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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Online fightback: Housesimple plans media blitz as Yopa reveals new funding

Online estate agency Housesimple has appointed a company to handle its public relations and social media as it rolls it its new ‘sell your home for free’ service.

Back in June the firm became the first to claim it was selling homes for free.

Rather than charging commission or fees for selling homes, Housesimple says it will in future earn 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.

Now it has appointed Citypress to handle much of its media, branding and related advertising activities in the roll-out.

Other Citypress clients include Coca-Cola, Lloyds Bank, Unilever, Aldi, British gas and Tate & Lyle. Its only property client listed on its website is agency and consultancy JLL.

In a statement announcing the instruction, Citypress describes Housesimple as “the UK’s fifth largest single brand estate agent” and says it has been appointed “across a PR, social and content brief to support the national roll-out of its new ‘sell your home for free’ service.”

Independent property consultancy The Advisory, which publishes frequent market share analyses for estate agencies, says that in the two week period to June 28 (its latest analysis) Housesimple took on 396 new instructions. 

This puts Housesimple in joint second place in the league table of online agents - still far behind Purplebricks.

Theo Hildebrand at Housesimple says of the Citypress tie-in: “We’re disrupting a very traditional market and needed a partner with bold, creative ideas to help us drive awareness, consideration and trust. Citypress challenged us with their insights and approach, and have developed a plan that we’re confident will help us achieve our ambition.”

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. 

Meanwhile another online agency, Yopa, has revealed new investment of £16m and the appointment of the veteran ex-Countrywide chief executive Granville Turner as chairman.

“Yopa has national appeal, with a credible service proposition that leverages real estate agents, category-leading technology and flexible payment models at a time when customers are hungry for choice” says Turner.

“I look forward to working with the management team, drawing on both my traditional estate agency background and hands on experience in transitioning tech start-ups into their ascendancy.”

The new funding is reported to have come from The latest round of funding comes from some existing investors- the Daily Mail subsidiary DMG Ventures, and Savills investment arm Grosvenor Hill Ventures.

However, this funding round does not include LSL Property Services - an early and large scale investor in Yopa; instead, LSL has twice written down its investment in the online agency in the past 12 months. 

In the most recent snapshot of the online market produced by The Advisory, Yopa secured just 396 new listings across the country in the two week period - the same as Housesimple.

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    The problem with the Housesimple model for vendors is that they can make their referral commissions from introductions to mortgages, insurance and conveyancing, even if the property doesn’t sell. There is no extra financial incentive for HS to help hold a struggling deal together if qualifying introductions have been made to the seller. It’s money for the sake of money with no focus on the move itself.

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    Simply heading in the wrong direction. Selling homes is an expertise driven business and expertise driven businesses have never been built offering continuous sales promotions then cross selling other expertise that they don't have !!!

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    The issue of PUF agents be unable/incapable/non interested in chasing deals through is totally destroying the dynamics of the industry. Even New Home developers caught in chains with the likes of PB are finding their sales taking forever to go through. I remember when 4 weeks exchange when buying a NH was the norm. Yes-the factory conveyancers are a big part of the issue but don't underestimate the "take the cash and run" agents interest in helping the customer-which is zero-why would it be anything else when you have the cash in your pocket-welcome to the world of sharp sales .

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    May as well have put your money in a shredder. Prove me wrong though... Good luck :)

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