Tepilo, the private sale-by-owner site started by Sarah Beeny, is relaunching imminently as an online agent.
It has merged with an agent, Think Property, based in Essex, which was started by Mark Newman and Peter Joseph in August 2010.
Joseph is Tepilo’s new chief executive and has invested in the company, including its website which is due to relaunch very shortly.
Tepilo will continue to be a ‘passive intermediary’ as well as an online estate agent.
It will have both private sellers on its site, who will pay nothing for their properties to be listed, as well as paying agency customers whose properties will, it is envisaged, go on Rightmove and Zoopla.
Tepilo, which has registered with the Property Ombudsman scheme, plans to charge paying customers either £195 upfront plus £895 on completion, or £595 upfront and nothing on completion.
Services to paying customers of Tepilo will include photography, floor plans, EPCs, and valuation visits conducted by a nationwide network of agents. Joseph said that key people in certain areas would be recruited.
Asked whether it meant that TV star Sarah Beeny had thrown in the towel on her original model, Joseph said this was not the case: “However, it is fair to say that it has not worked in the way that it was originally thought. What people want is to have their properties on Rightmove and Zoopla: that is what the sellers want.”
He said that the new Tepilo website had received a lot of investment, and will have some unique features. Joseph also said that the aim of the business was to be a highly progressive online agent.
Tepilo was started in July 2009 by Beeny, who presents prime-time property programmes, and has been operating as a completely free platform for buyers and sellers to communicate and negotiate directly with each other.
The Tepilo site has been trumpeting the fact that users had no estate agents’ fees to pay, and that it itself was not an agent.
It is not clear how many properties have sold through the site, which by the end of last week had not filed any new blogs since last November, but did appear to have a large inventory of property throughout the UK.
Although Think Property launched as a high street agent, two years ago it announced that it was turning itself into an online business and gave the traditional estate agency model only three more years.
Currently, as a private sale-by-owner service, Tepilo is not able to use the major portals – and may have to convince them of its imminent re-launch.
Rightmove last night confirmed that Tepilo is not a member, while a Zoopla spokesman said: “Tepilo’s current business model is such that they do not meet our criteria to become a member of Zoopla Property Group which requires them to be an agent.
“If that changes in the future, then we are happy to review at that time, but we do not allow private sellers or private seller aggregators to advertise with us.”