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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Purplebricks' biggest critic ditches High Street and takes his estate agency online

Purplebricks might have the last laugh - its biggest critic is ditching his High Street office and making his own agency online.

Controversial Cornish agent Chris Wood says that from the end of this week his PDQ Estates business - which in the autumn sold off its lettings book and which now has just 12 sales listings - is to be run from his home.

He's not going to use Rightmove or Zoopla and instead just use OnTheMarket. And instead of using a branch Wood says “we will be visiting clients in their homes, meeting in town over coffee as well as holding property surgeries in convenient locations.” 

Wood, who set up the business in 1989, has in recent years made high profile social media attacks on what he has labelled “call centre” agencies which operate without traditional offices.

He lodged an unsuccessful complaint against Purplebricks with the Advertising Standards Authority and was in a long-running dispute with the ASA over an allegation he made in a blog concerning Purplebricks. A recent blog specifically criticised Purplebricks’ use of referral fees and for some years Wood has complained about the accuracy of Purplebricks’ reviews on the widely used Trustpilot service.

“Why do so many seem to think I am apparently anti ‘online’ / call-centre?” asks Wood in an email sent to journalists announcing that he’s setting up his own online operation and closing his only branch office.

“They don’t read what I repeatedly say. I am for all business models, as long as they trade honestly, within the rules and don’t make claims they can’t substantiate. If you know your local area well, know your job well, why in todays’ world of social media, 3D and 4K photography, must you have a high street presence?” he asks.

“I have always been a fan of the idea and the business model (despite what many may believe from my posts about ‘disruptors’)” he continues.

“I will undoubtedly lose some business from more traditional sellers, I am confident I will be able to more than offset this in other ways” explains Wood, who lists on Twitter that he is also managing director of a 3D interactive tour business.

Wood has in recent years also made a string of allegations about the National Association of Estate Agents after it did not allow him to stand as vice-president. 

He also campaigned for action by Trading Standards to deter ‘portal juggling’ by agents who misled the public through the listing and delisting of homes on Rightmove, Zoopla and OnTheMarket. 

More recently he has used social media to pledge a yellow vest “civil protest” if Brexit is, in his word, “betrayed.”

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    "as long as they trade honestly, within the rules and don’t make claims they can’t substantiate"

    So why does your website feature a chart claiming that "proactive High Street agents get you more"? Please don't reply, I've seen enough yellow vests thank you. And on that subject, were you the author of the flyer handed out outside downing Street that lists everything that yellow vests stand for?

    "Right-wing protesters demonstrating near Downing Street handed out flyers today appearing to be in favour of child abuse, pensioners living in poverty and charity corruption. In a poorly-worded missive entitled 'UK Yellow Vests and what we stand for', the author shows a remarkably poor knowledge of the English language"

    Have we unwittingly been given a window into this man's struggle with reality? Personally, I don't think EA today should publish anymore from him as it's left him open to ridicule.

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    Completely agreed with Michelle Lockwood. 12 sales listings and he's getting this much free press?

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    MIchelle- You have hit the NAIL ON THE HEAD.

    He is also only open from 9.30-5pm..... What and who is his target market? does he seriously think he can run a business when the majority of people looking to buy a property want to view properties outside of these hours? Does he also think he is doing the best for his customers by withdrawing from Righmove, the nation's biggest property portal and using the cheapest portal available. I suggest he goes online and possibly uses the "Loot" for his best instructions LOL.

    I also feel sorry for the HSA who listen to this chump for guidance.

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    Holding property surgeries LOL - He needs to visit one, and sharpish!

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    Yep agree a High Street Office is not required, we've not had one for 8 years and you do not need to list your properties on 3 portals, on the basis you have a good website your self and For Sale boards do you really need them at all?

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    I think one day we may find out that this Chris Wood isn't even real, just a parody of estate agents made up by Graham Norwood.

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    This whole debate about hybrid Vs traditional is about to be blown away . There is an artificially intelligent estate agent planed to be launched this year that will knock spots off both business models , to give you an idea of its caperbility , purple bricks only has about 5%of it's functionality , it's designed to deliver a service level that traditional corner shop agents will not be able to compete with , I'm one of the few people who have seen it operate , it does everything a normal agent does but so much more plus the designer wants all profits to go into dementia research .

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    Tell me more, Paul?!

     
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    Whats 'cheapest portal' got to do with it?

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    I struggle to understand why Chris Wood gets such a hard time, and am sad that this article made headlines and gets so many comments. He's an honest, hard working, local reliable professional agent, who has put his head up above the parapet to call out questionable conduct in the industry. He's a campaigner for fairness and service. He's made a lifestyle choice that gives him more flexibility. I cannot see why this should attract so much vitriol. He has hurt no one (except perhaps PB by calling them out on genuine illegal conduct).

    The high street v online discussion is stale, irrelevant and boring, as well as missing the point. It doesn't matter where an agent works from, it matters only what results they get for their clients.

    Rob  Davies

    You make valid points, but can you not also see how Wood might be accused of hypocrisy given his anti-PB, anti 'call centres' stance. OK, so he's not offering the same services as these, but he is now embracing a model - of operating online - that he's previously disparaged.

    Of course, people are entirely free to change their minds, so good luck to him - but I can understand why some have taken umbrage with him.

     
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