The online agency Housesimple has rebranded to become 'Strike' with immediate effect.
The news comes as a surprise given the apparent success of Housesimple as a brand, widely regarded as one of the strongest online names behind Purplebricks.
It invested significant marketing a year ago when it became the first estate agent in the UK to sell homes for free, regained the ESTAS Best Online Estate Agent of the Year just a few weeks ago, and expanded into new parts of the north of England.
The new brand is launching across the North of England with a combined ITV and Channel 4, radio and digital marketing campaign, "appealing to buyers and sellers looking to strike a better deal" according to this morning's announcement from the firm.
Sam Mitchell, chief executive officer at Strike, says: “Strike is here to redefine the way we move. Estate agency hasn't changed for 200 years, we've been overcharged and underwhelmed. It’s time for a change.
“We set out to shake up the estate agent industry last year, becoming the first estate agent in the UK to sell homes for free. In the process, we’ve become a market leader across the North, including in Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and Sheffield. We’ve sold £1 billion of properties and saved our customers over £15 million in total fees since we launched our free service.
“But now it’s time to go even further. With Strike, we’re taking everything customers loved about Housesimple, making it more intuitive and adding a new mobile edge. We’ve launched a new app that lets you sell your home from your phone. And expanding across Tyne Tees, into Newcastle, Sunderland and Middlesbrough, doubles our geographic footprint and makes Strike a real northern powerhouse.”
Mitchell has often been sharply critical of the agency industry and this morning's announcement continues the theme.
He says: “Estate agents are notoriously inflexible. Strike’s mission is to make moving easy. That means we are constantly adapting and improving our service to what people actually want. For our customers, this means saving you money, whether you need stress-free mortgage advice or to sell for free. An intuitive, digital experience that’s safe, hassle-free and puts you in control. Real, friendly experts supporting you at every step. And of course, a jargon-free and straight-talking culture, working together to sell homes quickly, easily and for the best possible price.”
Online agencies' market share has been stubbornly sticking at between four and eight per cent for some time, according to a range of market monitors, but the rebranding statement says "Demand for online services has never been higher."
The statement also includes a quote from the online agency's majority investor, Sir Charles Dunstone, who says: “We are so excited to be challenging the establishment with Strike. We believe the way Strike blends people and technology to sell homes for free is a truly disruptive proposition that will lead to a great deal for customers.”