Analysts say Countrywide’s online agency has ‘fallen flat’ and Purplebricks has ‘monopoly on growth’

City analysts yesterday issued a ‘sell’ rating on Countrywide, saying that its digital offering has fallen flat.

In a note to investors, Hamburg-headquartered Berenberg – the second oldest bank in the world – also issued a ‘sell’ rating on Foxtons, a ‘hold’ for LSL and a ‘buy’ rating on Purplebricks.

The bank has initiated coverage on all four, saying it is “disliking” the stocks of both Countrywide and Foxtons.

It describes Purplebricks’ offering as ahead of the competition as its technology enables it to provide “a better service at a far lower price”.

It said of the UK’s largest agent: “Countrywide has been caught with high debt, having invested in acquisitions just as the house transaction cycle turns and competition intensifies as the industry faces intense disruption by hybrid agencies.

“Meanwhile we think its digital offering has fallen flat – mainly because it is competing with itself and other traditional estate agents rather than Purplebricks, in our view.”

Berenberg also said that after selling its stake in Zoopla last year for £48m and raising £37m in new equity this year, Countrywide could be running out of options to clear its debt.

It said that Countrywide faces the prospect of continuing restructuring and claimed the agent is losing market share.

Berenberg again cited pressure from Purplebricks in its analysis of Foxtons.

It said: “Foxtons is a premium supplier of estate agency services in London.

“We see its service as offering a good customer experience but its cost base remains high and fixed during a slowing of the London sales market, fee pressure from the success of Purplebricks in key areas and declining rents.

“We expect Foxtons’ fee of 2.5-3.0% to be indefensible when Purplebricks charges the equivalent of 0.2%.”

Berenberg gave Foxtons shares a target of 50p.

The bank’s analysts described LSL’s core business as being under pressure, but said the business is diversifying.

The bank said it suspects LSL brands, including Your Move, Reeds Rains and Marsh & Parsons, are losing market share to Purplebricks.

LSL bought a 17% stake in online agent Yopa last month for £20m.

Berenberg said: “YOPA can argue to be the second largest hybrid agency after Purplebricks, and one of the few estate agents which is showing growth.

“While a clear hedge for LSL, it somewhat undermines management’s statement that the future of estate agency is the traditional service delivered from high street offices.”

Of Purplebricks, recipient of the only ‘buy’ rating, the analysts said: “Since starting in April 2014, Purplebricks has rapidly grown to become a dominant name in the UK estate agent industry.

“It has doubled its net number of listings since the start of the year to 16,000 and has a near-monopoly on growth as the underlying market remains subdued, in our view.

“We expect its growth to be maintained.”

Berenberg said Purplebricks has “a monopoly on growth”.

It went on: “All the large traditional agents that we track have shown flat to declining business and the other hybrids and onlines have generally seen no growth, demonstrating the specific appeal of the Purplebricks offering.”

It said that a successful launch in the US would be “transformational for the scale of the group’s earnings”.

Yesterday, Countrywide shares began the day at 112p and finished at 114p; Foxtons’ shares fell 2% to finish at 65p; LSL shares were stable at 232p.

Purplebricks shares piled on over 5% to finish at 366p – although a long way short of their July peak of 513p.


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  1. dompritch134

    At least Jefferies will give CWD a buy rating.

    1. Philosopher2467

      Ah! Anthony Codlin; the optimist!!!!!

      1. Bless You

        Interesting . Warren Buffett always says buy what u would want to own. Pb makes no profit and would cost you £1 Bill. Countrywide and foxtons would be paid back in 7 years and the profit would be yours for ever more. Crazy city


        1. dompritch134

          UK has already made 200k, this years projections are on target for a large profit.

          Sure CWD seems a great investment, forget about their debt they have to service and all the management and top front line staff they have lost. Knock yourself out.

          1. Bless You

            The pay anyway model will be a swear word soon . Public not woken up yet and if rightmove cares about their customers they will have to ditch u at some time.

          2. PeeBee

            “UK has already made 200k.”

            No, dom-boy – IT HASN’T.  And you know it.

            The so-called ‘profit’ you refer to is EBITDA – money in less only the cost of the stamp required to post the stuff to the Auditors.

            How’s about you add to that fabled +£200k the EBITDA figures for the previous three accounting periods, and post up for us all what the company has ACTUALLY “made” since Day #1?

            clue #1 – it’s a BIIIIIIIG number.

            clue #2 – don’t forget the ‘-‘ cos they don’t have red font on here.


            1. cyberduck46

              Wrong again PeeBee.


              Adjusted EBITDA was £1.7M for the UK. Operating profit was £0.2M.


              It’s like PJ says below “Sadly dompritch you’re banging your head against a brick wall on here. Any actual facts or correct information about PB will just be ignored.”


              Just wanted to put that straight. I have a lot to do today so might not be able to come back for the usual personal attack.

              1. PeeBee

                “Wrong again PeeBee.”

                Again?  Please enlighten us all, and bring my previous offences to the attention of the audience.

                In this instance I concede that I goofed on the EBITDA thingymajig.  I believe I was thinking of the 6M Report, where the AdjEBITDA figure was £300k – from revenue of £18.3m.

                The FULL year, however showed a game of two halves – the second of which  produced £1.4m AEBITDA from £24.9m if I am unmistaken – no doubt you will correct me if I am incorrect.

                But that’s not that exciting an uplift considering everything, is it?  £1.1m LESS all the hefty costs and deductions out of £6.6m taken at the tills…  I thought it all started becoming lovely jubbly once you hit the hump.

                Or – is that not the hump, yet?

                ‘cos that £24.9million equates to 24,050 listings.  Double it – you’re at roughly 48k – four thousand a month.  Which doesn’t seem too far away from what they’re doing at the minute when you analyse the listings.

