EasyProperty has relaunched its business following the merger with the Guild of Property Professionals and now claims to be the second largest hybrid agent in the UK after Purplebricks.
The company has also finished merging its lead generation, sales progression and negotiation platform with the Guild. Now, vendors who enquire via the new easyProperty website will be funnelled through to the relevant local property expert, who will be a dedicated member of staff from the local licensee’s high street branch.
Easyproperty says this way there will be a clear difference between a licensee’s high street brand and the easyProperty hybrid offering, unlike Countrywide’s approach of offering both services locally on the same website.
So far easyProperty says it has 333 signed-up licensees and 368 consumer-facing local property professionals who are currently undergoing training with former Hatched founder Adam Day.
“Today is when we move to delivery our product to the consumer after three months of work,” says easyProperty Chief Executive Jon Cooke.
“Consumer behaviour is changing and we are adapting to what [they] want – for us, it’s all about technology and people.”
EasyProperty has also revealed a new structure with private equity and banking specialist Mark Phillips appointed as chairman, while easyProperty co-founder and now former CEO Simon Ellice (pictured, right) has been appointed as Commercial Director.
The company has also revealed how its new model will work including the packages it will offering consumers and how the revamped business will interact with GPEA agent members who have signed up to be licensees.
Many aspects of the relaunched easyProperty having striking similarities to Purplebricks – including payment by vendors up-front, credit-agreement-backed deferred payments, and a team of ‘local property professionals’ like Purplebricks’ national team of ‘experts’.
Unlike Purplebricks, all the easyProperty’s on-the-road team must be employees of a Guild member who have been dedicated to the role of running the local easyProperty franchise and be trained agents and not “people who have walked off the street and been given a few days’ training”, says Jon.
Local property professionals
He also says that in urban areas the easyProperty local property professionals tend to be estate agent’s team members, while in more rural areas it’s the licensees in person. In either case, it is these local representatives who will also complete the viewings when consumers sign up to the full-service easyPremium service.
Jon says if two viewings happen at the same time, he expects licensees to co-opt existing staff members to complete one of them, rather than outsourcing as some other hybrid operators do.
Vendors are to be offered three packages. First is easySpeed, a £295 auction service supplied by IamSold.com, plus a £825 easyStandard ‘do-it-yourself’ package where vendors do their own viewings, and a full-service £1,500 easyPremium service.
The UK has been split up into 333 licenses each holding approximately 25,000 properties, and each licensee is being charged £500 a month per license to use the easyProperty brand and technology, while the head office also takes an undisclosed percentage of each sale.
“We have reached the No.2 spot in just three months and our aim is catch up and hopefully overtake Purplebricks in terms of number of local experts by both finding agents to sign up to the remaining licences that have not yet been taken, and as licences take on more staff to support their easyProperty local operations,” says Jon.
“The advantage we have is that our local professionals are all estate agents who already have experience working in the local area and are fully committed to making their local licence work.”
The company also believes that the hybrid model is most likely to work when there is a human element to the transaction, suggesting that the online-only model where vendors interact only with tech and sometimes call-centre staff is not the threat it was once believed to be.
Jon Cooke also revealed that there would news soon of a separate project to help Fine & Country members of the Guild to utilise the easyProperty technology, that the company’s plans to adapt its technology for the lettings market and that participating licensees had been offered an undisclosed number of shares in easyProperty, suggesting a likely flotation in the future.