Purplebricks steps up its attack on commission-based estate agents

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Purplebricks has stepped up its attack on what it calls “Britain’s antiquated method of buying and selling homes” by describing it as out of touch, out of date and leaving millions out of pocket.

A survey of 1,003 people conducted for Purplebricks in January and released by the hybrid today, is set to renew the argument between backers of the traditional and online models.

The report states that 35 per cent of those questioned say traditional commission-based methods of paying agents are seen as “unnecessarily expensive” while 28 per cent find stamp duty “annoying.” Overall some 26 per cent believe they paid too much in finding and moving to a new home.

Perhaps predictably, the Purplebricks report found that commission, legal fees and taxes were top of the list of charges that prospective buyers and sellers hated the most.

No fewer than 95 per cent saw online marketing as the first port of call when they started their property search.

Forty two per cent said traditional agents represented poor value for money, 16 per cent felt they did not do enough to justify their charges while 10 per cent said they offered good value for money.

When it came to estimating the amount of commission they would expect to pay to sell a £500,000 house, 96 per cent apparently underestimated the cost while one in seven (16 per cent) said they had no idea what the bill would be.

A statement accompanying the release says: “When asked how they would have felt if they had appointed an estate agent to sell their property, only to find they could have purchased the same service for a lot less, almost all – 94 per cent – said they would feel annoyed with six out of 10 saying they would be ‘very annoyed’.”

Fewer than five per cent were concerned with an agent showcasing a property in a high street office while one in 10 said that they chose an agent following recommendation from a friend or a family member.

“This report shows that commission is the charge people dislike paying the most when they sell” according to Michael Bruce, CEO, Purplebricks said.

In its statement, Purplebricks makes a link with the recent price-fixing story involving traditional agents, by saying: “The report comes as the Competition and Markets Authority announced a £100,000 reward to those who blow the whistle on illegal estate agency cartels, after an agent in Somerset agreed to fix their fees at 1.5 per cent.”

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Written by: Houseladder