                Zoopla’s scores on the doors for the last 30 days shows a total of 4400 ‘listings’ – and as we all know to be the case and no-one can deny, that includes all sorts of waifs and strays that land therein.

                Care to put an accurate figure on the number of those 4400 that actually paid money over in the month, ducky?

                1. cyberduck46

                  I can think of a couple of times you have been badly wrong off the top of my head:

                  1. portaljuggling – all sorts of huge ramifications that didn’t happen

                  2. your claim that growth would be at least 60% when in fact it came in very close to my estimate of 100% which you couldn’t wait to pull me up on.


                  There’s nothing wrong with being wrong occasionally but when you are calling people liars, ridiculing and shouting at people who are right well it pretty much says it all:


                  “No, dom-boy – IT HASN’T.  And you know it.”


                  End of conversation. I have no intention of looking at  your figures because they are probably wrong and my point has been made – you were wrong and worse still you ridiculed somebody who was right and called them a liar.

                  1. PeeBee


                    “1. portaljuggling – all sorts of huge ramifications that didn’t happen”

                    Have you noticed how little true, unadulterated “portaljuggling” there is these days, ducky?

                    Funny, that – innit?

                    From my perspective, the threat of those ramifications has gone a long way to achieve the objectives of an extremely worthwhile, ongoing, exercise.

                    “2. your claim that growth would be at least 60% when in fact it came in very close to my estimate of 100% which you couldn’t wait to pull me up on.”

                    Care to remind the audience what the chuff you’re banging on about there, ducky?  What “growth” you are referring to?

                    But for the record, even before you do that, I’ll stick to my figure, thank you.  I still like my figure.  I still think my figure has a ring of truth to it.  From my perspective – it’s a righteous figure.

                    “There’s nothing wrong with being wrong occasionally…”

                    Couldn’t agree more – I try to be wrong at least once a decade.  I’ll let you know when – from my perspective, at least – the 2010 – 2019 one happens.

                    “…but when you are calling people liars, ridiculing and shouting at people who are right well it pretty much says it all”

                    Are you eleven, by any chance?  From my perspective, you’re sounding like my Grandson.

                    “End of conversation.  (Blah…Blah…Blah…

                    So – it WASN’T the end of the conversation after all, then.  Same question as above repeated.  actually, no – you sound there more like my six-year old Granddaughter.  from my perspective, that is.

                    “I have no intention of looking at  your figures because they are probably wrong…”

                    Oh, dear – we are a huffy ducky today… from everyone’s perspective.

                    “…and my point has been made – you were wrong…” 

                    No I wasn’t – from my perspective.

                    “…and worse still you ridiculed somebody who was right…”

                    No – I ridiculed someone who was badly, sadly wrong…

                    …from my perspective, of course.

                    “…and called them a liar.”

                    Nope – I simply told them ‘they’ knew ‘they’ were.  That’s a pretty BIIIIG difference to what you’ve stated happened, ducky.  Depends I guess on your viewpoint… your opinion… your agenda.

                    Funny thing, perspective… innit?

                    1. cyberduck46

                      Let me quote you “In this instance I concede that I goofed on the EBITDA thingymajig.”


                      And now…


                      “No – I ridiculed someone who was badly, sadly wrong…”


                      You’re jumping around like a slippery eel. Let me remind you of the exchange just a few posts back:

                      >“UK has already made 200k.”
                      > No, dom-boy – IT HASN’T.  And you know it.

                      Well guess what they did make £200k operating profit.


                      Caught your rant by chance when looking to see if GPL had replied. It won’t happen again, straight to the bottom next time, I’m fed up of you wasting my time with your childish nonsense.


                      Found your claim about the ramifications on portaljuggling:


                      See and your comment


                      “Oh, mon ami…
                      …you have NO IDEA how big the can of worms you have just opened is going to get!”

                      Still seeing all the things you were telling me was portaljuggling happening daily on Zoopla. The huge effort you put in didn’t change a thing in that respect. Ad for the can of worm, it was a complete damp squib. You (well the people at your table) went whinging to the authorities and I bet they told you they’ve got more important things to do with their time & the public’s money.

                      I’m not going in search of your other mistakes seeing as you refuse to have the good grace to admit when you’re wrong.

                    2. Property Pundit

                      PeeBee what was my advice to you last time? Stop feeding the troll. I get that he’s retired, lonely and directionless but let’s not keep giving him hope that any poster (with the obvious exception) on here is finding a single word he writes here informative or interesting. I much prefer following him on London South East Purplebricks share chat where today, following your interaction with him, he wrote:

                      Perhaps over time UK customers will start thinking of PurpleBricks as rather than I know that I still type in whenever I want to access my control panel’. 

                    3. PeeBee


                      “Well guess what they did make £200k operating profit.”

                      So – you are eleven – based on that gleeful quacklet.

                      Oh, ducky – you’re clearly having selective intelligence issues here.

                      Read again what your #fanboy rival actually wrote.  Read it r…e…a…l slow – cos the reality of the situation clearly hasn’t got through your ducky skull yet.

                      dom-boy’s comment was “UK has already made 200k.”

                      Now – read this e…v…e…n   s…l…o…w…e…r – give yourself time to catch up and absorb information.




                      According to their accounts, they have chalked up an operating profit in their last financial year of that amount.

                      Stick that in the bottomless pit of losses for the previous accountancy periods – show me the profit now, please.

                      They are a company that have a massive hill to climb before they break even.

                      In skewed logic terms that gamblers seem to live by – which is all you investor types are in reality – punters playing the numbers in the hope that eventually your aces come high – today they dropped three cherries on the bandit.  Yesterday, the day before that and the day before that it emptied their pockets and they went home via the bank to get some more money.

