A property firm which describes itself as the “UK’s leading home selling agent” has raised £500,000 in backing.
BestBid, which displays The Property Ombudsman logo and operates nationally, has an unusual business model.
Although vendors sign a contract with it, BestBid does not actually sell houses. Instead it passes the property to local estate agents, which it says it has already researched.
The website explains: “A simple, quick way to sell your house. One document, one fee, all the agents.”
The sub-contracted agents arrange the viewings and negotiating, but BestBid does the valuation, floorplans and photography, which are then passed on to agents, “enabling us to quickly engage another agent if we need”.
At completion, sellers pay BestBid 1.5% “plus VAT”, and BestBid pays “the agent that delivers the buyer”.
It says most of the fee is paid to the sub-agent.
Other unusual features include no tie-in period, with sellers able to terminate at 48 hours’ notice.
BestBid tells its prospective customers that going sole agency is a “gamble” because the average estate agent only sells 57% of its listings, and 38% of its listings never get an offer: “That’s why we manage multi-agent sale process using the agents with the most buyers. . . Our process generates far more viewings and stops clients getting stuck.”
It starts by instructing one local agent – which it describes as the “best” – but brings in a second shortly afterwards.
In examples given on its website, BestBid says that “more often than not” it is the second agent that produces an offer.
It is not clear how the agents are chosen. Using EYE’s address, we were given a choice of five firms, described as “local agents with the most buyers”.
However one agent is not local and another is not active in our postcode. One local agent, a market leader, is not in the list.
BestBid was founded by Tom Scarborough, who has a financial background, and launched last autumn.
On his linkedin profile, Scarborough describes his venture as “the UK’s first multi-agent vendor . . . Clients sign highly flexible multi-agent T&Cs with us to sell their home anywhere in the UK.
“We use technology to identify the best agents with the most buyers and then ensure the property gets sold.
“We’re opening up the buyer universe for vendors in a simple manner that’s never been done before, ensuring vendors get sold and for the BestBid.”
Its new backers include William Reeve, who co-founded LoveFilm alongside Alex Chesterman who went on to found Zoopla, and venture capital firm Hambro Perks.