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130 ready to take EstatesDirect franchisesSteve Smith, the entrepreneur who founded Poundland, says he now has 130 people ready to take local franchises of his EstatesDirect.com online agency.

Smith, who set up Poundland with a £50,000 loan before selling it over a decade later for £50m, is turning his existing local agency into a national company, using cash raised earlier this year via crowdfunding to finance the process.

Some £494,000 was raised in April, including one investment of over £200,000.

EstatesDirect first launched online in some parts of the UK in 2012 and has had mixed fortunes, letting and selling only 450 properties since that time, but now it aims to become a nationwide service with a fixed fee. It says it will bridge the gap between online and high street agents.

EstatesDirect operates with a website as its shop window but then has what it describes as qualified regional agents to value property, prepare details, and handle appointments, valuations and viewings.

We know that homeowners and landlords still value the knowledge and service they receive from experts in the field Smith says.

Smith says his service will be the UK's largest single-branded estate agency network within five years.


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    with more brands and more investment the online space in this market is only going to grow. Having savvy commercial guys like Steve entering the fray can only be good for competition.
    That being said winners will be defined by their brand,their proposition and their investment. On those 3 metrics alone easyProperty.com has a head start over most. We look forward to joining the party and some healthy competition. Coming soon.........

    • 18 July 2014 15:43 PM
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    Do you not think their recent article in the Daily Mail will have an impact on how many customer enquiries they'll get If they keep up PR like that perhaps they are planning on boosting their customer base. I saw an advert for them on the back of a bus this week too. Plus surely estate agents will flock to the franchise if they can see that's where the clients are going


    • 18 July 2014 13:54 PM
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    He seems to have done alright with the crowdfunding - must be selling something convincing to investors

    • 18 July 2014 13:39 PM
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    That is quite a bold claim to make that his service will be the UKs largest single-branded estate agency network within five years. Especially given the incredible amount of online estate agencies that already exist. Going up against the more established online agency sites, as well as the popular high street estate agencies seems like a huge challenge to me. Poundland worked because there was a gap in the market, but this agency seems like nothing new at all. Good luck to Mr. Smith, I think he'll need it.

    • 18 July 2014 11:09 AM
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    He was obviously very successful with Poundland, but this new venture seems more like a vanity project to me. Mixed fortunes is a bit of an understatement - only 450 properties let and sold in two years, doesn't make great reading. That's what makes me sceptical about the comment right at the very end: "Smith says his service will be the UKs largest single-branded estate agency network within five years."

    They may well prove me wrong, but the cynic in me says they won't.

    • 18 July 2014 09:36 AM