Huge estate agent Viva Estates is fighting for its life

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festival
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Huge estate agent Viva Estates is fighting for its life

Postby festival » Thu Jan 17, 2008 7:08 pm

Huge estate agent Viva Estates is fighting for its life

ANOTHER of Spain’s biggest estate agents is fighting for its life.

Viva Estates has shut 95 per cent of its offices in a bid to fight the current recession.

The agency - that claims to be the Costa del Sol’s largest - has laid off 120 of its 160 staff.

“We have had lots of tears and goodbyes and it could get worse.”

It’s owner Chris McCarthy admitted to the Olive Press: “We have had lots of tears and goodbyes and it could get worse.”

The company has seen sales figures drop by over two thirds since 2003.

In 2007 the agency achieved just 550 completions, in comparison to 1,500 in 2003.

In a desperate bid to save the business, it has shut 13 out of its 14 offices, including flagship branches in Puerto Banus, Fuengirola and Alhaurin, and cut back on its huge UK advertising bill.

Blaming the collapse on the internet and the corruption scandals that have engulfed Andalucia, McCarthy, said: “No business has God’s given right to survive and there is a serious downturn.

“We could have gone to the wall half a dozen times, but I have invested a lot of money – well past a seven figure sum – to keep it going.”

Talking exclusively to the Olive Press, he continued: “The boom brought a lot of cash to the Costa del Sol and every Tom, *beep* and Harry coming in to try and make money.

“But most clients now use the internet and where offices were getting an average of 60 walk-in clients a month five years ago, last year they got just six.

“With various town halls raping their coffers to the tune of hundreds of millions of euros it has not helped.”

The company is now functioning on a skeleton staff of 40 from the main office in El Rosario, between Marbella and Calahonda.

But McCarthy is still optimistic that the company will survive. He has paid redundancy to around 75 per cent of his staff.

“I have invested a lot of money in the company and intend to keep it going.

“I did not sack anyone, but told them this is what I can afford, this is what I can do. I want to be able to look all my employees in the eye and not get attacked in the supermarket.

“I am optimistic that we will still be here when the market comes back. I lived through the last boom, when no-one had any money and everyone drove old bangers.

“People still love it here, the sun is still shining, and I still believe in Spain and the Costa del Sol and inland. I’m sure it will bounce back.”

adam08
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Postby adam08 » Thu Jan 17, 2008 7:16 pm

Good, cockey buggers. :D

Got to take the hard with the too easy.

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keddyboy
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Postby keddyboy » Thu Jan 17, 2008 7:26 pm

He is now throwing all his spare cash into Euro 08 and I see that a couple of his closed offices have actually reopened.
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Postby pete_l » Thu Jan 17, 2008 7:26 pm

“But most clients now use the internet and where offices were getting an average of 60 walk-in clients a month five years ago, last year they got just six.

Sounds like their internet marketing completely missed it.
While they might not have got the casual trade "ooooh, let's buy a house"
most serious buyers would research on the 'net but still need
agents to show them around properties.

The thing is, no-one buys houses at this time of year - anywhere. Even
in the UK, January contributes less than 3% of the year's turnover
(which is why doom and gloom stories about downturns in the market at
this time of year are so ignorant, there's always a downturn).
So if an agency is going to go bust, this is the time of year they'll do it

jwc
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Postby jwc » Fri Jan 18, 2008 10:14 am

That's what happens when you don't treat your customers properly, I would never deal with a company like that again.

Don

Postby Don » Fri Jan 18, 2008 10:20 am

My experience with viva last year was pretty negative. They showed me a few properties and I overheard the seller in one case ripping into the agent because the seller had asked to reduce his asking price to make a sale but the agent had put the price up "to give more room for negotiation". The agent certainly was not well informed about any of the properties and suffice to say every one of them had something illegal.

