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  1. Blog
  2. Purplebricks fees - Are they worth it in 2024?
Online Estate Agents Reviews
28 March 2024

Purplebricks fees - Are they worth it in 2024?

Sam Edwards
Senior Writer & Researcher
person sat on wooden floor using laptop, pile of notepads on floor next to them

Table of contents

  1. 1. Purplebricks timeline: A trip down memory lane
  2. 2. Purplebricks fees structure
  3. 3. Purplebricks versus high street estate agents
  4. 4. Pay Later system scrapped in favour of Pay in 3
  5. 5. Purplebricks conveyancing partners - what's changed?
  6. 6. Lifetime Legal money laundering checks
  7. 7. Purplebricks cancellation policy
  8. 8. Are Purplebricks any good?

Purplebricks rose to fame in the early 2010s and quickly became more than just a novel way to sell your home. Claiming to be the most reviewed estate agent ever, it disrupted the property scene and became a household name.

Today, much about the company has changed. The flat fee system once associated with the online estate agents has been replaced - their base offering is now 'free', with further packages and extras paywalled. Even the brand means something new. Sold for just £1 after a tumble into financial hell in 2023, Purplebricks is the newly assumed identity of former competitor, Strike.

But before we dive into their fees, let's take a closer look at the history of the online agent. How and why did Purplebricks get to this point?

Purplebricks timeline: A trip down memory lane

  • 2014 - Purplebricks is founded by Michael and Kenny Bruce, a brotherly duo with property industry experience. Secure a £7 million investment, or a 30% stake, from Neil Woodford, one of Britain’s highest profile fund managers. Additional £1m raised from existing investors alongside the UK VC DN Capital. Paul Pindar, former boss of outsourcing giant Capita, is among Purplebricks’ other backers.
  • 2015 - Purplebricks now employs 150 people, known as Local Property Experts, with a strong base in England and Wales. They take their service to Northern Ireland with two LPEs. They also go public, with investors paying up to £1 per share.
  • 2016 - The success of Purplebricks allows it to expand into Australia.
  • 2017 - After experiencing significant market growth, Purplebricks’ share price smashes the £5 barrier on Friday to reach a record high of 514p, with the company valued at over £1.3bn. Begins expansion into North America.
  • BBC Watchdog released a two-part investigation into Purplebricks that knocked 7% off Purplebricks' share price. They were accused of misleading sales claims, and vendors claimed that when they deferred their up-front payment to Purplebricks, they entered into a credit agreement or loan with lender Close Brothers (something the company’s agents or LPEs failed to tell vendors in three out of five cases).
  • 2018 - Purplebricks continues to reap profits in the UK but its ventures in Australia and the US are blowing through cash, leading them into red.
  • 2019 - Purplebricks shares plunge by 40% as it slashes its revenue forecasts and announces the departure of both its UK and US heads.
  • 2020 - The Daily Telegraph reports that Purplebricks made more than £18 million from unsold homes, highlighting the potential limitations of its fixed-fee service.
  • In June 2020, our analysis found that only 50% of the properties they put on the market actually made it to completion within 12 months, concurring with Anthony Codling's assertion that only half of Purplebricks’ customers in November 2016 sold their home within 10 months.
  • 2021 - In December, the online estate agent slumps to an all-time low of 23.5p a share, a decline of 95% since 2018.
  • 2022 - Purplebricks launches mortgage broker advice service five months ahead of plan on the 1st of November. Designed to help homesellers find a decent mortgage deal, the service is part of an attempt to turn its fortunes around after falling into negative profits earlier in the year.
  • 2023 - In May, Purplebricks is bought for just £1 by competitor Strike, the online estate agents, risking 750 jobs. The sale came after Purplebricks reported that it was expected to lose £15 to £20 million that year.
  • In December, Purplebricks changed its fee structure to closely match Strike's model - they'll sell your home 'for free'. Strike has, for the most part, been completely absorbed by Purplebricks' brand.
  • Boxing Day advert 'Goodbye Bull' released, marking the relaunch of Purplebricks.

Purplebricks fees structure

Let's get stuck into Purplebricks' new payment plans as of 2024. Are there any hidden costs?

Free (From £0)

  • Valuation and report w/ insights about your property and area
  • Listing on some of the UK’s top property portals
  • App to manage viewings, offers, and communicate directly w/ buyers
  • Professional negotiation to make sure u get good price
  • A team of experts supporting u at every step

Analysis: While their free service package seems fair at a glance, you're actually missing some of the key things you need for a successful home sale._

You don't get a Rightmove listing - and because Rightmove is the largest property portal in the UK, you'll need one to sell your house at the very minimum. So based on the price tag in the optional extras, that’s an extra £399.

Professional quality of pretty much every aspect of property marketing should be mandatory - you can't sell a house with blurry photos or rough floor plans. That means the digitally enhanced professional photos, 360 virtual tour, and professional photos, are arguably necessary extras - another £699 on top.

You can already see how this works - it's in your interests to appreciate the free packages, but spend money on the higher payment packages (like Boost or Full House) if you intend to sell your house.

Purplebricks omits from their marketing that their service also includes: 'recommendations of conveyancing services, mortgages, removals and other products and services relevant to your move' - taken from their Service Agreement.

