A new online agency has launched offering a rock-bottom fee of just £99 including VAT to sell or let a property.
London based 99Home are offering sellers a listing on Zoopla, Gumtree Pro and their own website for the knockdown price, however sellers are expected to take their own property photo’s and, controversially, value their own home.
The new business shares an address with established North London agents, Property Hub, which is run by Vijay Vashisht and is reported to be the online arm of the agency.
Their £99 offer is the cheapest of 3 options for buyers, which was created in response to the ongoing success of hybrid disruptors Purplebricks.
In an attempt to sell the idea to buyers, the company’s profile on Zoopla markets it as giving power back to the owners. Here is an extract from the firms ZPG page:
Eagle eyed DMZ‘ers will have spotted the consistent use of bad English throughout the pitch – we haven’t amended any of the text and this is actually on Zoopla right now.
One might argue that for £99 you could still expect language more eloquent than, “to save time and energy so as we provide are here to provide this platform”. But then again, perhaps not.
It’s been a slow start for the wannabe disrupters, at time of publishing they only have two listings for sale and one listing for rent. DealMakerz suggest the owners take another read over their marketing material before promoting the 99Homes business any further.
As with most industries, there is room at both the top and the bottom of the market – just ask Steve Smith, Founder of the low-end Poundland stores how effective sensibly positioning low end products can be.
Smith sold the Poundland business for £50 million in 2002, with the chain now worth an estimated £650 million.
Interestingly, Smith boasted in 2014 about selling his £6.5 million mansion using an online agency he created himself – EstatesDirect.com. Unlike 99Homes, his agency adopts a traditional approach, requiring a £999 payment upon completion.
DMZ thinks there is room for a high volume, low margin competitor in the online space.
However, at such a low price £99 may be off-putting for buyers, especially when established online agents like eMoov and Purplebricks are near to or surpassing the £1,000 mark per listing. Adoption of this type of strategy may be more suited to a larger brand who can absorb high start-up costs…and who don’t mind being perceived as aiming for the lower end of the market.