Purplebricks has issued a provocative response to the government’s new measures to promote a more professional and transparent house buying process.
The government - in a statement on Sunday - said agents would in future have to secure qualifications before practising, and stated that faster reservation fees and shorter search deadlines could be introduced to reduce the stress for consumers moving home.
Now Purplebricks has thrown its weight behind the government proposals but also wants additional measures.
It says government should “reconsider requiring all agents to be transparent and publish their commission rates or fee levels. Purplebricks’ flat fees £849 and £1,199 for London and surrounding areas are clearly set out on the home page of its website for everyone to see yet in a recent survey we found that 93 per cent of traditional estate agents do not publish their commission rates or charges on their own website.”
It also says: “Greater transparency on fees would allow customers to make more informed choices when selecting an agent and remove the unfairness which currently exists, whereby two customers on the same street, using the same agent may be paying different rates of commission for the same service.”
Purplebricks is of course also active in the much more heavily regulated US and Australian markets, and has drawn on this experience to suggest other changes to the buying and selling regime in the UK.
“A major further step in the right direction would be the full digitalisation of data at the Land Registry and across the industry, so we can soon get to the point where every point in the sale or purchase of a property, whether a detached house or a one bedroom flat, is linked by its own Unique Property Reference Number” it suggests.
It says this would be be “major advance which will speed up transactions and make for a much more stream-lined and less stressful process for the public.”
It adds: “We already operate under similar regimes in Australia and the United States, and believe it would be a very positive step for the property industry in the UK”.
“Our team have extensive backgrounds in traditional agency, averaging over five years and yet all have to go through a rigorous selection and 10 day induction programme before becoming a Local Property Expert. After successfully completing their training, LPEs go into the field for 10 days, before returning for another two days of residential training. The two courses together cover over 100 hours of training” it says.