The real estate agency “is not broken but it smells like yesterday”, explains Daniel McPeake, managing director of the American “rock star of real estate brokerage” Nest Seekers International in Europe.
You have worked with Nest Seekers for seven years; Tell us how the company got established and developed in the UK.
Nest Seekers International was started in the shadows of September 11 by Eddie Shapiro in New York and has grown rapidly by creating the “Rock Star Real Estate Brokerage”, always looking to the future and with a deep understanding of the mechanics behind brand awareness. The company now represents properties in the world’s most luxurious markets. Expansion into the UK and Europe was aided by fate and a personal desire to move the UK real estate industry forward.
UK agents used to offer a charge, not a service
I worked in real estate with my business partner Solly Strickland (between us we have over 50 years of experience) at the head of a successful boutique agency in London, but we were a little offended by the public perspective on “Agency! “. I started to travel around the world to see how “Agency” was treated in other countries – (tiring time). I flew regularly on a Friday and came back on Monday morning (not great when the destination is Singapore or Hong Kong). We found out that the problem was that the UK fees are too low. British agents used to offer a fee, not a service, and the “gods” of service are the Americans. So we reached out to a few companies in New York and Eddie Shapiro responded. It was planning to expand to the UK, but we all agreed that you can’t ‘copy and paste’ an American model, a lot of stuff gets lost in the translation across the Atlantic, so we slowly planned how we were going to enter the UK market, quietly.
Nest Seekers gained notoriety by appearing in Netflix’s “Selling Sunset” and Bravo’s “Million Dollar Listing” television series; Is all the advertising good for the brand?
It’s great for the brand and the customers. Last year, “Million Dollar Beach House” was the world’s most watched unscripted Netflix show and that’s what Nest Seekers International does: We create timeless moments and draw thousands of buyers and sellers to our website allowing them to see the multiple markets in which we operate and the company’s connectivity around the world. It also contributes immensely to the expansion, because when we came to the UK we were not a foreign company without a history. Customers felt like they knew us because they had seen the shows.
The American-style “broker” business model, which avoids wages for a higher commission rate, is gaining ground with UK real estate agencies. How does the Nest Seekers structure work and why do you think it is becoming more and more popular here?
The real estate agency is not broken but it smells like yesterday
Responsibility! When you put the skin in the game and your own name in the business, the industry moves forward. Customers are now starting to understand this and are drawn to it. The agency is not broken but it smells like yesterday. There is a revolution going on with experienced agents and young professionals who have transferable skills. They want to withhold the rains and be properly rewarded for it. For example, imagine you have two agents in front of you who both want to list your house. One will receive 10% of the fee when completed, the other 70% of the fee when completed – who is more motivated? This high commission model works because the agent is free to grow their own business while benefiting from the years of brand awareness offered by Nest Seekers International and leveraging the power of “US”, our global network of brokers. .
How is the UK approach to real estate marketing different from that in the US?
It is literally ‘tomatoes / tomatoes’. The main differences are the fees (usually 6%) which allow the sales agent to spend their own money on staging and targeted marketing, as the fees are high enough to recoup the cost and a profit. Also, importantly, these fees allow the co-brokerage sales agent, meaning that there is enough fee to encourage buying agents to work with sales agents. This is where the UK falls. Agents have fees so low that they’re not willing to share them with other agents, the payoff isn’t there. Change that – teach agents to offer a service, not a fee. Bring the dawn of buying agents and move the industry from B to C to B to B, this will make the experience better for all by reducing the personal involvement of the buyer and seller, thus allowing professionals to find an agreement.
You recently got some sensational announcements including a £ 65million block in Mayfair, a 9,000 square foot mansion in Knightsbridge and a premier penthouse in St Pancras Chambers. What have been your flagship offers in recent years?
For Nest Seekers International, it’s the fact that we came to the UK and London and were the first “American brand” to break into the super premium market, which I can tell you is very difficult to understand. make. Our most satisfying deal was perhaps not the most expensive, when we sold what The Telegraph considered to be London’s ‘most unsaleable property’ in South Kensington – one of the biggest agencies in the world had tried. and failed, but we repositioned the client in a sell position.
Major real estate markets in the UK and around the world have been remarkably busy despite the pandemic and the lack of international travel – so much so that Bloomberg has warned that bubble risk is at its highest since 2008. Are you bullish or bearish the London market in the years to come?
We got one fact to hang on to is house prices are going up
Bubble and cycle! These phrases are a way to describe and understand the market! While we can observe and try to predict the direction the global housing market is heading, we are taught, as with the pandemic, that predictions can be wrong. We have one thing we hold on to is that house prices are going up. We have seen a real estate rush and a usable haven for investment and personal security in extremely uncertain times. As long as the uncertainty persists, the demand for real estate will continue. Once the dust begins to settle, we will see a slight cooling in asking prices as the world gets used to the new normal. But don’t bet against the bricks!
What real estate and business trends from the past year do you expect the pandemic to have passed?
Homework will be the dominant factor to enter the new normal
Work from home definitely. Before the pandemic, we started to see the list of department stores. Now, most of us have given it a try of working from home. Looks like this will be the dominant factor to enter the new normal. Maybe not all week but it’s now a “thing” and it’s not going anywhere. Zoom in on humanized and turbo video calling which has broadened the market for many businesses. For example: We were able to set up and open Nest Seekers in Portugal (which lists some of the most luxurious properties) during the lockdown and on my part this would not have been possible without the video calls.
A 2% stamp duty surcharge for buyers of non-resident goods came into play in April. How important is the stamp duty to super prime buyers and what effect is the 2% surcharge likely to have?
With the tax, there is a person ready to pay it or a person capable of compensating for it. It’s all about desire. If you want a property, you get it and some overseas buyers expect a charge.
What’s next for Nest Seekers in the UK?
We continue to listen to the market by adapting new concepts which we believe will be part of the buy / sell process. Blockchain, crypto all have a possible role to play, so we’re taking note, on a global scale. We are growing and although we did not go down the pyramid scheme to get numbers, we are now over 50 agents in London and we are expanding in Manchester and Cornwall with sure early success.
We also launched the Nest Seekers Academy, which teaches personality and sales psychology. It was a great success. The plan is simply to push the business forward, to make a difference by allowing a free agency to exist by raising fees and in turn offering better service and higher asking prices. It’s not just about Nest Seekers International, if all UK agencies embrace the changes that we all are making, if we all take a step forward then the industry would take a step forward and it’s better for them. agents, customers and the industry we love.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Eat that frog! That is, if you have a horrible call to make, make it early.