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Graham Awards


Local Property Experts 'make Purplebricks a real disruptor'

One of the world’s leading property portal and online consultants says Purplebricks, which is now operating in Australia and the UK, is the epitome of estate agency ‘disruption’.

PropTech expert Mike DelPrete - who last week praised Rightmove in particular for its global-leading operating as a portal - has again used the columns of Property Portal Watch to counter arguments put in Australia that Purplebricks in not a truly ‘disruptive’ service because it uses ‘agents on the ground’ rather than relying purely on digital technology.

But now DelPrete, a former head of strategy at New Zealand portal TradeMe, says Purplebricks’ use of Local Property Experts means that the service “is what disruption looks like in real estate, and this is why everyone should be paying attention.”


He says disruption and the ultimate change in real estate will not come in the form of an app, nor as Artificial Intelligence, nor as algorithms or complete automation. “Consumers still want a hand to hold and an expert to guide them” he says, and the LPEs provide that.

DelPrete says disruption is going to come from a company that offers a superior experience at a superior price, and is not necessarily wholly dependent on technology. 

He says the success of Purplebricks and other online-based agencies in the UK have already secured five per cent of the UK sales market - which he describes as “a very big deal” - and they have led to a position where Countrywide closes 50 per cent of its traditional high street branches and offers its own online-based sales service.

“If that isn’t disruption, I’m not sure what is” DelPrete says.

He concludes by saying that it would be wrong to do as some PropTech exponents have done, and dismiss Purplebricks as a true disrupter just because it uses local experts as well as digital technology.

“Even if a new model doesn’t look like Uber, it can still shake up the incumbents. Yes, disruption is coming to real estate” he says, adding: “And it will look a lot like Purplebricks.”

  • stephen beasley

    One wonders just how low the Countrywide share price has to go before the "house of corporate cards" collapses, ney folds. CW sold their Zoopla shares recently to "obtain" cash. They are "a has been (agents)" in my area for several years trounced by the independent agency who can respond to the local market pressures. A true retail operation is open 7 days a week and for longer operating hours than CW seemingly can afford.

  • Trevor Mealham

    What DelPrete isn't seeing is the now lower cost models £49-99 coming in saying 'we can save you £hundreds' for listing your home on RM and Z compared to local PurpleClicks, Twopillows, easyfellowproperties and other budgets charging £500-£1,000

    As such bigger budgets now need to raise their marketing spend and likely reduce ther charges in the race to ground zero agency fees.


    • 18 October 2016 10:44 AM

    I would so love to collaborate with the local agents here, but I just can't see it. I'm sure they are all lovely people when at home with their wives and kids, but that's not the way they behave behind the desk.

    It'll take years and a sea-change in attitude before most agents in most areas stop being self-serving a***holes. They are winning business by lying and cheating.

    The overpricing and underfee-ing going on is ridiculous. When I started as an agent in the 90's there was a stock turn of about 7-8% in any given area. That's now down to about 4.5%.

    The number of agents has increased and the average level of fees has reduced in percentage terms and staid roughly static in terms of £££ (taking into account inflation.

    That means that the average branch is bringing in roughly what they were in the mid 90's. Given the cost of living that means that most negotiators are not "well paid for a job well done" they are now underpaid for a job done badly.

    We have the agents we deserve (and asked for) not the agents we actually need.

    Whilst I'm desperate to either fast forward into the bright digital future or retreat into the "Good Old Days" I really can't see the existing stand-alone model of high street agency working for very much longer.

    Rob  Davies

    Well said, AC.

  • icon

    What defines an expert? Someone in their early twenties working effectively self-employed with little to no formal training in my experience of bumping in to them thus far. "Key turners" they were called in my day, just people that open doors and cross their fingers.


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