Estate Agent Or Purplebricks: Which Should I Choose?

Written by Millie Archer

I love all things property and have a real eye for detail. I’m always reading up on property news, whether it be renting a first property or buying a mansion.

Exploring whether you should choose an estate agent or Purplebricks when looking to sell your property...


Estate agent or Purplebricks – it’s like comparing ‘apples to apples’, right?

Wrong.

Despite them both being different variations of an estate agent, they both offer slightly different services, whether that’s what they provide to you or the method by which they want you to pay.

Not sure whether to sell with an estate agent or Purplebricks? Want to be clued up on what they both offer? You’re in the right place!

We’re going to explain the differences between Purplebricks vs estate agents, give you the pros and cons of each and then give you our verdict on whether you should choose an estate agent or Purplebricks.

Want to get started? Use this menu to dive straight in:

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What's the difference between Purplebricks and estate agents?

Purplebricks are classed as an ‘online estate agent’, meaning they will value your property and get you set up with an advert on Rightmove and Zoopla, two of the UK's biggest property portals, but then will leave most of the selling process up to you.

If you want additional extras such as Purplebricks hosting viewings for you or advert upgrades, these are available at an extra cost.

High street estate agents have a more ‘hands-on’ role with selling your property, with accompanied viewings, photos, floorplans, etc all part of their ‘normal estate agent package’.

High street estate agents also offer a ‘no sale no fee’ option, meaning they won’t take payment until your property completes. The payment that is taken will be an agreed percentage of the sale price and is known as a commission fee.

On the other hand, Purplebricks don’t offer a no sale no fee option and instead offer a fixed fee of £999, or £1,499 if you’re in London, with the two different pay options being ‘pay now’ or ‘pay later’.

Pay now is exactly how it sounds and means you will pay the fixed fee upfront when you choose to appoint Purplebricks. Pay later means you will pay the same fixed fee later down the line, either when your house has sold or 10 months after your advert has been published, depending on which is first.

Do Purplebricks estate agents get commission?

Purplebricks don’t take a commission. They only charge their fixed fee, which you will pay upfront or later, which covers all their fees. If you want accompanied viewings, you do have to pay an additional £300, or £399 if you’re in London, but this is only if you choose to do so.

Do you pay Purplebricks if you don’t sell?

Yes. Purplebricks don’t offer a no sale no fee option like most high street, and some online, estate agents. If you choose the pay now option, you will pay the money upfront as soon as you appoint Purplebricks.

If you choose the pay later option, you will pay your fees when one of the following happen:

  • When the property sells, and the legal process is complete
  • 10 months from the date your property listing is published
  • If you withdraw your instruction for Purplebricks to market your property
  • If you withdraw from using Purplebricks conveyancing services


If you choose to use the pay later, it will be automatically assumed you will be using their conveyancing service. If you don’t wish to use this service, you will have to pay an admin fee of £360 on top of the £999, or £1,499 if you’re in London, fixed fee.

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Pros and cons of estate agents

When trying to decide whether you should go with an estate agent or Purplebricks, you first need to know what each party can offer you and what the ‘good and bad bits’ are for each option.

Look no further for the pros and cons of an estate agent, as we have them all listed here for you:

Pros:

  • No sale no fee - Estate agents take commission based on the sold price, meaning they take their fees after completion. This means if your property doesn’t sell with a local estate agent, you don’t have to pay any fees
  • There for you every step of the way - Selling your house is a major part of everyone’s lives and is something that will never get any easier. Using a local estate agent means they’re there for you every step of the way and will be just a phone call away if you need any help. Whether you purely need them to handle the negotiations or you want them to sort every aspect for you, then a local estate agent will do it all. This could ultimately be because without a sale, a local estate agent won’t get paid and therefore take more care to make sure your sale goes through
  • Local knowledge and local buyers - Local knowledge is so important when it comes to selling, whether that’s so they can get an accurate valuation or will know buyers in the local area, it’s crucial for your estate agent to have an idea about the local surroundings. Knowing local buyers could also be key to finding you the right buyer and getting you a faster sale
  • Better for negotiation - A local estate agent will have a more vested interest in the price you achieve for your property as their commission will be a percentage of the sale price, meaning the higher the price your property sells for = the higher their fee will be. This means they should work harder to get you a higher price for your property

Cons:

  • Overvaluing houses - This is a common thing estate agents tend to do as they’re aware that you will be asking other agents to value your property and want you to sell with them and therefore will give you a higher valuation, overestimating what they feel you can achieve, setting your hopes too high. This generally leads to being stuck on the open market for long periods of time, with the estate agent eventually telling you to knock the price down
  • Strict contracts - An estate agent contract can be very strict, with some terms stating that even if you find yourself a buyer, or go to another estate agent who finds you a buyer, that you still owe the first estate agent a commission fee
  • Chance of higher fees - Purplebricks give you a fixed fee upfront, so you know what you have to pay. Whereas with a local estate agent, you will be given the % of commission you have to pay but it won’t be known what the exact fee is until you have sold your property. There is always a chance, depending on the price you sell your property at, that at a local estate agent you will end up having to pay a higher fee

