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Graham Awards


Online agency to sell all homes for free: is this the future or a stunt?

Online agency Housesimple has become the first in the UK to sell houses for free.

It says that based on the average property price in the UK of £226,798, sellers could save over £3,000 in commission.

Rather than charging commission or fees for selling homes, Housesimple earns referral fees from no-obligation selected services provided to sellers and buyers such as mortgage, conveyancing and insurance advice.


The free service, which has been trialled in selected postcodes in Yorkshire since January and the North West region since April, will now be rolled out permanently across these markets before the business makes its move into other regions in the coming months.

Sellers will continue to receive local expert valuations, photos and floorplan, ads on Rightmove, Zoopla and others, a ‘for sale’ board, negotiations and sales progression, and the support of a dedicated team from valuation through to completion.

“It's time for change in estate agency. We believe selling a property should be a great experience and that’s why we are making it simple, transparent and free” explains Sam Mitchell, chief executive officer at Housesimple.

“The ability to sell a home through advertised listings and professional support, without paying any estate agent fees, is unique in the UK. Housesimple is the only company to offer this service and we expect it will quickly become the most popular way to sell a property” he continues.

“This is a bold move but one that has been tested. Within just six months of trialling this offer we’ve increased our property listings five-fold and are now one of the leading agents by listings in cities like Leeds, Sheffield and Manchester.”

Housesimple now claims to be the UK’s 5th largest single-brand estate agency.

Mitchell continues:“Like most estate agents, we are generating revenue from ancillary services, but as we don’t have expensive branches and we use technology to make us more efficient, we can pass on these savings to our customers by not charging fees to sellers or buyers.  

“Our goal is to offer our free service nationwide, but we’re not extending our service to the whole of the UK in one go because we think demand will initially exceed our ability to service all our customers. We are therefore building up our coverage in Yorkshire and the North West and will start to roll-out to other towns and cities in the coming months.

“We know that people don’t just want cheaper, they want better. We’ll continue to offer an outstanding, fully managed service from a dedicated team working together to sell homes quickly, easily and for the best possible price.”

Founded in 2007 by Alexander Gosling and Sophie Cronin, Housesimple is backed by investors including Sir Charles Dunstone, together with his business partner, Roger Taylor. Housesimple says it has sold properties with a total value of more than £2.5 billion.

Poll: Selling homes for free - genuine disruption or a stunt?


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    Is It April fools days ! will these idiots ever learn !

  • Russell Quirk

    One of several things I learned from the Emoov experience is that sales fees can be perceived to be too cheap to be good enough. Turns out it’s fundamental consumer psychology.

    So, going from too cheap to free makes no sense in terms of becoming dominant.

    Ancillary revenue only applies on completion. And given the data I saw recently that HouseSimple complete on about 35% of their listings, the unit economics just don’t add up here. Especially when you consider customer acquisition costs.

    The only way online agency (sales) works? Is to INCREASE fees, not to waive them.

    Charlie Lamdin

    I never thought I’d see the day Russell! 😎


    Well said Russell!

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    I’ve been around for a long time..a sign of last ditch desperation!

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    hardly any agents are disclosing referral fees correctly, which means an outright ban on referral fees is incredibly likely soon. What’s the plan for this business when that happens?! Haha 🤣

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    Their listings may have increased five fold but their income from these has probably fallen five fold. Ridiculous!

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    Why do these people try to justify their version of disruption by citing EA needs to change. Inferring lack of transparency. What clients dont know what their charge will be if the successfully complete? All they do is tap into the 'poor service' narrative which 90% of the time is not the case.

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    Let's see how transparent your fees are.
    Get off our backs.
    High Street Agents.
    Let's all get together and blow these pretenders out the Water.

  • Tony Sinclair

    Future News - The Fate Of The Online Hybrids

    And so it came to pass that the behemoth known as Purplish Bricks pulled out of its international ambitions to reinvent itself and concentrate fully on it's original UK base. A deep pocket ad campaign onslaught descended like a plague across the land. One by one the young pretenders in the hybrid agency world began to succumb as the Purple behemoth trampled them underfoot.

