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Staying with Rightmove is the Right Move!

find_your_happy_happy-bluePerhaps you’ve seen our advert in the Pembrokeshire Homes supplement, or you’ve searched for agents on Rightmove in Pembrokeshire. You’re no doubt somewhat confused about what is happening or understand why this new portal ‘onthemarket.com’ is suddenly going to be displaying your property instead of Rightmove and without your choice or consent. Well at R K Lucas & Son it isn’t and we have no plans to abandon the number one property portal any time soon!

Portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla charge us as Agents considerable sums in order to allow us to upload our portfolio of clients properties to their respective websites. We do this because they have spent vast sums themselves on advertising their services nationwide and as such attract millions of homemovers every month searching for properties to buy, and they work!

We do think the basic idea of a third portal taking on the mighty duopoly of Rightmove and Zoopla is great. Of course we do, the idea of taking control and using a site that benefits our business model and our clients at a lower cost would be ideal. But we just don’t think that is what’s being offered.

A lot of the local agents joined together to decide as one as to which portal is to be dropped and it was agreed that Rightmove was the site to be discarded. Rightmove does cost a lot more than Zoopla to upload to. Unfortunately, whilst that is the decision of some agents in this area, in other areas they may decide to drop Zoopla and keep Rightmove. We faced considerable pressure from some of the other Agents to join, their concern it would seem is that they wished to avoid a “competitive edge” gained by any Agent wishing to continue to use both major portals. This set off two different alarm bells with us:

First, some of the Agents involved in this ‘persuasion’, trying to convince us to work with them on a trust basis were the very same agents that had already mailshot our customers in an attempt to poach them and switch Agencies and had also privately contacted a member of our staff to go and work for them (fortunately our staff enjoy working for us and honestly, it’s a compliment that our staff are often sought by other agencies). Hardly a recipe for trust.

Secondly, if our remaining with Rightmove is considered a competitive edge, then they cannot believe their own hype that this new portal is the next big thing in online property marketing, if it were then surely by not joining we would be at a competitive disadvantage.

Nevertheless, only a fool would not carefully consider the move when so many are abandoning a tried and tested platform so we did some research.

Apparently the start-up budget for this new portal is just £7 million. That may seem a lot but when compared to Rightmove’s £15 million budget just for advertising in 2015 alone it starts to look significantly underfunded. And that’s not the least of it.

If you sign up to this new portal you can only be with one other as already mentioned, Zoopla, but you cannot advertise that – you have to remove Zoopla branding from all marketing material, you cannot advertise that you are on with anyone else. Talk about putting all your eggs in one basket, and that basket is starting to look very fragile!

Further there is encouragement that the new portal is given a head-start e.g. The property is asked to be uploaded to the new portal 48 hours before any other portal. A request to deliberately limit the advertising for the benefit of the new portal.

The tie-in is horrendous, there were talks of three months and even up to twelve months notice periods to switch to the other portal, so if your clients needs are not being served or you are not getting the advertising that you had hoped would be delivered there is little you can do to rectify the situation for several months or even up to a year!

There was huge fanfare when Agents Mutual decided that it had made itself a serious contender in the market place by reaching the 4,000 members ‘milestone’. Except that those 4,000 members hadn’t committed to anything, just signed a letter of intent and even if they all should sign-up that’s just 4,000 members out of 19,000 Agents or just 21%. So not even a quarter of the country’s agencies are agreeing to this, and out of that tiny percentage they will be choosing either Rightmove or Zoopla to drop, but not both, fragmenting the effect even further. How, in any way, is that going to change the face of the market place? How is it sustainable? But far more importantly, how can anyone gamble with their clients interests with such risky numbers!?

It’s numbers that count, how many are going to visit? if we are going to suddenly drop an already performing platform then it has to be replaced with something that performs immediately. There is only one way to get such numbers, advertise! But we have seen nothing…

Where are the TV adverts?
Where are the big pages in the newspapers?
Where is the advertising on property related websites?

Simply relying on the agents who have committed themselves to place some adverts themselves in the local paper is not sufficient to drum up the amount of web traffic required for such a system to perform to the satisfaction of the people who are suppose to benefit; not the Agents, YOU, the client, the person who has placed their property with an agent expecting that agent to do everything they can to get that property seen by people who may actually consider buying your home.

We are Chartered Surveyors, we aspire to be the gold standard of property professionals, in fact it’s in our terms of membership that we must adhere to strict guidelines and rules of conduct and must act with due diligence, with a duty of care to our clients. But that is not an onerous duty, it’s not something we reluctantly agree to, it’s in our blood, we embrace the ethos of client comes first because that is what is dutiful and should be expected from anybody who engages our services.

Would it then be dutiful to abandon a service that provides results for the benefits of our clients in order to save some money each month?

Would it be dutiful to exclude our clients from such considerations and not even find out what their thoughts are about us removing a tried and tested service and replacing it with a gamble?

Is it dutiful to put ourselves first?

No

We’re staying with Rightmove, we’re staying with Zoopla, we will freely advertise such with no restrictions like what is required from the start-up and we will continue to put our clients first!

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We don’t charge extortionate Application fees to rent a property, Just £50, once!

We hear it time and time again from people looking to rent a home:

“What?, only £50? Agent X, Y and Z charged me over £100 to reference”

Well good news, we charge £50 per applicant, once.  We cannot morally or ethically charge up to £180 to reference a tenant when it costs us a fraction of that to make those checks.  We’ve even heard horror stories of agents charging prospective tenants fees for such things as going on lists and needlessly renewing contracts every six months!  Its hard enough when you are trying to rent a property to find the money that is required.  On top of that first months rent you’ve usually got a bond to pay as well as all the nice new items of furniture or nik naks that everybody likes to buy when taking on a new home.

