Following last week’s blog on property price predictions including those of the pulchritudinous Sarah Beeney and her online agency Tepilo, we were told this week that the aforementioned agency is to change its fee structure not that it is under revised ownership. Revised ownership? They kept that one well hidden under a bushel (no cheap jokes please). What was not announced was whether the revised fees resulting from the revised ownership (following Beeney’s departure as director last month) would be revised up or down.
Tepilo is believed-well is it or isn’t it- to now be controlled by Northern and Shell Ventures, a division of publishing group Northern and Shell, which says that it focuses on, “young and innovative companies that have already reached a certain level of market maturity and are in an ideal position to benefit from enhanced media exposure”…. and the 2018 Award for Obfuscation and Bollocks goes to (fill in as appropriate). The agency began life as a ‘for sale by owner’ service and then five years ago switched to the online model, offering three options to vendors. The ‘Essential’ option costs £645 including VAT for the typical online basic service along with what the agency calls, “a Sarah Beeney For Sale board”. Can we spot the obvious problem now? The ‘Classic’ option has the basics plus professional photography and floor plans and the ‘Premium’ includes listings on Rightmove, Zoopla and Prime Location and costs £1295. Virtual tours and EPC’s attract additional costs. Of course they do.
In my mind, the first two options are worth the square root of f45k all as neither offers a listing on Rightmove. In fact I had to read it twice, but 83% of the agency’s listings do not appear on the daddy of property portals. As much of the agency’s virtual and social media presence makes extensive use of Ms B’s name and image, I am wondering how they plan their future branding-repeating that she is still a shareholder will I believe only get them so far-particularly as she hasn’t chosen to stick around as a director. She will we are told, continue to be its public face. Hmm, for the right price they could have The Chesh, they would save a fortune in paying a hairdresser for the styling for publicity shots.
In recent months several online agencies have revised their pricing plans including eMoov who launched a no sale, no fee payment plan. The irony will not be lost on those old enough to remember when I needed the services of a hairdresser; as we traditional agents have had to up our performance in terms of our online presence and use of all things technical, so the bright young things on the property scene have come to realise that using a no sale, no fee package is not so archaic and outdated a concept. Strangely enough, people are not that sold on the upfront non-refundable fee that frequently still leaves them with a house unsold.