An online agency is offering a £500 referral fee to brokers for any vendor leads while only charging upfront sellers £395. The firm, Agent Online, so far quietly under the radar, is also now boarding estate agents into its business model.
Agent Online says it can afford to pay brokers such a hefty sum partly because it also charges sellers a fee on completion, and partly because £200 of the referral fee comes from a conveyancer, if the vendor opts to use Agent Online’s recommended firm.
Dominic Toller, Director and Founder of the Bristol-headquartered online agency, said the business is pushing hard to grow its network of referring brokers to about 1,000.
An attraction for them is that as well as getting a fee for referring possible vendors, Agent Online asks for the broker’s assistance in financially qualifying potential buyers – typically, people looking for mortgages and other financial services.
Toller said: “We started Agent Online three or four years ago when we began looking at going down the Purplebricks and Emoov route – but we realised early on that we would have needed very deep pockets.”
He said the costs of customer acquisition were very high for these types of online or hybrid agents – “But we have kept our costs incredibly lean. As an online/hybrid agent, we are not currently looking to take over the world, but we are going to steadily grow.”
Agent Online charges a headline £395, which includes photography, floorplans, and listing on Rightmove and Zoopla for 12 months. Extras, such as one accompanied viewing, can be added for £45.
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