Purplebricks VS SOLD.co.uk – Battle Of The Free Online Estate Agents

Purplebricks Vs Sold - Free Online Estate Agents

From what I’m aware, Purplebricks.co.uk & SOLD.co.uk are currently the only two online estate agents that offer free house-selling services. At least, they’re the most popular by a country mile.

However, their business models are rather different, specifically in regards to how they’re able to absorb the costs of providing a “free” service, and it’s worth knowing the differences between the two, because it’s likely one will be a better fit for you.

I definitely have my preference out of the two and I’ll explain why.

Purplebricks Vs SOLD – The Comparison

Purplebricks Logo SOLD Logo
CostFREEFREE
Visit websiteVisit website
TrustPilot Rating3.7TrustPilot Reviews4.7TrustPilot Reviews
Marketing approachOpen marketPrivate database of active buyers + Open market
Service coverageUKUK
Rightmove listing£299
Zoopla listing
Photos & Floorplans£699
EPC
Property Valuation
Legal / conveyancing services
Managed until completion
Hosted viewings£899
Business model / how & why their service is free

Purplebricks earn commission from any optional add-on services the seller purchases from them, including the following:

  • Mortgage services
  • Conveyancing services
  • EPCs
  • Hosted viewings

SOLD will agree a price with the seller, and then SOLD will sell it for more and keep the difference.

For example, If the seller agrees to accept £80k for the sale of their property, SOLD will market and sell the property for £100k. The seller will get £80k, and SOLD will keep £20k.

Positives
  • Can get full market value for property.
  • 100% free, no strings attached.
  • Fast sale – they claim to sell faster than any estate agent in the UK.
Negatives / Concerns
  • £60 anti-money laundering fee
  • £299 extra for Rightmove listing
  • Some people have complained that Purplebricks sales team can be quite persistent when it comes to up-selling additional services.
  • Doesn’t include legal services.
  • SOLD does not make their terms of service publicly available on their website.
  • Due to the nature of SOLD’s business model, it is more than likely that sellers will need to sell at a significant discount.
  • Operates more like a “cash buyer” company, as opposed to a traditional estate agent.
  • They won’t be able to sell every property quickly, which may disappoint those that only chose to use their service for a quick sale.
  • According to their Privacy Policy, they share their customer details with their sister company WebuyAnyHouse.com
Visit websiteVisit website

Purplebricks service and business model explained

Purplebricks house selling service is 100% free (since December 2023), and there are no strings attached. Their service is similar to the likes of Yopa & 99Homes.

If you’re interested in using their free service, the first step is to schedule a local agent to visit your property to conduct a valuation. You can book a no-obligations Purplebricks valuation here.

If you’re then happy to proceed with using their service, your property will be marketed and sold on the open market the traditional way, by being listed on the biggest UK property portals, including Zoopla (and Rightmove for an optional £299).

You can then process the leads by scheduling in viewings. If you don’t opt in for Purplebricks “hosted viewing” package (£899), you will have to manage the viewings yourself.

You can either use Purplebricks recommended conveyancing service to handle the paperwork (this is NOT included with their free service, so will incur extra costs) or source your own. Alternatively, I always advocate for sourcing reputable conveyancing services independently because, more often than not, it leads to better prices and service quality. If you need help doing that, here’s my guide on conveyancing solicitors.

Purplebricks makes money by up-selling additional services like mortgages, conveyancing, EPCs, Hosted viewings etc. These products are all optional, so there is no obligation to buy them.

SOLD’s service and business model explained

SSOLD’s service differs from Purplebricks in its approach. While Purplebricks functions more like a traditional estate agent, SOLD operates more in line with a cash buyer company.

Once signing up to SOLD’s service, they will reach out to discuss the price you’d consider acceptable for the sale of your house. On their website, they state that they will “work with you to agree on a realistic price that you are 100% satisfied with.”

It’s important to note that any price you agree to is the amount you should expect to receive from the sale of the property. SOLD will market and sell your property for more than your agreed asking price.

For example, if you agreed to accept £100k for your property, then they will market and sell your property for £110k. But you will still only get £100k, and they will keep the £10k as their fee.

Once a price has been agreed and you’re happy to use their service, someone will visit your house to take professional photos and measurements for floor plans in preparation for marketing.

SOLD will start off by marketing your property to their database of 20,000 pre-qualified buyers – giving them 24 hours to make their best offer to secure the sale. If they get an offer, they will jump straight to completing the sale for you. This can result in a super quick sale.

However, if there is no interest, they will market your property on the open market by listing it on Rightmove & Zoopla. This means a quick sale becomes less likely, and the timescale is more likely to be prolonged to 10-12 weeks (the average time it takes to sell a home in the UK on the open market).

SOLD’s free service includes legal services, so you don’t need to source your own conveyancing service to manage all the paperwork.

For SOLD’s business model to work and for them to make money, it’s likely that they are selling properties for below market value. This is how they’re able to sell properties quicker than traditional estate agents (i.e. SOLD are selling properties for cheaper than the market value).

The most important part about SOLD’s model, which sellers need to be aware of, is that while they are likely to get a quicker sale by using them (but that’s not guaranteed), they are also likely going to get less money from the sale compared to selling through a traditional high-street or online agent.

The spread between how much SOLD pays the seller and how much they sell the property for needs to be big enough for them to cover all the expenses, including marketing and legal fees. So I think it’s safe to assume that sellers are having to accept anywhere between 5% – 15% less than the market value for their house.

That is similar to how “Cash house buyer” companies operate (also known as We Buy Any House companies), which is why I made the comparison.

Purplebricks Vs SOLD: Which is better? Which do I prefer?

Disclaimer: in the spirit of being 100% transparent, I do need to make it clear that Purplebricks is an affiliate partner of mine. Despite this affiliation, I’ve made a concerted effort – as I always do – to present an objective comparison when explaining the disparities between the two free services. I genuinely believe that the differences in their services are objectively clear and apparent to anyone evaluating them.

I can’t definitively say which service would be the superior choice for you. However, from my perspective, I lean toward Purplebricks because their service truly embodies the concept of a free estate agent (if you’re willing to forgive the compulsory £60 anti-money laundering fee, that us). On the other hand, SOLD’s approach, relying on vendors to potentially sell at a discount, gives the impression of operating more as a broker rather than a genuinely free service.

In short, I would use Purplebricks free service over SOLD if I simply required an online service that resembles a traditional estate agency, and I wanted the full market value.

However, that said, if a fast sale is priority and you’re willing to acknowledge and accept the trade-off of potentially selling at a discount, SOLD might be the more suitable option in that scenario. If that’s the case, it might also be worth checking out my Guide on Cash Buyer Companies (I list my recommended Cash Buying Companies and go into more detail about how they work).

FYI: I’ve already written comprehensive blog posts on both Purplebricks and SOLD. This comparison stemmed from those posts, so if you’re interested in a more in-depth analysis of either of them, feel free to check them out:

Right, that’s me done.

I hope that’s been useful and helped you in one way or another.

Landlord out xo

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