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Graham Awards


Teenage online boss says his estate agency is already one of UK's biggest

The 19 year old boss of online agency Doorsteps claims that his website has sold £100m worth of homes, currently lists over 1,000 properties - and yet he himself has a salary of only £1,000 a week and still doesn’t own a car.

In August Doorsteps raised almost £550,000 in a crowdfunding exercise which aimed to raise only £400,000 and secured almost 500 investors. Its founder is Akshay Ruparelia and Mark Kotesha is chief executive.

The management team includes former Rightmove Overseas chief, Sham Golamy, and the agency’s packages range from £99 to £199, making it one of the cheapest online firms.


Now within 18 months of opening the company, which has a Mayfair address, has been lauded by consumer group The HomeOwners Association - which placed it as one of the top online operators for achieving asking price - and by both AllAgents and Trustpilot review websites, which give the agency 4.83 out of 5 and 9.5 out of 10 respectively.

The Mail on Sunday reports that Ruparella, 19 - who still lives with his parents - started the business after persuading family members to loan him £7,000; it originally operated while he was still at school at which time he instructed a call centre to handle enquiries.

Now he employs 12 people, and his website lists three teams of named agents - one for Oxford and Milton Keynes, another for North London and the final one for Cambridge, Luton and Ipswich - although the company will market properties anywhere in the UK.

“People have had enough of being ripped off by High Street agents in flash suits and cars charging them a fortune, but actually doing not a lot to sell their home. ...Mums know a thing or two don’t they and quite rightly people trust mums. Every mum who works for me will be honest and tell the truth” Ruparella tells the Mail on Sunday.

“I was standing in the school playground and got an e-mail on my mobile from the [first] vendor to say he’d accepted the combined £670,000 offer I’d got for him and that I was a ‘legend, an absolute star’. That was a sensational moment, the vendor was chuffed, I was just thrilled. I’d proved what I said I’d do, I’d sold a house for £99” he adds. 

  • Simon Shinerock

    The idealism of yoof, it’s sweet really, let’s revisit this young man in twenty years or so and reprise, until then, dream on sweet prince...

  • Owen Nato

    20 years?? Give it 5.

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    The irrational funding of the online estate agency model is reminicent of the .com bubble of the late 1990's. No doubt some will make a lot of money in the short term but I suspect a lot of investors will be very disappointed. Now the market has turned home owners will become ever wary of risking paying upfront fees with no g'tee of their property being sold.

    Rob  Davies

    Agree in some respects, but it clearly is the future in some shape or form. Just look at the increasing number of traditional agencies now offering online-only services or investing heavily in this area. More and more things are going to become purely online - while I very much doubt estate agency will go the way of travel agents or video stores, the industry will have to adapt and evolve more than it ever has before or risk being left behind by a tech-savvy, online-first younger generation.

  • Rob  Davies

    Have to admire his bravado and gumption, but he sounds like he'd more suited to the latest series of The Apprentice - where people get by on spouting trumped-up nonsense - than in the much harsher reality of estate agency.

    Fair play to him for trying his hand so young, but he may want to rein in the over-confidence a tad.

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    He sold a £670,000 house for £99 commission? Who's the mug?

  • Simon Shinerock

    One day we will all be replaced by robots but that day has not yet come and until it does we continue to rage against the setting of the sun, on in this case son..

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    Think I'll copy him - lot less hard work than running a proper Agency!

  • Anthony Hesse

    "...and he only pays himself £1,000 per week".
    We have a number of candidates registered with us seeking employment that would rip our arms off for a £50,000 a year job right now!

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    How do they advertise on rightmove and cover the UK and get around rightmove's policy of having to have a local agent? I planned this out 5 years before purple bricks and it was made very expensive by the requirement of rightmove to insist on someone conducting local valuations, viewings etc etc?

  • icon

    Fair play if he is completing on 10 houses a week just to fund himself. How much is he paying the 'honest mums'? Plus RM & Z subscriptions etc. They must be flying but there's just a little something that makes be think it is unsustainable.
    Great publicity though and the £550,000 should last a while.


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