Online and hybrid estate agents such as Purplebricks and Emoov have certainly made a big splash in the property market. You only need to turn on your TV to see a Purplebricks advert, or walk down the street to spot a bright purple ‘for sale’ board outside a property. What you might not have noticed is how many times there is another estate agency board sitting next to it. The Purplebricks ‘for sale’ boards now rarely stand alone. Research conducted by GetAgent has found that half of online agent listings haven’t sold after 14 months. It comes as no surprise to find out that homeowners are then turning back towards the traditional, more established estate agents to continue selling their home.
What’s more interesting is that the research has shown it doesn’t seem to take sellers long before deciding to switch to the traditional agent. Almost half of vendors who switched from Purplebricks did so in the first two months. And out of those properties re-listed, 65% had asking price changes. It seems homeowners are quick to lose faith in the online model.
It’s of course, not unusual for homeowners to choose more than one estate agent to sell a property. However, online agents encourage sellers to pay an upfront fee. Over 80% of those interviewed chose to use an online estate agency due to the perceived cost savings. If the property sells then the upfront fee is a much cheaper alternative to the usual % taken by the traditional estate agents. But the big question is, how can Purplebricks expect to keep sellers happy if they pay a fee upfront and their property does not sell?
GetAgent interviewed one Purplebricks customer:
“I saw Purplebricks everywhere, so I assumed they’d be a great place to sell my home. I was wrong. I was very disappointed with the service offered. To be honest, all they seemed to care about was getting their upfront fee”
The interviewee raises a good point. Purplebricks are everywhere. But in this ever changing digital world, being everywhere doesn’t necessarily equal quality, service and ultimately actually selling your home. It’s easy to assume Purplebricks are a better alternative to the traditional model but perhaps homeowners are falling for good old advertising, after all, Purplebricks spent over 9 million pounds on media in 2016. Purplebricks modus operandi is to convince the homeowner, that traditional methods are a waste of money and that technology has the solution – this, evidently is not always the case.
Homeowners welcomed the change that online estate agents brought and they have certainly disrupted the market.The question is – do they deliver the service needed for what is likely to be the biggest financial transaction of your life?
At GetAgent, we support the traditional estate agency model. We believe there are some great estate agents out there – there just hasn’t been a way for homeowners to make an informed decision. That’s why, here at GetAgent, we have created a tool that allows homeowners to choose an estate agent that is right for them – a comparison website for estate agents which is based purely on past performance. Making sure homeowners are with an estate agent that suits their selling needs.
To view the research report in full click here.