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The Negotiator Conference & Expo

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The Negotiator Conference and Expo 2018 Estate Agents Conference UK image

Hosted once again by Justin Webb, a senior BBC journalist and presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, The Negotiator Conference 2018 attracted over 500 delegates who said that our new venue, The Grosvenor House, on Park Lane, Mayfair, London, was an excellent choice.


There was a very warm welcome as delegates arrived, with coffee and breakfast delights that included mini brioche bacon buns, a rather tasty start to the day.

The Negotiator Expo was open for business – and pleasure – with many of the 55 stands having ‘attractions’ which included games and prizes including a methusalah of fine Champagne!

However, the delegates were also keen to join the Conference which opened promptly at 9.30 with a welcome from Marco Ferrara, Director, Tili, Sponsor of The Negotiator Conference and Expo 2018.

Justin Webb then introduced the first speaker, Professor Andrew Baum.

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Professor Andrew Baum image

Keynote Speaker Professor Andrew Baum

Andrew Baum is Professor of Management Practice at Said Business School, University of Oxford. His presentation, titled, “The impact of digital technologies on the residential property industry” took delegates on a journey through the development of Proptech, how it is already transforming the way the property market operates and how it is likely to develop. “Right now, thousands of extremely clever people backed by billions of dollars of often expert investment are working extremely hard to change the way real estate is traded, used and operated. It would be surprising, to say the least, if this burst of activity – let’s call it PropTech 2.0 – does not lead to significant change.


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CHALLENGES: Economic Financial Regulatory


“No doubt many PropTech firms will fail and money will be lost, but there will be some very successful survivors who will in time have a radical impact on what has been a slow-moving, conservative industry.”

The Professor said that the Proptech revolution is likely to impact us all.

“It might be that in five to ten years’ time we will be using crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin or Blockchain to buy and sell our houses,’ he said.

“Not only that, but the cost effectiveness of vertical living means that we should be prepared to live in high-rise towers in which we commute to shared working spaces in the same building.

“2017 seems to have marked a turning point. Proptech has been building such mass and momentum that it will change the world.”


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CHANGES: The Power of Proptech



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Richard Donnell: The housing market in 2019

Richard is Research and Insight Director at Hometrack, which is Zoopla’s property analysis business, having started his career in property at Savills.

He never fails to keep delegates fascinated by his analysis of what has gone before and his predictions on what may well come next in the housing market.

He discussed housing demand, house price inflation, which areas are doing well and which are not. Richard shared some interesting views on Brexit, which, at the time of the conference, wasn’t being reported as impacting market activity (things may well have changed since!).

Hometrack’s latest Price Index suggests that two-and-a-half years on from the Brexit vote, the headlines are dominated by the exit process. There is a continued narrowing in the size of the discount between asking and sales prices in large regional cities.

The near-term outlook for UK city house prices is down to the outlook for the economy and mortgage rates, as well as households’ expectations for employment. While consumer confidence has dipped since 2016, it has not fallen back to the lows seen before 2014.

Right now, thousands of extremely clever people backed by billions of dollars of often expert investment are working extremely hard to change the way real estate is traded, used and operated.

UK Analyst

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Anthony Codling: The year of the independent

Anthony’s presentation was titled: “Will 2019 be the year of the independent agent?” A title that was bound to bring delegates to the room! He explored the numbers of estate agencies that have just one office – over 40 per cent of the market; those who have two offices (very few) right through to the few which have 100 or more branches.

So the market is actually led by small independents. He asked if the large organisations are, in fact, too large to fail… or not and whether they can make the profits they need to keep investors interested.


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David Cox: Lettings legislation

David Cox attracted a full house with his hugely informative presentation discussing the forthcoming Tenant Fees Bill.

He told delegates that there is no “Prohibited Payment” there are only “Permitted Payments, which is the Government’s way of saying you can’t charge for anything other than those that are allowed, namely: Rent and Utilities; Tenancy Deposit; Holding Deposit and Tenant Default fees.

Holding deposits will be capped at one week’s rent and held for just 15 days.

David went on to say that deposits must be returned if the landlord or agent pulls out, but if the tenant pulls out, or fails the Tight to rent check; or makes false or misleading statements or simply ‘drags their feet’, then the holding deposit may be retained.

There are other key provisions: Tenant Default fees may be charged for failure to pay rent or breach of tenancy if the tenancy is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST).

David also discussed the timescales for the legislation. The Bill has gone through its five stages in the House of Commons and House of Lords and it has Royal Assent, so now likely to be implement within months – he believes that will be April 2019.


Former UK Ambassador to the EU

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Sir Ivan Rogers KCMG


Sir Ivan Rogers KCMG is a former senior British civil servant, who was the Permanent Representative of the UK to the European Union from November 2013 until his resignation in January 2017.

Sir Ivan Rogers was an exceptional speaker. Without any reference notes he spoke so authoritatively on Brexit and how it might – or indeed, might not – change our lives. Fascinating!

