The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Robinson Jackson is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.
Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles
31ROBINSON JACKSON |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2019
Co-founder Alan Robinson
High street branches remain
relevant to customers,
alongside new technologies
Founded in 1993, Robinson Jackson is an independently
owned estate agency with 25 offices across London and
Kent. Built on a 50-year partnership, Robinson Jackson
works well with buyers and sellers and sells properties with an
average price of around £350,000. Founder Alan Robinson
discusses the knowledge he has picked up and explains what
sets Robinson Jackson apart.
I became a trainee negotiator aged 17 in 1967, and during my 50 years I have
valued, listed and sold property. I have worked for and with my business partner
Pete Jackson, and in 1993 we established Robinson Jackson. We celebrate our 25th
anniversary this year.
As Jackson Property Services, Peter and I were always looking to be innovative
in our approach. In the past, buyers complained about queueing in banks and
building societies in order to begin the process of applying for a mortgage. In
response, we employed mortgage arrangers, who organised appointments every
weekend. Within a month, we had to double our mortgage arrangers and add
appointments on weekdays.
We introduced longer opening hours, from nine o’clock in the morning to seven
o’clock in the evening, seven days a week, and we utilised our receptionists’
property knowledge by introducing them alongside vendors during transactions.
We titled them sales progressors and our Robinsion Jackson clients now expect
it. Clients also expect our offices to be open long hours, with lights blazing from
»Co-founder: Alan Robinson
»Founded in 1993
»Based in London and Kent
»Services: Sales, mortgages and
»No. of employees: 250
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
32 | ROBINSON JACKSON
high street window displays. This is
supported with a cutting-edge website
and access to Rightmove and Zoopla.
If people want to view property online
at 2am, our services allow them to
dothat. That’s what 24/7 means.
We own 25 branches across London
and Kent and we view our company
culture as the key to our success.
Currently, we employ 250 staff and
we take a common-sense approach,
based around the fact that our buyers
and sellers need a combination
of experience and enthusiasm. In
a “no sale no fee” environment,
charging fair commission rates for a
great service is crucial. Clients want
a sales company that achieves the
best price, from a quality buyer, and
that provides a dedicated member of
staff to progress the sale through to
completion. We do not receive any
payment until the job is done, which
proves highly motivational for our
sales and progression team.
Our experience comes from our
partners, who all have a controlling
interest in their respective branch
offices. Below that, we employ
passionate and ambitious branch
managers and enthusiastic, motivated
and rewarded teams of younger
diverse sales staff. We have an
excellent in-house training structure,
enabling our colleagues to fulfil
their roles, alongside 30-minute
daily morning branch meetings
and quarterly partners meetings.
If standards need to be raised,
this is achieved through internal
discussions within the branch. Our
approach is relatively laissez-faire,
but always supportive, and we trust
our staff to resolve issues in an
Many of our partners are members
of the National Association of Estate
Agents and subscribe to regulation by
the Ombudsman; however, buyers and
sellers want to work with sales staff
and qualifications do not necessarily
matter. Legislators need to understand
that a pass mark in a property exam
does not mean anything to a seller.
They want to be sure you can sell their
house. While there are rogues in all
businesses, my lifetime in agency has
shown me that they will be found out,
and solid, reputable agents will always
look for culprits.
Helping our sector
The most disappointing trend in recent
years has been the way that the British
dream of buying your own home has
been nearly destroyed. Previously, no
more than five per cent of sales in
our market were made to investors.
Recently, it can be as high as 50 per
cent, with individuals who are getting
no interest on their savings turning to
property. That means that 50 per cent
of property is not being bought by
the young families that need homes.
While the target of building 200,000
new homes a year is valid, thousands
of second-hand properties have been
lost to new landlords. While mortgages
facilitate buy-to-let investors, young
Our sales progressors
play a huge part in
pushing a sale through
We do not
the job is
for our sales
33ROBINSON JACKSON |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2019
first-time-buyers were being sent away
to save for a deposit.
The panic-fuelled reactions of UK
mortgage lenders to the failures of
the US sub-prime market have been
a disaster, especially with the removal
of up to 100 per cent mortgages
for first-time-buyers. Those without
substantial deposits or family money
to fall back on are now forced into
the private rented sector and face
paying more in rent than they would
for a monthly mortgage payment.
Some government schemes are valid,
but the government has failed to
discuss the issue with those at the
forefront of the industry.
The media creates a furore when
high property prices prevent people
buying locally, but young people have
historically often had to move out to
afford cheaper property. In the past,
we sold hundreds of properties to
young Londoners in Kent for under
£4,000. Today a two-bedroom flat
in Clapham might sell for £650,000,
while a two-bedroom house in
Chatham might sell for £250,000.
Young people will have to wait a long
time if they sit around in city suburbs
waiting for house prices to fall.
The housing minister’s recent
comments regarding the possible
reintroduction of sign of good faith
deposits is misguided. Any deposit
paid by a buyer will have to be subject
to contract and is therefore valueless.
The potential to change one’s mind is
inherent in the psyche of house buyers
Two key issues facing the property
market include the onset of online
selling and the speed of transactions.
Our approach has always been
pioneering, and we have never been
afraid to introduce new practices to
benefit the house buying and selling
public. With regards to the onset of
online solutions, once a vendor has
paid a £1,000 non-refundable fee
up front, it is unclear what incentive
the listing agent has to find a quality
buyer and monitor that sale through
Whether transactions should be
speeded up is already a contentious
issue in the City, and Jeffries Bank
concluded that Purple Bricks’ listing-
to-completion ratio was 50 per cent,
while Purple Bricks’ argue it is 88 per
cent. At Robinson Jackson, our ratio
has worked out at about 70 per cent
over the past three years because
selling and buying a home is not
simple. Whether it should or can be
speeded up is questionable. Buyers
and sellers change their mind and the
public won’t give up that right easily.
We could take any number of our
recent cancellations and there would
be numerous reasons why the sale
fell through. Transactions cannot be
speeded up without digital advances
that allow processes to be completed
more quickly. Until such point, the
process will remain labour intensive.
Savvy first-time buyers
priced out of London
are looking at commuter
towns that offer fantastic
value for money
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review
This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.
In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.
We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.
With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.
And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.
As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.