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Another online agency scraps compulsory up-front fees for sellers

Tepilo is the latest online estate agency to introduce an option for sellers to pay after a sale is completed, instead of up-front.

The agency, founded and led by TV property expert Sarah Beeny, has revised its fee structure to offer vendors two options.

The first, which retains an upfront payment of £495 including VAT, includes a visit to the property by a Tepilo representative, a memo of sale, sales progression, account management, and listing of the property on Rightmove and Zoopla. 


In addition to this upfront flat fee, vendors have to pay additional sums for additional services - these include another £75 for a premium listing on Rightmove, £60 for a Tepilo For Sale board, £120 for professional photography, £75 for a floor plan and £90 each for a virtual tour and the compulsory EPC. 

If a buyer using the first option took on all of the additional extras, the total fee would be £1,005.

The second option - introduced this week by the agency - is for a £795 including VAT ‘Pay Later’ package. This includes all of the basic and additional features from the first option but without the virtual tour and the compulsory EPC; if these were included, the total would be £975. 

A note to users of the Pay Later option says this package “allows you to sign up today and pay nothing in advance” and adds: “You will pay £795 inclusive of VAT either on completion of your property sale or six months from the agreement, whichever comes first.”

  • Jon James

    Desparate move by a desparately poor business model.

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    When will these firms run out of money? Saw EP's advert on prime time ITV last night, surely they can't afford those sort of slots for that much longer with no real dent in the market?

    Glenn Ackroyd

    There is a stock market interim update on Thursday. TV Adverts please shareholders in the short term, just like vendor ads in newspapers. They also have a similar negative ROI.

  • Jon  Tarrey

    Does seem like a very strange, very risky move.

  • Richard White

    If the model were working, this would not be happening.

    When the market slows or stops, even for a short period, all of these guys are going to vanish like a puff of smoke in a gale.

    Algarve  Investor

    Sorry, Richard, but I don't agree. I agree with the point that this is a slightly odd and risky move, but I don't agree with your point that "all of these guys" - which I assume to mean online agencies - will just disappear into a puff of smoke at the first sign of trouble. Some of them, like Tepilo and eMoov, have been around for a while now and have established themselves, whether you like their business models or not. Purplebricks won't be going anywhere soon, neither will easyProperty or Hatched.

    They all have plenty of money behind them and PR teams to match. They're in it for the long-haul. There has been a proliferation of online agencies entering the market in recent years and I'm with you in believing that this is unsustainable - some will inevitably fall by the wayside. But the same can be said for high-street agents too. They're not indispensable.

    The big boys and girls, though, won't be going anywhere. Agencies like Tepilo, Purplebricks, eMoov and easyPropery have invested far too much time and money to just give up and retreat with their tails between their legs.

    Richard White

    Time will tell. I've been around long enough (as perhaps have you) to see them come and go and rise and fall.

    I recall the Prudential jumping in and spending a fortune on estate agency, just before the 90s recession and then having to sell it off for bugger all, 10 minutes later.

    The lesson that taught was that regardless of the depth of the pockets (and the Pru were one of the wealthiest organisations in the world) you cannot endlessly throw money at something, unless you have the near prospect of proper investment returns.

    Long haul? The sorts of people that put money into these ventures may well make all those noises, but they will want a return and they will want it sooner rather than later. Shareholders and backers are renowned neither for their patience nor sense of philanthropy.

  • Stephanos Constantinou

    Well to be honest I don't find it risky or either poor business model. Its like every other business trying to find ways to maximize its share on the market. I can't see why we need to be so bitter...

  • Rob  Davies

    Bizarre move. Other online agencies do this, and seem to have had some success with it, and of course it's common practice in other professions, but it's certainly a risky move on Tepilo's part. I think, with the emergency of Purplebricks, Hatched and HouseSimple, they are realising that they have to stand out from the crowd and really shout from the rooftops about anything new or innovative. Good luck to them, but I'm not sure if the move is that well-advised.

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    "You will pay £795 inclusive of VAT either on completion of your property sale or six months from the agreement, whichever comes first."

    Shock horror - still no incentive for them to sell a property!

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    In my opinion there is room in the market for no more than a couple of on line agents. As has been stated countless times there will always be clients for whom fee is the only thought...and, as has also been said umpteen times, they are exactly the clients we want to avoid. The battle for these "fee obsessed" clients is being fought as we speak on our TV screens, via horrendously expensive adverts, TV adverts which the low fee model of these agents will NEVER be able to maintain once their investors start asking for returns on their cash. As a result of this the only ones who will survive will be those who have, by then, managed to gain some purchase in the "board presence" stakes. The single only company that is making any in roads in this department in my patch (The Midlands) is Purple Bricks. My belief is that as more and more on line only agents fall by the wayside then the remaining few will increase their fees so that they are pretty much in line with normal agents. In fact I wouldn't be at all surprised if, once they have established market share, they don't actually end up opening offices in their busiest areas (cheapest housing stock areas I would guess) much as "we buy any car" has done once it had enough business to allow it to pay for such things. The idea, which must be in the heads of investors and on line company owners alike, that the housing market when looked at nationally will maintain dozens and dozens of on line agents when in fact the existing model proves that any area can only really maintain a handful of successful agents is nothing short of delusional. How exactly is the nation as a whole any different from our local town centre or high street?


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