Criticism of Purplebricks understates the impact the company made

Criticism of Purplebricks understates the impact the company made

According to apropos by D.J. Alexander, without Purplebricks the estate and letting agency sector would not have progressed as much as it has. Purplebricks transformed a sector that was not responding to the technological changes that were occurring in other markets and, in a few years, identified and implemented the way forward for selling and renting.

David Alexander, managing director of apropos, explained: “Purplebricks have been subject to strong criticism by the sector since they began in 2014, with many believing that the business model was wrong, that the market would never take to a largely online delivery, that heir expansion was too rapid, that their growth was funded by marketing rather than sales, and that it would not deliver profits. Now, undoubtedly, some of these criticisms were true and mistakes were made. Markets were over inflated, and targets were not met but the fundamental change that Purplebricks helped initiate was right, it will work in some form, and it is the future for our industry.”

“The letting and estate agents’ market was ripe for change, but many individuals and businesses were stuck in the past. The assumption that a High Street presence was essential persisted but has been shown to be untrue by the continued collapse in bricks and mortars outlets across all sectors in retail, casual dining and estate agents. This decline is likely to continue as high rents and rates coupled with long leases cripple the High Street economy.”

David continued: “Equally, the success of online retailers hadn’t translated into the selling and lettings sector whose working model was beginning to look out of step with the times. However, many in the industry recognised that change was coming, and online outlets were developing but none delivered the transformation in such a complete and transformative way as Purplebricks. They took the online model and exploded onto the estate and letting agent scene changing it forever.”

“But let’s be clear. Mistakes were made, marketing budgets soared, and profitability was mixed. Every major change in business is often accompanied by mistakes, problems, and doom-laden predictions. We, now, benefit from understanding and learning from the lessons and mistakes of these earlier businesses. An understanding of these changes ensures that we acknowledge that the sector has changed irrevocably and Purplebricks was a major instigator of that change.”

David concluded: “If we see Purplebricks as the beginning of this transformation, we can build on what they did and incorporate it into our own ventures to create a stronger, more client focused, and modern presentation for our customers to build a better buying and letting sector in the future. We have all learned from the lessons of the last five years. But we have all understood that change was needed, it was inevitable, and it was positive. The way lettings and sales will be delivered may vary, but all will be an innovative platform accessible to all concerned; a face to face service provided by experienced staff on the ground but without the need for a local office; and a forward thinking management that can see, if the lessons of Purplebricks are learned, that the future is bright.”