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.