Industry Interview: Prople

1) What is Prople and why did it start up?

Prople is a free, confidential online platform that lets property owners compare, meet and select the right estate agent for them based on their requirements. Registered, high quality agents provide bespoke fee proposals, valuations and key market information to users, resulting in more informed choices and better results for a fair fee.

2) What are you doing that is different?

We’re trying to stop a race to the bottom where low fees are prioritised over results and service standards. We don’t allow auto-generated fees or valuations and provide much more property information to agents than our competitors, including photos.

3) What is the future – online, hybrid, traditional or will all three continue to co-exist?

Cut-price models are coming under increased scrutiny but traditional agencies will need to gravitate towards some efficiency gains. Online and hybrid models will try and up their service level. Firms that combine technological efficiency with excellent service to provide real value for money will excel.

4) Are people confused by the wide variety of agent fee structures?

Yes, there are fixed fees (often upfront), percentage of sale price (often at completion) and fees based on guaranteed sales prices. The type of fee dictates the services (or lack of) provided, and there can be hidden fees in the small print. Prople ensures that agents are crystal clear about their fee and services provided.

5) Estate agents are among the least trusted professions in the UK, what can be done to improve this?

Greater transparency from estate agents regarding fees, services provided and contracts would help. Consumer reviews are an effective way to improve service quality. At Prople, validated users review their agent and these genuine reviews help reputable agents get leads more easily and will help to improve industry reputation.

Hannah Prideaux, head of product and operations Prople