Side effects may include.....
.....a feeling of loss. Both financial and emotional.
.....a feeling of being ignored.
.....feeling frustrated by others inability to communicate.
.....temporary or permanent delusion. Believing it was a good decision. Despite evidence to the contrary.
....feeling annoyed that you hadn't thought his through.
Apparently. They've found a cure. A remedy.
For anyone wishing to avoid those expensive, high - street estate agency fees'
It's risk free.
You're safe in their hands.
So they would have you believe.
But, of course, there are risks.
You're not safe and it can become very painful.
A nagging ache that reminds you how gullible you were. How trusting of this new breed of agency.
The online estate agency. The equivalent of signing the consent form for a personality by-pass.
No emotion. No sign of competence. A soulless experience.
Safe to say, this 'new-age' remedy has proven to be anything but.
An estate agency in name only. Most, yet to make a profit after years of trying.
The worrying evidence, however, is that the online estate agency virus has now been found in other forms.
When a virus is overcome by the body immune system, it sometimes mutates into a different form. Causing further havoc.
Online agency has mutated into a newer version of itself.
Just as worrying, but in most cases, more expensive if you catch it.
As an off-shoot of the soon to be eradicated online agency virus, hybrid manifests itself in several different disguises. Some less worrying than others.
Most threatening is the PurpleBricks strain. Side effects may be abundant.
Centralised head office with three hundred plus agents. Some individual agents covering a region of nearly fifty square miles. Hardly qualifying themselves as 'local property experts'. But, what the heck. They're cheap and funny. Especially funny.
A self-appointed antidote for the high-street estate agencies, this hybrid model might on the surface appear innocuous.
Research, however, has uncovered a few home truths. Read the label on the packaging and a feeling of malaise soon becomes apparent.
Here are some reviews on TrustPilot, courtesy of the Twitter site, #conmisery
" All that glitters is not purple"
"My daughter has been with PurpleBricks since January, in London where houses sell quickly. PurpleBricks have been useless - they had a buyer, she wasn't checked out and as a result the sale fell through and solicitors fees were incurred.....The bottom line is that once they get their money, they have nothing to lose and couldn't give a monkeys....
Side effect One: If you instruct any hybrid such as PurpleBricks, beware the additional costs if a sale falls through. In this case, solicitor costs add to the fee that your are obligated to pay. Even if your home doesn't sell.
"Be aware of the terms and conditions. If you don't choose to pay upfront, you have no choice but to pay their own conveyancer....they are double the quote of other conveyancing firms....My point was ignored and was told I should have read the terms & conditions."
Side effect Two: The option to defer payment of the fee is heavily touted by local PurpleBricks agents. "It's a no - brainer is how one agent has described it. Be aware that if you home does not sell, there WILL be a cost in nine months time. And, you will have paid far more for the conveyancing than is available on the open market.
"Where do I begin?.To be honest, there just isn't a good thing I could say. All negative. A company that lie. and do not offer the service that you pay for. Have to(o) many hidden fees and rules...the agent will be friendly and approachable at the first meeting, then that's it. Hand over your keys, hard to get hold of, worryingly always off sick when there's a problem....my friend who used them at the same time had the same problem"
Side effect Three:
PurpleBricks are effectively a collection of 'one-man bands'. If that 'local' agent is genuinely ill, or on holiday, your property will not receive the attention it deserves. Or that you have paid for. There is also a question mark over whether these agents, being self-employed, are trading illegally with respect to H.M.R.C and other regulations.
The reviews, if you search deep enough, are compelling evidence of the chaos that can occur when you choose an agency based on cheap fees and T.V exposure.
Are high-street agents any better?
Short answer is that there are some equally poor high street agents, out there. There are also some, just a few, decent and honorable agents that for the moment are associated with online/hybrid.
But as Frank Voehl points out:
" When a good person meets a bad system, the system always wins"
PurpleBricks do not disclose numbers when it comes to the turnaround of their agents. But, the success of any of their 'local experts' is always determined by how many homeowners they manage to convince.
The PurpleBricks system is geared to convincing vendors to pay a fee. Essentially to advertise the property.
It is not geared to the often lengthy process that follows an agreed offer.
We've heard stories of high street estate agents that have called Purplebricks customer service for a sales progression update on a chain that involved both parties. They've been fobbed off with "You need to email your query". After three attempts, they were told that all queries are dealt with in chronological order.
It is this flippant disregard for any normal standard of customer care that will eventually be the downfall of this particular business.
Not only does it impact the vendor, who has no clear indication of when their home will eventually complete.
If at all.
It also affects the very small number of good 'local experts' that work under the PurpleBricks umbrella. "When a good person meets a bad system, the system always wins".
The key point here is that if a high-street agency doesn't provide a service - they don't get paid.
PurpleBricks and other opportunist hybrids get paid. Regardless.
Because their business model isn't dependent on providing a good service - they don't.
So, whilst the temptation is to try this 'cure' for excessive high-street estate agents, the side effects can be very severe.
There is nothing new. Nothing advanced about these hybrids.
They claim to be at the 'cutting edge' of technology. But,
"Technology is dominated by two types of people. Those who understand what they do not manage. And those who manage what they don't understand" - Archibald Putt.
The hybrids fall very neatly into the latter half.
When they first burst on to the scene, they were not offering anything revolutionary. They were not offering a better service. More qualified agents. Better negotiators. Dedicated customer service teams that would jump through the proverbial hoop to ensure your home sold for the best price.
They were offering cheap.
Where they went wrong was not in being cheap, but in being less than transparent about what the vendor got for her money.
Around 50% of the homes with PurpleBricks never sell. Those unfortunate vendors that have paid out a not inconsiderable sum have been misled.
We've said before it's about competence. And character.
Some hybrids are missing one or the other.
Some are missing both.
High-Street estate agencies. For all their faults are the better option.