Vebra Newsletter - Winter 2011

Welcome to the Winter edition of the Vebra Customer Newsletter. We endeavour to provide the latest news on developments in our software and services and keep you, our loyal customers informed.

Tis the season to be grateful

Have you ever felt somewhat at odds with the rest of the world? Like everybody’s telling you how it should be yet your own experience is something completely different? Well that’s how I’d describe the last few months.

I spend an average of about 2 hours per day in my car so as you can imagine I get to listen to a lot of radio. I’m a Radio 5 Live man I’m afraid, too old for Radio 1, too young to admit to listening to Radio 2 and far too shallow for Radio 4!

Over the last few months I’ve listened to an unprecedented amount of doom and gloom from a whole host of commentators and economists who seem totally incapable of forecasting what the future holds. Europe, Peston, OECD, the time I arrived at the office I could have been excused for simply turning around and going straight back home! Then I’d look at my daily new business report and wonder if I had somehow drifted into a parallel universe. September to November have been the three best consecutive months for new business for over 3 years and whilst every agent I meet tells me caution is their overriding sentiment, many are still seeing new software as one of the key decisions that will help them ride the storm, whatever that storm may bring.

I don’t profess to completely understand why we seem to be bucking the market. It may be that our products are just like a well priced property in good condition......there’s always a market, it may be that our competitors have taken their eyes off the ball (twitter can be very time consuming you know!) or it may simply be that our clients are some of the best in the industry and, tough conditions or not, they see this market as not only a time to consolidate their position but to aggressively grow market share. Whatever the answer, I’m not complaining.

However, what I will complain about, and consistently fail to understand, is the lack of importance often placed on training, particularly in these challenging times. I meet a lot of estate agents and I can honestly count on the fingers of one hand those that have an active software training plan be it for existing employees or even new starters. It also often amazes me how little some of our clients know about the real power of the software in which they have invested. Would you buy a car and only learn how to use the first 3 gears or a TV and disable half the channels? No? Then why do so many agents make do with using so little of their software and ignore functionality that could significantly improve the customer experience they deliver and ultimately their bottom line. I probably find that even more baffling than the musings of Robert Peston et al ! At Vebra we offer whole range of training courses either at your office or at one of our 4 training centres. Please, if you have invested in our software, make sure you get the most from it and contact us about training courses near you.

It may sound like I’m confused but I’m not really. Like you I know that good businesses do the basics really well and focus their attention on satisfying their customers. Economic downturn or not, that doesn’t change and deep down I know that’s exactly why we and many of our clients are able to buck the trend.

So as the end of 2011 fast approaches I’ll apply the same logic to the market that I apply to Father Christmas when talking to my children, the question isn’t whether it exists or not, it’s have we done enough of the right things to ensure we get positive results. Tenuous I know!!

Merry Christmas

Home Move Box - order from your software for FREE!

This is a free service, the delivered box includes lots of useful moving-in items AND your branding, your clients are delighted and there isn't a catch.  What are you waiting for?

Home Move Box is a concept designed to get home movers up and running during their first few days. The box contains everyday basic items, such as tea, coffee, various cleaning products and special offers from Virgin Media and British Gas.

This service is available to all agents using Vebra software and it is easy to implement the process at the click of a button. All you have to do is register the buyer’s interest in receiving the box, via your software, enter the estimated completion date, which then prompts you with a reminder to order the box. This is done at no cost to you, although you do need to have the home mover’s permission to have the box sent to them, due to data protection.

Tim Summerley, Managing Director of Vebra, commented: “Every home owner in Britain can now receive a free hand-delivered Home Move Box, which we believe takes out some of the stress of moving! We have integrated the service into all our residential sales software so all you have to do is click on it to start the order process. It really is a quick and simple way to add a personal touch to your customer service.”

Energy Performance Certificates - order via your software

We now have two options available that will help you meet both current and future legislative requirements for EPC's – and both are available via your software.

GMG Property Services have now partnered with leading nationwide energy and property services company Vibrant to provide you EPC services at preferential rates.

Vibrant have a national DEA (Domestic Energy Assessor) panel and EPC's ordered via this integration with our software products will be charged at £43 +VAT.  For more information about Vibrant please visit the Vibrant website.

As previously announced, we also have an integration with eTech ( who provide DEA's with the SMART Work Manager to manage EPC orders and creation via a hand held device and software.

These partnerships mean that you can order an EPC from within your software at the click of a button. The order status is reflected in the property record, allowing you to track the progress at any time, and the final EPC details are downloaded to the software when the order is completed.  EPCs ordered via the eTech integration and allocated to a panel member will be charged at £43 +VAT.   If you wish to direct all EPC orders to a specified DEA who uses the eTech system this can be arranged by eTech, such orders will be subject to a £2 +VAT processing fee which will be charged to the DEA (cost of the EPC itself is between the agent and the DEA).

If you have any queries about ordering EPCs via your software please contact our support team on 0845 130 5333 who will ensure your system is configured correctly.

Let our team customise your branded templates

Our in-house team of dedicated Graphic/Template Designers have probably already assisted your business at some point along the way as they assist the majority of our VebraLive and Solex customers in the initial set-up of branded material within their software.

If you need any assistance in replicating existing designs or want something completely new,  tailored to your requirements, they are only a phone call away - 08430 220 932.

If you would like assistance with Sales details, window cards, html email templates, press advertising layouts, digital print or simply require an additional template - give them a call.

Example Templates

VebraLive: VebraSolex:

Call 08430 220932  or email - Monday - Friday 9am - 5:30pm

Get your website mobile!