                      For a man whose favourite line seems to be that this one or that one is wasting his time, you always come back for more of the same, ducky.  You must have more time to waste that most.  The question must be on the minds of many, however – if you don’t want your time wasted then why engage in the first place?

                      But you’re not wasting mine in the least.  The opposite is actually the case – and I eagerly look forward to you or dom-boy popping up again and spouting your predictable #fanboy b0ll0cks.

    2. ValueCounts31

      I’m thinking of setting up a new low cost airliner. Its half the price of my competition and there is a 50% chance you’ll get to your destination…but its low cost! (We’ll just leave out our success rates on all our collateral)

      I name it ‘Purple Jet’

      I plan to IPO at £250m shortly… any takers?

  2. ArthurHouse02

    In a slowing market where properties are less likely to sell, do you use the risk free no sale no fee model, or the pay anyway call centre style and risk losing your £1500?

    1. AgencyInsider

      Absolutely correct ArthurHouse02. The likes of PB will catch an almighty cold when (and it is when, not if) the market enters one of its major periodic recessions with a severe drop in transaction numbers.

      1. ValueCounts31

        If you had to underwrite an insurance policy that refunded a customer the fixed fee lost if no sale achieved.. what would the premium be?

        Realistically would be based on area, property type, current market conditions. But as a sweeping statement i’d expect to pay out in 50% of policies. Call it an average fee of £1,000 per pay-out.. at least £500 per policy to break-even.

        No one would buy that policy.. But lets not base it on 50% of cases, lets call it 20% of cases, that is still £200 per policy. More reasonable but again, how many would buy that policy?

        This is exactly the reason why online agents (on the whole) avoid no, sale, no fee. They are not willing to underwrite that risk.


  3. GPL

    …..and the share price goes up, down …..another statement, another announcement, shares up, shares down….. another analyst comments, shares up, shares down…. its like shovelling coal to keep a wheezing old steam train chugging along.

    I love that “listings” word for Purplebricks…. paid upfront just to stack those shelves.

    As I said to a client the other day when they asked what “the catch” was with Purplebricks…. I politely smiled and said you pay them around £1000 upfront then they list your house for sale, you basically pay them whether they sell your house or not… it’s like paying joiners to fit a shelf for you, then you sit there and wait to see whether they will fit your shelf or not…. however, you have already paid them!

    The client smiled and said “I thought there had to be a catch”.

    The public aren’t daft…. why do Purplebricks spend so much time “managing” those reviews…. that big virtual plate spinning department…. they need to keep the plates spinning other it will be “Smashisery”.

    1. PJ

      I run a high street agent……my partner is a Purplebricks LPE……so I have a very good insight.

      Like all of you, I hate loosing business to them.


      PB do not just list. Yes you pay up front just like you do for many types of marketing but once it’s listed there are many incentives and reasons that PB do everything they can to sell their stock…..but there’s no point in listing them because you and all the other PB bashers on here will just ignore facts and choose to believe what you want to. You are yet another contributor who opens his mouth without knowing the first thing about how PB operate. If you spent a few weeks working for PB then you would realise that 99% that is written about them on here is simply ill informed early morning ramblings.


      1. PeeBee

        “Like all of you, I hate loosing* business to them.”

        Difference in your instance however being that one way or another your household income benefits from a listing.

        Unless of course you operate a NSNF model – then it would be potentially beneficial to you to see at least some of the work going in the direction of your #PurplePartner.

        Hmmm….. interesting concept.

        There you go – that’s my early morning ramble out of the way.

        * It’s ‘losing’, by the way.

      2. GPL


        I didn’t realise that having a differing opinion of what DictatorBricks actually does simply meant I & others were FictatorBricks Bashers.

        Do you honestly think I should sit watching a FactlessBricks TV Ad that portrays itself as delivering the same service that I & others do as Full Service High Street Estate Agents… and I should NOT comment, I should NOT point out the glaringly obvious inaccuracies?

        Here’s a TV Ad…. instead of someone pouring a carton of milk over the chap’s head as in the PB Ad… I’ll pour of huge bucket of iced Cold Water over the same persons head and say ” Wake up! …. you did what? … honestly? really? ….you handed over how much? ….and they don’t actually need to sell your home because they already have your money! …. Wow?!! …..give me a £1000 now! …….Thanks …..Goodbye! ”

        ….so PJ, there is an alternative view.

        I trust as you are a High Street Agent with your Partner being a “LPE?” for Thingymabob ….. that you tell all your clients your Partner does the same as you for less so they should use your Partner instead of you?

        I’ll pop round to your Office and pour that large bucket of iced water over you. Wakey, Wakey!


        1. PJ

          You’ve successfully proved my point GPL.


  4. Robert May

    Stick your head between them and go  blubber blubber blubber

  5. Philosopher2467

    As has been said many, many times before; the share price at this time has little to nothing to do with PB profit production and dividend. Those with experience have a healthy scepticism as to whether it will produce profit that justifies a share price of a quarter of where it is now. It’s purely speculative trading fuelled by those with significant gains to be made. Those who should be very concerned are those whose fund managers are ploughing their investment/pension funds into PB equity. I liquidated a significant position with Investec last week when it chose to buy CWD. A huge lack of judgement imo. If my SIPP was exposed to PB then I’d be doing exactly the same.

    1. dompritch134

      1. PB can be divided into 3 businesses UK, AUS USA.

      2. UK Business produced a profit YE of £200k

      3. AUS on target to B/E by NOV 2018 faster than the UK and ahead of targets.

      4. Hardmans analysis and projections are all currently on target,


      Please try and find some actually facts for your general assumptions.

