Agent told to stop using Codling report when touting Purplebricks sellers

An agent who used the new Jefferies research to tout Purplebricks vendors has been asked to refrain from sending out any more similar letters.

The request came from Purplebricks head office after iMove, in Crystal Palace, London, sent out the touts – described by Purplebricks as being of the type that brings the whole industry into disrepute.

The letter draws the attention of Purplebricks customers to the research note by Anthony Codling which claims that Purplebricks sell only 51.6% of properties.

It also draws attention to the recent fall in the share price of Purplebricks, saying that in light of the above: “We believe we will see a sharp shift back to the traditional model with no upfront fees due or payable until the consumer is happy with the service and the sale agreed price.”

It adds: “I would like to pop over to discuss how as an agency we are different but more importantly how to get you sold in the tougher market.”

The letter was signed by Ricky Barbara, of iMove, who then received a letter from Purplebricks head of communications Nicola Hamilton.

She said the Jefferies report “is not correct”, adding: “Jefferies act as the house broker for both Countrywide and LSL, our competitors. They have previously issued reports about our sales completion rate which have been incorrect and they have had to apologise for.”

She said there were several reasons why the latest analyst was incorrect, including that it was incomplete and out of date, and went on: “In sending your letter you are endorsing this report, which is inaccurate and misleading customers.”

The letter ends: “Please can you refrain from sending any similar letters? I require written confirmation from you on this.”

But Ricky Barbara responded: “I am not endorsing the public information published by Jefferies. However, I am drawing attention to it.”

According to Purplebricks it was the customers themselves who had objected to receiving the touts.

A Purplebricks spokesperson told us: “This is not the first instance of Jefferies research being used in tout letters and perhaps it is not surprising as they act for two of our largest traditional competitors.

“However, the research findings are flawed and misleading.

“Tout letters like this bring the entire industry into disrepute and break The Property Ombudsman’s Code, and as feedback from our customers shows, are counterproductive.”

One customer, Steve Fells, said: “I asked Purplebricks to raise this on my behalf. I found the letter totally inappropriate and a bully-boy desperate tactic from someone who wants to throw mud and put me under pressure.”

A second customer, Lisa Paisley, said: “I wouldn’t use an estate agent who did this because it makes me out to be an idiot.

“I was well aware of what I had signed up to with Purplebricks and I find letters like this annoying.”

At iMove, Ricky Barbara told EYE: “In our experience if a customer was concerned about us writing to them, they would usually contact us on the details provided on the letter.

“We have already had a huge positive response from disgruntled PB customers. We will be offering to refund their lost upfront monies against our ‘no sale, no fee’ commission once we have completed.”

The TPO Code says agents must not use unfair methods when touting, and must use truthful material.

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86 Comments

  1. smile please

    Brilliant. Well done imove.

    Purplebricks are a typical school bully, can dish it out but can’t take it.

    We will be following suit this week and adding it to our canvassing.

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    1. Moveaside01

      So PB can spend £20 million a year mis-leading their clients but others can’t? You’re on the ropes PB, sell, sell, sell (that’s shares, not houses of course)……

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      1. NewsBoy

        They clearly are as good at taking criticism as Eddie Jones. Well done imove.  There is nothing as horrible as being presented with a few true facts.

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    2. TheHybridAgent

      Are you not concearned why the customers have not decided to use your services in the first place…? 

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      1. smile please

        Not really they are so few and far between.

        It’s easy for a snake oil salesman to sit in a living room. Promise the earth then disappear with a signed agreement which pays him £250 and never offer further service.

        If I can help educate the public, count me in. 

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        1. TheHybridAgent

          If you’re not concearned or they’re as few and far between as you claim. Why are you trying to tout their business back. They clearly didn’t use your services for some reason. Surely you won’t be using canvassing material regarding PB to try and win other agents business because that is just plain stupid. You certainly must have a lot of time on your hands. Hi Mr/Mrs vendor I know you didn’t believe in me or my services and decided to use a different agent but have a look at my sparkly new letter. Sounds like a full proof plan. Be sure to let me know how you’re getting on.

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          1. Property Pundit

            What’s that in English please?

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            1. PeeBee

              Now, now, PP – don’t ask questions that TheHybridAgent can’t answer.

              In English, that is…

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          2. smile please

            I guess you have not had any real time in high street agency.

            We spend the majority of our time listing property. That means canvassing, touting, door knock, calling our database.

