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Aug 14 2017

Buy before they try....or... ‘Purporting’ to sell your home!


Imagine you step into the  barber, and before the first clip of the scissors, you are asked to pay  for the haircut. At a restaurant you are asked to tip the waiting staff  before you receive your meal, this takes you by surprise, but it'd be  awkward  if you said no...A decorator comes to your home, and asks you to pay  upfront for painting your living room, which he is planning to do next  week, or if not it'll be the week after... Does any of this seem odd? We  are fairly comfortable with the idea that payment  is made upon completion of a job – and this provides incentive and  motivation to deliver the goods and do a great job.

Is it surprising, that a company that does a great job of  marketing itself and lures customers into paying substantial sums of  money before it is required to perform, found itself having to answer some awkward questions on BBC Watchdog?

It's certainly essential that anyone considering using Purple  Bricks watches the short BBC Watchdog segment. Amongst the complaints  were instances of failure to notify a seller that an offer had fallen  through, or that a new offer was in place from  a buyer who was part of a long chain, a lack of transparency in their  deferred payment options (leading to credit agreements with a separate  company), as well as more general complaints about lacking  communication, and questions about the 'local' property  experts.

As independent local estate agents, we understand that  recruiting loyal, reputable and trustworthy agents is the bread and  butter of estate agency. The vast expansion across the country of this  particular company has left a huge burden of recruitment  and vetting of agents, so it's no surprise for us to see misleading  information, massively over-exaggerations of sales and so on, purely as  the motivation of these 'local property experts' is to get the upfront  fee, not the sale!

It is more concerning to us that the company continue to make  statements to the stock exchange and investors citing the extraordinary  rating it achieves via (paid for) 'managed reviews' from Trustpilot.  Taking a cynical view, Trustpilot's revenue stream  is dependent on ensuring the steady flow of 'great' reviews for  clients. Sellers should be sure to investigate further though, as  looking at the independent website Allagents, the same firm scores  around 3 out of 10 on average, hardly worth boasting about.

The wider lesson we can learn here is that motivating factors  matter. If you pay a company regardless of outcome to sell your home,  they will gladly take that money, but it shouldn't be surprising if they  are not motivated to achieve a result. Unfortunately,  for some customers, the upfront cost is paid, and they find it  necessary to take a traditional estate agent route in any case, after  time and stress of dealing with this particular company. If you're  selling, come to us as an established, local and reputable  agent, and we'll show you how we work!

And, refreshingly, we won’t ask for a penny up front for our fantastic, professional selling service!

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