Boost (From £899)

Everything from free plus…

  • Digitally enhanced professional photos
  • 360 virtual tour and professional floor plan
  • Premium Rightmove listing to get even more attention
  • Expert mortgage advice from £149, saving £150

Analysis: Since Purplebricks was bought by Strike, its mortgage service has seemingly been updated. The actual amount you pay will 'depend upon your circumstances'. The fee can be up to 1% but the typical cost as a Boost feature is £149, or £299 as an extra._

Full House (From £1499)

You’ll get everything from Boost, plus...

  • Hosted Viewings Package - they take care of viewings for you.
  • Free mortgage advice - worth £299. We help u get ready to find ur dream home

Optional extras (From £99)

  • Hosted viewings: £899
  • Rightmove listing: £399
  • Rightmove featured listing: £149
  • Rightmove premium listing: £125

Analysis: The cost of a premium or featured listing depends on which deal your estate agent has with Rightmove. However, some sources suggest that the average fee is £10. This means Purplebricks is getting a significant mark-up here.

  • EPC: £119
  • Digitally enhanced professional photos and 360 virtual tour and professional floor plan: £699
  • Elevated floor plan: £99
  • Drone photography: £199

Purplebricks versus high street estate agents

As an online agent, Purplebricks wants vendors to 'ignore the bull' and to use them as an alternative to traditional agents. Its stated benefit has always been about money. With average estate agent fees around 1.4% of an average UK property's sale price, Purplebricks' lower fees have always been an attraction to homesellers.

So with Purplebricks' updated fee structure, and the inclusion of a free package, how does the online agent's service weigh up against the high street agent? Is its 'revamped' product preferable to paying the average estate agent fee?

Estate Agent Price Pros Cons
Purplebricks£60 - £1499 + ExtrasClear payment plans Low fixed feesNeed to conduct viewings yourself, may not be as experienced locally
High street estate agent1.4%Local knowledge, quicker sales, can offer no sale no fee, additional extrasMay be more expensive (but can achieve higher final sale price)

Pay Later system scrapped in favour of Pay in 3

Purplebricks has scrapped their Pay Later service in favour of a Pay Now or Pay In 3 system.

For years, users could either Pay Now or Pay Later. Users who paid later could defer payment until the end of the sales process.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) complained about the following claim on their website: homesellers can 'pay when you instruct us or up to 10 months after the advert is published...(no extra cost).' The ASA found this misleading because Purplebricks's deferred payment options come with conditions that mean the homeseller does actually end up having to pay more - including having to work with Premier Property Lawyers, a conveyancing firm sponsored by Purplebricks.

It makes sense that Purplebricks now lets users pay in three instalments with PayPal instead.

Purplebricks conveyancing partners - what's changed?

Before Purplebricks were taken over by Strike, you could choose to add Premier Property Lawyers as an extra service. However, if you chose the ‘Pay Later’ option, you'd have to sign on with the solicitors, or risk paying a £360 administrative fee to work with a legal representative of your own choice.

In our review of the firm back in 2019, we concluded that, based on vendor reviews and feedback, it wasn’t the best option. As recent as March 2024, a Trustpilot review accuses PPL of having left them in a very expensive legal battle.

While Purpebricks haven't severed ties with their long-time conveyancing partners, vendors are no longer forced into instructing them for their sale. Instead the firm, along with removals and other services, are recommended as additional third party products.

Since at least February 2023, Purplebricks has been charging vendors a £60 fee for money laundering checks. The fee does not go directly to Purplebricks however - their partner Lifetime Legal Limited completes the checks 'to ensure the purchaser and offer meets regulatory criteria for a sale'.

Once the transaction is complete, Purplebricks receives some of the payment taken by Lifetime Legal 'to compensate for our role in providing these checks.'

In 2020, Purplebricks was fined more than £260,000 for money laundering failings by HM Revenue and Customs - the largest fine ever given to a UK estate agency. We can see the reasoning therefore, for the online estate agent's decision to force the issue and make sellers and buyers pay for the checks.

Unfortunately, this means that the Purplebricks service is not 'free', despite its marketing. According to its service agreement, all sellers must pay the AML checks otherwise 'we will not be required to issue a memorandum of sale or assist with completing a purchase unless such checks are completed to our satisfaction.'

Purplebricks cancellation policy

Under a section of Purplebricks's service agreement titled You have a right to change your mind, and you can choose to end your Agreement with us, Purplebricks explains its cancellation policy. Here's a quick summary:

You can cancel any of the services at any time, but if you cancel after a certain period called the 'cooling off period,' you might not get a refund.

Cooling off period

You have 14 days from the day you confirm the agreement to cancel it. If you cancel after Purplebricks has already started providing services, you might not get a full refund. You'll only get back what you paid minus any costs they've already incurred.

Are Purplebricks any good?

So are Purplebricks good? The answer depends on what you want from your sale. Yes, they could help you save money if you manage to sell your house for the right asking price.

However, they're lacking compared to traditional estate agents when it comes to service. In our research, we found that Purplebricks had only sold 50% of the properties they marketed.

Purplebricks are a good option if…

  • You’re prepared to handle the bulk of the work (viewings, marketing)
  • You have enough data and local knowledge to handle the sale
  • You’re unhappy with the service of your local high street agent
  • You prefer a fixed-fee structure and are happy to pay extra for standard services

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