            My average fee is circa 4k – Well worth spending my time getting properties on.

            We also employ staff and they have benefits such as holiday and sick pay and we still get a tidy profit end of the year – Unlike PB who rely on self employed contracts and have no NET profit.

            In regards to PB stuff, very little round here, people are quite intelligent and understand its the figure you end up with not the ‘perceived’ saving an online lister offers. They also appreciate service.

            Why am i going after the local 1.7% of the market they have in my postcodes?- To stop it growing. Also as pointed out by Jefferies almost 50% are in need of a local agent as PB fail to sell almost 1 in 2 properties and they also lose over a thousand pounds.

            We help somebody move, we help a local resident and we earn money. Its why i and a lot of others got into estate agency.

             

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            1. Property Pundit

              Brilliant reply. Every FSHSEA should adopt this approach.

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      2. Philosopher2467

        Where have you been? BBC’s Watchdog and other media scrutinising PB’s practices gone un-noticed?

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    3. dompritch134

      I’m sure you will along with board knocking, evading disclosure of fees and all the other contemptuous practices.
       

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      1. smile please

        Absolutely, Board knocking is a vital part of my business. We do not wait for the phone to ring, we go out and find the movers and help them move. Its what a proactive agent does.

        I am happy to disclose fee to any customer, furthermore we do not charge anything up front and only pay us if we sell the property – WOW how fair is that!

        Do tell me about other contemptuous practices, would this be the same as Purplebricks? In that if they do not use their prefered solicitors their fee increases? – I am pleased to say we do not offer that model.

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        1. Bless You

          And there you have it.. #fakeDom uses estate agency speak of board knocking, to prove he is indeed an estate agent in disguise. I would put £5 on you are actually a Bruce!! sitting in your ivory tower while your staff get abused by 49% of your unsold sellers.

           

          Strange that PB havent tried taking Jeffries to court for telling ‘untruths’. 

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          1. PeeBee

            There are many things that I would be tempted to say about dom-boy, Bless You – but being an Estate Agent in disguise isn’t one of them.

            If memory serves me right he worked for one for a fortnight or so but decided on an easier life and became a fire-eating shark whisperer.

            He just thinks he knows everything about our industry – and that we’re all twastards – because he’s apparently had his skiddies pulled down round his ankles by a wrong-un an hour or so up the motorway from where he lives who diddled him out of rent and deposit on some investment properties.

            Forget the probability that he has used a variety of other Agents in past without a single issue.  We’re all 5h!t on his shoe-leather.

            But somehow PB are different.  They are all that the rest of us fail to be.

            Let’s see how long that illusion – or delusion – lasts, shall we?

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            1. CountryLass

              Fire-eating shark whisperer? Sounds fun! Apart from the sharks obviously…

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              1. PeeBee

                I can get you an interview if you fancy a shot at it, CL!

                You having been a sales progressor, it should be a walk in the park!

                ;o)

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    4. EGeorge79

      I’m so stupid I can’t find where to add my comment so I will just reply to yours. I agree I complained to the Advertising Standards Authority about PB’s television advertising. I drives me mad when the information at the bottom of the screen is important but not only do you not have time to read it the font they use is difficult to read. I had personal experience of trying to buy a house PB were selling. All I got were text messages and my appointment cancelled because the property had sold. I had told them I was a cash buyer with nothing to sell but they just automatically cancelled my appointment. I offered £3000 more than the offer that had just been accepted but they didn’t want to know and were rude to me! People are fooled by the promises, the lady at PB had the gall to tell me she was looking after her vendor.

       

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  2. Chris Wood

    Does anyone have a spare irony meter? Mine has just exploded.

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    1. MrLister

      It’s not an irony meter you need Chris. It’s a purpose in life other than knocking the competition. 

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      1. Chris Wood

        I only knock those who continually mislead consumers.

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      2. dompritch134

        Nail on the head right here.

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  3. TheHybridAgent

    Touting tactics like this says a lot about our industry… Pathetic and embarrassing on all levels. Quick Rightmove search shows the struggle this business is going through.

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    1. Philosopher2467

      New to ‘agency’ are we?

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      1. TheHybridAgent

        10 years so still fairly fresh

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        1. Philosopher2467

          Ah! ‘Fresh meat’!

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  4. Philosopher2467

    Touting? Canvassing?  Heaven forbid! What will they think of next those dreadful ‘estate agent’ types?

