7th May 2015

Property Transactions in Consumers Hands

London-based property consultancy Strawberry Star has recently launched in the global market, with a unique service offer yet unseen on the international property market. In response to an alarming 76% of UK consumers who have had a negative experience with an estate agent, Strawberry Star’s clients will now be able to choose how much of the commission fee they pay, depending on their experience of the service.

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Property Transactions in Consumers Hands

In response to an alarming 76% of UK consumers who have had a negative experience with an estate agent, Strawberry Star’s clients will now be able to choose how much of the commission fee they pay, depending on their experience of the service.

• London-based property consultancy Strawberry Star reveals 76% of UK consumers have had a bad experience with an estate agent, with a staggering 88% in London stating so
• In a bid to respond to UK-wide consumer discontent, Strawberry Star launches to market with a market first: consumers will only pay the commission fee they think is appropriate for the service received
• Tomorrow, firm launches nationwide survey of UK consumer sentiment towards estate agent services revealing overwhelming national dissatisfaction
• National ombudsman statistics outline a quarter (26%)1 of national estate agent complaints were issues surrounding communications failures
• With £700m worth of property acquired, the firm plans to expand further with the launch of offices in Singapore and Hong Kong

The launch brings an industry first to the consumer property market, testament to the firm’s overriding commitment to service over sale. This contracted promise extends from pre-sale interaction to post sale management of all owner/investor/occupier needs, whether this be performance based or service led.

With over 4 million people in the capital alone contributing the highest levels of national discontent, the launch of tomorrow’s report underpins the rationale behind Strawberry Star’s market defining offer. Championed by Dorian Beresford – CEO – Strawberry Star has placed an overriding level of attention on the relationship value behind the sale or purchase of a property, as opposed to purely the transactional value it holds.

In support of this, the Estate Agent Evaluations report reveals just over 7.5 million people across the UK feel the number one frustration towards estate agents is the agent’s overriding interest in receiving commission over finding the right property for their client, with one in five respondents in London stating so (18%).

Moreover, the current state of the property market sees customers bound by lengthy contracts that only account for the performance element of a transaction. These contracts must be adhered to if the agent achieves a sale or let, regardless of whether the client’s requirements are truly fulfilled, or if the calibre of customer service was acceptable or not.

Strawberry Star CEO, Dorian Beresford, said: “Consumers both at home and overseas continue to be dramatically underserved by their agents. The level of unsatisfied customers here in the UK is astonishing and representative of the frankly abysmal service delivered by many in the industry. We feel it is our obligation to redress the balance and put the power back into the hands of the public by literally putting our money where our mouth is. No tie-in periods, no false promises and if the client is not delighted by our service they get to choose how much of our fee to pay.”

With all global operations driven from a Central London head office and a further 25 UK offices in the pipeline, the firm has commissioned nationally representative research to ensure an in-depth understanding of the consumers they stand to serve. Aware of the emotively loaded nature of a “home move” or property investment, the research champions a suite of insights that unveil the true state of consumer sentiment towards UK property services.

Key findings unearthed in Estate Agent Evaluations include (using nationally representative population figures):
• Over 4.4 million consumers felt an estate agent had broken promises
• More people in London have had a bad experience with an estate agent than any other part of the UK – with 88% stating so
• Nearly one in 10 (9%) of the UK felt there was a lack of transparency from an estate agent – equating to over 4.4 million people
• There is a generational difference in the quality of service, with 8% of 25-34 year olds feeling pressured into purchasing a house by an estate agent – twice the national average
• 15% of the London population felt an estate agent broke their promises. More than any other region in the UK
• In a regional comparison, the research found that Strawberry Star’s leading launch market, London, was the least satisfied with an estate agent, with a remarkable 88% admitting to a bad experience when looking for a property – over 4 million people

Motivated by the fact that almost one in 10 UK consumers felt an estate agent did not listen to their requirements during their search for a home, Strawberry Star has placed their commitment to fulfilling the pre and post move requirements for each of their clients over all profit based objectives.

In response to the report findings, Beresford continued: “We put people over property and ensure every single one of our clients – whether owners, occupiers or investors from the UK and abroad – feel that they are receiving a personalised service and are dealing with people that genuinely care about what matters to them. This commitment stands throughout every stage of the buying, moving, selling and letting process.”

The global launch was cemented with the opening of their Singapore office. Supporting an existent presence in Hong Kong, the Singapore office will champion the firm’s dedication to delivering the company’s Asian clients a sustained “on the ground” service.

The UK continues to be an incredibly popular property hotspot amongst Asian investors with Singapore and Hong Kong based investment now accounting for 90% of international purchases in the London new build market alone. Strawberry Star’s expansion into Singapore aims to confront the cultural, geographical and legislative challenges that face overseas investment into the UK.

Having facilitated over £500 million of investment into the London property market, the development of the Asian arm of the business is a significant stage of Strawberry Star’s global expansion programme. This is set to include an enhanced regional presence in the UK along with offices in India, China

Since 2009, Strawberry Star has acquired £700 million worth of property. Throughout this period, the firm has facilitated £500 million in aggregate investments and continued to provide an end-to-end service for fund, acquisitions, development, new homes sales, lettings and property management.

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