      1. Philosopher2467

        1. Probably. But if one falls over so will the others. The world is a small place.

        2. 200k profit? Wow is that all after all the money spent?

        3. B/e on what revenue/expenditure? Spend little get little back or the opposite?

        Hardmans analysis as with Jeffries and others too numberous to mention, can be wrong.

        Time will tell. Having been in this business for 35 years, PB is an alternative not a replacement. It has a place but is not ‘the second coming’! If you think it is then that is your prerogative however; you will be disappointed!

      2. Philosopher2467

        PB appears to be the latest

        its still around but never lived up to the hype. Sound familiar?

      3. PJ

        Sadly dompritch you’re banging your head against a brick wall on here. Any actual facts or correct information about PB will just be ignored. When it comes to PB the contributors on here are completely blinkered.

        1. AgentV


          Do you not believe as a high street agent that you can;

          a). Provide a better more personal service from start to finish than an online listing service.

          b). Achieve a better sale price for your vendors that more than compensates for your higher fee.

          c). Attain a higher more consistant completion rate whilst reducing stress for your customers.

          If you don’t why are you running a high street agency?

          1. PJ


            a) No. My branch provides a first rate service. I totally pride myself on it and always have. HOWEVER, with PB the seller is just dealing with one estate agent who is always available and who (in the case of my partner) will take calls early morning and evenings and do a valuation at 7.30am or 9pm. As high street agents the vast majority of us don’t do that.

            b) I’m confident in my own abilities so I always like to think that I personally can get more. but realistically as the majority of enquiries come from the internet, often no. I’m just being honest….what tools have I got in my office that PB haven’t? I’m a great negotiator and will always strive to get the most for my sellers. So is my partner and I guess so are most PB experts.

            c) Right now, yes. But PB after sales does seem to be improving and actually a lot of it seems to be down to the local expert. Many do seem to keep a very close eye on their sales.

            I run a high street agency because I love running a sales team and always have. I don’t want to work on my own.

            Hope that clarifies things!

            1. mattstephens38

              What happpens when your partner is ill, on holiday or doesnt want to have to work 18 hours a day?

      4. Chris Wood

        “4. Hardmans analysis and projections are all currently on target,”

        Perhaps we are reading different projections on EBITA from Hardmans?

        Hardman predictions 2015

        Year end April (£m) 2015, 2016E, 2017E  

        Income 3.4, 17.8,  49.2

        Gross profit 2.0, 9.8, 29.5

        EBITA -5.4, -10.7, 8.0

        YE 2017

        1. cyberduck46

          Chris, follow the link and you are presented with 2 options. One says “Latest Research”, that’s the one people will be talking about as the older research gets less useful as it gets older.


          Of course if you are looking to make a company look like they’ve failed you could choose out of date research like you appear to have done. FYI you are looking at research when there were no Oz startup costs forecast and there will have been other less significant updates too.


          Why would you choose old research?


          The thought that you tried to charge me $500 an hour for “experience, advice & insight” is very concerning. Not only do you fail to grasp the basics but the most glaring concern was your claim that PB customers only have a 14% chance of selling (15 January 2017) and your insistence that it was a factually correct statement based on a report by an internationally renowned investment companies analyst.


          I did my own research on the sales to listing ratio and not only did I save myself from paying for your “insight” but I also held onto my shares for a lot longer and made a nice profit on them (no thanks to you).


          So the message to investors out there is do your own research.


          1. dompritch134

            Why would you choose old research?


            He is buddies with Tom Winnifrith now, need i say more?

            1. Property Pundit

              Yes Dom, a lot more. Please educate us all here about the aforementioned Tom Winnifrith and don’t hold back.

              1. dompritch134

                Last time I mentioned that guy i was censored, so maybe google him and make your own opinion on the pizza shop man.

            2. cyberduck46

              >He is buddies with Tom Winnifrith now


              Is that right Chris?



              1. Property Pundit

                Top trolling.

  6. Chris Wood

    Yet to hit a profit or market share prediction made by analysts or the company itself. Its only claim to fame, being the biggest fish in a stagnant pond market sector. And, talking of fish, there’s a distinct whiff about some of its claims as the ASA has already noted.

  7. AgencyInsider

    Could PIE please create a special, automatic dislike button? It would click a thumbs down dislike whenever anyone says anything remotely negative about Purplebricks.

    I’m just trying to be helpful to dompritch134 here. It would save him SO much time every day.

    1. AgencyInsider

      p.s. dom -I see you have removed your comment saying it is ‘pointless trying to argue with these guys’.

      That also removed my reply – So why do you keep preaching to us?


      Oh, and thanks for the dislike above 🙂

      1. PJ

        He’s right. It is pointless.

        I’m no different from many others on here. I run a high street branch and business is tough. BUT living with a LPE does give me an extremely good insight into how PB work and think……and it really is nothing like most contributors on here would like to think it is. Sadly you can tell them till you’re blue in the face and it won’t change their minds in the slightest.

        1. PeeBee

          “I run a high street branch and business is tough.”

          “Run” as in own it… or ‘run’ as in Manage?

          1. PJ

            Manage as a partner.

            1. PeeBee

              “Manage as a partner.”

              Interesting choice of words… considering your original post states

              “I run a high street agent……my partner is a Purplebricks LPE……”

              Can we take it you mean DIFFERENT “partners”? – or are you burning both ends of the bridge between you?

        2. cyberduck46

          Thanks PJ, it’s good to hear an opinion from somebody with a different experience.


          The next thing though, they’ll go into denial mode and will have you labeled as a collaborator or actually a PB employee. Your motives will be questioned and then they’re back in their comfort zone, dragging up old data to comfort themselves whenever anxiety starts to rise.