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Pros and cons of Purplebricks

To follow on from the above, when deciding estate agent or Purplebricks, you will also need to know the good and the bad about Purplebricks, which we’ve got listed for you right here:

Pros:

  • Can save a lot of money in fees - Due to you paying a fixed fee, rather than paying the estate agent a commission, there are often savings that are made. Purplebricks have a 'savings calculator' on their website to show you what your saving will be by using their service
  • Purplebricks are more 'removed' or 'hands off' - Compared to a local estate agent, you will feel you’re more in control of your experience when selling through Purplebricks. You will manage everything online, meaning the whole process is reliant upon you and your decisions
  • Option of accompanied viewings - This means that you don’t have to have your property expert do the viewings if you don’t want to, but you also have the option made available to you if you feel you need the extra support
  • Fees are made clear on the website - As the fee is a fixed price, then the amount you will have to pay is made clear up front, so you can include this in your calculations. With a local estate agent you will agree a commission %, but you won’t know what that fee is until you know what the sold price is, which, of course, you won’t know in advance

Cons:

  • Local property experts - You will be told that the person who will value your property will be a local property expert, but the truth is these ‘local property experts’ may be one expert covering a very broad area. One expert may be asked to cover a 30–40-mile radius, meaning their local knowledge will be limited
  • Conducting viewings and time consuming - You have to conduct your own viewings and manage the whole process yourself. This makes it time consuming, and you may not be the best salesperson, meaning you’re not able to ‘sell’ your house to viewers as well as a knowledgeable expert could
  • Unusual properties - Properties which are a bit different or unusual may struggle to sell with Purplebricks and may need the help of a local estate agent’s knowledge and sales experience, which you won't get at Purplebricks
  • No 'no sale no fee' option - Unlike a local estate agent, you won’t be able to get a no sale no fee option. Purplebricks only provide you with the option of ‘pay now’ or ‘pay later’. The pay now option is very straightforward where you pay upfront. The pay later is where you will pay after your house sells or after you have been selling with Purplebricks for 10 months, depending on which is sooner. Or if you are to back out and no longer want to sell your house with Purplebricks, you will still have to pay the fee
  • Paying extra for extra services - You will need to pay extra for improved marketing and also for Purplebricks to give you a local property expert to conduct your viewings for you. This will come at an extra cost of £300, or £399 if you’re in London, and so is something you will need to consider when trying to work out your costs. Also, if you choose the pay later option and you decide you don’t want to choose their conveyancing service, you will have to pay an extra admin fee of £360

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Can I use Purplebricks and another estate agent?

This will depend on what your estate agent contract says. Purplebricks state you can work with them alongside another estate agent, so it will be down to what the contract says with the other estate agent.

You may find a lot of estate agents state in their contracts that the agreement is a sole agency agreement. This will prevent you from selling with another estate agent throughout the duration of the agreement.

Estate agent or Purplebricks – which should I choose?

There’s no right or wrong answer here and whether you choose an estate agent or Purplebricks will be mainly down to your preference.

A high street estate agent will have more knowledge and will provide you with a more complete selling experience. Purplebricks may work out to be cheaper, as you’ve had to pay a fixed fee, but you’re getting less for your money, with Purplebricks taking a more hands off approach.

A downside when deciding between an estate agent or Purplebricks is that neither option can get you a guaranteed sale.

A report from TwentyCI showed that Purplebricks saw 17,035 vendors withdrawing their properties from the market after using their service. However, as Purplebricks still take payment whether or not a property sells, the vendors withdrawing still boosted Purplebricks’ revenues by £17 million.

These numbers show why Purplebricks may be less motivated to get you a sale, as they’ve already made their money from the moment you sign up to their service.

The TwentyCI data also showed the industry norm when looking at fall-through rate is 25-30%, showing how getting a sale on your property is never guaranteed, whether you’re going through an estate agent or Purplebricks.

However, the good news is we do have a method which will get you a guaranteed sale AND you won’t have to pay a penny in order to achieve this…

Sell to us!

We’re a cash buyer of properties meaning we will buy your house directly from you for CASH and cover all your fees, leaving you not needing to pay a penny. We can work the timescales to suit you, whether you need to complete in 7 days or a little longer.

Our team has over 50 years combined experience and we have multiple good reviews on Trustpilot, which we believe helps you feel that you’re in safe hands.

Forget the estate agent or Purplebricks debate and give us a call or fill in our online form to receive a no-obligation cash offer, which we could have in your bank in as little as 7 days…

Forget the estate agent or Purplebricks debate...

Sell to us instead!


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