New start-up says its business model could spell the end for high street agents

A new start-up says that its model – which claims to charge vendors less while paying estate agents more – could see the end of high street agents.

Moveli aims to have a network of local agents working across London.

There will be no offices, with agents working out of their homes, cars and local coffee shops.

Each agent will offer a full service, from valuation through to sale, charging a £160 plus VAT upfront marketing fee, and then 0.75% plus VAT.

The agents earn half of that 0.75% fee – claimed to be about double what they would normally get from a high street agent.

Moveli is founded by Ben and Christian Littlewood, who claim over 15 years of experience in London property.

They previously launched property publication Property Square Magazine, which had a print run of over 150,000 copies, before launching a high street agency, Brik, in Fulham in 2008.

The pair said that while running Brik – which is still very much in business – they felt frustration at how both the high street agency and new online agency models were working.

As a start-up, they are currently concentrating on Fulham, , in south west London, but say that “significant expansion” is in hand.

They aim to launch in Battersea and Fulham this month, and have a further 25 areas planned within 12 months.

They are looking for agents across London who have worked in their local areas for at least a few years and, say the Littlewoods, “are keen to continue their careers in a more modern and profitable format. We;re not running a franchise model. Our agents are employed on a very high commission, and low basic salary.”

Ben Littlewood said: “Home owners will get the same full service they’d expect from a top high street agency, yet pay considerably less in fees, even though Moveli’s agents earn more per sale then their high street counerparts, and are consequently more motivated to give a better service.

He said: “Basically we think high street agency needs reforming and we believe that good estate agents themselves add a lot of value to a sale.

“Purplebricks did it in the mid to lower end of the market where price sensitivity is the biggest driving factor. Moveli intends to do it in the mid-upper end of the market where service and price is the driving factor.

“Everyone is waiting for this change to happen.

“Moveli allows really great estate agents to leave the agencies they work for, have more autonomy working for themselves and the possibility to earn much more than if they stayed in their current job.

“At the same time it allows them to charge about half the price to sell vendors property. The result is a genuine win win.

“Everyone wins except high street agencies, as they charge more and pay their agents less.”

On its site, Moveli says that in London, a typical high street business charges 1.5% and the actual agent would typically get a tenth of that.

Despite the reference to Purplebricks, Littlewood emphasised that Moveli is not an online agent.

He said: “To me an online agency is something that allows you to list your sale on the property portals and provide you with some half decent technology to manage your sale.

“We think online agents in general have a bad reputation in our market, and stand for low service, low price. Obviously they are attempting a rebrand to ‘Hybrid’ to appeal to people who still value a more traditional agency service.

“However we believe that fundamentally their business model cannot support the level of service, from great estate agents, that is necessary in the London market.

“We see ourselves as a full stack business.

“We intend to take control of the entire value chain which includes genuine local estate agents working a local area and the technology to support them and the seller.”


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  1. Property Poke In The Eye

    Yawn….  Another game changer..not.

    1. Bless You

      This is where the @asa_uk have it wrong… it’s a good idea but don’t say it’s the same as a high street agent. It isn’t the same because people don’t realise that call centre agents cannot help the sane way as a local agent and the area agent cannot take calls while he is doing viewings and valuations.

  2. PAG45


  3. 123430

    Not sure that these guys know. Most of the big agents in the area may charge 1% with no up front fee. And they are very good. Let’s keep this a secret, if they knew, their model would not work. Good luck to all the not so bright people who want to change the world.

  4. AgencyInsider

    Is it April 1st?

  5. J1

    Instead of being sensationalist about the demise of others, why not just promote a genuine offering or oppprtunity?


  6. smile please

    Can imagine how this came about.

    Ben: Hey Christian, you know the magazine and office did not pan the way out we had hoped.

    Christian: Yes i know, we might have to get employed roles 🙁

    Ben: Ahhhh thats where you are wrong!

    Christian: Really?

    Ben: Yes, I think we can piggyback off the back of these online agents. They say its the future!!!

    Christian: Hmmmm i am not sure these companies just lose money and rely on multi-million £ outside investment.

    Ben: Errr well i saw a few articles on property industry eye and there are a couple of posters that are not even estate agents saying how great it is. If we call ourselves a disrupter we can show its sexy and new.

    Christian: Well if you’re sure ……. Guess it means we do not have to go back to an employed role for the next few months.

    Ben: Brilliant, I am sure we can succeed where many have failed. This time next year Christian, we’ll be millionaires!

    Christian: Super, i will fetch the suitcase from the van, need to shift the last of these magazines we have had littering the office for the last 6 months.

  7. MrLister

    So he owns a high street office.

    Not sure what his sellers will think about his opinions that high street agents charge more and are less motivated than his latest “lightbulb idea”


  8. Aaron

    So they state their model could see the end of high street agents, with a similar set up to the likes of PB, working from home but then go on to slate that model as not being capable of providing a good enough service that’s necessary in the London market.

    If they can provide that service, I would assume that the single person dealing with that location isn’t taking on 15 plus listing a month otherwise they would struggle quite a bit to retain the service levels they say are required.

    Which would indicate that there is more than enough business for everyone, thus high street estate agency survives another scare… phew for a minute there I thought this could be ‘the one’ that ended it all!

    Oh and btw guys, just a heads up, your business is not unique, there are other agents out there that do very similar to what you propose and don’t charge a penny upfront and do it very well too!

    I wish you good luck though.

  9. Certus

    Well they have disrupted my morning coffee, just reading this ‘non story’ – so some success already.

    1. Chris Wood


  10. David M

    As all professional estate agents know you must quote all fees inclusive of VAT.

    So they charge £192 upfront  –  and 0.9% to sell the property………… doesn’t seem that much of a saving to me to the agents I know operate in those areas…..



  11. WestMidsValuer97

    What a load of drivel…’s the purple bricks model with a different fee structure. Hardly revolutionary. If anything, the client will get a worse service!


    All you’ve done is creat an agency with a better comms structure for your staff. Yawn. Move on.


    Next agent to reinvent the wheel please…..

  12. Mark Walker

    “Sell smarter by cutting out the high street and going direct to your local agent” 

    I’m going to be up all night trying to work this phrase out.

  13. Thinker89

    Local agent here. Currently not sitting in my office. Nothing radical about that.


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