Integra Activity

Whilst the property market undoubtedly has its challenges at the moment, it could be strongly argued that this is the perfect time for bringing about major business changes before, for many, they simply get swept along in the wake of others who have taken advantage of first mover or fast follower advantage.

Over the last few weeks it has been interesting to re-read my MBA dissertation research from 2000 which was looking at the future implications of the internet and its effect on residential estate agency.

Bear in mind that back in 2000 Rightmove was only just launching and only 61.5% of those who took part in the study had internet access at the time.

The research was clear in its outcomes and direction of travel and basically predicted the development of the major portals, online estate agency and execution only services.

Whilst there have been some high-profile casualties and “false dawns” along the way the position of technology in helping drive the future should not be ignored.

Those people who were under twenty-five in my research back in 2000 are now in their forties. Internet access is almost universal and transacting online, which was cautiously welcomed in 2000, now forms a daily occurrence in many households.

A lot of the work I undertake with clients is acting as a sounding board, an adviser and mentor. A quasi non-executive director on the team who brings a wide view and a lot of experience to the table. I also ensure that I am “up to speed” with the latest developments and future trends by investing my time in doing so. For example, as a member of the Home Buying & Selling Group I am working with Government and other major stakeholders on seeking improvements in the process.

I am currently working with several clients on businesses expansion, consolidation and restructuring. Businesses are living, breathing entities and should constantly be kept under review to ensure that they maximise success now but also into the future.

In terms of some of the other things I have been up to recently, these include:

Negotiator Magazine Awards: I was delighted to have been appointed as a judge and enjoyed the process of reviewing entries from across the industry. Quite frankly, they ranged from weak to excellent with the top entries setting standards that others will need to follow or improve upon.

The awards will take place in the evening of the Negotiator conference in London on November 29th.

LFS Conveyancing Conference & Awards: In September I shall be attending the LFS Conveyancing conference in Birmingham and, in the evening, attending the annual Conveyancing awards where I was, once again, a judge this year.

Bold Legal Conference and Conveyancing ESTAS awards: In October I shall be attending the Bold Legal Group Conference and appearing in a panel session on the relationship between estate agents and conveyancers. I shall not sit with my back to the audience and hope to get out alive! In the evening I shall be attending the Conveyancing ESTAS awards.

Property chronicle magazine: I am a regular contributor to this high quality publication and the latest issue features my article on the changes in the estate agency sector and the potential for competency to take over from competition following the recent Regulation of Property Agents (ROPA) report which the Government has said it will look to implement. The report calla for greater regulation, qualifications and licensing of those in the industry. You can read my article here

ISVA Past Presidents Club: I am honoured to be the Chairman (Gaffer) of the Past Presidents Club of the Incorporated Society of Valuers and Auctioneers. In September we will enjoy our annual lunch in London and chew the cud on a range of property and political issues as well as enjoy each others company as always.

Training courses: I continue to run a variety of open and bespoke training courses covering sales, lettings, management and compliance. I am delighted to announce that Charlotte Taylor has joined me as a consultant and this is enabling us to deliver many more programmes and across a wider geographical area.

A full list of the programmes available can be found here:

All of the programmes can also be customised to suit the needs of your business. Please get in touch to discuss.

Lettings Health Checks: It is now three months since the introduction of the Tenant Fees Act but it remains crucial that letting agents are maximising both their compliance and their commerciality going forward.

As expected, there are already indications that rental values are increasing which may see fees increase slightly but agents need to find commercially sensible ways of increasing landlord fees, improving productivity and reducing costs and selling additional products.

Alongside the revenue and profit opportunities there is a need to do so compliantly, particularly in regards commissions and referral fees, which must be transparent to the consumer.

Technology and outsourcing will provide some of the answers but so will well thought out propositions and the development of well managed and highly skilled teams.

Compliance audits: I have a number of days planned carrying out AML and other compliance audits for clients. It is a requirement under Money Laundering regulation to ensure that your busienss is operating correctly and undertaking regular audits. An audit provides a great opportunity to review current systems and processes and apply coaching and training to make sure all staff are aware of their obligations and how to meet them.

As always, I am here to assist and so please do not hesitate to contact me, in confidence, to discuss your business and to look at how I may help you.