Online estate agents are rapidly growing in popularity simply because they are more convenient and significantly cheaper than a traditional high street estate agent.
This review takes a closer look at how online agent Purplebricks works and its pros and cons.
What is Purplebricks?
Purplebricks was founded in 2012 and is one of the largest online estate agents in the UK. It has no high street branches or offices, but it is technically a hybrid estate agent as it uses “local experts” to provide services such as a valuation of your property.
Purplebricks charges a fixed fee of £999, or £1,499 for London properties. Unlike some of its competitors, it does not offer a “no sale, no fee” service, but it does have the option of deferring payment for up to 10 months (you must use Purplebricks’ conveyancing services to qualify).
It also offers a money-back guarantee scheme, whereby anyone who doesn’t get a qualifying offer within 10 months can get a refund on their fee. Qualifying offers are 90% of the property valuation.
How does Purplebricks work?
If you decide to use Purplebricks, you will first need to book a free valuation with your “local expert”, either in person or virtually. Once your valuation has been carried out, you will receive a full valuation report.
If you’re happy to go ahead with the sale, Purplebricks will then get to work creating your property advert. Your £999 fee includes:
- Photos of your home, a floorplan and property description
- Listings on Rightmove, Zoopla and Purplebricks
- A For Sale board outside your home
- Virtual or in-person viewings that you handle yourself
- Access to the Purplebricks app, allowing you to manage your sale, get instant feedback from buyers and accept offers
If you’re happy to pay a little extra, there are a couple of add-ons you can include in your package. If you’d like an agent to accompany you for all viewings, for example, this costs an extra £300, or £400 for properties in London. You can also opt for advert upgrades on Rightmove to push your property. A Premium Listing costs £125 for 12 months and a Rightmove Featured Property costs £149 for 2 weeks.
Your local agent will also help handle negotiations and once you’ve accepted an offer, you’ll be guided through the conveyancing process to complete your sale.
Advantages of using an online estate agent over a high street agent
The biggest advantage of using an online estate agent such as Purplebricks over a high street agent is the cost. With Purplebricks, you’ll pay a flat fee of £999 no matter what you sell your home for.
In comparison, high street estate agents will charge you a percentage of the sale price, typically somewhere between 1% and 3.5%. So if your property sold for £300,000 and the fee was 1.5%, you’d pay £4,500. If your property sold for even more, say £350,000, the fee would be even higher at £5,250.
Online estate agents can also be more convenient than high street estate agents. Purplebricks allows you to manage viewings and offers via the app, for example. Its live chat service is also available Monday to Saturday. Alternatively, you can contact the agent by email.
Is Purplebricks safe?
Yes, the same regulations that govern high street estate agents also apply to online estate agents.
All estate agents must abide by the Estate Agents Act 1979, which sets out minimum standards of conduct. They are also legally required to belong to a government-approved redress scheme, either the Property Ombudsman Limited or the Property Redress Scheme, which you can turn to if you have a problem.
Pros and cons
- Significantly cheaper than using a high street estate agent
- Photos, floorplans and advertising are all included in the cost
- Option to defer fee payment
- Viewings and offers can be managed via the app
- Local property experts might not have the best knowledge so you might not get the best valuation
- No “no sale, no fee” option
- Extra fees for accompanied viewings and advert upgrades
- Must use Purplebricks’ conveyancing services to qualify for money-back guarantee
Purplebricks isn’t the cheapest online estate agent on the market and while the fee does include photos, a floorplan, online marketing and a For Sale sign, you’ll need to be happy carrying out all viewings yourself – unless you pay an additional fee. Unlike some of its competitors, there’s also no “no sale, no fee” option, though it does offer a money-back guarantee and you can choose to defer your fee payment if you prefer.
Overall, even with the optional extras, Purplebricks still has the potential to save you thousands of pounds compared to using a high street estate agent.
Frequently asked questions
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