Lee James Pendleton Speaks At National Property Conference


This year’s Negotiator Awards conference saw the UK’s most influential property experts sharing their thoughts on estate agency best practice, current property trends and projected future directions. As part of a panel discussion which took place at the Hilton, Park Lane on 3rd November, James Pendleton founder Lee James Pendleton spoke to audiences about what drives him and what he predicts for the property market in 2016.

What inspires you?
I thrive on being in the industry and working with outstanding people at James Pendleton. I love the business as much as I did the first time I knew I was going to sell property. Aged 14 on a German exchange.

Is there space in the UK market for both traditional and non-traditional agents to survive? Of the many non-traditional agents that have launched so far, is there one that you particularly admire?
Some would certainly say no but with the digital era as it is then, of course, there must be – but at what level and at what cost for the consumer? From our business experience in the London market we strongly believe that, as time is a considerable factor with most of our clients, it’s a 100% no and having taken a number of sales and lettings instructions from online agents its showing us that the human element in the process is still very much required and wanted.

Selling a property has an emotional attachment for most clients and an experienced person to facilitate this is required to make the sale actually go through. Trust from clients built over time may mean they are prepared to pay a substantially different amount to obtain the property with the experience and guidance of a solid estate agent. Many people believe they can sell a property but the experience is required to make it exchange and complete. We have not found one online agent to date that has gained our respect, sadly one made a very wild statement recently of its aim to ‘wipe out’ high street agents. Uploading a property to a portal does not sell or let a property, people do!.

Red Adair said it perfectly – if you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur. Online agents may just be the latter at this stage.

One key feature of the market right now is lack of stock. Most agents report that a lot of vendors are not coming to the market as they can’t find anything to buy. Why do you think this is and does it represent ‘the new norm’? If so, what implications does that have for our industry?

Our stock levels at James Pendleton are 14% higher than 2014 but we are aware that other agents and certain areas have lower stock levels. Our aim as an agent is to find suitable buyers for our vendors and suitable properties for them to move forward to. Once again facilitation is required to make the market move. There are always opportunities, it’s just how they are perceived – this approach is the key to success. We are a company that makes the phone ring and generate new business, we don’t wait for it to come to us. If our industry or companies do not change their attitude to changing markets and relish every single opportunity then they will see and feel a decrease in revenue.

Are Agent Review sites now truly credible in the eyes of a prospective vendor? Have we now reached the stage where they would look there before calling you for an appointment? If so what should a good agent be doing about it?
I’m not sure about anyone else but if I read a review site then I tend to review mostly the negative comments and make a judgement from there and see if they are truly justified or just petty remarks.

Personally, I would only 100% trust a positive comment from someone with credibly or someone within my network. Referral and word of my mouth business for us is vital so by delivering ‘above and beyond’ service agents should see a considerable return. With many review sites being questioned for legitimacy then I feel the integrity has diminished and hopefully people revert back to actually talking to each other and asking the real question, would you use that agent and why?

David Cameron has stated that he intends to “turn Generation Rent into Generation Buy”? Do you think he’s serious? Is it a good thing?

I could not agree more with generation buy, it’s how its executed is the number one question here. With many other countries offering longer-term mortgages, I feel the banks and lenders need to address this situation for future affordability.

We’ll close by me coming to you each in turn and asking you for your ‘one thing that you would ask Father Christmas to bring to the UK Housing Market’. If Father Christmas could bring one thing to the UK housing market for me it would be for everyone to have the ability to get an affordable mortgage so they can own their own home thus creating confidence, stability and positivity.