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New online agency with 'local experts' says it is Britain's cheapest

An online agency called DoorStepAgents.com claims to have set up a service which is both the cheapest and ‘best value’ sales operation in the country.

The agency charges £99 plus VAT and its managing director, Akshay Ruparella, has told Estate Agent Today that the sum covers “a dedicated 24/7 local property expert, For Sale sign, professional photos and adverts on Rightmove, Zoopla and others.” 

The site also offers what Ruparella calls an all-inclusive service £299 - which includes accompanied viewings - or offers just the EPC for £90. 

The agency’s website lists six property experts - one in each of Manchester and Leicester and four in London - and has 42 properties listed for sale, mostly in London. 

The current LPEs are described by the agency as all being former estate agents with High Street firms in the past. 

Ruparella says that his service is, for the moment at least, aimed primarily at the capital. To date, it has sold eight properties.

The agency first surfaced in February but went for a soft launch in August and is now launching formally. 

Ruparella - who says the online revolution will lead to the “creative destruction” of the High Street, says some existing online and hybrid agencies are “still over-priced” with in some cases a minimum £400 to sell a property.

Meanwhile a longer-standing hybrid agency - Open House - says it now has 100 agents opened across the country, having doubled in size since the start of 2016.

The Warrington-based agency was established in 2010 to offer consumers a new way to buy, sell or rent a property after the housing crisis hit in 2008.

The agency says each Open House agent “has the freedom to run its own business, offering its customers local expertise and a personal service coupled with the reduced fees of an online estate agent.”

The agency is currently marketing letting properties including room-shares as well as properties for sale priced up to £2.699m 

“We see to it that all our agents are in prime position to offer all the advantages of a fully hybrid service and that they have all the tools of a traditional agent but can also compete with the most competitive online pricing” says Alex Morrison, Open House operations director. 

“We now look forward to stepping on the gas and opening 200 agencies by the end of 2017” he says.

  • icon

    Wow. The hybrids come along and rip the bottom out of an already stretched market, then this chap comes along and rips the bottom out of the hybrids.

    It isn't economicaly viable to offer full service at £299. Unless the seller is completely on their own post-offer.

  • Dan Jones

    The 'High Street Agent' won't ever die, nor will 'Hybrid' or 'Online' fully take over the market. The best business's will blend all of it to become successful and offer the customer a service fit for purpose at the right price. Technology and accessibility will play a huge part in this but people buy from people so they can't be totally taken out the mix .

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    If you disrespect your own property this much to pay peanuts for someone to take interest in selling it, good luck with getting best price. Yikes!

  • Terence Dicks

    Akshay Ruparella is an idiot if he believes that decent agents will work for the peanuts they can earn with his company. When will crowdfunding investors open their eyes to these con artists??

  • Terence Dicks

    A sample from the Open House website.
    "Unlike most high street estate agencies, our dedicated local Estate Agents work under revolutionary new industry concepts providing a greater personalised service at a fraction of the cost."
    I need to learn these "revolutionary new industry concepts" immediately. I wonder what they are??

  • Trevor Mealham

    Its great. The race to ground zero is just £99 away.

    Now lets wait for the jokers at £75, then £49. Love it.

    Were nearing buyer representation models becoming more common place to screw vendors who use low cost models.

    The winners will be vendors using higher priced traditional agents who likely collaborate at higher fees to make seller clients more.

    Those who wnter the race to the bottom really dont get what people really want.

    The biggest threat is to the Purples. YOPAs, emoovs, Tepilo, HouseSimple and easys as now they are up against the 'we can save you hundreds'

    The low cost agents are simply highlighting main portals are over priced when entry to them is less than a round of drinks for a group of friends at the pub

  • Trevor Mealham

    Its great. The race to ground zero is just £99 away.

    Now lets wait for the jokers at £75, then £49. Love it.

    Were nearing buyer representation models becoming more common place to screw vendors who use low cost models.

    The winners will be vendors using higher priced traditional agents who likely collaborate at higher fees to make seller clients more.

    Those who wnter the race to the bottom really dont get what people really want.

    The biggest threat is to the Purples. YOPAs, emoovs, Tepilo, HouseSimple and easys as now they are up against the 'we can save you hundreds'

    The low cost agents are simply highlighting main portals are over priced when entry to them is less than a round of drinks for a group of friends at the pub

  • John Evans

    False economy - [paid to list] - Save £10k on fees but sell for £20k below a proper no fee no sale agent would get. These sellers choose a restaurant based on cost then get food poisoning.

    Another reason why agents need to leave zoopla [who fuels agents like this] and join OnTheMarket.com

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    • J T
    • 28 October 2016 17:43 PM

    OTM is not the answer.

     
  • James Scollard

    There's another one that will be bust in 12 months.

  • icon

    Where do all these companies get their "local property experts" from? I have been looking for a couple but can't seem to find them.

  • Kit Johnson

    So with 42 instructions, that gives him a pipeline of £4,158 between 6 "Offices", a whopping £693 per office, I hope Ruparella's business plan is as sound as Purple Bricks...........and people buy shares in this rubbish!

  • David OConnor

    How much time of an expert does £99 buy you?

  • icon

    What annoys me is RM & Z allowing these companies to advertise. They are in no way a professional agent.

    It is a free ad in a paper.

  • icon

    Am i missing something here? How at at least £1000 per area per month on one prominent portal can this model work!?. The 42 properties dont even cover one month of marketing let alone board cost, telephone, insurance, advertising, print, stuff etc etc etc. Im thinking they need at least 10,000 properties to stay opening for 12 months. I am assuming the local experts are charity workers! Really can't see where this will end up......

  • icon

    Am i missing something here? How at at least £1000 per area per month on one prominent portal can this model work!?. The 42 properties dont even cover one month of marketing let alone board cost, telephone, insurance, advertising, print, stuff etc etc etc. Im thinking they need at least 10,000 properties to stay opening for 12 months. I am assuming the local experts are charity workers! Really can't see where this will end up......

  • Russell Quirk

    When you look closely you'll see that the best online and hybrid agents are proving fabulous customer service and then commanding a fuller fee that's justified by that performance. Not all of them can demonstrate such though. Whilst high street fees are pressured downwards, the better online companies are seeing increases in revenue per customer.

    As there are different approaches to doing business in the traditional sector there are also very different model nuances within the online/hybrid space too. I'll leave the race to the bottom to others and will concentrate on enhancing the eMoov proposition further and further.

  • icon

    I am not an estate agent but as an investor I know I need to gain a better understanding of what makes EAs tick and how I can best work with them when there are real win-win situations. My gut feeling on all of this is that whoever is setting this up is really either an investor or a sourcer for investors in disguise pitching at gaining bmv properties to offer to a wider bank of investors. As I say, I am no expert but is there any regulation around this? If not, there needs to be as there is clear conflict of interest if so. Agents act for the seller full stop. There will be times to offer at a lower price as speed is in the interest of the seller but I suspect that the model put forward by these folks is going to pitch speed before price. Is it illegal for someone to offer this as an agent?

  • James Obeng

    Open House Agents are very much into this race with a hybrid provision of services coupled with very low charges saving the customers £sss. it is inevitable that this industry is changing the way it operates and the customer will benefit the most.

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