Mystery surrounds the fate of Fresh Chilli, a north of England-based hybrid estate agency that launched with a fanfare last autumn, with the aim of establishing a franchise system of similar localised operations.
Fresh Chilli’s website says it is now on the market and has no properties for sale or to let, and with no property listed on Rightmove or Zoopla. No meaningful tweets relating to property have been sent from its Twitter account since late February, and Estate Agent Today’s telephone and email attempts to make contact have not produced a response.
Instead, the Fresh Chilli website now advertises itself as being for sale.
A statement on it reads: “We have developed this platform and tailor it to your own identity and needs, across all technology at a fraction of the cost. Just browse this website and see how searching for and marketing properties is more convenient, and effective six months in development and tested for a further six months in the market place we have resolved all technical and operational issues so your website could be up and running in five working days.”
Elsewhere on the site, it is suggested the ‘platform’ is for sale at £3,999.
“The platform enables estate agents to automatically upload properties onto a range of search portals including Rightmove and Zoopla whilst enabling agents to understand how effective their marketing is, commission performance reports, know about enquiries and registrations” it says.
The agency was set up in October by John and Victoria Dixon, who at the time told EAT that “estate agents have not been challenged for decades” - as a result they were launching a service with an emphasis on social media and greater communications with sellers and buyers, plus lower fees than those in the High Street agency arena.
“From our name and logo, to our pricing structure with its stepped and fixed, inclusive fees, we aim to stand out and save customers a substantial amount of money” John Dixon said at the time.
The couple were operating the agency in the Harrogate, Knaresborough and Wetherby areas of Yorkshire and wanted franchise partners with previous experience who would have had autonomy over their own fees and would have kept 100 per cent of their income.