A traditional property agent says critics of Purplebricks underestimate the beneficial impact the firm has had on the UK agency industry.
And he insists that without the hybrid firm the sales and lettings sectors would not have progressed and improved as much as it has.
David Alexander - who set up property management firm D J Alexander 37 years ago - says Purplebricks transformed a sector that was not responding to the technological changes which were occurring in other markets.
In just a few years the hybrid firm has “identified and implemented the way forward for selling and renting.”
He adds: “Purplebricks have been subject to strong criticism by the sector since they began in 2014 with many believing that the business model was wrong, that the market would never take to a largely online delivery, that their expansion was too rapid, that their growth was funded by marketing rather than sales, and that it would not deliver profits.”
Alexander accepts that some of the criticisms were justified and mistakes were made, but insists: “The fundamental change which Purplebricks helped initiate was right, it will work in some form, and it is the future for our industry.”
He believes that while many agents believe it’s still necessary to have bricks and mortar branches, the reality is quite different and there has been a “continued collapse in bricks and mortars outlets across all sectors in retail, casual dining and estate agents.”
And he goes on to say: “Many in the [agency] industry recognised that change was coming, and online outlets were developing but none delivered the transformation in such a complete and transformative way as Purplebricks. They took the online model and exploded onto the estate and letting agent scene changing it forever.”
Alexander believes Purplebricks is only the start of what he describes as “this transformation we can build on” and says the best agents will have learnt from the lessons of Purplebricks since 2014.
“The way in which lettings and sales will be delivered will vary but integral to it all will be an innovative platform accessible to all concerned; a face to face service provided by experienced staff on the ground but without the need for a local office; and a forward thinking management that can see, if the lessons of Purplebricks are learned, that the future is bright.”