The System Isn’t Broken, Russell. Nor, Does It Need Fixing.

The System Isn’t Broken, Russell. Nor, Does It Need Fixing.


The System Isn’t Broken, Russell.  Nor, Does It Need Fixing.

Skimming through social media last week, I chanced upon the Youtube video entitled:

“Why No-Sale, No-Fee Doesn’t work”.

For estate agency.

It wasn’t an inspiring piece. Which may be the reason it attracted only 259 views.

Not only uninspiring, this ill-considered potful of pique targets a lie.

To those that are most vulnerable.

Homeowners that have trouble thinking for themselves.  Ending up seduced by the snake-oil salesmen of online estate agency.

Whenever comment is necessary in the world of property, up pops Rent-a-Quote Quirk.  Russell Quirk, CEO of call-centre agency, eMoov.

A business man with a tireless obsession.  For everything that he believes wrong with high-street estate agency.

Some of the criticisms he makes show a lack of awareness about his own offering. He finds traditional agencies expensive.  Some might consider that a virtue. Especially when compared to the charge of poor value brought against online.

He finds the fee system to be broken.  More on that later.

Trouble is that, much of what he says about traditional high-street estate agency, is somewhat rubbish.  Half-truths, fake news, selective reasoning. Above all though, his comments lack congruence.  He’s entitled to his opinions, of course.   Not entitled, though, to his particular interpretation of the facts.

“Doubling online market share, every year and it’s likely to be 50% by 2020.”

was one of the more wild guesstimates from the Sage of Essex.

“when you’re fighting a low-volume, as they are, each deal is so very valuable”.

From a  call-centre agency that struggles to complete, on average, less than 2,500 sales per annum.  Selective argument, of course.

Comparing their national online model with any single brand of traditional high-street agency.

Let’s at least compare like for like.

How does eMoov stack up against the likes of Connells, or Foxtons?  What do you think?

Besides, what’s so very wrong with “each deal is so very valuable” to those unfortunate high-street agencies. His implication is that those competitors lack moral certitude. and will close a deal, whatever the cost. The moral high-ground, nevertheless, remains far out-of-reach for eMoov.

” We all know traditional estate agents charge a very high fee for a poor service.”

Some do.  The vast majority don’t charge anywhere near enough.

For the amount of hours involved.  For the genuine expertise.  And yes, for the risk involved in not getting paid.

“Why No-Sale, No-Fee Doesn’t Work”.  

In defence of his work, Mr. Q. provides evidence from R.I.C.S that only 3 out of four properties progress to completion.  A fall-through rate of 25%.  Instructions where the high-street agency is doing the work.  And not getting paid.

And then in a moment of blinding clarity, he infers: it’s the reason high street agencies are so expensive. The properties that do sell are subsidising those that don’t.

“Pay for work done on your own property.  Not somebody else’s.”

The answer, it appears, is to charge every vendor.  Every time.  No more of this No-Sale, No-Fee nonsense.

Except that eMoov now also offer a No-Sale, No-Fee option.

£1495.  Pay only when sold.

They claim the  business model doesn’t work.  But they offer it, anyway.

Do What You Say


Courage and conviction springs to mind.

A little bit of reasoned logic leads to the inescapable fact that people often do things for nothing. Our previous post outlines that fact. Sometimes you get paid a lot for doing very little.  Other times, not much for doing a lot.  Over the years, it evens out.



Our other post, provided a glimpse.  Of the shoddy attention to detail employed at eMoov. And the disregard for any form of congruence.

An advertisement for a position of importance.

National Sales Manager for their recently created local property experts.  Every business pivots over time.  None get it right, first time.

But what we now see from eMoov is a business model that uses self-employed local agents. In an attempt to win the instruction.  The very same agents that might visit ten homeowners.  The very same agents that might only win one or even two instructions.  The very same agents that are doing the work.  And not getting paid.

Using Mr. Quirk’s logic, those wasted visits to homeowners that end up going elsewhere?  Cost, the homeowners that do instruct eMoov, money.  The online model charges everybody.  From the start.  The use of local agents?  Not so.

Back to his logic that, we have to say, is lamentably poor.

The argument put forward by Mr. Quirk for the No-Sale, No-Fee model not working?

His competitors are doing work for nothing.  And these overheads make high street agencies expensive.

Argue that point, Russell.  But don’t go and introduce a business add-on that flies in the face of that very same argument.

And lest we forget about the half-truths and fake news, this from their latest press release:

“After many years, we’ve shed our blue and pink (brand) for a more vibrant yellow and grey.  But don’t be fooled, we’re still the U.K’s #1 hybrid estate agency.”

Purplebricks might have something to say about that casual aside.

And since when was grey considered a ‘vibrant’ colour?

In closing, homeowners pondering which estate agency to instruct, might welcome this:

The process of selling a home is not easy.  And those that portray it as such?  Misguided, at best.

Those that charge £795, £895, or £995 have one aim.

Their ‘WHY’, as Simon Sinek, puts it.

First and foremost, they want your money.

And the quicker they can relieve you of it, the better they like it.

Don’t become a victim of these flaky Youtube adverts.

Copywriter Andy Maslen makes a valid point:

“What the internet has done is increase the amount of rubbish, directed at consumers and business people. It has given the illiterate and the idiotic equal billing with your carefully crafted message”.

I close with a quote from Oscar Wilde’s A Florentine Tradegy:

“The man is but a very honest knave.  Full of fine phrases for life’s merchandise.  Selling most dear what he holds most cheap.  A windy brawler in a world of words.  I never met so eloquent a fool”

Your stage awaits, Mr. Quirk.