    Door knocking perhaps????

    If you can’t ‘take the heat’ as they say.

    Furthermore; I can’t quite understand the problem PB as you’ve already had yer grand? If someone changes to Imove or whoever, because you don’t get the job done, so be it surely? You should wish them well and possibly avoid further negative press as the ‘traditional’ agents work to get the punter moved. Or; am I wrong??

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    1. PeeBee

      “You should wish them well and possibly avoid further negative press as the ‘traditional’ agents work to get the punter moved.”

      Not to forget it will still count in their next “sales agreed” claim to The City when the other Agent does the biz…

      …DOUBLE BUBBLE!

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      1. Philosopher2467

        Good point Pee Bee and well made, if I may be so bold?

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        1. Thomas Flowers

          So Nicola Hamilton, Head of PB Communications said ”They have previously issued reports about our sales completion rate which have been incorrect and they have had to apologise for.”

          Did they overstate or understate the listing to actual completion ratio?

          I am so pleased that PB now acknowledges the difference between sold STC and completions that they actually achieved.

          Don’t forget to include a fall through rate of up to 33% if you are going to promote a  Sold STC as a figure on the radio?

          Does the ASA say that any claims must be substantiated?

          Therefore, to substantiate their latest claim on the radio this must surely be proven by third-party audited evidence?

          I believe Robert May can calculate and provide these figures?

          Don’t PB shareholders and users deserve such transparency?

          Come on regulators you need to get a grip on this to protect those 1000s who may end up paying two estate agency fees.

          How many people paid two estate agency fees prior to the pre-paid model, is this really progress?

           

           

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  5. JustPlainSavage04

    Currently waiting for AgentV to ask someone to contact him via email

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    1. AgentV

      So explain to me what harm it does asking what I believe are like minded agents to be the first to see and help us develop ideas and software for the benefit of the independent sector?

      Some great people and Agents have made contact with us already…..and they will be the first to see the products aimed at generating new business.

      We could of course just approach a large corporate or Call Centre Lister and sell it to them…..without ever trying to involve small independent businesses.

      Is that what everyone wants?

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      1. JustPlainSavage04

        A little touchy this morning AgentV? 
         

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        1. AgentV

          No……just totally passionate about helping good independent agents fight back against misleading propaganda, cynical and deceitful marketing, non action from both regulators and so called ‘industry representative’ organisations and people in general that would rather see massive companies make more money for already super rich people by destroying small local independent businesses!

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  6. Robert May

    An agent with 880 properties sold subject to contract and 1000 properties for sale

    Like for 46.8%

    Dislike for 88%

     

     

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    1. dompritch134

      Robert when are we going to see the analysis for CWD and LSL?

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      1. Robert May

        I am fairly certain they haven’t been on Radio 4 making claims I  and the vast majority of people don’t believe. When they do, then!
         So what’s the anwer Dom? You’ve told us several times about your qualifiactions, is the SSTC to listings ratio 46.8% or 88%?

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        1. dompritch134

          So that’s obviously never then?
          Strange that.

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          1. Robert May

            Answer the question Dom it’s key stage 2 mathematics?

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            1. dompritch134

              I think I asked a questions and you deflected by asking one of me.

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              1. Garret2

                incorrect. He gave you a clear and unambiguous answer. Try again.

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                1. dompritch134

                  No he didn’t, I asked when we shall see the CWD and LSL analysis for balance, and got asked a question relating nothing to that.

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                  1. Robert May

                    When Countrywide or LSL make a claim on national radio that I and other people do not think is correct I will research the claim and either debunk or ratify the claim made.
                     
                    Neither Countrywide or LSL are making claims outside of their trading statements so there is nothing to check.
                    If you can identify a claim made by Countrywide or LSL you would like me to investigate I am happy to provide you a quotation for investigating it.
                     
                    Now about that Key stage2  maths question?
                     

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                    1. Garret2

                      Now?

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                    2. dompritch134

                      But you do have these figures as they were referred to in the Jefferies report as PB are inline with competitors success rates.
                      Is it because it will embarrass mr codlings clients if these are released? 

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                    3. cyberduck46

                      Not seeing any drop in PurpleBricks daily business since the Jefferies Report.

                       

                      I’m not sure the Jefferies Report is having the desired effect. Probably for every one who decided not to list with them there will be another who sees through the hidden agenda.