          1. AgentV

            The online lister model is flawed in conception. Why? Because it is always designed around making the business owners as much money as possible and not around giving the absolutely best service possible to clients.

            If it was designed around the latter you would not need all the marketing hype, the deceiving way of accumulating extra income through add ons, the attempted mimicking of No Sale No Fee by deferred payments through loans, the accumulation of reviews at a ridiculously early stage of the process etc. etc. Why? Because if the model was based around giving the very best customer service news of it would spread by word of mouth.

            Of course we all know why you can’t give that kind of service…..because £2 to £300 for an LPE does not pay for the time it takes to provide it…..unless of course they work for minimum wage or less…..and then why would any quality people, who care, want to do that?

            So lets look to the Cyberduck’s dystopian future where all the money in the country is controlled by giant ‘greed stoked’ conglomerates in order to make a very few people incredibly rich, and investors lots of money…whilst the people working at the coalface (including his grandchildren) are expected to do, at times very tough jobs, for a pittance. Isn’t that society going back to Victorian times…except without the many philanthropists that were around then?

            I hope above all else that my children and grandchildren are still able to work in an environment where they are able to start up their own little local business, create fairly paid local jobs, add to their communities and build their businesses off the back of doing a great job for their customers. That is what this country has been based around for hundreds of years, with small businesses and enterprises providing the vast majority of local jobs.

            Unfortunately greed for wealth beyond imagination, often more than could be spent in a hundred lifetimes, is starting to destroy it.  

          2. PeeBee

            “Thanks PJ, it’s good to hear an opinion from somebody with a different experience.”

            Oh, ducky…

            You’re the first to accuse (or at it’s mildest form, to insinuate) anyone and everyone of making things up; of being disingenuous in one respect of another; and to quickly paper over any cracks in the walls that are pointed out in clear and undisputable terms – yet someone chips in who, to the best of my knowledge has never popped up here on EYE before Wednesday’s pro-PB post, and you’re all over them like a #fanboy in a dicky fit.

            No wonder we look forward to your every appearance…

  8. Bluebell73

    CW need to restructure?? Why do they continue to say this when they simply need to build on what they have and offer what the customer wants? The Management don’t have a clue! Stop setting the staff TARGETS! Focus on your Clients instead of filling in your pointless spreadsheets that mean zero!!

    1. Philosopher2467

      Omg! Another restructure??

      that’ll be 5 in two years!

  9. ValueCounts31

    1. If a property doesn’t sell with a fixed fee provider (like PB), this equals customer dissatisfaction.

    2. Even if just 1% don’t sell… surely that is enough of a forcing function to at least offer no sale, no fee as an option? Like Housesimple for example. I wonder why Emoov stopped offering that option and why PB have never considered offering?? (we all know why)

    3. What percentage of customers use an agent, expecting the outcome to be a sale? And therefore judge the fee based on that outcome, not the outcome of just paying to market? There is a disconnect between the consumers perception of the probability of a sale outcome when committing to a fixed fee. Why? Because the probabilities are not published. That is what landed PB on watchdog.

    Any thoughts?

    p.s Autotrader is a good example of a successful fixed fee provider. Why?

    1. Only provides advice on recommended prices based on presenting raw price data online

    2. No human motivation to win instruction e.g. sales person in home ‘selling’ to convince sign-up

    3. Therefore consumer far less likely to link poor performance of selling on Autotrader. More likely to consider market as issue.


  10. whatdoiknow58

    Perhaps as a Countrywide employee at the sharp end i can offer some insight into the reaction from  Branch staff. Basically i would agree with the headline comment that our on-line offering has fallen flat on its face. Why? well a few reasons are as follows. 1. A truly dreadful ( and embarrasing initial roll out – with more questions left unanswered than answered – we were not even told how much we would charge! ) 2. Promises made for when it would be delivered throught the UK – and not kept. 3. Absolutely no stats given out as to how well the pilot roll out was received ( make your own mind up time ). 4. No financial incentive to actually sell the on-line service to customers ( hey charge less and we pay you less! ) 5. When we do finally see what we are offering we are all told don’t sell it anyway it’s just to get you through more doors –  then sell them the High Street package at twice the price! I like my job i have respect for my line managers and feel genuinely sorry for them having to justify this mess. I will as always try to  ensure we hit our targets make money for the Group and wait patiently for someone  who knows what they are doing or at least give the impression they do!

    1. Philosopher2467

      Did Margaret not get it right?

    2. Philosopher2467

      Dear WDIK58,

      your conscientiousness and commitment is truly commendable. You are being taken for granted on a biblical scale. The contempt you are shown and subjected to is disgraceful.

  11. VFM agents

    zzz zzz zzz, the daily Purple Bricks bashing is getting rather tedious, and no I’m not a PB LPE.

    The same rhetoric and arguments get posted whenever PIE run a story where PB get a mention.

    Move on, we’ve heard it all before!

    1. cyberduck46

      VFM, it’s not just tedious but it’s misleading. Anybody might think it’s part of a campaign to misinform 🙂



      1. BrandNew

        So how much did you pay them not to sell your house?

        1. smile please

          Probably fallen through due to nobody chasing the sale ….

          1. cyberduck46

            BrandNew, smile please. Keep up the guesswork, it’s very amusing.

            I had one cash sale fall through and it was to a young girl who had been awarded a large sum of compensation. The family were local and very keen but lawyers based 200 miles away had control of the purse strings and always seemed less keen.

            The solicitors were concerned that the survey had recommended a damp course survey and a drains survey and said that if there were problems that it could amount to £40,000 so I agreed to pay for both surveys on the condition that my absolute limit was £20,000 and I pay 50% of any work required.

