One of the founders of hybrid agency Purplebricks says sellers in the UK may never accept the sale of their property through technology alone.
Michael Bruce, in an interview with the Daily Mail, says his agency is securing a sale every 16 minutes and its use of what the firm calls Local Property Experts bridges the gap between only and traditional ways of transacting, in line with consumer wishes.
“Rightmove and Zoopla came into existence. Millions and millions were invested in helping the buyer understand what’s in the market. But actually no one’s invested materially in assisting and supporting the people who pay the bill, people who generate the revenue in the sector, the people who sell their houses” Bruce says.
“What was abundantly clear was that people are not yet ready and may never be ready to hand over the sale of their property entirely to technology. They still want someone who can give them advice on price, about how they’re going to get the best price for their property. So in many ways Purplebricks was born off the back of what consumers in the UK wanted. They wanted a mix of people and technology.”
Bruce has repeated his previous belief that the traditional model of agency has a poor reputation amongst the wider public.
“I’ve worked with some first-class people, who genuinely wanted to help and support customers, but the minute you mention the words ‘estate agent’, everybody has an inner feeling of unhappiness, and that’s down to the model” he says.
“It’s a model that requires the leaders of estate agents to send their troops out to get a property on at all costs, tie a customer into 12 to 16-week agreements, spend the next 12 to 16 weeks chipping them on price. If they chip on price they sell, if they don’t they churn in the market. That’s why 60 per cent of houses sold in this country sell with a second or third agent” he tells the Mail.
Bruce says Purplebricks now has 340 LPS who he describes as “entrepreneurs, people who are running their own business, and we’ve given them technology that makes the whole process much simpler, much more convenient.”
He also revealed some behind-the-scenes activities as the first LPEs were recruited prior to the agency’s launch less than three years ago.
“They sat in interviews, we had some of the best people in the industry coming from big offices with profits in some cases of over £1m and they were coming to us and we were saying ‘Can you sign this non-disclosure agreement?’
“We wouldn’t show them the website, the technology, the marketing. We just told them about our dream and how we were going to achieve it. What surprised me is how many people believed in the same dream.”
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