No tocar con barge pole springs to mind :lol:

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Postby JAKE M » Fri Jan 18, 2008 1:51 pm

Don wrote:
No tocar con barge pole springs to mind :lol:


Excellent :D :D :D

would that be un or una? :D
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festival
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Service Unavailable

Postby festival » Sun Jan 20, 2008 10:19 am

Viva website "Service Unavailable" and word has it will go into liquidation on Monday (tomorrow)

frank
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Postby frank » Sun Jan 20, 2008 10:31 am

Don wrote:
No tocar con barge pole springs to mind :lol:


Barge pole-bichero. But I'm sure they don't use a straight quote of that expression. Nice thought though! :D

Yo no lo querría ni regalado, "I wouldn't even want it as a gift" is the nearest expression I can think of. :D
Regards, Frank

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freecatsrus
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Postby freecatsrus » Sun Jan 20, 2008 11:44 am

Pass me a violin I can feel tears coming on NOT.

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clarkie
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Postby clarkie » Mon Jan 21, 2008 10:28 am

Website seems to be working this morning..... :?
What a life!!!!!

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rymanskid
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Postby rymanskid » Thu Jan 24, 2008 11:04 pm

was told by a friend years ago when looking for property to steer well clear of them as they are a bunch of """""""""""""""
Better flat broke in first class then hard up in second class

katy
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Postby katy » Mon Jan 28, 2008 4:59 am

Did anything happen? Are they still around? Probably be a lot more folding soon.

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Postby DecorDiva » Mon Jan 28, 2008 8:03 am

Would not surprise me if any more fold as their customer service is absolutely useless.

We put our house up for sale nearly 18 months ago with KS, had one viewing about a year ago, heard nothing no feedback whatsoever then suddenly got a pompous man call me last week to arrange a viewing, came up strutted around the house with these two people from Kent, left and guess what not heard a squeak!!

We don't need to sell just seeing what the market is like but I can imagine if someone really needed to sell how frustrated they would be.

The customer service is crap and do you know what if they do sell our house they would pocket over 30K??!!!! for what?

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agent

Postby julian » Mon Jan 28, 2008 8:27 am

if you only have your house with an agent to see what the market is like , I´m not surprised the agent doesn´t give a great service !!! :wink:

DecorDiva
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Postby DecorDiva » Mon Jan 28, 2008 8:36 am

They don't know that! If we were serious we would have put it on with our local girl who is fab :D Actually talking of Viva we did have them up to originally and they wanted about 900 euros for us just to be listed so did not go that route, glad we didn't now as would have been money down the drain :roll:

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WCAUSE
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Postby WCAUSE » Mon Jan 28, 2008 10:06 am

Decor Diva..as a potential buyer, I hope thers not too many people around"testing the market" and wasteing my time.

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Postby j4mes » Mon Jan 28, 2008 11:36 am

I think most of them are!!!!

I think an awful lot if people brought a property many years ago for a couple of hundred euros (with either no or very little mortgage), have seen the market rise dramatically and so have put their property on the market massivley overpriced at a million euros (partly because of the greed of the agents, and partly because of their own greed) and have the attitude of, if it sells for asking price then great, we'll head off somewhere cheaper with an enormous profit, and if not then it doesn't really matter...

This though, I feel, is hampering the whole market....New people putting thier properties on the market say, well next door is up for xxxxx and ours is slightly better than that so this is what we want (even thought next door has been up for sale for 2 years!)....

I have been looking since I arrived and I can say honestly that I have viewed maybe 20 villas (in 2.5 yrs, the rest can be discounted without even viewing!) and every single one I viewed is still for sale (well on the net anyway).

DecorDiva
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Postby DecorDiva » Mon Jan 28, 2008 3:35 pm

Well to be fair when we first put the house up for sale we were serious about selling it as my partner had been offered a job in the UK and we were prepared to move back. So we were serious sellers then but nothing came along and he got offered a better job here so we stayed put.

We have never bothered putting the house 'up for sale' with any other agents and having never heard anything from KS we did not think anything more about it.

When they rang the other day to say they had a viewing it was a bolt out the blue and I thought why not, we would still sell if we got the right price, but not once did KS ask if our situation had changed, they just assumed we were still in the same position as we were 18 months ago?!

We did not pick up this property for a couple of hundred euros unfortunately, we got a good price as I bought it off my parents friends, but we still have a hefty mortgage!

Have I cleared my name and put the record straight?! :?

j4mes
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Postby j4mes » Mon Jan 28, 2008 5:07 pm

Decor, my post wasn't directed at you, more of a general observation....


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