If you want a brand new website or wish to upgrade your existing one, you can’t afford to ignore the growing use of mobile devices that will be used to access it.  Morgan Stanley predicts that by just 2015, mobile use of the internet will outstrip desktop use.  Can your website be accessed on Smartphones and Tablets?  If not, we can help!

Stop Press!  All new website orders placed during December and January will receive a 15% discount if the site is hosted by us - you can choose from a range of template websites and have it mobile ready, at a great price!  

The Media Design House, owned and operated by GMG Property Services,  has unique and focused experience in developing websites for both sales and letting agents who use any of the Vebra, CFP or Core software solutions. Offering a wide range of template based websites, we will provide you with a new website quickly and cost effectively.   The website will promote your brand whilst utilising the most up to date search functionality that seamlessly integrates with your property data – making your properties easy for home movers to find and view without any extra work for you. 

We are also able to upgrade your website to a Mobile Media version so that users can easily access your new website from iPads, iPhones and Android devices, without loss of detail. 

If template websites are not for you, we can also provide a more flexible option that allows you to change content or layout, without incurring additional web-design costs, using the latest, easy-to-use, feature rich, ‘Property Solution Suite’. The very latest in website technology,  allows you to rapidly add news stories, videos, your latest tweets or integrate a new blog. You can also change imagery, text and links across the site with ease.  

Do you already have a website?  We can upgrade your existing website with a Mobile Media version so that users can easily access your website from iPads, iPhones and Android devices, without loss of detail.

For more information about any of the above, please contact Paul Adams on 07791 184479 or email

Facebook, Twitter & Property Place

Are you using Social Media to promote your business yet?  If not, we can help and get you and your properties on Facebook, Twitter and the Facebook property portal, Property Place, all for just £20 per month.

All it takes is a simple phone call to our Social Media Expert, Melanie Hughes on 08430 220931 and she can talk you through the options available to you:

Let us build your Facebook Page
If you really want to maximize your presence and build relationships on Facebook through interaction with both existing and potential clients, we can build your branded Facebook page for you for a one-off set-up fee  (if you don't have one already).  We can populate your page with your company profile and additional services and even automatically notify all of your contacts that you have a Facebook presence. 

Link your properties to your Facebook Page and/or Twitter account
If you already have a Facebook page (or if we have created one for you) you can have all of your properties automatically linked, with search functionality, for just £20 per month.  If you are on Twitter, we can also feed your properties through to your account.  One price should you decide to choose one or both!

Introducing Property Place - the new portal on Facebook

We provide a feed of your property to Property Place, a third party portal that works within Facebook.  We have negotiated this on our clients behalf to ensure there will be no cost to you whereas there will be to other advertisers and, as the article states, private individuals.

This is done with the aim of providing greater exposure for your properties on the largest Social media platform, Facebook, for no additional cost.

The app allows Facebook users to Search, share, comment and contact you regarding the properties you advertise.

As with all Social media this service allows consumers to discuss, comment on and share specific properties with their network.  Comments will be visible so you can track popularity and potentially provide feedback to clients.

The property place app is designed to allow consumers to attach a property search to their own profile on Facebook. It allows them to access property against their own search criteria and share and discuss property with their own network of friends and family, using their profile.

We can remove property on a per branch basis upon request.

Property Place are building their own team of people who would be happy to answer any additional questions about the nature and future of the proposition, including enhanced listing opportunities and how to get the best out of the service.  They currently only have an email address though -

Your properties are automatically uploaded to Property Place, the new portal available to consumers to search, comment and recommend properties on Facebook. Visit the search and/or download the App from here: Property Place App

To see live examples of agents actively using Twitter and Facebook with these services visit any one of the following links;

Malcolm Gold Lettings on Twitter Julia Quilliam on Twitter  Centrick Properties on Twitter

Ryder and Dutton on Facebook Barons Estates on Facebook We Let Property on Facebook

If you would like to discuss any of our Social Media Services, call us on 08430 220931

Keen on green continues...

We are continuing to dedicate a tree for each new sale and data conversion over the value of £5000.

For the period June to August, 138 trees were dedicated at Penn Wood, Penn, Bucks via the Woodland Trust. The following 13 clients matched our pledge by dedicating a tree themselves:

  • Gebera Homes
  • Druce
  • Trafford Housing Trust
  • Whites (SP1 3SP)
  • Watson Mitchell
  • Aston Rowe
  • Merchand Petit
  • Wakeman Estate Agents
  • Elpaya Property Services
  • Murrays Estate Agents
  • Delta Estates
  • David Grundy
  • DCM Lettings

As part of our commitment to the community we have linked up with Stopsley Community Primary School in Luton. The school has approximately 400 pupils between the ages of 4 and 11. We have funded the clearing of an area of the school playground that was previously out of bounds to the pupils. With the addition of bird nesting boxes and feeders, ladybird houses, bug hotels etc this is being developed into a nature area for the pupils to enjoy.

On the 7th November 2011, Louise Carman from our Head Office was invited to join the pupils at the school for ‘Britain’s Biggest Big School Lunch’ to promote healthy school dinners. Louise commented ‘I was rather apprehensive but I can confirm that school dinners have definitely improved in the 30 years since I left school. No sign of liver and bacon or lumpy semolina. I was impressed by the healthy choices available and lack of chips. Also the dinner ladies knew every pupil’s name’.


Our own Louise Carman, far right, enjoying lunch with two other guests (both lolly-pop ladies) at the school.

Christmas Opening Hours

During the Christmas period, our offices will be closed on Monday 26th December, Tuesday 27th December and Monday 2nd January 2012. Our Support teams will be available as usual on the days we are open on 0845 130 5444.

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