Ugh, estate agents

Looking to sell a property and just pondering whether what the pros and cons of using a typical high street estate agent vs someone like Purple Bricks might be?

Anyone got any relevant experience to share?

I’ve heard a few scare stories of PB putting signs up at wrong houses and all sorts

As a buyer I found PB next to fucking useless. I have read that you pay to list your house with them and as their is no commision on a sale, there is no incentive to care. I find UK agents pretty feckless for the most part, they all seem incapabale of managing sales progression which I find as a buyer makes it difficult to close in on the proprty you want. We have never sold a house here but its an experience I am not looking forward to when that day comes.

I am in the process of selling my Dad’s house.
The house is empty so online agent wasn’t really an option so I went with a local independent.
Lower overheads than the chains so cheaper quote (0.95% + VAT) (I have no idea why Estate Agents are the only people who quote ex VAT). Plus the owner of the business is dealing with the sale so has a vested interest.
I live 50 miles away so they have had to deal with all viewings.
Seems OK so far!

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Purple bricks have a poor reputation I used a local indie agent when I moved I think I paid 1.05% + VAT, whilst expensive you only pay when you sell and they were very professional.

If you have a sought after type house then Purple bricks might be a lot cheaper but their reputation is poor and you might be pissed about more. If your house doesn’t sell in 10 -12 months I think you have to pay again.

I’m happy to wear a sandwich board and stand on a roundabout of your choice for cash


Right now it’s more important to get it sold than maximise the value.

Just to mess this up further, as a buyer, Purple Bricks were a good experience for me. They answered phones, had the information I needed and were not an impediment to the process at any stage. No idea how it was for the sellers but as a buyer I wouldn’t be worried about dealing with them again. By preference, for a ‘normal’ (sub £1 mil) property, I’d choose the local agent who annoys you the least though.

Purple Bricks seem to be a network of self employed local agents.
It might be a lucky dip on who you get and how they perform.

Foxtons it is then

You’d be better off putting it on fucking Gumtree.


We have sold 2 houses relatively recently. One as executors. Both times used agents. Both houses “needed selling” - 1 cos it needed a load of modernising and 1 because it was a bit unusual (sold 2 years ago). The executors sale was 200 miles away so needed a hands-on agent. Both agents were superb (from someone who hates that profession). Both charged about 1% plus VAT. Both earned their money. In contrast, some friends put their house on the market the same time we put ours on but they used purple bricks “cos everybody just uses the internet now”. Our house sold in 6 weeks theirs is still on the market.

I think if your house is in fantastic condition and will readily sell and there is not much by way of competition, PB might be worth a punt. If your house “needs selling” or there are loads of similar houses in the vicinity, then I think an old-fashioned agent who knows the area and the local market does offer something PB doesn’t.


If PB are active in your area, the other estate agents will have reduced their fees to compete. There is no such thing as No Sale - No Fee with PB. You pay the fee and they list it for 3 months. If it hasn’t sold, you will have to pay a new fee if you want it listing again. Like all estate agencies, there are good agents and bad ones.

We are in the process of moving at the moment.

We are using a local branch of a small independent, one we used for our previous move, so we know them really well. We are using them for our Sale and Purchase.
We had a sale agreed back in Feb but it broke down as our buyer pulled out, and then the property we wanted sold to someone else, not long after there was the Lockdown so nothing really happened.
Once the lockdown lifted, we started viewings and our the estate agent got in touch, with the news that the house we really liked was about to come back on the market.
We managed to get a viewing that evening, before they had even taken new photos and before it was offered to anyone else, next day got an offer in and things are in the process right now.

The short of it, if we had not used a local Estate Agent, and had a good relationship with them we might not have been first on the list, and it could have sold to someone else.

It’s real pot-luck with Estate Agents. I know from bitter experience that Purple Bricks (and similar) are FAR beyond useless - into some new realm of actively harmful to your interests, but then this is true of some high-street clowns. Worth avoiding Allen & Harris if they have a branch where you’re selling, too.

Estate agents as a collective are lazy, clueless, incompetent and dishonest; there are a few who are not - but many cheerfully overprice properties and then sit on them for months just so they might get a better commission. Others artificially deflate prices in an area, buy-up cheaply and then sell-on later when they’ve talked the area up again, at a nice profit.

Note to self: “stab more estate agents…


You have to pay purple bricks after a period even if it doesn’t sell.

Do not use the agents recommended conveyancer. Use a local Solicitor or Yoda.

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Thanks for all the replies and helpful info.

Today I’ll be sounding out the local agents in terms of fees and incentives for quick sale etc.

All estate agents (and conveyancing solicitors ) are cunts if the first water imho.
Only ever sold 2 houses, one was shared ownership so all done through a housing association mandated agency, even though we only had 1 offer, at asking price, that we arranged via Facebook they still managed to fuck about and extract their pound of flesh.
An executor sale for my mums bungalow was so dire with bad photos, badly described features and a gross over evaluation we ended up firing the agency after the initial period and eventually sold to an acquaintance with no estate agent involvement. Our side of it went great as we just phoned or whatsapped the buyer and sorted things out. Once the solicitors were involved it was horrific as ours was obviously the runt of the litter with no concept of his job. When we finished our chain and on our move in day he had failed to put in some paperwork and we were almost homeless thanks to a ‘computer glitch’ as he was trying to put things through. Then months later he had the nerve to send us a request for more money as they’d fucked up our billing.
Useless shyster cunts the lot of them.
Aaaaand relax.

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We had this with the agent for the sale of one of our houses in Melbourne. I rang them, asked for an itemised bill and gave them a forwarding address in the UK. Never.Heard.Another.Word.


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I’ve bought three houses and sold two, and never used an agent.

Sheer fluke. One swap. And one part ex.