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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Expansion plans for two high profile online agencies

easyProperty, the online lettings agency set to launch a sales operation later this year, plans an Initial Public Offering after the summer to fund its expansion overseas. 

In an interview with the Reuters news agency, easyProperty chief executive Rob Ellice says the firm intends to raise a "significantly larger" amount than the £9.75m it has raised so far. 

Ellice says the company is currently valued at £66m. 

"At the next round, we'd be seeing someone of a larger scale put a bigger chunk of money into the business. I think we're looking at both an IPO and a pre-IPO round [of fundraising] at the moment" Ellice told Reuters.

He says he has been contacted by funds from the United States, France and Germany.

Another online agency, Purplebricks, and franchise high street agency Hunters are both planning to float later this year on the back of a relatively strong housing market and an increasingly-confident equity market. 

The report says that the easyProperty brand is on lease to Ellice for 20 years from Sir Stelio Haji-Ioannou. 

easyProperty is launching in Scotland over the summer and has licences to enter France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and Greece - in these territories it will probably deal with local agency partners. 

Meanwhile EstatesDirect - a ‘hybrid’ semi-online agency which also has representatives in areas to deal directly with clients - has raised another £1.35m through crowdfunding, which is £100,000 more than originally anticipated. 

Founders Steve Smith - the Poundland creator - and Match.com creator Darren Richards reportedly put five per cent of the business up for sale to small investors through Crowdcube.

Over 300 people have invested via the platform, with the largest single investment being £175,000.

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    This is interesting.. Easyproperty raised £1.4m for just 2.1?% of the business yet Estate Direct appear to provide a better service. Funny how a brand like Easy can tempt money from investors..
    Key issue for easyproperty is they haven't thought through the dynamics of their operation very well... after all, its all very well being online and charging nominal rates but they don't offer valuations, leaving landlords (and I presume vendors when their sales come online), to decide the rental or sales value themselves - unless vendors ask high street agent around first for valuations?... though that would defeat the object wouldn't it???
    Also, I have a property in north Wales.. If I take up EPs offer of accompanied viewings, where is their agent going to come from?... their office in Canary Wharf? Ummm...Duhh..

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