Following the Brexit referendum in June 2016, Sir Ivan became a key civil servant in the negotiations to leave. As our key man in Brussels and crucially, not a politician, few people have been so close to the real Brexit negotiations with the EU and have the breadth and depth of perspective on the process and possible outcomes.

Sir Ivan gave delegates his perspective on how he thinks the Brexit process between the UK and Europe will play out. It was little surprise that the conference room was packed for this presentation which was absolutely fascinating.

CEO, Hunters

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Glynis Frew, CEO, Hunters

Hunters, established in 1992 by Kevin Hollinrake and John Waterhouse, is one of the most successful estate agency franchises in the UK, with over 200 branches.

Glynis said that Hunters knows how it feels to work in frontline agency, that they believe in independent business owners, committed to delivering outstanding customer service with a No Sale No Fee proposition which is a real business winner. Glynis discussed their principles and how they can be applied both now and in the future.

She posed questions such as: “If technology is the disrupter it claims to be or is technology just an accelerator?”

“What is the future for traditional agency software and where do we go with the myriad of Proptech companies?”

“What will be the most effective way of reaching the consumer? Is digital marketing a form of black art or is it something that really works.”

“Is Regulation an inevitable evolution of the market or will it be introduced at the detriment of the customer?”

This was a very lively and entertaining presentation which certainly demonstrated that there is a great demand for good franchised estate agencies.

Directors, Bradleys Estate Agents

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Lyndon Bent and Chris Baxter, Bradleys

In this presentation, two Directors of the multi-award winning agency shared some of their secrets of success.

They believe that in an increasingly competitive business, you need to diversify, look beyond just residential property sales or lettings. They have generated new and profitable business by offering a wide range of property services, including sales, lettings, land and new homes sales, showhouse service, mortgage advice, surveys and much more!

Adam Walker Associates

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Adam Walker: Survive the tenant fee ban

A regular columnist in The Negotiator magazine, Adam Walker is a property business consultant.

Adam discussed the many challenges that face agents in 2019, including Brexit, tax changes, compliance legislation, longer tenancies and, inevitably, the forthcoming tenant fee ban. Adam’s view is that business owners must hold their nerve… tenant fees can be replaced and disruption will only be short term. However, he said, Let-only business owners must adapt or die…


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Debate 3 The Future of Agency


Property industry trainer

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Richard Rawlings, Consultant and Trainer

Richard says that as the industry polarises, agents are forced to make a choice – go cheap/low value and rely on questionable volume business or ramp up their offering with what might seem like uncomfortable concepts that will attract highly profitable instructions. Agents who neither will fall by the wayside.



CEO, Yomdel

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Andy Solomon , CEO, Yomdel

The rapid take-up of Yomdel’s live chat service demonstrates that estate and lettings agents need to be available to potential customers, all day, all night!

Andy says that most visitors to your website won’t be ready to buy, so you need to engage with them as soon as possible to create more leads!

COO, Goodlord

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Tom Mundy, COO, Goodlord

Tom discussed the benefits to agents that lie in Goodlord’s very clever technology, which streamlines the administration-heavy lettings process. Goodlord will help agents to recoup lost revenue from the tenant fee ban and improve transparency




Commercial Director, Homeflow

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Ross McGowan, Director, Homeflow

Do you know what your vendors want? Is your digital strategy – and your website – managing your many and varied users? Homeflow helps you follow their journeys so that you make it as easy as possible for them to engage with your business.

Changes: The power of proptech

Hosted by Justin Webb, Panellists Professor Andrew Baum; Marco Ferrara; Jonathan Werth, MD, LiFE Residential and William Reeve, CEO, Goodlord; discussed the amazing development of technology within the property sector, how it has already changed the way they work and what we might expect to see in the property industry in the near future!

Challenges: Economic, Financial, Regulatory

Hosted by Justin Webb, Sir Ivan Rogers KCMG; David Cox, CEO arla | propertymark; Katie Griffin, Past President, naea | propertymark; discussed the many and varied challenges facing residential agency businesses, including Brexit, legislation, anti-money laundering compliance and other issues in a very lively debate!

Choices: The future of Estate Agency

Hosted by Justin Webb, our panellists Nick Neill, CEO EweMove, Steve Wayne, Director, Benjamin Stevens and Richard Greetham, Director, Bradleys, were all highly qualified to look into the future and how agency may evolve, what agents should be watching out for and how they can take advantage of a rapidly changing business model.


The Negotiator team sends a huge thank you to everyone who came to this year’s Negotiator Conference and Expo!

We were so pleased to see you and, from the great feedback we have had, it’s clear you had a very interesting and enjoyable day.

If you have any feedback on The Negotiator Conference 2018 as a whole, the venue; the individual speakers; the refreshments; the timing… we’d love to hear from you.

Your comments can help us shape next year’s event and deliver an even better experience!

Drop me a line:

For more information about next year’s event, if you would like to exhibit or for sponsorship opportunities, call us directly on 0844 745 3100


Grosvenor House
86-90 Park Ln
Tel: 0207 493 8000


January 27, 2016

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