                       

                      Still waiting for that report on all the major Estate Agents Robert. Remember what you said, “it’s not all about one company”. Showing your true colours now.

                       

                       

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                    4. Robert May

                      My data isn’t about 1 company but your and Dom’s  heroic schmoozy defence of one firm  bring excessive attention on one firm.
                      All Dom had to do was put a tick in a box but he couldn’t resist a stag rutting!

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                    5. cyberduck46

                      Robert,

                       

                      You have data on many firms but it has been used to attack one firm.

                       

                      Any defence by me is because of the misleading information in regard to that one firm.

                       

                      The reason I am in a special position to be able to do this is because i was a customer and a shareholder and have spent a good deal of time researching their business.

                       

                      On that basis I’m only in a position to comment on one firm wheras you are in a position to provide data on all firms but choose to provide it on just one.

                       

                       

                       

                       

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                  2. Garret2

                    Dom. Are you still holding shares in PB? Please disclose for the sake of transparency and to avoid allegations of bias.

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                    1. PeeBee

                      Last comment from dom-boy was that he was not at that point (2-3 weeks ago?) a PB shareholder.

                      Of course, that could have changed in the intervening period. Several times.

                      However there are of course other ‘circumstances’ which would have just as much affect if not more on any potential bias than a mere shareholding stake.

                       

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      2. smile please

        Last time I checked CW and LSL operated a no sale no fee model.

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  7. dompritch134

    PB up nearly 5% in early trading, I wonder if we will see the share ticker back tomorrow?

    But judging by previous history it doesn’t fit the narrative.

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    1. Philosopher2467

      Up 1.6% dom a minute or so ago. More selling than buying.
      This is going to play out over quite a while. Fewer transactions, fewer buyers, vendors with unreasonably high expectations wanting 24/7 care from their ‘local expert’!! There will always be the ‘gambler’ who will pay his ‘grand’ up front. There will also be more who will have ‘selective hearing and memory’ about what they were promised at the time they parted with their ‘grand’ and got ‘diddly’ for it. A problem that No Sale No Fee also has with the irony that a vendor doesn’t pay until he moves. ‘ Complaint Culture’ is the times we are in and it is enahanced and magnified by ‘social (anti social) media’. 

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    2. smile please

      How is the share price now? 😉

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      1. PeeBee

        Not good – 137p – but ‘someone’ dumped seventy thousand @140 a while ago.

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        1. PeeBee

          …and then apparently that transaction fizzled away without leaving any digital imprint whatsoever!

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  8. The Blame Game

    There are analysts….. and analysts

    You Decide !!

    http://www.mikedp.com/articles/2017/8/21/transparency-and-bias-in-the-face-of-disruption

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    1. dompritch134

      This article is fantastic and really outlines the narrative that Codling and May are pedling.

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      1. Philosopher2467

        Don’t forget those nasty BBC people as well dom!!

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      2. The Blame Game

        Thanks,
        there’s a lot more “fancy foot work” on this topic going on that Strictly would give a 10 for..

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    2. smile please

      Anyone likens selling a house to renting a film…. Well let’s just say did not end well for Alison Platt.

      Report
      1. Philosopher2467

        It’s ‘retail’ isn’t it??
        If you could sell your home by posting it or downloading it then Mike Del Monte might have a point. 

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        1. dompritch134

          Have you even read the report?

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  9. Philosopher2467

    What’s the ‘agenda’ again? In all the excitement I’ve forgotten!

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  10. Moveaside01

    Who’s wrong, who’s right? But to put it in very simple terms, if Purplebricks are so convinced their service is fantastic and that they are a credible agent, why do they charge up front? The figure of 50% sale completion rate of properties listed is absolutely true, it’s true for all agents and RIGHTMOVE who are impartial will tell you this with their analytics. So the PB model truly is a £1000 spin of a coin, fact! And if the punters are happy to do it, so be it, but surely they need the facts before agreeing?

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    1. Thomas Flowers

      Spin of the coin.
      More like a double-headed coin which is illegal as PB win either way?

      Report
  11. Property Paddy

    canvase letter to PB vendor

    Dear Homeowner,

    I noticed you are trying to sell your home using an online agent, if you find the service not as you were expecting please remember although I operate on the high street I also advertise extensively on line and unlike your existing on line agent I also advertise in the local press.

    Obviously our marketing is more expensive per property sold then an online agent which is why I charge more however to ensure your success I do not charge any money upfront.

