Another week, another online estate agency launches - but the latest, called YOPA, claims not to charge any upfront fee to sellers.
YOPA, standing for Your Own Property Agent, instead has a basic level of service at £510 which includes listings on Rightmove, PrimeLocation and Zoopla, buyer checks, a viewings calendar and negotiating help.
A fuller package, at £630, includes all of the above plus sales progress reports, professional photography and a floor plan. The premium service, at £870 includes an Energy Performance Certificate, a so-called ‘personal property manager’ upgraded listings and the creation of a professional description of your home.
To sign up for any of these, vendors have to enter into a deferred-payment scheme which involves passing over credit details and passing a creditworthiness. You pay at different points during the marketing, depending on whether you want any additional services (each of which is offered with a price tag).
The London-based service is in The Property Ombudsman scheme and also offers conveyancing facilities.
YOPA chief executive Dan Attia, quoted in the Daily Telegraph over the weekend, claims to despair of traditional agents routinely overpricing, as he puts it, and then dropping the asking price after a property has lingered on the market for months.
“It happens all the time. Our margins are so tight, we have an incentive to sell quickly. The service lasts for six months, so if we sell in the first month we make more profit, and if we sell in the last month we make very little” he claims.
“The average price of a house is around £272,000, so two per cent is £5,000. Estate agency is an archaic industry which has not been reformed for many years and needs someone to ruffle its feathers. I want this to be as disruptive as Airbnb has been. It is a similar business model except that we aren’t doing short-term rentals; buying a home is a much more serious transaction and there is a lot more work involved at our end” he says in the newspaper.