A leading estate agency trade association representing 30 businesses in the East of England has claimed that Purplebricks failed in the US because, like the UK, vendors and landlords pay agents for expertise, and online and hybrid agents struggle to provide that when charging low, fixed fees.
Nick Taylor (pictured, above), chairman of the Norwich & District Association of Estate Agents, claims Purplebricks and its imitators within the online market ‘have failed’ because they are unable to offer the expertise vendors want when deciding on who to instruct.
“When selling one’s biggest financial asset, most sellers want to employ a fair degree of expertise and the truth is that £899 doesn’t buy much expertise,” he says, referring to Purplebricks’ current fixed fee for its service.
Martyn Baum (left), who runs seven-branch Norfolk estate agency Arnolds-Keys, claims online and hybrid agencies have struggled because they only concentrate on a small section of the house buying and selling process, namely the online marketing.
“People need help and guidance when selling what for most is their largest asset,” he says. “The hard work really begins once an offer has been agreed between a seller and buyer.
“Many online agents just do not offer this service. The issues that Purplebricks are experiencing come down to the missing parts of estate agency that they just don’t cover rather than the ones they do.”
But Baum also admits that online agents have helped introduce better ‘disruption’ technology and digital customer communication software into the industry.
Nick Taylor is also MD of independent estate agency Hadley Taylor. Read more about estate agents in Norwich.