How Do Purplebricks Make Money? The Catch Of Its New Free-To-Sell Promise

How do Purplebricks make money? The catch of its new free-to-sell promise
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Purplebricks, the UK’s most popular online estate agent, has recently unveiled a free house-selling service. This is quite a move from their previous fixed fee model, which cost £1,349 (up to £2,999 in London!) to list a home, regardless of whether it sold. This begs the question: how do Purplebricks make money?

Going from charging thousands of pounds to offering a free service raises the following questions: 

  • What’s the catch?
  • Is it really free? 
  • How do Purplebricks make money from this?
  • And seriously, what is the catch? 

In this “How do Purplebricks make money” guide, we’ll dive into the new pricing structure, reveal how Purplebricks will make their money and shine a light on all hidden fees that might be lurking under this seemingly too-good-to-be-true offer. 

Why have Purplebricks gone from free to paid? 

for free

Before we look at the free listing offer in more detail, it’s important that we provide some context on why Purplebricks made the move in the first place. 

As we explored in our review of Purplebricks, the company was founded in 2012 to disrupt the UK estate agency market, which was run by traditional, high-street agents.

Coming in as an online platform with fixed-fee pricing, Purplebricks achieved amazing growth – leading to a peak valuation of over £1.3 billion and an estimated 60% share of the market.

Then things went a little downhill. Purplebricks tried to move into the US market, which was unsuccessful. The company started losing money, and faced legal issues on worker classification and scrutiny over misleading fee advertising, as well as a plague of negative reviews. 

Eventually, the original founders of the company all left and were replaced with a new set of owners – who sold the company to Strike in 2023 for a nominal sum of £1 when they were set to lose between £15-£20m that year.

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Striking a deal: Purplebricks given the Strike makeover 

The free-to-sell model was originally used by Strike, making it the third most popular online agent at the time. But given that Purplebricks had a larger share and bigger reputation, the decision was made to use Strike’s offering under the Purplebricks name. 

In short, Purplebricks didn’t just decide to go from paid to free. Their services have been replaced with Strike’s following a takeover. 

You can sell a house on Purplebricks for free* – *ish

Purplebricks Review

So, Purplebricks got rid of their old fixed fees and now uses Strike’s free-to-sell offer. Although it might sound too good to be true, it is real. Their free service will let you list and sell a home. From their website, the free service gives you access to: 

  • A valuation complete with insights about your property and your area
  • A listing on some of the UK’s top property portals, showing your property off at its best
  • An app that lets you manage viewings, offers, and communicate directly with buyers
  • Professional negotiation to make sure you get the best possible price for your home

However, we need to disagree with the ‘and we won’t charge you a penny’ statement that goes with it. Although these services are free, there is one tiny caveat: a £60 anti-money laundering fee. 

“I knew there was a catch!” I can hear some of you shout. But… in fairness, Purplebricks are required by law to carry out anti-money laundering checks on all those selling a property.

Normally these checks are done as part of the overall service fee, but since Purplebricks has now scrapped this cost, they will charge you £60 for this check. 

Still, a price drop from their fixed fees of over £1,000 to £60 is a hell of a drop. So, with Purplebricks, you can sell a house for (almost) free. So how do Purplebricks make money if they are really offering to sell my house for free?

As we explore in the next section, if you were to go through the process, you will be presented with many paid add-ons and extras to ramp up the cost. 

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But, there are add-ons… 

add button

You can sell a house for free* (with a £60 anti-laundering charge) on Purplebricks. However, you will quickly realise that there are many optional add-ons and extras that Purplebricks offer. This is one of the key ways Purplebricks make money under the new offer. 

This is done through two main packages: Boost and Full House. 

The Boost package will cover everything from the free service, as well as: 

  • Digitally enhanced professional photos of the property 
  • A 360 virtual tour and a professional floorplan
  • A Premium Rightmove listing
  • Expert mortgage advice available from just £149 – a saving of £150

The Full House package includes: 

  • All the extras from the Boost package 
  • Hosted viewings of your property 
  • Mortgage advice worth £299 

As well as the packages, Purplebricks offers all add-ons as one-time costs to let customers build a package that’s right for them. The full list of add-ons and their costs are listed in this table.

Hosted viewings£899
Rightmove listing£399
Rightmove Featured Property£149
Rightmove Premium Listing £125
Digital Enhanced professional photos & 360 virtual tour and professional floorplan £699
Elevated Photography£99
Drone Photography £199
Conveyancing servicesVaries
Mortgage servicesUp to 1%, average fee is £299

All upgrades and add-ons are optional. But we’re sure the team are ready to use every chance to upsell. After all, don’t you want the best possible chance of selling your home? 

