Why you should never use an online estate agent
Purplebricks returns to ‘commisery’ as share price plunges 17% in a week
The new adverts call for vendors to instruct Purplebricks rather than a traditional high-street estate agency that only charges sellers commission if they successful complete on a property deal. The national TV and Radio spots parody the traditional estate agent pitch, showing how the joy felt on completion can suddenly turn to commisery for spending more than Purplebricks would charge.
This claim made by the online agency comes despite a decision in July to increase its pricing and scrap its money back guarantee.
- The standard package rose from £999 to £1,199.
- The pro Package increased from £1,399 to £1,599.
- The higher priced regions Classic Package jumped from 1,499 to £1,999.
- The higher priced regions Pro Package shot up from £1,999 to £2,499
There are many reasons why you should never hand over any payment to an online agent.
Despite the rhetoric, major online estate agents, such as Purplebricks, do not release any figures to substantiate any of their claims, after all, once you have paid them, all they do is forward enquiries to you.
Not only do they not take any steps to market your property to ‘passive buyers’ these are buyers who are not actively looking, but they happen to see a property on social media, take a liking to it and the next thing, they are making an offer.
Strange as it may sound, in our case, most of our buyers do not come from the portals, on the contrary, we consider the portals to be an incidental, it is our direct marketing that normally leads to successful sales.
There is a matter that is far more important, and that is Anti-Money Laundering. I have not found any information about this on the Purplebricks website, if there is any information, it is not where it should be and where it should be, is in a primary location.
The laws on AML are strict and the penalties are punitive, leaving you exposed, in the event that you sell to the wrong person. Sadly, lack of knowledge of the law, is not accepted as a defence.
The next matter is, negotiation:
Before you dismiss the services of a professional, ask yourselves if you really are best suited to negotiating the sale of your own property, which you have an emotional attachment to? Just as most professional services have agents, even barristers have agents, called ‘Clerks’ who ensure that they get the best fee, the same applies to sellers wishing to get the best price. Buyers do not hesitate to take advantage of the fact that you are not represented by a professional, who can impartially and professionally address their efforts to get your price down.
The figures also confirm that where there is a sale, it averages less than the surrounding property, but sadly, in most cases there is no sale, or rather, the sale does not ultimately come from the online agent, but from other sources, but due to the fact that online agents are no under contract and you effectively pay for a significant period or even open-ended presence on their websites, when a sale does happen, they happily take credit, whereas the reality is that you paid for a service that you did not receive.
Ultimately, the most prudent course of action is not to pay upfront for any online estate agent, in fact, never pay upfront for any agent or for their associated services. You are selling your property and you need to get the best price, therefore, you must never be constrained by a contract, sole selling rights and you should certainly not pay sums in excess of £1,000 for little more than an advert on a website.