Plus Ca Change…
…acknowledged through gritted teeth if you are one of the many beleaguered souls sitting in your motorised vehicle on the M20, whilst the solitary French border official at Dover does very little, very slowly. Forget Brexit; leaving the British Isles is proving more challenging and there isn’t even a requirement to invoke Article 50. The allure of foreign culture did also issue its Siren’s song to ‘The Original NP Property Blogger’, who found it in himself to drag his weary soul away from Costa Del Cwmbran. The ladies of Gwent’s loss was their counterparts in the Balearic Islands’ gain. My absence coincided with the Cheshire & Co website being rebuilt; so as I bronzed my David-like self (I’m talking Michelangelo, not Brent), I had time to contemplate all that was going on in the world.
Where to begin? Wales did superbly well in the Euros, but did not actually win anything. Gareth Bale’s man-bun makes him look like one of the cast from Planet of The Apes. A majority of the electorate voted out; the minority who voted in upheld the ethos of democracy until it went against them and then threw themselves to the floor like a spoilt toddler. The night of the long knives became the morning, afternoon, tea break, pee break, time it takes to like something on social media of the long knives, as former political allies gave Iago, Othello and Team Macbeth a run for their money. Putting oneself forward as a potential leader of one of the main political parties (either in Government or the Official Opposition), appeared to rest on some very specific criteria: a. Female. b. Your name begins with ‘A.’ c. Nobody has heard of you. d. You must have a hairstyle that would have Vidal Sassoon needing the smelling salts. e. Your campaign is launched with much fanfare and is just as quickly extinguished when your party realises that actually they really don’t want you to be in charge. Oh and not forgetting the England Manager, who is chosen with the selected individual being the same persona who Manchester United flatly refused to contemplate taking charge at Old Trafford (with some of the English selection panel comprising of some of those very same people who are uneasy bed mates with the Glazier family). Mmm.
And the world of estate agency? Well, plus c’est la meme chose. The market players of the selling and letting variety are arguing with the market players of the property portals. What is a first is that the decision will be made in the High Court. Agents’ Mutual (AM) are embroiled in what promises to be an eye-wateringly expensive (what legal matter isn’t?) contretemps with Connells Group. AM, the parent company of OnTheMarket (OTM) has sued estate agents Gascoigne Halman (who are owned by Connells Group) and Moginie James, for damages in the High Court. OTM accuses them of breaking the terms of their agreements by listing properties on more than one other portal. OTM has been ordered to pay £1m into court as cost cover-for the other side. The High Court has now referred the case to the Competition Appeal Tribunal, a specialist court for competition disputes. The case itself is deemed to be a key test of whether the portal can sustain its ‘one other portal’ rule. Of course, I am interested in the outcome, but will it affect business. No. Realistically, how many agents feel it necessary to list on three portals and the daddy of them all, that everyone clicks on is Rightmove. I can understand how agents were tempted to leave old faithful, a true and loyal companion for twenty years, for a younger, firmer, seemingly more attractive model, but what lies beneath the bonnet is a wholly different matter. Speaking of which, a friend recently returned from a holiday in Thailand and whilst there came very close to getting up close and personal with a lady boy. Looked like a lady, talked like a lady, walked like a lady. It was only when ‘she’ drove him to ‘her’ place and reversed the car straight into the garage first time, that he thought, “Hang on a fricking minute”…. I know, I know, complaints on a post card please to somebody who cares.
Back to the world of selling houses. Whilst utilising the hotel’s wifi-usually seen to best effect when standing in the deep end of the pool or leaning precariously off the balcony-I was amused to read of the latest class of estate agent. Not ‘hybrid’, that went out with Cameron and Farage, but ‘Premises Free Agents’. Ok. So the implication is that as they are not paying for an office their costs are lower. As we have blogged before, no office obviously means that what an agency-if office-based- is required to pay in rent, does not need to be covered by the fees charged. It also means that there is nowhere for any client-purchaser or vendor-to go with any query. A not dissimilar situation to the empty border control posts at Dover port. Admittedly in this case, there is an office of sorts, but in true Gallic fashion they just can’t be bothered to go there. I know, it was a close run thing for Foreign Secretary; Bojo or me. I think the hair won it for him.