If you’ve just discovered that Housesimple.com have taken an axe to their fees, making their house-selling service completely free, then your first reaction is probably the same as everyone else’s: jump onto Google to find out what the hell is going on and what the catch is. So here we are!
There’s got to be a catch. We’re talking about an estate agent after all. The very same people that would stab their Nan for a fiver.
Is this a snake oil gimmick that will ultimately cost us a
small fortune, or perhaps even our kidneys? Let’s get to the bottom of it…
A couple of weeks ago, Housesimple’s marketing team got in touch, updating me on their ballsy new “strategy”: to abolish their online estate agency fees, essentially making their service completely free. Having read the memo, I quickly recoiled my confused head away from the screen and gave my cup of tea an abrupt sniff.
I am drinking tea here, aren’t I?
Reluctant to believe that an estate agent could give away something for free – the same something that used to cost £995 a mere few weeks ago – I could only assume I had been compromised somehow, and consequently my mind was playing games on me.
My tea smelt normal.
And I could still walk in a straight line.
Somewhat reassured that I was T-total, I responded to the marketing team, to get confirmation on whether I had actually read what I thought I read, or whether an intern – one that got sent home early, teary-eyed – accidentally distributed an in-house prank from April the 1st.
Is Housesimple’s house-selling service actually free?
In short, yes! Totally free.
I’ve been assured.
You can legitimately sign-up to Housesimple’s service and sell your house without spending a dime.
Here’s an overview of what you get for free:
|Estate Agent||Rating||Duration||Includes / Notes||Price|
Includes / Notes|
No fee package
|Visit WebsiteBook Free In-Person Valuation|
Yup, everything listed is included with the free package.
So, is there a catch or what?
I wouldn’t say there is a catch per’se, but there is a very hefty limitation to using HouseSimple’s Free service, that will make this a non-starter for the majority of the UK.
Here’s the blow! Are you ready for it?
When Housesimple was charging £995 for their services, it was available nationwide (i.e. they would sell your property as long as it was in the UK), but since becoming a free service, they have limited their service to a select few regions in the north of England.
To perfect this free service we have also taken the strategic decision to solely focus on a specific region of the UK.
We cover all the following postcode areas: BB, BD, BL, CH, CW, DN, FY, HD, HG, HU, HX, L, LN, LS, M, OL, PR, S, SK, WF, WA, WN, YO; or the following postcode districts LA1 – LA7, LA11 – LA18, LA20, NG1 – NG8, NG18 – NG24, NG34.
How to check if you can use Housesimple’s Free Service…
HouseSimple will currently only sell your house for free if it is in one of the following regions:
- North West
Which includes cities like:
To find out if you can sell your house for free with Housesimple, try to book a free valuation to see if your postcode is accepted. If it is, BINGO!
If not, you may want to try another online estate agent. Not for free, of course – HouseSimple are only bonkers enough to do that– but for as little as £99. It could be worse, I ‘spose.
Will Housesimple eventually be free in my area?
It’s hard to say.
If you’re preparing to sell your house in the near future, I personally wouldn’t wait around for HouseSimple to become active in your region/city so you can snatch the freebie, ’cause you may end up waiting a long ass time.
However, HouseSimple have said they do eventually plan on rolling out their service to other regions/towns/cities eventually, and when they do, I intend to update this blog post, so it remains up-to-date.
My guess is, they’re going to expand into other areas very slowly.
Why is Housesimple Free?
If you’re anything like me, you’re never quite comfortable with savagely divulging a free meal until the opportunity makes sense.
While Housesimple’s offer sounds amazing, WHY IS IT FREE? I NEED TO KNOW!!!
Ok, so here’s the explanation…
HouseSimple toss away their core service for free because they hope to make enough money from up-selling additional services, which includes the following:
- Energy Performance Certificates (£90)
- Hosted Viewing Services (£300 for for 10 viewings, or £35 per hosted viewing on a ad-hoc basis)
- Conveyancing Services (price varies by case)
- Mortgage brokering (price varies by case)
This is what it says on their website:
We recommend useful services when you need them – such as mortgage, conveyancing and insurance advice. There’s no obligation, but if you use one of our partners we get a commission, which we are upfront about from the start.
Is it a viable business model? Can Housesimple survive? Who knows, but we really shouldn’t care! We should only care about the fact that the offer is on the table, and it’s real.
If this unexpected strategy to dominate the market eventually ends up being their downfall, then so be it. That’s on them.
In any case, after hearing their explanation, the natural question to be asking is obviously: are we obligated to buy any of their add-on services?
Once again, I was almost knocked off my feet to discover that there is NO obligation to buy any of their add-on services. However, we can assume that they hope we do – and somewhere along their sales-funnel they’ll try and encourage us to – but we certainly won’t be contractually obligated to pay a penny for any additional junk. For now, anyways.
Based on their EPC price (£90), I think it’s also safe to assume you won’t be getting any real bargains by tossing their extras into your shopping basket, only convenience (maybe).
If you require any additional services, I recommend grabbing some quotes from multiple providers (of course, I’d suggest the same even if they didn’t rely on making money from the add-ons, or if their EPC was competitively priced). Here are my suggestions:
- Energy Performance Certificates: LettingAProperty.com sell EPC’s for £69 (Inc VAT)
- Mortgages Quotes: Habito is a free online mortgage brokerage, and they have been amassing a huge amount of positive feedback for providing extremely competitive mortgage deals. They have a 4.8 / 5 TrustPilot rating from over 2000+ customers (at the time of writing this blog post).
- Conveyancing Quotes: Get 4 instant quotes from from expert SRA or CLC regulated conveyancing solicitors and Licensed Conveyancers by using this online tool by Reallymoving.com. Average saving is £365.
Yup, I’m sure Housesimple will be thrilled with that top tip of mine. (Sorry, it’s nothing personal!)
As a final note, I want to make it clear that I believe the details covered in this blog post regarding Housesimple’s service is true at the time of publication. But it may change tomorrow.
I will do my utmost to keep this blog post up-to-date if/when Housesimple change the terms of their service, but for the most accurate and up-to-date details, you should always rely on Housesimple’s official website.
How does Housesimple’s free service work?
Surprisingly, it works exactly the same as it did with the £995 package, only without the £995 price tag.
Step 1: Book In-Person Valuation
Their free service includes an in-person valuation by a local agent, and scheduling in an appointment should be step 1.
Its purpose is to help establish a realistic value to achieve the maximum sale price. It’s also the perfect opportunity to go through the process with your agent, and have any of your burning questions answered.
To clarify, there is 100% no obligations to use their service after a valuation is conducted.
Step 2: Instruct Housesimple to sell your home
If you are happy with the shenanigans that took place during the valuation, you can then choose to instruct HouseSimple to sell your home. Your property will then be marketed for sale for 6 months on the UK’s biggest property portals, including Rightmove & Zoopla.
Step 3: Going live and managing your advert & enquiries
Once your advert is live you’ll be able to manage everything via Housesimple’s online dashboard, including your viewings schedule and any offers made.
Have you used Housesimple’s free service?
If so, I’d love to hear your experience.
Were they.. errr… worth the money? Leave a comment below…
Remember, if you don’t qualify for HouseSimple’s freebie, check out the list of other online estate agents, which start from £99. No, it’s not free, but still peanuts in the grand scheme of things.
Disclaimer: I'm just a simple landlord blogger; I'm not qualified to give legal or financial advice. Any information I share is my opinion based on my personal experiences as an active landlord, and should never be contrued as legal or professional advice. For more information, please read my full disclaimer.