Purplebricks co-founder Michael Bruce has given an interview over the weekend in which he rebuts claims often made within the industry that the hybrid agency has helped drag down estate agency fees.
During the interview he speaks at length about his passion for the charity he launched last month called Agents Together, but he also says critics are wrong to claim that Purplebricks helped drive down fees.
“I understand those criticisms – but remember that when we ran our traditional estate agency before Purplebricks [Burchell Edwards] we were under the same pressures as other agents – who back then were charging less than Purplebricks are today,” he says.
“We never called time on traditional estate agents – which will always be a long-lasting part of our industry.
Asked why traditional estate agencies feel the need to compete against Purplebricks so fiercely, he says: “Fees will always be top of the agenda, but agents have felt the need to compete because we set out our stall in a very different way to other agents.
“Purplebricks promoted that difference very widely in a tongue in cheek and sometimes semi-controversial way.”
Bruce says he wouldn’t launch Purplebricks differently now and that although he understands agents were upset by the ’commisery’ adverts, the reality is that “no one instructs on the back of an advert on TV – our ads were just a way to get us a ‘ticket to the game’,” he says.
He also agrees that Purplebricks has been more successful than Yopa and eMoov because it learned from their early mistakes.
“But more importantly, we knew the industry well and Kenny in particular had done all the agency roles and therefore we understood agents and consumers better than most, and that probably helped us stand out above the crowd,” he says.