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Online agents hit out at High Street rivals about ‘over-valuations’

Online estate agents have seized on the recent national newspaper article accusing estate agents of over-valuing properties to earn higher fees.

The piece - in The Times on Saturday and reported on Estate Agent Today - provoked criticism on Twitter, mostly from buying and sales agents.

The article alleged that as many as a third of homes it analysed had up to 20 per cent sliced off their original asking price by the time they sold: the piece pinned the blame for this firmly on estate agents rather than any mix of market conditions, over-ambitious vendors or Brexit uncertainty.


But the bosses of both Purplebricks and HouseSimple have now taken to Twitter to say the article highlights what they claim to be the unnecessarily high costs of the traditional agents who according to a recent analysis still have over 95 per cent market share of properties on the market.

Purplebricks global chief executive Michael Bruce said the article was “shocking but unsurprising”

Bruce continues: “[The writers of the story] accuse commission-charging estate agents of ‘overvaluing properties by up to a fifth’ and ‘misleading sellers into paying higher rates of commission. BANG ON!”

He then continues with another tweet: “As I’ve always said, commission-charging agents have been charging too much for too little for too long. Purplebricks gives our customers a full service for a fair fee.”

HouseSimple’s chief executive, Sam Mitchell - a former Rightmove executive - also tweets about The Times article, saying: “Don’t fall for the sales shpeil. Most agents value by trying to work out what you think it’s worth and then adding a bit more. It’s time to turn this industry in [sic] its head.” 

On a separate tweet, again linking to The Times article, Mitchell writes: “Looks like an industry ripe for disruption...”

The most recent analysis of online agents v High Street agents conducted by property data consultancy The Advisory put Purplebricks and HouseSimple as the top two online operators - although the online sector as a whole, as measured by new listings worn by its 10 strongest agencies, saw its market share slip again. 

It remains below five per cent of the whole market.

  • Ben Hollis

    Purplebricks are the worst offenders of over valuing to gain the instruction, as they get paid regardless of whether it actually sells or not. Rightmove stats evidence this.

  • icon

    Out of a survey of 100 vendors, 95 people said 'No thanks' to the online offering. Enough said.

  • Lenny White

    Shame on Estate Agent Today with this skewed reporting. Count the number of criticisms from the online methodologists in comparison to the number of independant estate agents who have critised their largely corporate counterparts for the over valuing. Your headline is frankly ridiculous. Moments like these I reach for the unsubscribe button.


    It's called 'click-bait'!!

  • Andrew Stanton PROPTECH-PR A Consultancy for Proptech Founders

    So Purplebricks thinks traditional agents dupe the general public? When I read the article in the Times, I thought the article was going to be about online agents who take a fee regardless of whether they sell or not.

    As I see it PB generated over 90M last year, mostly from upfront fees, if they only completed on 50% of sales that means around 40M of the general public's money went into the coffers of PB but with nothing to show but a cake in the face.

    Maybe Mr Bruce could furnish us all with proof that he provides a transparent service, starting with whether or not the 'self-employed' LPE's tell the vendor in front of them that they are getting an instant referral fee the second the vendor signs on the line that is dotted. If no disclosure Trading Standards in Wales will be very happy to investigate.


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