The online agency acquired by Purplebricks in Canada has started facing the same criticisms that its parent company have faced in the UK and the US over apparent savings for sellers.
Last month Purplebricks acquired DuProprio, a website with a similar business model that lists around 20 per cent of the homes for sale in Quebec province. That service says, based on an average Canadian resale house price of $481,000, it can save a vendor more than $27,000.
However, the online news service from Canadian Broadcasting is now carrying a story that traditional estate agency ReMax is unhappy with the claim by the new Purplebricks acquisition.
"In my opinion, that's very misleading" says Christopher Alexander, an executive with real estate firm ReMax.
"So, sure, you save $27,000, but if you could have gotten an extra $50,000 on the sale of your house, you're losing money" he says, citing the argument that traditional agents may be able to secure a higher sale price than an online operator.
"Like any industry, you can pay a premium for a good service - you can buy a Honda or you can buy a Porsche" Alexander says.
However Michael Bruce - Purplebricks’ co-founder, also quoted in the article - fights back by claiming his firm is “a flat-rate, fairly-costed, full-service real estate agent" which focusses on marketing and driving new clients to its website; he says licensed representatives then provide professional services from initial pricing to helping with negotiations.
He says traditional competitors recruit agents who are good at property transactions but then misuses them. "Actually, 85 per cent of their time is spent acting like marketers, trying to prospect, trying to find the next customer, and they're not very good at it" he claims.
You can see CBC's full story here.