Purple Bricks or High St Estate Agent? + Asking Price Strategy?

(37 Posts)
Caroline147 Sun 18-Oct-20 12:40:41

Hi lovely ladies,

I'm looking for help choosing an estate agent and deciding on asking price strategy. As we were first time buyers last time around, we're very new to the selling side.

Currently torn between Purple Bricks and a well-recommended local firm- please help us choose!

- Purple Bricks obviously appeals because it's a lower cost- plus their local agent has a lot of experience in the area.
- Purple Bricks are recommending going on at a lower price (£300k, with a guide price up to £330k), in the hopes of inducing a bidding war as we'll be the best value property of this type on the market. They valued it at £320k.
- The local agent have agreed to cut their fee to 1%+ VAT (this will still be nearly £2k over PurpleBricks though). They have valued the property at £325k, and are recommending we market at OIEO £325k. My concern is that we'll end up having to reduce the price and waste time by starting too high.
- The only advantage I can see of the local agent is that they already have some potential buyers 'on the books' - but doesn't everyone still check Rightmove?
- We did get a valuation from another agent who we've ruled out, and they valued it at £300k-325k too.

What do you think? We're planning to make a decision tomorrow, so we can hopefully get everything through before the Stamp Duty holiday ends. Thank you in advance.

OP’s posts: |
Shadowboy Sun 18-Oct-20 13:02:26

I won’t view a Purplebricks property now having had a number of ‘booked’ viewings and then driving over and the owner not being in. We are currently half way through a purchase and this time round I ignored any purplebricks properties. In addition, that mentality of a bidding war is highly off-putting.

Personally, local agent.

UnconsideredTrifles Sun 18-Oct-20 13:04:54

What's the market like around you? Ours was busy, so we sold with an online agent in a couple of days (not purple bricks). If it is a quiet market then the local agent may be better placed to find you buyers.

mklanch Sun 18-Oct-20 13:22:37

when we sold our home we went with someone similar to purple bricks and i can tell you that the amount of time waster is unreal. we had to drive numerous times and sit at the house waiting for people that wouldn't turn up. (the house was about 45 minutes away from where we currently live and we had to drag along 2 under 6 children with us).
but we saved alot when we did eventually sell the house.
i have heard alot of people say they are put of by purple bricks but there are alot of houses sold with them so its a personal choice. if your available to sit in and wait for viewings etc then purple bricks is good. if you dont fancy being an estate agent for the next couple of months then go with an estate agent that will do all the viewings for you.

Caroline147 Sun 18-Oct-20 13:22:44

Thanks both!

@Shadowboy Interesting to hear you feel that strongly! We actually bought from Purple Bricks originally, and had a great experience- wonder if it differs a lot by the area / local agents.

@UnconsideredTrifles Market is busy around us, but apparently flats like ours without a private garden (just a communal one) aren't the easiest to sell anymore. Another flat in our small building tried to sell a few months ago at OIEO £350k and didn't get any offers. So it may be better to go with a local agent who can drum up more interest?

OP’s posts: |
cloudchaos Sun 18-Oct-20 15:11:59

Im not sure a guide price is going to encourage a bidding war. If I offered asking price of 300k then was told more was still wanted, I'd walk away.

If the EA thinks they can get 25k more than surely they pay for themselves?

I've not viewed any houses advertised with purple bricks and wouldn't immediately dismiss a house that was on with them. But it does make me feel the owner will be tight and will want me to pay for all curtains, carpets etc. I did see a house I was interested in once that I wanted to ask a question about before viewing and there didn't see a way to do that. You had to book a viewing first. And I couldn't be bothered to view without checking this point first, so looked elsewhere.

JoJoSM2 Sun 18-Oct-20 15:49:26

Does the Purple Bricks agent definitely know your specific area? The only one PB agent I met cover a vast area and had no clue about amenities or transport links and was no use beyond unlocking the front door.

Whichever you go with, I’d probably stick the photo of the garden as first or second as they’re a massive selling point and a communal one is still better than no garden.


FatimaMunchy Sun 18-Oct-20 15:54:09

I wouldn't fall for the local estate agent saying they have potential buyers 'on the books' if I were you.

Tomatoandbasil Sun 18-Oct-20 16:00:36

I’ve not used purple bricks but have used another online agent. We were with a high street agent but they were rubbish. Delighted that we are only paying 10% of the fee the high street agent was charging!

