Chess Mortgages’ Bob Singh sets up online estate agency to boost broker income

Chess Mortgages’ Bob Singh sets up online estate agency to boost broker income


The cloud-based business will operate through licensees, each of whom will manage their local areas.   

Advisers who work under the brand will be able to run their own estate agency in their spare time, without interfering with their existing mortgage business.

Brokers who join the business can work from their homes or offices and operate in their allocated regions. They will be able to pick up leads from vendors, landlords and potential buyers.  

Singh said: “It’s a good opportunity for mortgage brokers who do a lot of mortgages to engage with their community and offer this service at a much reduced cost compared to expensive high street agents.”   

“Setting up a new estate agency is extremely costly but with modern technology and being part of a brand means the same services can be offered for a fraction of the cost despite the license fee and monthly retainer.”  

He added: “It may not be of interest to brokers right now because everyone is busy due to the stamp duty holiday, but come next year, when the market is bound to cool down, it could become a valuable additional revenue stream.   

“Clients already trust brokers to handle all their finances – why not the sale or letting too? It just makes sense and keeps everything in-house and keeping personal data in one place. Our customer engagement tool means everything is on-line, real-time, visible and transparent so no one is kept in the dark.”  

Singh also said he felt brokers could apply the principles and standards learned in financial services into estate agency, which will also soon face regulation. 

Brokers will receive full training and operate under the brand’s license agreement. They will also be encouraged to take the Propertymark exams.  

They will be provided with access to the company’s property technology including its GDPR-compliant CRM system and app-based client engagement tool.  

Additionally, brokers will be offered lead generation tools and have their stock of properties listed on Rightmove, Zoopla and Boomin to generate interest.

Singh said: “[The commission earnings] will depend on turnover, but it’ll start at 75 per cent of gross commissions and rise up to 85 per cent if brokers cross certain thresholds.”   

No commission will be deducted for any financial services business transacted by brokers. Commissions will be generated from sales, lettings, management, commercial, auctions and sales of ancillary insurance and lifestyle products.  

As well as offering a no sale, no fee option, the brand will allow clients to list properties themselves with a low upfront payment. 

Singh said he had received “considerable interest,” from parties wanting a low cost entry into the new estate agency business, which he believed was the only online model specifically targeting mortgage brokers.  

The business will be separate from Chess Mortgages and is set for launch in July. It will initially operate in and around a 10 to 15 mile radius of Heathrow before expanding into London, the Home Counties and further afield.