Purplebricks is understood to be pondering the best way to assist victims of the collapse of Emoov without committing money for what is essentially a worthless set of listings.
Purplebricks’ chief executive Michael Bruce has indicated that his company “will do what we can to help all these customers and ensure they’re not out of pocket” but it is thought this will not be in the form of purchasing the client book.
Emoov clients are thought to have almost wholly paid their fees upfront to the company, with that money spent or accounted for in the losses run up by the firm before its former chief executive, Russell Quirk, called in administrators on Monday.
One way would be to transfer the remaining Emoov customers to Purplebricks’ books free of charge, although it is thought that may require the properties being revalued.
Many traditional agents have for some weeks been approaching Emoov and Tepilo sellers in a bid to secure their business, while prominent consultant Richard Rawlings has already made a social media video explaining how existing agents can approach stranded Emoov clients whose details are available via TheLeadHub.
Meanwhile the head of an online estate agency says the Emoov debacle has effectively killed the upfront fees business model.
Rob Bryer, founder of The Good Estate Agent, says that he anticipates Emoov’s collapse this week is just the start of things to come.
“The other fixed fee upfront models will follow shortly as they struggle to gain stock in a difficult market. The investment money will dry up and the pipeline will be non-existent.
There are no agency disruptors out there. All they have done is change the pricing model but it’s still the same business” he says.
Describing the approach of many online agencies as “a lot of hot air and marketing spend” he says that Emoov is now “a worthless business with nothing but liabilities to pass on.”
Bryer, who says his firm has some 50 franchisee estate agents operating in the field across the country earning up to £18,000 a month, says the Emoov debacle has resulted in catastrophe for its staff. “My inbox is already full of Emoov CV’s” he claims.
“We setup The Good Estate Agent [in 2010] without investment or borrowing. As the first true hybrid agency we found lower fees did not work. This is an expensive business and with portal costs such as Rightmove and Zoopla high revenues are required just to stand still” he adds.
“Traditional estate agents are not greedy. Most just get by even in the best of markets so pressure on fees is not good for anyone.”
Two years ago Bryer advertised franchises at his agency from £5,000 upwards.
The Kent-based firm provides what it describes as “full training, access to an online property and applicant management system, website, telephone and email support” and “takes care of the major brunt of the work such as the administration, Rightmove and Zoopla advertising as well as telephone and email enquiries” - leaving the franchise owner with all the time to go out and get the business.