Guymere Sun 18-Oct-20 16:06:24

Rightmove get properties listed with a slight delay. This means agents contact potential buyers before Rightmove. We couldn’t buy several properties a few years ago because they were sold prior to Rightmove listing.

If you are in a bouyant market, I might try Purple Bricks for a very straightforward property. If it needs any legwork and if there are people looking for your flat, then the local agent might know who they are and get them to view quickly.

As for a bidding war?! Buyers hate them. They are unprofessional and in many markets, pure fantasy!

ramblingsonthego Sun 18-Oct-20 16:59:08

I dont think you are going to get a bidding war on a flat in the current market no matter where you live. Just market it for 300k and stick it on with a high street agent.

We have just sold a flat and it needs a good agent at the current moment in time, as everyone wants a private garden.

Caroline147 Sun 18-Oct-20 18:02:58

Thanks everyone- very helpful. Sounds like there's a consensus against the 'bidding war' / guide price approach (which was also my instinct; although the agent showed us a couple of local examples where he'd achieved this).

In terms of sticking it on for £300k because the market is tough for flats, I'm leaning towards trying a straightforward £325k before dropping. Other flats locally are selling at £350k asking price, and Zoopla's price estimate tool says we're worth £335k- we're willing to take a hit post-Covid, but starting at £300k seems overly pessimistic surely?

OP’s posts: |
Guymere Sun 18-Oct-20 18:10:00

Are the £350,000 flats comparable? The local agent thought £325,000. Wasn’t PB £300,000. Yes. That sounds too low. You must factor in garden, state of kitchen and bathroom, locality of flat and quality of building. Price reductions end up being a bit desperate. Plus buyers always ask for one! So maybe £325,000 is about right. You do, after all, want to sell.

Guymere Sun 18-Oct-20 18:12:27

I forgot to say, if you asked £300,000 snd a buyer said yes, here’s my money - how do you get any more from them if there is no one else interested? £300,000 would be offers above and buyers don’t like that much.

SimplyRadishing Sun 18-Oct-20 18:12:59

Your gut is right.
Use purple bricks, put it on at 325.
Another tip when the photographer comes make them show you the pics and check the photos when they are being taken (you can them make them retake there and then when inevitably, you left something out or the angle is rubbish or the room looks dark)
Do all the viewing yourself this will help you suss the bullshit buyers out

I did exactly this ar the start of the year and had to hold my nerve for 7 weeks but got a great buyer and sold at 2% under asking.

Good luck

GreenTea70 Sun 18-Oct-20 18:38:05

Are you doing the viewings yourself if you go on with PB?
I actually prefer being shown around by the owner as you can ask questions and they know the answers - like neighbours, age of heating system etc.
I did my own viewings as I am furloughed at the mo so my diary was kept open to any viewings. If you work that maybe harder obviously.
You check all the photos and wording before it goes 'live' anyway so you can change anything you don't like.
All negotiations are done online and have been very straight forward.
I have used my own Solicitors and as this is the most important bit of the whole process, having an on-the-ball solicitor. I am paying double what PB offer.
Most EA are the same and will feed you any old bollocks. At least with PB you are really involved and can see the interest through comments and stats.
Go with a sensible asking price if you are taking this seriously and want to move.

Hope that helps.

Caroline147 Sun 18-Oct-20 18:48:18

@greenTea70 If we do go with PB, we would ask them to do the viewings for us (we both work, and we're cautious about Covid!), but use our own solicitor.

Slight concern around whether PB will be motivated to chase the sale through in the same way- what do you think?

OP’s posts: |
GreenTea70 Sun 18-Oct-20 19:02:29

When people came to view my property, I got a message saying Did they turn up? - obv i put yes and then they were sent a feedback link. out of my 6 viewings, all but 1 left no feedback and 1 put in an offer. I turned down their 1st offer and they came back for a 2nd viewing and offered me more which I was happy with so not sure what happens when the PB agent does the viewings.
Only 2 people are allowed to come and have to wear masks. You do all the opening of doors and cupboard etc, I had windows open too. I get that you may be in a worse area with Covid.
Is there no way you could do the viewings? I'm just not very trusting of people telling my the truth! It was great really being involved so much but I totally get the work thing.

GreenTea70 Sun 18-Oct-20 19:17:15

Just to add if people are interested they will make it known without an EA chasing them especially in todays market as thing are moving pretty quickly.
Once you accept an offer on PB you get sent an online form to fill out with your solicitors details etc. It has all been very straight forward.

ramblingsonthego Sun 18-Oct-20 19:33:34


*@greenTea70* If we do go with PB, we would ask them to do the viewings for us (we both work, and we're cautious about Covid!), but use our own solicitor.