    The property season of 2020 AD saw the top ten challengers whittled down to less than a handful who tore each other to pieces in a desperate fight for survival and coveted second place.

    But alas and alack, it would all be in vain. While they fought and tore pieces out of each other, their resources became meager and exhausted while the Purple behemoth conquered even more of the Online market from the current majority 60% margin to a massive lead of in the mid to high 80% region.

    But as always, there are obstacles that must be overcome to fulfill a precognitive future event. In this case, the acrimonious war between Online Hybrid Agencies had already taken a toll on other aspects as well. One that even the return of the prodigal PB had overlooked.

    Agents who had been lured into the online hybrid experiment with promises of fortune and success were short on the ground because the more experienced had already been churned through the mill.

    "Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me" they cried and lamented.

    And so once again it came to pass that the experienced Estate Agents were gradually replaced with younger and indeed more naive dreamers of wealth, Health & Happiness. Like their predecessors, they started off eager, keen and excited until the novelty wears off when most discover they are actually earning less than a minimum wage.

    They often quip some days they could earn more at Mac Donald's.

    Here is wisdom for those wise enough to hear it. A hybrid estate agent is all but a self-employed one with all the responsibilities and ongoing investment needed. Yet they must also be prepared to be treated as an employee, micromanaged and ever increasingly pressurized to meet targets as the company itself clutches at straws.

    With Brexit looming on the horizon and the uncertainty of the aftermath, ask yourself a sensible question... Would you really want to risk such a venture amidst the current climate and turmoil?

    Many agents have ventured into the new online experiment since it's birth in 2012 AD. The majority left financially smarting and returned to traditional property world, swapping financial uncertainty for a secure regular wage salary. Even if only to see how the future pans out for the online platform.

    Beyond 2020 AD the details become too vague to see. However, this is not the end of the story because, beyond this struggle for change and cheaper fees, another model is introduced. A platform that establishes itself somewhere between the old guard High Street and Online Hybrid agencies.

    A Goldilocks model if you will. Not too cheap and not too expensive. Not quite a High Street or online hybrid model but something in between with a strong technology involvement. Vague as it may be at this moment in time, whatever it is, both side of the property will be shaken to the foundations.

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    Fantastic Tony

  • Justin Moy

    That's the church service for this sunday sorted....

    Very good Tony :-)

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    Russell Knows this is not true the world of online estate agency has nothing to do with revenue, its all based on the business of hubspot, Amazon, Groupon and other online companies. The amount you charge does not matter all the city want to see is month on month quarter on quarter growth Emoov only went bump because they ran out of money on the way to an IPO. Its all about that chase nothing to do with the revenue generated. And remember old school estate agency tells us boards breed boards. All they are trying to do is blast the growth and then float. The only downside this will cost them about 25-35 million and do they have that money to burn through.

    Russell Quirk

    Revenue growth, yes. There’s precious little revenue growth in the HS business model and probably less than they had three years ago

  • David Robinson

    Definitely a cunning stunt.

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    Brilliance Tony a great read, what you left out is that even PB are loosing money hand over fist so how can anyone offer any level of free service on hand outs from referrals ! Kaboooom comes to mind a last desperate attempt to create a mass or mess before they go Kabooom

  • Charlie Lamdin

    You've got to love the irony of online agents having a race to the bottom on fees. housesimple wins! Delighted to read they're taking large chunks of business from Purplebricks. Why pay PB a grand to sell your home, when HouseSimple do it for free?

    I feel sad for all the innocent hard working people who are going to lose out in the end, but to watch the sector beat itself to the death is rewarding, after all the damage they have inflicted.

    The best endorsement of full service #estateagents yet.

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    I have an idea -use our recommended services and I will pay you £100 plus to sell your house !

    Race to the bottom !


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