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What on earth is happening at Purple Bricks and is there any way out?

Purple Bricks

What on earth is happening at Purple Bricks and is there any way out?

Well of course I understand that the vast majority of Agents want Purple Bricks to fail. I think I agree,  although my view has always been that if Michael and Kenny Bruce hadn’t done it then someone else would have. Michael and Kenny were clever enough to raise the finance that others couldn’t. but someone would have done so eventually….look at Strike now! And Purple Bricks made us all massively improve our on line presence, marketing and services, no bad thing.

Now, I think unless Purple Bricks change their business model quite quickly then it is likely they will continue to decline.

Many of you will have read the piece by Paul Smith of Spicer Haart on Property Industry Eye and I agree with him that I don’t think they have enough time left. I don’t necessarily agree that they needed to reduce the head count (which they have done anyway) but I certainly  think that they don’t have the ‘right heads’.

What do Purple Bricks have?

They have a recognised name which the general public knows but probably associates with cheap Estate Agency.

They have still some very capable people who I suspect are mainly instruction winners (although surely some have seen the light).

And now they have Vince Courtney who is an experienced traditional style Estate Agent with much experience at Romans, who in the day we all respected and was also more recently at Haslams and Andrews. Not sure exactly why someone would leave Andrews for PB mind.

What do Purple Bricks not have?

An acceptable level of experienced staff to support the instruction winners.

Any credible management team with proper Estate Agency experience other than Vince who has just joined and will need a while to work things out.

A realistic plan.

You see, at least Michael and Kenny understood what they were not doing! Perhaps Vince will now be able to explain to them what they are not doing?

They have increased their fees but why on earth would anyone choose to use them if they are not the cheapest. I cannot think of a single thing they do better than anyone else.

Can they rely on income from Financial Services and Conveyancing? Well, again if they are trying to start financial services from scratch I agree with Paul Smith that there isn’t enough time left but I thought they had a relationship with MAB. What happened to that? As for Conveyancing I have never been comfortable with an arrangement that requires people to pay more for a service than they really need to do especially when the service is generally poor. Not sure the salvation lies there.

I said when Purple Bricks and others first came on the scene that traditional agents would need to adapt and that eventually everyone would be some sort of a hybrid. Many traditional agents have done this, larger ones have contact centres and lead handling software and others have much more effective on line presence and services. As Robert May said unless PB allow Vince Courtney to tack  and sail for clear water….which means doing something fundamentally different this now makes it much harder for Purple Bricks who are no longer different and anyway they still seem to sit firmly in the ‘online’ space. If they remain there they cannot succeed.