Purplebricks, the estate agency, has made a significant strategic shift by adopting a ‘free’ model for vendors, just six months after its relaunch under new ownership with a flat fee of £999. The change comes after the agency was acquired for £1 earlier this year, following disappointing financial results and a decline in market share.
The agency’s website now proclaims, “no bull – everything you need to sell your home — for free”, marking a departure from its previous fee structure. Until recently, Purplebricks charged £999 for its standard package and £1,699 for its ‘pro’ package, which it marketed as a ‘fair fixed fee’, comparing it to the average high street agent’s charge of £3,900 or 1.3%.
Under the new model, Purplebricks is encouraging vendors to take their own photos for listings on major property portals and offering access to an app. Additionally, for fees of £199 or £269, vendors can ‘boost’ their listings to include a Rightmove Premium listing and, in the more expensive option, a hosted viewings package.
However, this move has drawn skepticism from industry experts. Proptech expert and former high street agent Andrew Stanton has termed it as ‘financial suicide’, predicting the venture may face new challenges within six months. Stanton points out, “The good thing about the old Purplebricks model was that at least it had a cashflow attached to it… now they’ll have to wait for months for some referral cash from conveyancers or mortgage firms, severely reducing their turnover funnel.”
Stanton also notes the similarity between the new Purplebricks model and that of its sister agency Strike, speculating whether both offerings might eventually merge into a single brand. Notably, Purplebricks’ lettings service for landlords remains a paid-for option.