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Fintech pioneer launches free-to-list estate agency to rival Purplebricks

Ray Rafiq-Omar says his online estate agency will make it money from arranging mortgages for buyers who register to view properties advertised on Rightmove.

Nigel Lewis

online estate agency

A former fintech entrepreneur is the latest entrepreneur to have a go at setting up a free-to-list online estate agency, saying he wants to take on Purplebricks.

Called Free.co.uk, it is the brainchild of Ray Rafiq-Omar who prior to this was CEO of Unmortgage, a business established in September 2018 to enable renters to gradually buy their home, backed with £10 million of venture capital cash.

Rafiq-Omar (pictured) left Unmortgage in May abruptly after the company said it had “restructured and strengthened its senior team to reflect the needs of the business” even tough the 37-year-old was its driving force and co-founder.

In a nutshell, Free.co.uk offers to advertise homes for sale on Rightmove for free and then plans to make money from potential buyers by offering those who register for property viewings with mortgage deals and hand-holding through the application process.

The agency is registered on Rightmove but has no listings to date, and is still recruiting for staff after being incorporated in January.

“I’ve been thinking about this for three years now, but was running Unmortgage,” Rafiq-Omar has told a website for entrepreneurs.

“So on leaving Unmortgage, I knew this is what was next. Even thinking of selling your home is painful; there’s just so much friction. And the thought of spending all that money is debilitating.”

“We aren’t competing with high street agents – they exist to hold people’s hands, which many people feel they need to sell their home. For those who know their home, its value and the local area better than any ‘local property expert,’ Free.co.uk gives them a new choice to be in control.”

July 28, 2020

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