Monday, March 30, 2009

Axe The Agents or Agent With Axes?

Sadly folks we have yet to confirm the goings on within the Bulgarian "bait and switch" that we have been investigating as yet, rest assured though, as soon as we do, we'll be publishing a very elaborate throw more good money after bad scenario! Meanwhile, we pose some food for thought from one of the fastest growing portals - Propertyindex. is relatively new to the portal industry, having only been set up a couple of years ago by guru, Darren Richards. Using the methodology of having a simple, well laid out, easy to use site they have achieved some great results as far as traffic is concerned, taking on the likes of Globrix and Rightmove.

One has to wonder though about a recent industry press release from CEO Lee Bramzell, pasted in below.

Propertyindex.Com Ceo Complains To The BBC On Behalf Of UK Estate Agents
27 Mar 09

Lee Bramzell, CEO of has written the following letter to Mark Thompson, Director General of the BBC, to express his anger at the BBC1 programme ‘Axe the Agent’, and to represent the thousands of estate agents in the UK.

For the attention of: Mark Thompson, Director General of the BBC. I am writing in regards to the BBC1 programme ‘Axe the Agent’. As the CEO of I am writing on behalf of the 125,000 estate agents in the UK whose livelihoods could be directly affected by a television programme on BBC1 that directly advocates British people to eradicate estate agents when looking for property.

Estate agents are expected to pay their TV License fee yet the BBC use this money to create a show which could result in the loss of their jobs and ability to pay the license fee. I unequivocally believe that estate agents are absolutely essential for both the buyer and seller. From establishing accurate property valuations to working to secure the best possible price during the negotiation phase, estate agents really are the only experts. The safety net that estate agents provide extends beyond accompanying all the viewings for the peace of mind of the seller, but they also drive the different members of the chain to ensure completion.

I doubt the BBC will be encouraging their viewers to axe their GPs, fire department or police. This is the kind of irresponsible programming one might expect to see on the likes of Channel 5, but not the state broadcaster, which should be inclusive of all professions.

Even if the programme is only shown during the daytime and may aim to be reasonably balanced, the premise and the title ‘Axe the Agent’ is deliberately antagonistic. On behalf of estate agents in this country, I urge the BBC to reconsider de-commissioning this programme. I will be calling on Peter Bolton King, the head of the National Association of Estate Agents, established in 1962, to take a stronger stance on this issue.

Yours sincerely,

Lee Bramzell

(Released via Property4Media)

Hmm. We will admit, we have not seen this show, having said that, the press release has bought our attention to it, and so we may well dig around in the basement and wheel out the video recorder to tape it!

Having said that... there is nothing worse than people complaining about paying for a service, something the media has been good at hyping the public about in recent years. Valid complaints are all well and good, but there really is no need to harp on and make an entire TV series that runs for 20 years.

Bramzell has a point to a degree, agents (qualified) are a much needed part of the process, however, suggesting that the programme is irresponsible and something that the likes of channel 5 would broadcast is a bit strong.

One has to ask here, how has this programme rattled the ever expanding PropertyIndex? Could it be the BBC has a point? Which nerve have they hit?

In Bramzell's defence, we too have come across people over the years who enquire about property, suck every agent dry in the vicinity for information, only to buy a property themselves with no-one to guide them through it, thinking smugly afterwards that they saved themselves a few thousand. Only then to come back later to the very same agents asking for advice for a good lawyer because their house is built illegally, without planning permission, 30 relatives are claiming ownership, and the local council want to demolish it. No prizes for what they get told buy agents in those cases!

The top and bottom of it all has to that if an agent or portal do what they say they are going to do, supply what they say they are going to supply, the press can't hype up the public into a hysterical frenzy and make TV programmes that affect less than 1% of buyers. (Mind you, if all agents did what they should, there would be little for us to write about!)

PropertyIndex. You have a great site, you have a huge agent base supplying one of the widest selections of properties out there, both in the UK and internationally. Don't get into the mud wrestling ring with the BBC, there is usually only one party that leaves with mud on their face! Keep up the good work, and let the complainers keep complaining in the corner and making the mistakes that complainers make.

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