An agent who has created an online product says that launching it under the existing high street brand is proving very successful.
Tobias Morrish said: “We have created a new product, but not a different brand or website for Sell it Yourself.
“We do have a traditional estate agency offering, but we make no attempt to upsell to that.
“People are very proud of themselves when they sell their own property and what we find makes a big difference is that we train them in how to do viewings. This gives them the confidence.”
Sell it Yourself, which charges a flat rate of £895 plus VAT payable on completion, is part of Premier Lets and Sales, which has offices in Seaford and Peacehaven, East Sussex.
Morrish, 24, said that two years ago he joined the family business after graduating with a degree from a business innovation course.
“We were – and are – the local market leader in lettings, but I joined on the sales side,” he said.
Morrish decided to create an online offering alongside the traditional service. The former initially charged 0.5% compared with the latter’s current 1%.
The 0.5% rate came in for some online reviews noting that it was still more expensive than Purplebricks, and last week Morrish changed it to a fixed fee of £895 plus VAT.
The fee is only charged on completion.
Morrish said: “We do not have an automated online platform. We manage all the bookings and feedback ourselves, and so we are still making and taking the phone calls on behalf of the client.”
The fee also includes valuation, negotiation and sales progression done by the firm, plus listing on Rightmove and an accompanied Open House.
He said: “The only real difference is that the vendors do their own viewings. However, if there is an emergency or the vendor is on holiday, we will step in and do it for them, without any extra charge.”
There is no tie-in period and no change in the fee if the vendor is already with another agent.
Morrish said: “The reason for that is that if someone has their property with Purplebricks, they will already have paid money up-front and I did not want to charge them another fee up-front.
“As I am targeting Purplebricks sellers, that would not have made sense.
Morrish said that he has been very interested to see the rise in product offerings so that agents can operate an online offering under a different brand.
He said: “It is almost as though this is something they want to hide away. However, we find that having Sell it Yourself under the same brand and on the same website is preferable, as it does not confuse people.
“As a product we offer it is also something we are very proud of, and not something we want to hide.”
Vendors who use Sell it Yourself do visit the branch, says Morrish. “They like to pop in, have a cup of tea and tell us how they are doing.
“When someone puts a property on with us we give them a handbook and do a trial run on how to do viewings.
“This little bit of training makes a huge difference.”
He added: “This week, Sell it Yourself has five properties under offer.
“This product has enabled us to compete with the well known agents locally as well as with the online agents, and our clients have been amazed with the high level of personal service.”
Morrish said the firm is now looking at the possibility of a Let it Yourself model, which could operate similarly.