- The largest online estate agent by any objective measure, with nearly half the market share among online agents
- Not just the largest online estate agent - Purplebricks is the UK's largest estate agent outright
- Have a team of 'local experts' available to you beyond the usual 9-5 hours, 7 days a week.
- Huge volume of reviews
- Can completely replicate a high street estate agent's services if you take up optional extras
Purplebricks effectively offers one package, for which the payment can be deferred up to 10 months at no extra cost. The fee for this differs based on whether you're classed as a London area or not. For those outside, the price is £999, and within, £1,499. Included in the package is basically everything you could expect: Marketing on the major property portals, description, photography, floor plans, and a for sale sign. The only thing absent from this experience in comparison to a traditional estate agent is the accompanied viewings, and that comes in as an optional extra at £300, or £399 in London.
The agent claims itself to be a 'hybrid agent', and indeed it can replicate all the services of a traditional high street estate agent, although it doesn't have a "no sale, no fee" payment option. The flat fee payment model means that even when paying for viewings, Purplebricks can come out less expensive than a traditional agent using a commission model, provided your house sells above a certain figure.
In regard to reviews, Purplebricks are not only the most reviewed online agent, they're the most reviewed of any type of estate agent, with in excess of 70,000 from Trustpilot alone. allAgents has a storied history with Purplebricks, and contains only a few hundred reviews for the agent, but they are less glowing. See our 'Reviews' section below for more information on Purplebricks' customer reviews.
As the UK's most prominent online agent, they are often regarded as a safe choice, however Purplebricks may not necessarily be the best for those looking to maximise their savings.
Fees & Features of Packages
Purplebricks' fee is justified by the breadth of service they provide. If you're willing to host your own viewings, you stand to save potentially thousands against a traditional commission-based estate agent, with their flat fee of £999 (or £1,499 in London). Even if you're not, their unlimited viewing package for £300 (£399 in the London area) means you can completely replicate a traditional estate agent, with the only potential downsides being the lack of a physical office to walk into, and the fact that, as it's not commission-based, you stand to pay the fee regardless of whether your house sells.
Purplebricks' are the most reviewed estate agent in history, thanks to the incredible volume of reviews they have amassed on Trustpilot, where they have over 70,000 reviews that give them an average rating of 4.7 out 5.
The agent has had some contention with allAgents, the largest review website dedicated to the overall estate agent industry, where they are rated a much-less glowing 1.25 on a scale of 1 to 5, but only over a few hundred views.
For over 18 months, starting in September 2017, Purplebricks' reviews were removed from allAgents due to legal threats by Purplebricks. This caused a bit of a media stir, especially with there being pre-existing controversy concerning Purplebricks' recent launch in the US at that time that focused on reviews. allAgents ran crowdfunding to defend themselves on the matter, but it does not seem to have materialised, and it seems Purplebricks ultimately came to some arrangement with allAgents, as the reviews returned on March of 2019. 1
Purplebricks alleged that allAgents' reviewers were not being properly verified, and so they called into legitimacy the veracity of their reviews.
In 2019, a BBC Five Live investigation into online reviews further brought the spotlight onto Purplebricks and their reviews. WIRED picked the story up, and asked KwikChex, who opined that there is evidence that Purplebricks is using a review-boosting method they call “selective review request”. In September 2019, Trustpilot announced they would look into Purplebrick's reviews, however no action was taken.2
Purplebricks are the largest online agent, and as such, their pricing tends to both influence and be reflective of the market in general. At £999, they are more expensive than average, but their service includes many things non-Hybrid agents would offer as optional extras, such as professional photography, floor plans, and so on. To get a fair like for like comparison, you need to compare the appropriate package plus extras from less expensive agents.
The most obvious comparison to Purplebricks is with YOPA, arguably the 2nd largest player in the online agent market, and similarly corporate. You'll find they match on services offered, and are priced the same, although YOPA also offers a No Sale, No Fee service. YOPA is more consistent in terms of ratings, although they have fewer reviews (that still number in the thousands). Do note that Purplebricks market properties until sold, while YOPA will only market your property for a year. If you're fearful your property may not sell within that timeframe, this may be a deciding factor.
Purplebricks was founded in 2012, although officially launched in 2014, by brothers Kenny and Michael Bruce (whom you may recognise as the amusing duo starring in many of their pervasive adverts)
The online agent has backing from several significant equity investors, including Neil Woodford, of Woodford Investment Management and has pushed itself to the front of the pack on the back of major marketing efforts. They're not the first online estate agent, but they're certainly one that's brought online agents to the public's consciousness, and have something of a market dominance among online estate agents.
According to their website, Kenny and Michael Bruce, while at a traditional estate agent, discussed flaws of the usual estate agency model, and identified the fact that sellers pay the fees, yet little is done to help them in comparison to buyers. They came to the realisation that with the rise of portals like Rightmove and Zoopla, expensive high street offices were no longer a necessity, and that with cutting that cost out of the picture, they could make savings which could be passed onto the seller.
The agency launched with 30 local experts on 13th April 2014, and achieved 'nationwide' coverage in late 2015. In December of 2015 Purplebricks raised £25 million when floated on the AIM segment of the London Stock Exchange. It was around this time that Purplebricks started attempts to enter other national markets, starting with Australia in 2016. In 2017, it entered the USA, followed by Canada when it acquired DuProprio. In May 2019, unable to replicate the success of the UK, Purplebricks announced, after an $18m 6 month interim loss, that it intended to exit Australia.