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Six months after Grenville Turner’s arrival, Yopa turns the corner

The former Countrywide chief's experience begins to pay dividends at the hybrid estate agency, which lost its CEO in December.

Nigel Lewis

yopa

Hybrid agency Yopa says it has turned a corner this year after adjusting its fee structure and focusing on making more money from mortgages.

The company says the new strategy has helped it increase the agency’s share of listings nationally, boosted its revenue by 38% and helped retain its local representatives as they begin to earn more money.

Yopa also says it has reduced its costs by 40% year-on-year after significantly reducing what the company pays to gain instructions, and also increased its income per listing year-on-year.

Its fee structure has been simplified and now includes both a ‘no sale, no fee’ product but also a relaunched ‘pay later’ option that takes the fee as a direct debit ten months after a vendor signs up. Last year it experimented with a ‘pay monthly’ option but this has now been dropped.

All its fees are two-tiered, allowing vendors to choose whether to do the viewings themselves, or pay Yopa to do it.

Sighs of relief will have been breathed at its two main backers, Savills and the Daily Mail, who together have invested over £90 million into the agency. Late last year Savills revealed that the agency had enough cash to keep going for another 12 months.

Yopa’s improving performance coincides with the arrival of former Countrywide Group Chief Executive Grenville Turner (left) in August last year to be its chairman. Then CEO Ben Poynter subsequently left three months later.

Turner is an executive with a reputation for turning around property businesses operating in hard times and understands the nuts and bolts of estate agency operations.

We’re delighted to see that the strides we took in the second half of 2019 are turning into real results,” says Turner.

“By introducing a bespoke mortgage proposition, Scout Financial Services, improving engagement with our legal services and successfully implementing key Contact Centre tech, helping us have more conversations with more customers more often, we have surpassed personal bests for revenues from both instructions and ancillaries.”

February 26, 2020

One comment

  1. YOPA may be turning a corner but it maybe into a blind alley. It has never made a profit and is unlikely to and without extra funding in 2020 it is unlikely to continue in its present form. How many decades to see a return on investment of £90M, how many ‘traditional’ cold start branches would that have bought, how much profit would they have generated to date.

    Other clouds on the horizon, like many online agents its fee options to the vendor are likely to be tested, in the sense that the Competitions and Markets authority recently stated ‘“Competition law exists to ensure businesses compete fairly and customers are protected from getting ripped off.’

    For example, YOPA offers three types of fee option.
    Option one pay upfront, £999. If your home fails to sell, YOPA keep your £999.
    Option two pay later, so if it sells or does not sell you pay £999 later, so a 50% chance YOPA keeps your money for not selling your home.
    Option three, no sale no fee – no fee quoted you have to talk directly to the local YOPA agent. This appears to be akin to the traditional no sale no fee option.

    On top of this – in option one or option two if you want accompanied viewings there is an additional charge of £300 to £399. So you could if you take option one or two pay £1398 for not getting your home sold, if you are one of the 50% that do not get to exchange with YOPA.

    Am I being unkind to YOPA? No many, but not all online agents have a low teaser rate advertised which becomes a bigger transparent fixed fee, which must be paid – but is the vendor aware that they have a 50% chance of paying for nothing? And then paying a second fee to the next agent that gets them to exchange.

    Last year nearly 22,000 Purplebricks vendors took their property off the market with Purplebricks. At an average fee of £1300 that is more than £28M of fee, paid out for zero houses being exchanged. For sure Purplebricks converted more than 50% of their instructions to exchanges, but an awful lot of folk paid out and then paid again when they used a second agent.

    Some say it is about choice, I am all for that, but an informed choice for the consumer would be an honest transparent approach.

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