‘Online estate agency doesn’t work’, says ex-emoov boss Russell Quirk

A new podcast called The Real & Raw Podcast, where estate agent James Forrester asks the questions, has launched and is available to watch on YouTube, Apple Podcast and Spotify.

In this first episode of the series, ‘So where did all the £££ millions go?!’, Forrester does not  hold back, firing on all cylinders as he interviews Russell Quirk about his public failings with online estate agency, emoov, and how he has resuscitated his career as a public relations man.

In the interview Quirk says, “Online estate agency doesn’t work”.

He reflects on the struggles of other online estate agents like Purplebricks and Strike as evidence that non-traditional high street agency cannot succeed in today’s market.

Quirk said that he found out the hard way that cheap fees and lower overheads does not simply lead to greater market share, because “the public are not convinced” by the model.

eMoov failed “because the concept does not work”. HouseNetwork, emoov and Hachted were fighting – unsuccessfully – for dominance in the online estate agency sector, and then came along several other firms and diluted the market.

So where did the money invested in emoov go? Marketing and staff salary made up a significant chunk of the overheads, with expenditure far exceeding income; £27m raised and lost, according to Quirk. “But it was worth the punt,” he added.

Watch the interview in full:


Email the story to a friend!


  1. OnlineEA

    Low fee online agency doesn’t work. The only firm that has made an online model work that has actually made good money is Express Estate Agency.  The difference being they’ve always charged a decent NSNF fee and therefore scaled to a decent size without burning investor money.

    1. Bless You

      only good thing about purplebricks is they out lied the other online ‘ soluctions ‘ and killed most of them.

  2. Rich@redhomes

    Not this one again.

    Red Homes Estate Agents (Online only)opened 2005, outsold all local High street agents over last 17 years! FACT!

    Last year profit of over £200k yes working from home for myself…..FACT!

    If you are good enough it will work, stop saying the model doesn’t work.


    1. Bless You

      why not spend 8k of that profit on providing a real service where buyers can do basic things like pick up keys.

      Pointless sitting in your lounge all day.

      1. BME

        We have been running a successful agency for 12 years based on Red homes model (in a different part of the country) as they sold a house for us once and we were very impressed. A ‘real service’ does not rely on someone having a high street office. Perhaps he offers a better service of actually meeting the clients with the keys, showing them how everything works, taking meter readings together, welcoming them to their home, perhaps answering any of their questions etc, rather than just having an office so they can ‘pick up keys!!’. We have only had two reviews in over 12 years that were not 5 star so I think that speaks for itself. Saying the model doesn’t work is so wrong. If you have a local agency that just deals with local properties in an area which you know back to front, it works very well.

        1. Rich@redhomes

          BME, glad to hear you are doing well!

          You took the words right out of my mouth, making clients come into your office rather than meet them at the property…

          ‘Bless you’ I will give you some free advice, start right back at the beginning on the chapter about giving good customer service…..thank me later.

  3. WITMM

    Or is it more that Russell Quirk couldn’t make it work…

  4. nick1927

    How does anyone fail or manage to burn through £27m?! Wages I.e. the board took their salary & dividends regardless of what the company was doing

    1. Bless You

      you ever used adwords  for search term ‘estate agents in blah blah’   ?


  5. BEReal46

    Compete on service rather than fee and you stand a chance of succeeding.

    And if you can find areas where the traditional agents are also racing to the bottom by competing on fee at the expense of their service – then a service-focused online or hybrid agent will thrive.

  6. The Future Is Tech

    The problem with online agencies, especially purplebricks now that that’s all over the place, they have monkeys for management when the Indians are doing all the work.

    There are really good agents actually doing well and they are the ones keeping up the stats as far as instructions and sales go. Problem with the monkeys is not helping their Indians but having a pillow fight in the playground constantly, no idea how to sell houses and make life more difficult for those on the ground trying to flog a dead horse.

    The reason for failings in not always the idea but the structure and people put in place


You must be logged in to report this comment!

Comments are closed.

Thank you for signing up to our newsletter, we have sent you an email asking you to confirm your subscription. Additionally if you would like to create a free EYE account which allows you to comment on news stories and manage your email subscriptions please enter a password below.