An Open Letter To NAEA Managing Director

Published on 20 January, 2015

Dear Mr Hayward,

I am writing to formally resign from the NAEA with immediate effect.

My decision is an inevitable one, made in light of the NAEA’s continued backing of soon-to-launch property portal, OnTheMarket, which is refusing to list online estate agents.

Your stance creates a conflict of interest for estate agencies such as Hatched, now frequently grouped together under the term ‘online’ estate agents, (a somewhat misleading term since it doesn’t reflect the quality and breadth of the services we offer), which, for reasons unknown to us and to the detriment of consumer interest, are banned from featuring on OnTheMarket, despite being members of the NAEA.

It’s pure hypocrisy that the NAEA readily accepts my money for membership, yet overtly supports an organisation that excludes agents like us, simply because our business model is different from that of a ‘traditional’ estate agent.

In my view, the NAEA should be supporting estate agency in all forms, so long as member agencies, like my own, are providing a comprehensive and quality service, whilst also adhering to the various acts & regulations in place.

However, like many in the estate agency world, the NAEA has decided to bury its head in the sand and ignore the growth and success of ‘online’ agents, rather than engage with us to understand our business model, ethics, values and methods, perhaps simply hoping that we would go away…?

Unfortunately for you and the rest of the estate agency world, our type of estate agency (which I prefer to refer to as ‘hybrid’ or ‘smart’ estate agency) is not going away. In fact, your collective decision to turn a blind eye to our innovations in the market 5 to 10 years ago has actually disadvantaged the industry. Rather than embracing the new model and providing guidance and best practice, your disregard has enabled today’s proliferation of a less professional, more DIY estate agency offering, which only serves to muddy the market.

Perhaps, championing the early adopters of this ‘different’ type of estate agency, including the likes of  Hatched, would have allowed us to work together to help raise consumer awareness of the great work that estate agents do and work towards setting benchmarks in terms of service levels and consumer satisfaction. Perhaps, we could have even worked with traditional estate agents to prove that estate agency can be done in a different way which would benefit of the consumer, without diluting the core ethics and values of estate agency.

Had the NAEA engaged with us from the outset, I strongly believe the recent infiltration of private or DIY style ‘online’ agents could have been averted.

At Hatched, our fundamental ethics & values are the same as yours. It’s just our methods and pricing structure that are different.

Unfortunately however, the new wave of online estate agents don’t have the ethics or values of traditional estate agency and are in the market to try and destroy estate agency.

It appears that your solution is to support the creation of a portal which has been set up by high street agents in an attempt to protect themselves from a growing number of DIY agents, but that completely disregards bonafide agents (and NAEA members, I might add) such as ourselves, rather than create a portal which is inclusive of all full-service estate agencies (with high street premises or not) and that ultimately, benefits rather than disadvantages homeowners.

If OnTheMarket doesn’t work, what or who will you support then? Will you engage with agents like myself? Or will you continue to ignore the consumer traction which ‘smart estate agency’ is clearly garnering?

My mission remains: to change estate agency to the benefit of the consumer. Not to destroy estate agency to the detriment of the consumer as the newer, DIY agents, seem to be intent on. I fear your support of OnTheMarket may be the nail in the coffin of estate agency as we know it.

Yours sincerely,

Adam Day
Managing Director

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