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Housesimple extends ‘free to sell’ service to Nottingham ahead of 2020 roll-out

Hybrid agency says service will start in two postcodes before being launched across whole of Nottingham between Christmas and New Year.

Nigel Lewis

Hybrid estate agency Housesimple has expanded its ‘free to sell’ home selling offer to Nottingham after trialling the controversial service in Yorkshire and the NW of England.

Vendors in the city’s central NG1 and NG8 postcodes can now access the service ahead of a city-wide roll-out on the 27th December.

The service is likely to then launch across the whole of the West Midlands and, following further launches in other cities and towns next year, an eventual national roll-out.

After registering with Housesimple for an appointment, vendors are given portal listings, photos and floorplans, negotiation and sales progression, a valuation, a local property expert, a for sale board, an online dashboard and a service that operates until 8pm.

In January, when it launched its initial pilot of the scheme in Yorkshire, Housesimple revealed that the agency would earn income from referral fees earned via mortgage, conveyancing and insurance advice provided to buyers and sellers. It June it then also offered the service in the NW.

“Nottingham stands out as having one of the strongest property markets in the UK,” says Sam Mitchell, chief executive of Housesimple (left).

“The city has seen consistent house price growth in recent years, homes are selling in good time and very close to asking price.

“Since the start of the year, Nottingham homeowners have sold over £300m worth of property, meaning they could have saved an estimated £4.5m in fees if they’d sold for free – something they can now do with Housesimple.”

The service has several critics including Russell Quirk, who in the past has said at best the company will only monetise 20% of its listings, and North West agency owner Maurice Kilbride, who has said it will trigger a ‘race to the bottom’.

December 11, 2019

One comment

  1. But when will Housesimple make any profit? I only have sight of accounts to March 2018, which was a long time ago, but at that point, in the previous year they turned over 2.5M and made an operating loss of 13.5M.

    Or put another way, for every £1 they generated as cash flow it cost them £5.40. So, not a model making money. Since June 2019, they are doing the job of selling for free, so that lowers the cash flow coming in, but their pivotal strategy is to make profit by capturing data from buyers and referring people/data to the financial and conveyancing services sector, mortgages, insurances etc.

    What strikes me is that if you are running a company on tech and no physical offices, why is it costing £13.5M to run, and I assume that the cost in 2019 / 2020 will be North of £10M, so will the referral fee income cover that spend and some? I do not think it likely.

    Also, as only 12% of vendors see the fee as a factor when instructing an agent, I do feel that for 78% of vendors charging a fee is no issue – as long as the House Simple proposition is viable and results in good marketing, good service, excellent after sale agreed service and a seamless omni-channel experience for all clients, buyers and sellers.

    If the tech is merely a digitization of the old model of agency, which is hardly seamless and often has major problems, and if there are not enough humans to hand hold the public – which is a key part of a property professionals core role, then even if you give the public the offering for free they may well vote with their feet and use the local agent with 4-sales people with 30-years experience each, who live in the area, and can give service that has a higher level of value.

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