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Following the sale of Purplebricks for £1, does the last remaining heavyweight hybrid/online agent YOPA have a future?
Unlike Purplebricks which in its heyday did £92m of revenue and tried to scale the world, YOPA has failed to move forward, managing to generate revenue of only £18.7 in 2021.
Many in the property industry have been fixated with the fortunes of Purplebricks which is now de-listing and the assets are being ‘bought’ by Strike, powered by Charles Dunstone’s cash. Whether the putting together of Strike a real cash guzzler and Purplebricks which costs £800,000 a week to run, will end in cheers or tears is open to debate. But where does it put YOPA, will further investment be injected to keep this business alive?
The present backers have huge pockets, and can certainly keep piling in the cash, the key question is if Purplebricks with all of its investment, nearly three times that of YOPA, and with all of the revenue it generated, failed to turn a profit, would it be better to shutter the operations of YOPA today.
Some argue that YOPA is a hybrid and so not like onliner Purplebricks, but YOPA shares more DNA with Purplebricks than traditional high street office agents 86% of the present agency marketplace. YOPA itself states that it offers a full estate agent service. But putting aside semantics, key is what benefit is there to using YOPA against a traditional agent?
Cost is top of the pile, but in a tightening market vendors looking to sell, are not fixated on the fee, they want the delivery of an exchange and a completion, in a buoyant market where all sells, a home seller can be choosey, in a difficult market with less sales, getting an agent who performs is paramount.
Looking at the growing list of onliners who failed to make the grade and convince the public that the poundland economy model works for property, Deoorsteps, Emove (1), Tepillo, Hatched, Purplebricks (1) and six other smaller brands, it is only YOPA and Strike, formally Housesimple soon to trade as Purplebricks that are in the running. What is interesting is will the backers of YOPA bail, like Axel Springer did with Purplebricks, deciding that throwing good money after bad is not the best strategy.
The most recent financials for YOPA are not out there yet, their year end is December, so we await what 2022 did to their cash situation, but if the decline of Purplebricks is a guide, it may well be that 2021 was the high water mark for revenue (not profit) and a decline in its fortune will be the forward trend.
With under 200 people actually in the business, compared to say the Connells group with 17,000 people in the business, it is amazing that a people light model has such high overheads, and that is the big flaw of these type of agencies, the cost of acquisition of a client. Being more of a virtual prescence means a constant marketing spend, whereas the traditional agent with signage over the door is there 24/7.
The Guild of Property Professionals has once again shown the strength of their network with over 80 shortlisted Members at The ESTAS 2023 Members Recognised amongst the UK’s Top Agencies.
TheESTAS honours the best agents, conveyancers and brokers in the UK based on reviews submitted through their online customer review platform, which enables property professionals to demonstrate the customer service standards they deliver for their clients. ESTAS reviews can only be completed at the end of the property transaction and a strict verification process ensures reviews are genuine. The regional and national winners will be announced at the 20th annual ESTAS ceremony held in London on 20th October and will be presented by the UK’s favourite property expert Phil Spencer in front of over 1,000 of the UK’s top property professionals.
Kris McLean, Managing Director of The Guild of Property Professionals, said: “A huge congratulations for another year to all the Guild Members who have been shortlisted, you should all be tremendously proud of this fantastic achievement. It is truly a testament to the remarkable agents we have within the network. It shows that with the support of a national network such as The Guild, independent estate agents can become bigger than the sum of their parts and compete on a national level.”
As well as being in with a chance of winning a regional or national award, all the shortlisted Guild Members will also have the chance to pick up the ‘Best Guild Member Award’ which will be presented to the highest scoring Guild office in The ESTAS competition. Not only have many of The Guild’s 800 plus strong network been shortlisted, but The Guild itself has also been honoured, being shortlisted in The Supplier Awards, recognising supplier firms who have delivered the best customer experience in 2022.
Spencer said: “The industry’s leading suppliers are instrumental in helping property professionals provide excellent service, they are an extension of that experience so the service they deliver is crucial, it’s therefore only right that ESTAS puts the spotlight on their efforts.”
Simon Brown, Founder of The ESTAS Group, said: “The best suppliers to the industry go out of their way to provide exceptional service and they should be recognised for that. We understand that different types of products and services require different service levels, so we highlight ‘Best in Sector’ suppliers as well as the overall Supplier of the Year.”
Full list of Guild Members shortlisted:
East Midlands – Adams & Jones, Bentons, Chelton Brown, Hawksbys Property, Mundy’s, Nest Estate Agents, Newby & Co, Newton Fallowell, Pinewood Properties.
East of England – Tylers.
London – Drivers & Norris, Homesearch.
North East – Andrew Coulson Property, Cooke & Co, Living Spaces, Northgate Newton.
Northern Ireland – Hunter Campbell, Kingham Property Specialists, Property People Belfast. Wales – Anthony Flint Property, Morris Marshall & Poole, Peter Morgan, Taylor and Co, Williams & Goodwin, Williams Estates.
North West – Adams Runcorn, Stephen Tew, Wilkes Green & Hill.
South East – Clifton & Co Hartley, Comyn and James, Firefly Homes Kent, Foundation Estate Agents, Graham Butt, James Millard, Kingsleigh Residential, Lamborn & Hill, Lumley Estates, M&M Estate & Lettings, Millers, Robert Leech Reigate, ShineRocks Property, Taylor Milburn, Taylor Robinson, Wood & Pilcher.
South West – Alexander May, Bloxham & Barlow, Corbens, FAC Property, Fortnam Smith & Banwell, Greenwoods Property Centre, Heather & Lay, Paul Fenton.
Southern – Belgarum, Cook Residential, George David, Home Finders, Town and Country Southern, White & Guard Bishops.
West Midlands – Barbers, C residential, Ferndown, Woodhead.
Yorkshire – Harris Shields, Norman F Brown, Renton & Parr, Sweetmove, Whitehornes.
Agency Groups – Adams & Jones, Adams Estate Agents, Alexander May, Barbers, Graham Butt, Morris Marshall & Poole, Norman F Brown, Property People, Taylor Milburn, Tylers, White & Guard, Williams & Goodwin, Williams Estates, Wood & Pilcher.
The People Awards – Ben Cannon -Taylor Robinson Estate Agents, Neil Barrett – Adams Estate Agents Widnes & Simon Davies – Norman F Brown Bedale.
The Guild is a network of over 800 of the best independent estate agents from across the UK. The Guild is a sign of professional excellence that agents can use to differentiate themselves from their competitors and assure clients that they will act with knowledge and integrity to achieve results, the three core values of The Guild. To allow agents to perform a superior service, The Guild offers marketing, business and technology services to its members.
Proptech and Property News in association with Estate Agent Networking.
Andrew Stanton is the founder and CEO of Proptech-PR, a consultancy for Founders of Proptechs looking to grow and exit, using his influence from decades of industry experience. Separately he is a consultant to some of the biggest names in global real estate, advising on sales and acquisitions, market positioning, and operations. He is also the founder and editor of Proptech-X Proptech & Property News, where his insights, connections and detailed analysis and commentary on proptech and real estate are second to none.