            The surveys came back with £800 of drain repairs required and £2000 for a damp course. They pulled out claiming they thought it was a sign that more work would be required. I asked a surveyor about it and he told me it looked like they were looking for an excuse to pull out. I later heard that the girl was in hospital in a very bad way. My own feeling is that it might have been something to do with that or that the solicitors were being extra careful to protect their own backsides.

            My LPE told me that there was nothing wrong with my property and that another survey could be very different and another buyer would probably ignore the issues raised. This has proved true.

            My property has now been on the market since January.

            FYI, there’s a house just up the road from me that is on it’s third local Estate Agent since January. I’m not sure when it was first listed. Sometimes these things just take time but feel free to speculate and cast aspersions. Like i say, it’s very amusing and just shows how rattled you are by PurpleBricks.

            1. Robert May

              Did your LPE disclose the  known faults to the new buyer or just keep schtum?

              1. PeeBee

                Looks like you’re being ignored, Robert,.

                Not surprising, really – firstly you’re talking about Estate Agency matters – which ducky knows diddly about and doesn’t want to know either.

                Secondly – you’re talking about complying with current Legislation – which he has previously stated

                “You can point to as many consumer protection laws as you want but in the end the consumer will get what they want…”

                I guess in THIS instance the “consumer” he would be quacking on about would be himself – and the buyer’s protection is swept under the Purple carpet.

                Speaks volumes.

                1. cyberduck46

                  >Speaks volumes.


                  What it does do is show how poor an Estate Agent you must be PeeBee.


                  To interpret the law to think that £2800 of repairs is likely to influence a buyer looking at a property listed for £630K (and both yourself and Robert May know about my property) is simply naive. Advertising is only unfair if it is likely to affect a transnational decision by the consumer. To take such an anally fixated view shows a lack of good judgement on your part (and Robert May’s) which as far as I’m concerned has already been established.


                  God help your clients PeeBee if you are updating your listings to reflect such minor things relative to the value of the property. It is you that doesn’t understand the law.


                  I suppose you’ll be citing the case where the Estate Agent failed to inform about the mine shaft in the back garden next 🙂


                  >I guess in THIS instance the “consumer” he would be quacking on about would be himself – and the buyer’s protection is swept under the Purple carpet.


                  FYI: Whether my LPE informed the new buyer about the work required I cannot say but on the first viewing I told the potential buyer about the surveys and provided him with the damp course survey and the drains survey. I have repaired the drains and we agreed that the damp course has been left to the new buyer.


                  You need to take a break from all this PeeBee. All this bitterness can’t be doing you any good.


                  1. Robert May

                    CPR require your LPE to disclose the facts there is an issue with the drain and the dampproof course not to just say it is  fine, there is nothing wrong.

                    Intelligent agent advice would have been to fix both issues before agreeing another sale There is a 6 years  comeback on the agent now you have documented the case that the are aware of the issue.

                    Unfortunately  much as the Woodford perma-tan boys would like there are rules which can’t be ignored or broken.  CPR’s are one such example.


                    All agents  have to comply with the regulations to think otherwise is the sort of practice you condemn.


                    Its alright for your agent to dupe consumers  but not  for others?

                    1. cyberduck46

                      Robert, unfortunately you do not understand the regulations as pointed out above.


                      The criteria is whether a transactional decision is likely and that is subjective. The  only people who can decide that are the courts.


                      You either completely miss the point or are being disingenuous.


                      The fact that my buyer knows about these issue makes any 6 year statute of limitations completely irrelevant. He can’t turn around and say I wouldn’t have carried out the transaction if I’d known because he does know.


                      You are obsessed with trivia and anally fixated on matters you don’t even understand.



                    2. Robert May

                      You are funny and not very good at being on a forum trying to defend a position. Is someone paying you to defend Purplebricks?  If they are they ain’t getting very good value for money. If you are doing this  just for the  interaction  with the outside world, I feel for you.

                      Ignoring  questions you don’t want to answer because your opponent has you in check is the worse thing you can do. In ignoring the question yesterday you allowed me to make the point  that  pretending to be an estate agent  while offering a passive intermediary service is fraught with problems.

                      If your  buyer is aware that the drains  and damp proof course have a problem  that is fine but   your know it all  attitude already let the cat out of the bag.  Despite saving £8 selling your home you are such a tight-wad that you lost your a buyer over £2800 of works, 14% of what you were happy to contribute to the repairs.

                      We’ll let the readers decide who’s right and who’s wrong but while you’re here how about the question of the ethics of taking listing fees on properties that  are negligently over valued and therefore un-saleable. To make it easy  and quick before you flounce off again.

                      is it ethical yes or no?

                    3. cyberduck46



                      First of all I have explained why I post on several occasions and if you don’t believe me then fine.


                      The only person who I will ignore deliberately is PeeBee who seems to take great delight in wasting my time. I deliberately don’t check back to see what he’s posted because he never stops and you get the feeling he’s a bit of a playground bully. Resorting to personal insults.


                      So if you have a question then ask me. I’ll check back at 8pm this evening but don’t imagine I’m ducking questions just because I don’t reply. I stop checking back after a while and very rarely check back to a previous days posts unless it’s the weekend.


                      I’ve already addressed your passive intermediary service claim elsewhere. You don’t understand the meaning of passive. That means they don’t do anything 🙂 You need a more appropriate buzzword.


                      >Despite saving £8 selling your home you are such a tight-wad that you lost your a buyer over £2800 of works, 14% of what you were happy to contribute to the repairs.


                      I’m not sure that makes sense, please explain.


                      >how about the question of the ethics of taking listing fees on properties that  are negligently over valued and therefore un-saleable.


                      If somebody is negligently overvaluing then that is wrong whether they take listing fees or not. Did you really think I was ignoring that?


