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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

PropTech firm swipes at Purplebricks over property measurements

A PropTech firm that regularly claims London homes are mis-measured in property descriptions has taken a swipe at Purplebricks.

Pupil, a spatial data company, has repeatedly stated that its research shows London properties mis-measured by 54 square feet on average, costing homebuyers £33,800 per property when using price per square feet, and in worse cases, hundreds of thousands of pounds. 

In previous claims it has not mentioned individual estate agencies but now in a new statement it singles out Purplebricks. 

Pupil says: “Purplebricks back tracked in June on its own disclaimer, which stated that Purplebricks was not liable for errors in any information provided by estate agents on listings during virtual viewings, including measurements. 

“It later removed this disclaimer after it came under fire for defying advice from The Property Ombudsman for exempting themselves from Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations.”

Estate Agent Today has asked Purplebricks to comment on the claim; there has been no response so far.

Pupil - which makes a product that it calls a “technological solution” to this problem - claims for one in eight properties, the area stated on floor plans provided by estate agents varied by at least 100 square feet from their actual size, with the average discrepancy of 54 square feet across all properties equating to the size of a small bedroom or study.

While the sizes of many properties are under-estimated, Pupil found that in 60 per cent of cases, the traditional floor plans were over-stated in size, often including what it calls “unliveable areas” such as a low-ceilinged loft or a fireplace. 

The company is now calling on the industry to remove references on details which say “For Illustrative Purposes” to avoid legal liability down the line when they come to sell the property. 

James D Marshall, founder and chief executive officer at Pupil, calls the issue a “scandal” which is “misleading buyers, sellers and renters every day.”

He says: “The ‘for illustrative purposes’ guidance simply removes the duty of care to the consumer. When the size of a house is measured inaccurately, the value changes and it confounds the buying and selling process; we have seen it happen too many times. 

“There is an urgent need for estate agents to standardise their measurement practices and remove ‘for illustrative purposes’ floor plans across the industry so that people can make a more informed decision about a huge, often life changing decision.”

  • Vilesh Rew

    Genuinely interested to know, do any agents actually do their initial appraisal on the basis of price per sq ft/m? I know the average price range for £/sq ft for my area as I have my system calculate it retrospectively after instruction, but don't use that data on valuations unless I'm really stuck for comps on something quirky or very individual and am having to make an "educated guess" on a price. I would then do the maths quickly to double check it falls roughly into the local price band, but I have never, in 32 years, started with the £/Sq ft calculation. Thoughts?

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    Fully agree it’s never been the basis of an initial valuation only in rare occasions with a one off property have i needed to use sq ft, just a company trying to get publicity for a product they sell.

     
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    I thought Purple Bricks ARE a "Proper Estate Agent"!
    Are they now claiming that they are NOT???

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    I work in new homes do it all the time as an indicator

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    “There is an urgent need for estate agents to standardise their measurement practices and remove ‘for illustrative purposes’ floor plans across the industry so that people can make a more informed decision about a huge, often life changing decision.”

    Just stop using floorplans then

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