At R K Lucas & Son you can expect a professional service that doesn’t seek to charge you in anyway we think we can get away with, just £50 to apply per tenant, not per property.

Stop by and have a chat about your rent needs or give us a call, we’re sure you’ll be delighted with what we offer and how much money you can save instead of using a different Agent.

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Is your letting Agent leaving you high and dry?

Do you know about the implications of a large test case that has serious implications about how security deposits are handled, more to the point, does your letting agent?

A ruling in the Court of Appeal has potentially far reaching consequences for the way security deposits are handled.  Since April 2007 security deposits,or bonds, have been required to be held in a custodial or insurance backed scheme managed by an approved provider.  However, simply depositing the bond into a scheme does not satisfy all the requirements of the Housing Act 2004.  There are still steps to be taken to ensure that your deposit is secured within the parameters of the law and failure to do so can have severe financial penalties.  The danger is even greater when your tenants fixed term has expired and especially where your Agent, as a matter of practice, renews tenancies on a six monthly basis.

How severe? between 1 and 3 times the deposit amount plus the return of the initial deposit!

The problems don’t end there.  Should the correct steps not have been taken any section 21 notice served may be invalid and there are many advisory services happily waiting to inform your tenants of such including Citizens Advice Bureau, Shelter, even our own County Council are actively informing tenants that such notices are invalid without these measures, prolonging the process of gaining back possession of your property and virtually spelling out to your tenants how they may claim financial gain for your agents lack of action!

Please do not think that by using an agent you are protected.  The buck stops with the Landlord, you may be entitled to take action yourself against the agent that does not have the professional competence or knowledge to adequately protect you but that is an action you will be taking yourself, at your expense and after you’ve already faced financial penalties for their actions.

If you would like to discuss your letting needs with qualified and regulated professionals who understands that letting a property extends far beyond advertising and finding tenants then call us now on 01437 762538

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EPC Regulations updated to include Holiday Lets

EPC's for holiday lets

Energy Performance Certificates Regulations are as easy to keep up with as a 12 cylinder Ferrari.  They appear to be ever changing extending their reach to incorporate more and more types of properties.  Fortunately R K Lucas & Son are specialists in this field and have been at the forefront of EPC provision since the Regulations were introduced in 2007.  Indeed we were the first qualified experts in this field in the whole of Pembrokeshire and have remained at the forefront ever since.  Well with no surprise the Regulations are adapting again to incorporate Holiday Lets.    Continue reading

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Huge surge in Market Activity

With all the conflicting newspaper headlines it is easy to become confused as to what the housing market is doing.  One paper announces the market is about to drop and another shouts out that we are about to enter into another boom – what on earth is going on?  One of the problems is that the reports are often made off the back of statistics provided by one provider of mortgages.  So if a provider has changed their lending criteria for that month they may report a decline or a rise in the number of mortgages approved – which is then reported as a decline or rise in housing costs as the average amount loaned fluctuates – it is not very clever journalism! Continue reading

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Sale of 86 Acres of Development land successfully negotiated.

 At the end of last year R K Lucas & Son successfully negotiated the sale of 86 acres of residential development land to Conygar Investment Company PLC for £14 million as reported in the Western Telegraph this week.   With such large figures and the inevitable complexities of such a case it was paramount that the matter was handled by a professional firm with sufficient experience and expert knowledge as such situations demand.  We are extremely proud to have handled the matter on our clients behalf and not only have we achieved one of the largest residential land sales in the area, during a recession, but this particular sale also greatly benefits the local area with the agreement including the building of a new school, sewerage works improvement plan and communal areas for the public.

Large scale commercial investment and land acquisitions have long been a specialism of R K Lucas & son and if you would like to discuss your particular requirements please call us on 01437 762538.

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Our properties on…your iPad!

The Primelocation.com app for iPadWith our properties being available for view on the iPhone we don’t want its bigger brother to feel left out.  So for those millions of you who have invested your hard earned cash into Apples latest tablet we introduce the Primelocation.com App!  This App is packed with loads of great features and really shows off the properties in an amazing light.  If you have an iPad then this App is essential.  Download it here.

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Find our properties with… your iPhone!

Find us on Findaproperty.comThat’s right, all of our properties can now be viewed on your iPhone via the Findaproperty.com app and the best thing is – its FREE!!

The app is very slick and looks great so download it now – the benefits are great for on the move house hunting,  Such features include ‘here and now’ searching where the iPhone will use your current location to show you properties close by!   To download the app or for more information visit here.

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Family property for Auction!

Family home in Milford HavenThis 3 bedroom detached family home is to be sold at auction with a guide price of just £90,000!!  The Auction is to be held by Countrywide Property Auctions at BMA House, Tavistock Square, London, WC1H 9JP on 9th November 2010 at 12 noon.  R K Lucas & Son are instructed as local agents and we can arrange viewings and provide you with details on how to bid on the property without having to travel to the Auction itself.  Full details of the property can be found here

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An ever-expanding service!

We’re never one to rest on our laurels and despite rising to the coveted tops spot for new listings and number of properties in our target ares on the UK’s largest property Portal – Rightmove.co.uk (link) we have now expanded to list our properties on Primelocation.com (link) and Findaproperty.com (link).

This means that we are now showcasing our properties to even more potential purchasers than ever.  Concentrating on constantly evolving our services for the benefit of clients and customers means that we never have the time to put any effort into trying to poach other agents clients through the use of questionable mailing practices or intrusive phone calls.  It’s hard to lead the pack without compromising principles and whilst upholding a professional work ethic but that’s the way we like it and intend to keep it.  Besides it must be even harder constantly playing catch up!