemes are taking this portal gaming issue pretty seriously.

The statement confirms that 'portal juggling' is illegal and describes the practice as 'deliberately misleading'. It'll be interesting to see how this issue develops over the coming months.

5. Agency fined by trading standards for misleading website content

During August an estate agency Stephen Parry and Company Ltd was fined just over 3,000 by the trading standards division of Warwickshire County Council.

The fine was levied on the firm for falsely claiming to be a member of both the National Association of Estate Agents and the National Association of Valuers and Auctioneers on its website. The company's director, Stephen Parry, has not been a member of either organisation since 2013.

Why is this important?

An agent's website is one of its key marketing tools and it's therefore important that all information and content is accurate and truthful.

This case shows that certain divisions of trading standards are cracking down on agents' claims, so it serves as a timely reminder for all firms to review their website content and the information they are providing to consumers.

Well there you have it, our five most important estate agency news stories of the summer. It will be interesting as always to see how our industry develops over the autumn.

Here at Gnomen, we provide a range of property software and website solutions for estate and letting agents.

Our software allows you to manage staff, offices, customers and multi-channel marketing through one cloud-based system.

All of our clients receive free training and are entitled to a free demo. For more information, get in touch with us on: 0208 123 9019.

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