                      I’ll be back at 8pm.


                      When you post back answer me whether it is ethical to charge somebody twice as much for a £500K property as for a £250K property in the case when the work is exactly the same?


                    4. cyberduck46

                      >>Despite saving £8 selling your home you are such a tight-wad that you lost your a buyer over £2800 of works, 14% of what you were happy to contribute to the repairs.


                      Robert, you need to read my post again. I can assure you I haven’t lost a buyer over £2800 of works.


                    5. Robert May

                      You’re good, you finally answered, it is unethical to charge someone  anything at all for listing a property that has been negligently valued. Jo Buckley will be delighted that Purplebricks greatest promoter  agrees  she shouldn’t have been charged a thing it is un ethical

                      Re; commission on selling property, it isn’t a case of ethics that is the normal process and most people are happy with it.

                      Had you not ignored the question whether your LPE had informed the new buyer of the defects  I wouldn’t have  had the field day I did.

                      You did lose your buyer over £2800 worth of work,  knowing you only had two defects that were readily solved you should have got both done and taken away the excuse they used to pull out.  Negotiating a deal is about giving a client advice and driving the sale through.

                      The mistake you made in your post was to claim the LPE said there was nothing wrong with the property when a  surveyor had already identified  there are two faults.  You read it again you give the impression they were hoping someone wouldn’t have a survey and the new survey might not show up the problems.

                      The passive intermediary is an industry term defined by the industry to describe those who simply whack stuff on the internet and are not culpable for  the advice they give vendors.

                      My concern for you is your home is sat there marked SSTC,  with only a few weeks of this year’s market left if your current sale fall through you could be left  sat there till spring  by which time interest rates may have risen  and the market  could be falling away. You are already £70,000 down on your  original asking price and are  un-exchanged 10 months later,

                  2. cyberduck46



                    You mistake a lack of bias and poor experiences with traditional Estate Agents as promotion of PurpleBricks.



                    >Had you not ignored the question whether your LPE had informed the new buyer of the defects  I wouldn’t have  had the field day I did.


                    That “field day” I’m afraid is in your imagination.


                    >You did lose your buyer over £2800 worth of work


                    No I didn’t. You are just speculating and haven’t even read what I said. There was an agreement that I pay 50% up to a maximum of £20,000 and they bear the cost of everything else. When the surveys came back they changed their mind and pulled out immediately after the family had a meeting with the solicitors representing the daughter. Neither you or I can guess what the reason was but it’s unlikely to have been about £2800 because they had a budget of £400,000 to alter the premises for the disabled child. They had occupational health visit to check the suitability and the total compensation award was £2M. In fact it might have been more. So if you think the sale fell through over £2800 then you are wrong and we even went to lengths to try and resolve any differences but they wouldn’t entertain any further discussion.


                    If you think you can guess what was going on in their minds when they pulled out then you are delusional. I think it’s a bit more complicated than your simplistic reasoning. Perhaps they simply found something better for their daughter’s requirements?


                    >The mistake you made in your post was to claim the LPE said there was nothing wrong with the property when a  surveyor had already identified  there are two faults.


                    What the LPE meant was that another buyer would not be concerned by such minor issues which has proved true. You really are desperately clutching at straws as usual. The house is close to 100 years old so a couple of metres of drains both in the vicinity of the manhole covers is nothing and this is exactly what the drain surveyor told me.


                    >You read it again you give the impression they were hoping someone wouldn’t have a survey and the new survey might not show up the problems.


                    That’s what you would like to think he meant but I’m afraid you are speculating again. I did get the drain work fixed and no surveyor misses a bit of damp so you must think everybody is very stupid if you think we imagined for a second we would get away with one side of the house needing a damp course.


                    >My concern for you is your home is sat there marked SSTC,  with only a few weeks of this year’s market left if your current sale fall through you could be left  sat there till spring  by which time interest rates may have risen  and the market  could be falling away.


                    C’est la vie. Like I say, there was nothing we could do about the fall-through. It was not about £2800 and it was not even open to resolution as they simply stopped talking to us other than to say that the daughters’ solicitors had vetoed the deal.


                    There’s actually other factors which you won’t be able to fathom so really your analysis at a distance is pretty worthless.


                    Also, FYI, there’s a property just up the road from ours which is now on its third Estate Agent since ours came on the market. Seeing as you like guessing why don’t you have a stab at what’s going on with that one? 3 local Estate Agents, one fall-through that I know of. Currently SSTC. No doubt you’re concerned for them too 🙂







                    1. Robert May

                      Your surveyor missed it!

                    2. cyberduck46



                      Last post on this from me because we’re going in circles, you continue to specualte and you are way off the mark as usual.


                      >Your surveyor missed it!


                      My surveyor? I’m presuming you mean the second buyer’s surveyor. No, he didn’t miss it. He detected the damp and it didn’t cause any problems with the mortgage offer. Why do you just claim something when you have no idea?


                      So in summary:


                      1. We don’t know whether my LPE told the buyer about the work required – claiming he didn’t is pure speculation.

                      2. I did tell my buyer on the first viewing and we came to an agreement over it during negotiations.

                      3. I had already fixed the drains and the new buyer’s surveyor did notice the damp problem.

                      4. You don’t understand the law. Even if nobody had told the buyer (he was told) and his surveyor had missed the work (he didn’t) it is up to the LPE whether he discloses it. Would he disclose a ripped piece of wallpaper he noticed? The thing you don’t appreciate is that the law is open to interpretation. The courts will decide whether they believe somebody when they claim that having known something they wouldn’t have proceeded. Would they believe somebody buying a £10M house would have been bothered about £2800 of work? No, I don’t think they would. So it’s a judgement call for an estate Agent and I really don’t think there’s much chance of i) a surveyor missing one side of a house being damp and ii) in the unlikely event they did the buyer would be cheeky enough to claim it would have put them off iii) and if he did make such a claim, then the courts would send him away telling him not to be ridiculous as we are talking about 0.3% of the value of an asset. A little bit of perspective is needed and I’m afraid that’s not the forte of somebody who is anally fixated with trivia.


