Thursday, 18 June 2009

Tepilo - Sarah Beeny chat

Sarah Beeny believes buying and selling a house ought to be easier and a task one can do on their own. Having spoken with her about her new project, Tepilo, I would tend to agree with her.

Sarah was speaking to me from her office 'shed' the other day. We were discussing the rights and wrongs of the world of real estate and she hit on a few key words that readers to this blog will be familiar with, namely 'simplicity' and 'its not rocket science'.

Sarah makes the point that as an individual, one is happy to hand over what is probably at least a month's wages to a complete stranger to perform a task that you are not certain they can perform. She goes on to say the buying selling process is not rocket science (more synergy) so why not do it yourself. Tepilo is thus a step by step guide and medium to help you sell your house. Sarah says the site is all about simplicity and providing the user with a straightforward simplistic system to sell your own home.

The site looks good on the face of it, but before it launched I asked Sarah how she was planning to generate revenue from it? The 'free' commission word popped up and I challenged her on the viability to maintain staff, overheads, marketing with no revenue. Indeed, there is no advertising on the site either. So where does the money come from I asked? Does she have very deep pockets? There are others involved I understand, but Sarah explained that this was a long term project and not a quick money making scheme. I appreciate that, but I still can't see how it can function without revenue.

Agents will no doubt cry that you need them to deal with the lawyers, arrange viewings and moreover what about the valuation?! Well as Sarah says, it is not rocket science and punters now have sites like Zoopla to help them. Valuing your house is actually very straightforward. The Zoopla functionality needs to find its way onto Tepilo. Indeed, the American model upon which Zoopla is based is now synonymous with valuation and realtors will actually publish the valuation from the website by way of benchmark. As for legal advice and the like, this is all catered for within Tepilo and you can of course use your own. Again, it is not rocket science.

The site looks good, but I would want to see more, step by step web 2.0 style screens, more colour, pictures and examples of how I should do it, larger font size. Video uploads and a video to show me how to do it, a blog, podcasts and all the other goodies. I am sure these are coming in due course.

Private selling is still a very young and small market, but the more Sarah Beenys that come along the better. Agents who poo poo this market, continue to ignore the Internet and continue along the path thus travelled will come undone when entrepreneurs like Sarah find the magic formula for property selling in this country.

I must say I like Sarah and she strikes me as a good person, personable, passionate about the consumer and all round champion of the people. I wish her venture the very best. I will do a follow up interview when Tepilo has been running for a little while.


Property Addict said...

I agree that estate agents' commission is steep, and I, personally, as the motivated buyer/seller would probably prefer to do a lot of their work myself. However, I think there are two issues with the sell it yourself idea. Firstly, as you mention, the valuation. Although sites like Zoopla may help, it isn't a science, and estate agents are good at knowing what the market will pay on a street by street micro level. According to Zoopla homes in the hotspot where I live are worth £50k + less than I know they're selling for.
And secondly, there's the chain aspect. If I look in Mr Smith's window, see somewhere I want, and, in order to have some chance of getting it before some other bugger does, I will offer him my home to sell. It doesn't always work, but I can't help thinking it gives me more of a chance than if I tell Mr Smith, 'Don't worry I haven't sold yet, but I'm going to do it myself. It's not rocket science, Sarah Beeny says so.'

Property Owl said...

Thanks PA. I think agents would argue their commission is too low (certainly lower than many countries). Good point regarding valuation, but as you point out, you know what your property is worth and have done the same as any agent would. The chain point is a fair one and not one I have heard before.

Anonymous said...

Nice to see what side of the fence you come down on baring in mind that you provide estate agents with websites.

Gready home owners that refuse to listen reason dished out by the experts end up on sites like tepilo.

Remember the BBC show "Axe the Agent"? Proof indeed that you need an estate agent to sell your home.

Property Owl said...

Dear Anoymous.

I am going to use this comment as an example at a forthcoming NAEA meeting so can you please let me have your agency details.

OnlinePropertyGirl said...

It's not rocket science, no, but it is a fulltime job. And I can certainly see the point of having a 3rd party manage such a huge investment. I am not a salesman and by no means am I 'salesly' by nature and therefore I would rely on this type of character to act in my best interest.

Tepilo is a nice idea. Sarah Beeny is an Industry pro and it's great she wants to share her knowledge with consumers. But as you said Mr. Wise (not old) Owl, with no revenue model in place and no real unique content, I am pretty sure there will be no real eyeballs...


we are about to be graced with a new TElevision PILOt where..."each week she'll be choosing a home and offering to pay a visit to the owners to give some advice on presenting and marketing their property."

I think I am on to something.

Overseas Investment Property said...

Great idea, but doubt it will be a massive thing. I don’t see whats so bad about letting the professionals do their job. Some people have no idea about how to sell a house or the valuation as not everyone knows zoopla (plus its often wildly wrong). The house is normally the biggest asset they own, so why not let someone who knows what they are doing, do it!

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