Mystery surrounds an online agency, Hausmart, which has proved uncontactable despite claiming “world class customer service”.
It also appears to have lifted agents’ properties wholesale and yesterday was appearing to step up action.
It claims: “Hausmart connects people to unique property experiences, at any price point, with more than 34,000 daily visitors and in 91 postal codes.”
It says it lists on Rightmove, Zoopla and Primelocation but we could not find it on any of the portals.
It shows the logos of TPO and the NAEA, but again we could not find its membership of either body.
Its terms and conditions are lifted wholesale from Purplebricks, even to the extent of explaining “what purposes we use the information collected about you via www.purplebricks.com” and containing a reference to Close Brothers.
Parts of the site are still written in Latin, suggesting that the four good-looking people in its management team, but with American sounding job titles, still have some work to do.
While properties are listed on the Hausmart site, some appear to have been sitting there for a year.
The site claims: “Hausmart is a revolutionary estate agency with a completely different approach to any other estate agents, our service is completely online and we operate 24/7, our customers are always number one. That’s how we only charge our property owners minimal fixed agency fees.”
It charges £699 as a fixed fee, and offers a ‘no sale, no fee’ package consisting of a £99 admin fee and £899 on completion, on a tariff headed “List today, gone tomorrow”.
We could not find any company information on the site.
However, it does give a central London address, telephone number and email.
The telephone was not picked up when EYE rang. Our email bounced back saying that the address we had sent it to does not exist.
EYE left a voicemail message on another phone number, that of a woman called Brittany Watkins, who appears to be the local property expert for a property listed in Pinner Road, Oxhey Village, Watford. She did not get back to us.
The picture shown of Brittany Watkins is identical to that of Virginia Holland, who is one of the good looking four shown on the home page and tagged as a real estate agent.
Furthermore, exactly the same property is listed at OnTheMarket, with the agent being Imagine.
Not only are the pictures identical, but the wording is also the same.
Yesterday, Hausmart was tweeting about its newest listing. http://www.hausmart.co.uk/agent/james-hawker/
However, this appeared to be a property marketed by Trend & Thomas, and listed on Zoopla. https://www.zoopla.co.uk/for-sale/details/43299452?search_identifier=effc22f7974c608bc23c80f662679e90#E9GjJJzSyKqzvdjF.97
Furthermore, we traced the local property expert named by Hausmart, ‘James Hawker’, to a stock photo of a ‘business man headshot’ being offered online at this site.
Hausmart is active on Twitter and follows a number of industry organisations and figures, including OnTheMarket, NALS, Chris Wood, Michael Bruce and Houser.
Its LinkedIn account looks forlorn with just two followers, while on Facebook it says it offers 100% satisfaction on all houses sold.
Oddly, when EYE tried to ask more widely about this story, we were encouraged not to run it.
It could be of course that the site is automated and driven by a bot. But perhaps this is a rocky thesis.
The links show the Pinner Road’s property listing as it appears when, apparently, Hausmart is the agent, and second how it looks when it is listed with Imagine, at OnTheMarket.