OpinionBrokerage

Coming to America: 6 things Purplebricks needs to know about U.S. real estate

  • Purplebricks needs to consider how American customers will respond to its fee system, especially if it holds onto its "no refunds for no sale" policy.
  • Agents will need clear explanations on payment, plus incentives to perform.
  • Purplebricks needs to establish itself slowly to overcome the idiosyncrasies of U.S. real estate, especially fragmented MLS.

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U.K. hybrid brokerage Purplebricks charges consumers a set fee to “instruct to sell” -- for us Yanks, that means list a home with an agent. The company has expanded to Australia, and now it's raising funds to bring its tech-based model to the U.S. in the second half of 2017. As in the U.K., some brokerages and agents see technology models and flat-fee listings as a disruptor to the industry, while these models (like mine) believe in the ease and savings that consumers enjoy. It’s not easy bringing a real estate model to another country because everyone does things differently. I’m curious to see how Purplebricks will deal with America’s real estate idiosyncrasies and fragmentation in its state-by-state rollout. It will be a personnel, systems and technological challenge. Friends across the pond, this is what you need to know. Understand the American agent mindset Real estate agents in America are an independent lot. They value being 1099 contractors, so they...