    I hope you are successful selling your home and don’t forget we have some beautiful homes for you to buy if you are moving locally.

    For more information about our services why not give me a call or email and don’t forget with my company it really is NO SALE – NO FEE.

    Report
  12. Malcolm Barnard

    Did Nicola Hamilton write to all the national newspapers, and this website, who carried the story about the Jefferies report or just the one Agent in Crystal Palace?

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  13. AgentQ73

    PB could put this to bed by simply saying “out of all the houses we listed in November 2016 we introduced buyers who subsequently went on to complete on X%.”  The fact they haven’t done so speaks volumes.

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    1. PeeBee

      AgentQ73

      They don’t have to – Mr Codling has “done the maths” for them.

      They just don’t like the answer.

      Report
      1. AgentV

        Actually I bet the answer is closer to 42…the meaning of life the universe and everything!

        We have the answer, they just want to reinvent the question.

        ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide To Online Listing’

         

        BSOS23PC

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  14. Ostrich17

    Cue more “FeeBull” attempts by the dynamic duo Toilet Duck and his little sidekick Dom Estos to polish the PB tea-you-ahh-dee ****.

    Will the tide of effluent from Cranmore Place overwhelm them or will they live to fight another day?

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  15. EAMD172

    So. Latest info on my area from Rightmove in last 15 minutes: From February 15th 2017 to February 11th 2018

    Purple Bricks new instructions 132; sales agreed 69; Equals 52.2%

     

    Naturally this doesn’t take into account any fall throughs.

     

    Just the facts locally with a reasonable number of properties to be indicative. I’m not saying that this is any better or worse than Full Service Agents but the other 47.8% will have paid for nothing.

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    1. smile please

      Using RM intel data PB in the same period have just 1.7% (Sale agreed) market share on the postcodes i cover.

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  16. EAMD172

    One other thing, please can we stop referring to everyone, using the journalists descriptions, as either ‘Online’ or ‘High Street’ Agents. I have five branches that are all online as well as so much more.

    SURELY –

    Online Only

    and

    Full Service

    Estate Agents

    would be better descriptives.

     

    Any other ideas?

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    1. surrey1

      I like “call centre agents”. 

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      1. Property Pundit

        ‘Pay Anyway’ has got to a favourite.

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        1. PeeBee

          ’tis a good one – but how’s about…

          No Sale Pay Regardless

          As the saying goes – ‘does what is says on the radio.’

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          1. PeeBee

            …on the RADIO?

            I typed ‘tin’.  I’m sure I did.

            Bl00dy Autocorrect…

            ;o)

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    2. AgentV

      Full Service Agents and Call Centre Listers!

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  17. jeremy1960

    3 showing as sstc in our area out of 15 listings!

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  18. Chris Wood

    New instructions to Sold* 01/01/2015 to 31/12/2016 inclusive for postcode areas TR3 TR3 6  TR3 7 TR11 TR11 2  TR11 3  TR11 4  TR11 5  TR11 9 TR12 TR12 6  TR12 7 TR13 TR13 0  TR13 3  TR13 8  TR13 9 TR14 TR14 0  TR14 7  TR14 8  TR14 9 TR17 TR17 0 TR18 TR18 2  TR18 3  TR18 4  TR18 5  TR18 9 TR19 TR19 6  TR19 7 TR20 TR20 8  TR20 9 TR26 TR26 1  TR26 2  TR26 3  TR26 9 TR27 TR27 4  TR27 5  TR27 6  TR27 9

    Data taken from publicly available information on Zoopla (Data sent to PIE for independent verification if required)

     

    Purplebricks

    Total new listings 84

    Total ‘sold’* 19

    Ratio 22.6%

    All agents (including Purplebricks) for the same period

    Total new listings 8,331

    Total ‘sold’* 5,554

    Ratio 66.7%

     

    *marked as sold when withdrawn (not verified at land registry or, by which agent so, maybe a lower figure)

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    1. MrLister

      Oh help!

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      1. PeeBee

        “Oh help!”

        There – you’ve said it at last!

        Admitting you need it is always a good start, MrLister.

        Denial has been your biggest problem to date.

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  19. surrey1

    It’s still about 20% in my patch.

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  20. Sunbeam175

    The people that would recommend Purple Bricks according to AllAgents has just dropped from 8% to 7% WOW! I think that says everything you need to know!

    Report
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