Slight concern around whether PB will be motivated to chase the sale through in the same way- what do you think?

This is the downfall with PB. What incentive have they got to actually sell your property? They have your money up front (or if you take the delayed payment option know they will get it no matter what in x amount of months). Also a lot of people won't view of its on with them due to previous bad experiences so you will be cutting your pool of viewers down.

Like I said before we have just sold a flat but it took a while as like you it has a communal garden and we had a really amazing, proactive agent who negotiated well with our buyer, got us 5k more than we thought we would get and have been worth every single penny of the money we will pay them. They are still pushing it through to exchange and keeping us updated weekly with where our buyer is in the process and where we are on our purchase.

hauntedvagina Sun 18-Oct-20 20:48:55

It's not just selling a house that an EA does.

I moved two years ago, sale and purchase were with the same EA so they were doubly invested in making sure everything got over the line. They were an immense help towards the end when exchange and completion days were being changed, etc... I also used a local conveyancer, not a direct recommendation from the EA but they were know to each other and I felt that helped speed up contact between all parties.

I've spent over a decade working in sales, I could easily sell my own house. What I couldn't do was all the complicated bollocks afterwards and I was happy to pay more if it meant I had an office to turn up in and ask questions.

A good indication of how successful online agents are in your area is to do a rightmove search and sort by oldest listed. In my area a lot of the properties at the top of the list are with online agents.

I discounted any properties that were being sold by online agents, and only viewed those being sold by local EA's. You'll find a lot of people say the same, I've never come across anyone who has said that they would only buy a property from an online EA.

DespairingHomeowner Sun 18-Oct-20 21:01:16

You've negotiated a keen deal with the estate agent at 1% (going rate is 1.5-2%). If you think they will do the job well, I think buyers prefer a normal agent as they can say what they actually think at viewings/have someone to ask q's /its more comfortable to negotiate with an agent than you

Re pricing - I'd go on at 315 to get it sold. The idea of a bidding war on a flat is not realistic

Also, the 'buyer on my books' - its a line. My agent said this: they didn't.
-3 months, 20+ viewings, 1 lowball offer that was taken off the table a few days later & I'm finally in the middle of a private sale to someone already living on the street, 10% lower than price I'd hoped, & for 400k vs valuations of 425 (x2), 450 (x1) + 500K (Foxtons)grin

If you are really serious about moving then I would just get it sold by going in low, but realising you are probably going to get offers not asking price: you should also do your own research into flats within eg 1/2 mile of yours and make sure you are at mid-point or lower for comparable flats or will just sit on the market

(Wish I had gone in more realistically myself over the summer instead of holding out for more, would be in a better position now I think)

DespairingHomeowner Sun 18-Oct-20 21:03:53

Oh, and tell the agent you are looking to upsize in the area, but want to wait til you are Sold to look: it will motivate them to try harder for your business (go and see a property or two to convince them) - I STUPIDLY told local agent I was moving away.. putting my flat at the back of the ones they would be keen to sell. Don't do that smile

Chumleymouse Mon 19-Oct-20 10:01:19

I’d try the online agent first, you could save a lot of money with them , also I always do the viewings my myself , you can show them around , then I sit in the garden and let them have a wander round by themselves , you can answer any questions they have better than a ea that doesn’t know f all about your house.
Put it on for the price you want and see what happens 👍. Good luck .

lollypop345 Mon 19-Oct-20 17:50:40

I just sold with purple bricks after a nightmare using high street agent. Awful photos, lies from day 1 just to get my business.

I found Purplebricks so transparent, and my local agent was so on the ball and helpful during the time I was advertising. I loved that I could manage it all myself and do the viewings.

But I did find that once I had sold, my local agent became super slow at replying to queries I had regarding my sale (days and days of no replies) And was really difficult to get hold of when I needed her to confirm my buyers position to the estate agent of the house I am now buying, which was stressful. But luckily purplebricks do offer post sales support within their head office so I managed to get through to them quickly and get it sorted. But this will taint the review I leave!

Also make sure to use your own conveyancer a for the sale as I've heard horror stories about using the purple bricks one.

It was scary paying the £999 upfront and being unsure if you'll actually sell, but once you do it's such a good feeling knowing how much you've saved!

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