Before buying any add-on from Purplebricks, we’d always recommend comparing prices elsewhere – particularly for services such as photography. Although it might be tempting to do so from your phone, having great listing photos can make a massive impact on your property listing and interest rates. 

If you’re thinking about using their conveyancing or mortgage services, you’ll want to read on as this is another key way that Purplebricks makes money. 

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How else do Purplebricks make money? 

As well as selling add-ons, Purplebricks also makes money through mortgage and conveyance referrals. This shouldn’t come as a huge shock, as many real estate agents and mortgage lenders also earn commission through referral schemes. 

This is particularly true for conveyancing services, which can be a big money-maker for estate agents.

The Purplebricks website promotes that they are open and honest about making money from referrals, saying “We’re proud of how we sell homes and how we make money. Not only do we believe it’s a fairer, more transparent way to sell homes —  it also means we can sell your home for free.” 

They also claim that most referrals are generated through users buying homes, rather than selling. 

If you’re selling through Purplebricks, there’s no obligation to use their mortgage or conveyancing services. In fact, when selling a house, you technically don’t even need to use a conveyancer at all.

However, because the process is incredibly complicated, we’d always recommend using a qualified conveyancing solicitor when selling your home. You can use our handy tool to find solicitors in your area.

How do you sell a house for free on Purplebricks? 

With the question of how do Purplebricks make money solved, let’s look at how you can sell your house for free with them.

If you want to take advantage of Purplebricks’ free listing offer, these are the steps that you will go through to sell your property. 

1. Receive your valuation 

The first step to selling your property on Purplebricks is to get a free valuation from one of their agents. So, before you agree to anything, you will book a date and time with one of their agents to take a look at your home and give you a figure. 

At that point, you can decide whether to proceed with the process or use a different agent. 

2. Give Purplebricks the go-ahead

If you’re happy with your valuation and are ready to sell, then it’s time to give Purplebricks the go-ahead! Their free package will ensure your property is listed for 6 months on online portals including Zoopla. 

At this point, you will be asked if you want to include optional extras in your package, such as property photography or a listing on Rightmove. If you decide against these, you will be responsible for taking pictures of your home. 

3. Your listing goes live 

Once your listing is live, you can use the Purplebricks app to manage your viewings, offers and other communication with buyers. If you use the free service, you will need to manage all viewings yourself.

When we sold our last home we did all our viewings ourselves and managed them via an online portal. And for us that worked great. We are great advocates of homeowners conducting their own viewings.

Simply, because we believe that you can sell your home better than any estate agent ever could. So don’t be put off by this. Conducting your own viewings isn’t difficult and can have a big impact on finding a buyer quickly.

If all goes well, you should receive your dream offer in no time at all. 

Add-ons and referral fees prop up Purplebricks free-to-sell service 

Purplebricks Sales Package

If you glazed over how and why Purplebricks moved to a free model earlier, here’s a little summed-up (and heavily glossed-over) version. 

  1. Purplebricks was losing money and facing some negative reviews and legal issues 
  2. Strike purchased Purplebricks for £1
  3. Strike replaces Purplebricks’ old model, replacing it with their own free-to-sell offer. 

Although it might seem too good to be true, you can really sell a house on Purplebricks for free (excluding a £60 anti-money laundering fee).

The question of how do Purplebricks make money can be answered simply: on add-ons and referral fees. When you choose to go with them, you will be presented with their paid upgrade packages and mortgage advice and conveyancing services during the process. 

The add-ons are completely optional. However, if you don’t purchase with Purplebricks, you will likely be spending the money elsewhere on services such as: 

  • Listing photography 
  • Getting property listed on Rightmove, or opting for premium listings 
  • EPC 
  • And more

To get the full picture of selling a home in the UK, from preparing your home for the market to completing the legal paperwork, we’ve put together an in-depth guide to walk you through the essential steps towards a lucrative sale. 

Discover more with the 10 steps to selling a home in the UK, and make sure that you stay up to date with Property Road for more advice, tips and guides.

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  • Property Road

    Founded in 2017, Property Road is one of the UK’s leading independent property websites for consumers, focused on educating buyers, sellers, investors, and homeowners on all things property related. It's run by a team of experienced property owners, investors, and a former estate agent.

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