                      Feel free to discuss on a future thread but this one is history for me now. Time to move on to see what today’s news brings 🙂






                    3. Robert May

                      No your surveyor missed the fact  the property you were buying had no damp proof course.

                      You said  “no surveyor misses a bit of damp” yet yours obviously did.

                      As for the law go and have a read up on when PMA was repealed and you’ll find quite a lot of discussion about CPR and the burden of disclosure. Requiring all agents to comply with the regulations isn’t being an@l it is simply  being reasonable.





        2. BrandNew

          How long has it been on the market now…. 12 month or so….?

  12. gk1uk2001

    As soon as I saw ‘Purplebricks’ in the headline I just knew that there would be loads of comments!

  13. VFM agents

    Consumers have a choice between paying upfront or paying on completion. Each model has arguments for and against, but at the end of the day it’s a genuine choice which is driving down the cost of selling property, which from the consumer’s perspective is a welcome change to the market.

    I see no right and wrong here, it’s for the consumer to make their own conclusions and make the choice that’s right for them.

    Both are legitimate routes to market, and there is no absolute guarantee of success with either.

    Ultimately it will be the consumer that dictates whether or not Purple Bricks will prosper and not the early morning ramblers on PIE.


    1. GPL


      “driving down the cost of selling property”

      So, Estate Agency is to be the 99p Burger equivalent then?

      I’ll pass on driving down the price, quality & best interests of clients scenario which your comments allude to.

      I’ve had to pick up the pieces after the shambolic Online GiveusyourmoneynowBrigade… each client felt so let down by what they thought they were paying for and what they got… I have hopefully restored those clients faith in the real Estate Agency Profession and demonstrated that we are a world away from the Mime Artist Property Listers.

      I look foward to Purplebricks and other Property Listers dumping any upfront cost and charging when they have DELIVERED a successful sale for their clients.

      Only then can they begin to be judged in some way as similar to a real Estate Agent. In the meantime Purplebricks and others are grossly overpriced in relation to simply listing a property for sale.

      Time will indeed tell. No doubt myself and others will need to clear up the mess that they leave. Purple Doggy Bag and Rubber Glove included with £1000 upfront cost?


  14. GPL

    In the interests of balance, every Purplebricks story should be debated otherwise we would only hear the Purple view… which would be both dull & one sided.

    Which brings me to Chris Wood’s point also raised by my other learned friends… with all the historic predictions of Purplebricks financial success in whichever quarter or year… where are the actual outcome reports explaining why they have failed to acheive?

    In the absence of balance & explanation are we to assume its just some Purple Pin Striped Folk shouting random figures which results in the share price boinging up n’ down because one is riding a rollercoaster of investor friendly announcements.

    Give us the facts please… why have Purplebricks failed to deliver on these positive financial predictions – I and many others relish learning the facts… otherwise it feels like we are reading a Silly Pooper novel.

    I’ll get the kettle on and prepare to be enlightened …surely it isn’t just about listening to the cash register ring with every circa £1000 dropping into the virtual coffers.

    1. cyberduck46




      A company will generally explain in their annual report if they have significantly beaten or come short of any predictions they have made.


      >with all the historic predictions of Purplebricks financial success in whichever quarter or year… where are the actual outcome reports 


      What prediction specifically are you referring to? Can you point me to “all” these documents in which PurpleBricks make a forecast?


      The Hardman & Co reports being referred to above are analyst reports. You won’t find them saying why they get things wrong and investors know it’s just an opinion and are more interested in the future. Analysts change their estimates on a regular basis as circumstances change.


      Here’s an interesting Article on analyst Jefferies in regard to their success rate with estimates and recommendations


       Jefferies issued twenty separate “buy” recommendations for its corporate clients, spanning over 2,000 days, while issuing none for their direct competitors. It issued five separate “sell / underperform” recommendations that spanned 700 days for direct competitors of its corporate clients.Meanwhile, the sustained positive stock recommendations for Countrywide and LSL corresponded with massive underperformance (a 71 percent and 52 percent drop in stock price), while the negative stock recommendations for Rightmove and Purplebricks corresponded with a big gain in stock price (60 percent and 88 percent respectively). Investors would have lost a lot of money if they had heeded Jefferies’ advice.The data, pulled directly from Jefferies and covering 38 data points over that three-and-a-half year period

    2. cyberduck46



      Do your own research, don’t fall into the trap of believing something because it is repeated “ad nauseam”. That’s what I see a lot of here. One agent states some ill informed “fact” and then before you know it everybody is talking about it as though it’s true.

  15. Robert May

    Cyberduck’s account of his sale shows the fundamental issue with claimed to be experts and how, without knowing, the natural tendency to say there’s nothing wrong, the next buyer might not notice, might not care, breaches CP regualtions regulation-abiding agents have to comply with.

    Trading standards will understand the breach but ASA won’t know and won’t care.

    Perhaps those critical of the people lobbying for the regulators to do their job properly and consistently are also unaware of the regulations and so can’t see what all the fuss is about.

    Business protection regulations require NTSEAT to see all agents comply with regulations the fact that isn’t happening is a reflection on them ( and their budget constraints) rather than those saying this is not right or proper.

    Perhaps if  the industry is not going to be policed the 95% majority should also start ignoring CPR’s


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