Trade buying organisation The Federation of Independent Agents (FIA) has told The Negotiator that it is on track to have 100 member agents by the end of this year and hopes within five years to end up with between 350 and 400.
Founded by former HouseNetwork CEO Graham Lock (pictured, above) earlier this year, the organisation is taking a ‘exclusive’ approach to estate agent recruitment and only admitting those which ‘have the right mindset’ and can attain the highest quality levels.
The FIA also only allows one member agent per town or area and offers them the opportunity to collaborate with other members in a non-competing way. It also bars corporates, online agents and franchised branches.
“It’s all about unearthing those like-minded agents that want to share and not just keep it all to themselves,” he says.
“And we’ve turned down more agents now than we’ve accepted.”
He says that he is not trying to grow to ‘1,200 members’ in the same way other attempts at a new association for independent agents tried to do.
“I don’t think there are that many agents who can come up the mark and be eligible to join the FIA,” says Lock.
He also claims that the estate agency market is ‘visibly’ dividing as agents choose to either chase a low-fee model, which he thinks is a mistake, or up their game and try to charge a higher sales fee.
“We have one member who’s already increased their fee from 1% to 1.25% by taking a ‘quality’ approach,” he says.