The Purplebricks global expansion programme bandwagon continues apace today after the company this morning announced that it has bought a hybrid counterpart in Canada called DuProprio for £29.3 million or $52 million.
Unlike the UK-based hybrid agency, DuProprio is no digital upstart, though. Founded in 1997 by a 21-year-old entrepreneur, it was later sold to Canada’s Yellow Pages for $50 million.
DuProprio offers an almost identical service to Purplebricks including online listings, in-home appointments by valuers, and both ‘coaches’ and a call centre to help them sell their home.
Purplebricks says it will use its cash reserves to help fund an aggressive expansion of DuProprio across Canada, although the brand and management team will be retained.
Like Purplebricks, it also claims to save vendors ‘thousands of dollars in commission’ but the company – which is known to French speakers as DuProprio and English customers as ComFree, has in the past made claims in its advertising that have annoyed traditional agents.
In 2016 the Quebec Federation of Real Estate Boards launched a class action against DuProprio claiming its ads were ‘misleading’, the same year the company was sold to Yellow Pages.
Purplebricks claims the company is Canada’s leading online ‘commission-free’ property network and that it has a 20.2% market share in the country’s largest property market, Quebec, and also recently launched into Ontario and Western Canada. It has 39,0000 listings.
“DPCF developed a strong presence in delivering a flat fee, cost-effective, professional real estate service to the people of Canada, challenging the conventional agency market,” says Global CEO of Purplebricks, Michael Bruce (left).
“Their model of bringing a range of service packages and support, with access to expertise from coaches to legal professionals, is proving highly attractive to the Canadian public, and has aspects in common with the Purplebricks’ model and ethos in the UK, Australia and the US.”