Can mortgage and solicitor referrals power Strike’s online agency?
Andrew Harrison, chair and investor at Strike, put a positive spin on its offering recently, saying that the online agency’s chance to become the dominant method of buying and selling through its free service is high.
This weekend, The Times summed up the model thus: “Strike customers can use the company to sell their homes and not pay a penny in fees. They get most of the normal estate agency services, such as valuation, photos, floorplans, a “For Sale” board and the placing of details on portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla.
“Strike also says that it provides support when negotiating offers. Users have to conduct viewings themselves. The business makes its money by offering optional add-ons, such as mortgage-broking, conveyancing and surveying and not just to the vendor but to the potential buyers.”
I admire Harrison’s optimism though a part of me feels that the £11 million injection of capital is unlikely to help Strike make culture-shifting waves. Let’s not forget, Purplebricks has gone through £500 million in the last seven years, resulting in a 20p share price on the AIM and only a 6% market share.
My humble advice, use that £11 million and keep the lights on at Strike by giving capital to 55 exceptional traditional Agencies to cold start a handful of branches, who could then return that capital in a few years with actual profit.Looking at the financials, the Strike brand has burnt through £56 million in just over a decade and helped just 56,000 people to move, up to the end of 2021, according to their PR. This means each mover got £1,000 of Strike’s cash. No company can absorb that cost per acquisition.
As to market share, the average completions each year are 1.2 million, so Strike’s average annual rate of helping circa 5,000 people to complete is microscopic, or about the size of 50 small branches completing on eight sales a month. The difference being those branches will be charging a fee for each sale, rather than Strike’s freemium model.
I am surprised that Strike actually states it is a free service, in that accompanied viewings, a core service offered free by many agents up to point of exchange, are a charged item. It’s a bit like if Strike were selling cars, they no doubt would be free, but engines and wheels would be provided at an additional cost. The public, as ever, will make their own minds up.
The Guild to host an in-person innovation, acceleration and growth conference this year
For the first time in two years, The Guild of Property Professionals will be holding its Annual Conference and Awards Ceremony in person. Holding its last conference virtually, The Guild will be back at the QEII Centre in Westminster, London on 10 March 2022.
The Guild of Property Professionals is a network of 800 of the best independent estate agents from across the UK. The Guild is a sign of professional excellence that agents can use to differentiate themselves from their competitors and assure clients that they will act with knowledge and integrity to achieve results, the core values of The Guild. To enable agents to perform a superior service, The Guild offers marketing, business and technology services to its members.
Iain McKenzie, CEO of The Guild of Property Professionals, says that a lot has happened in both the sector and the world over the past year, so the Annual Conference, which is titled ‘Innovation. Acceleration. Growth’, will be a great opportunity to both reflect and recognise the amazing accomplishments that many of the Members have achieved during 2021.
McKenzie said: “While we have held regional meetings with our Members throughout the UK, the upcoming conference will be the first time the entire network will have been able to get together and celebrate since the start of the pandemic. Many of our Members have excelled and achieved some incredible results during 2021, so being able to acknowledge that as a network in person will be special. We are looking forward to the 10th of March and welcoming our award-winning network back into the same room.”
The Annual Conference will provide Members with the opportunity to network and hear from some amazing industry professionals and keynote speakers.
“We have a selection of exceptional speakers and industry experts, who will be providing our Members with valuable insight regarding the economy and what to expect in 2022. We will have a masterclass panel discussion on the tools and services that agents can use to drive their business forward, talks on how agents can win instructions the green way, and the trends and innovations we are seeing within the sales and lettings sectors,” says McKenzie.
With keynote speakers Katie King, Author and Management Consultant, and Debra Searle MVO, MBE, ranked No.3 in World’s Top Motivational Speakers in 2021. Debra is a professional adventurer, and serial entrepreneur, who rowed the Atlantic solo. Not only have her expeditions taken her across the Atlantic, but around Antarctica, up to the Arctic Circle and everywhere in between. She has also launched five companies, has presented for the BBC and is a trusted corporate speaker. Debra will be talking at the conference about the importance of choosing your attitude, no matter the obstacles.
“In the evening we will be presenting the Guild Awards, which are sponsored by The Telegraph. This gives us an opportunity to recognise and honour agents who have gone above and beyond for their clients and the industry in 2021,” McKenzie concludes.
For more information about the Guild Conference or to book tickets click here.
Andrew Stanton is the founder of Proptech-PR, a consultancy for Founders of Proptechs looking to grow and exit, using his influence from decades of industry experience. Separately he is a consultant to some of the biggest names in global real estate, advising on sales and acquisitions, market positioning, and operations. He is also the founder of Proptech-X Proptech & Property News, where his insights, connections and detailed analysis and commentary on proptech and real estate are second to none.