Doorsteps has been trading for less than a year and now claims to be the UK’s 18th largest estate agency. The company has caused a flurry of interest because its founder, Akshay Ruparelia, started the business while he was studying for his A-levels. The 19-year-old – nicknamed ‘Alan Sugar’ by his friends – launched the company after realising “people have had enough of being ripped off by high street agents charging them a fortune, but not doing a lot to sell their home.”
Instead, Akshay and his 12-strong (and growing) team will sell your home for just £99 – far less than many other online estate agents, and thousands of pounds cheaper than their high street counterparts. But the company isn’t aimed solely at entry-level sellers, either. Doorsteps has homes worth millions of pounds on its books, including enormous Devonshire estates and multi-million pound Notting Hill flats.
The company’s straight-talking, no-frills approach has proven hugely popular with property sellers around the country (it’s sold property as far south as Cornwall and as far north as the Scottish Highlands), and after launching with a family loan of just £7,000, the company recently raised nearly £550,000 in crowdfunding from almost 500 investors – far surpassing the original £400,000 target. The business has been valued at £12 million, and its management team includes former Rightmove overseas chief Sham Golamy.
Despite winning a place at Oxford University to study economics, Akshay has put his studies on hold to focus on Doorsteps, which has received consistent praise from all corners. Reviews on AllAgents and Trustpilot reveal scores and scores of happy customers.
Clearly, the company has big plans for the future, but Akshay – who has admitted to mimicking the business nous of Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary – wants to keep it grounded. Part of its current plans for growth include the expansion of its local agents network, which is comprised of self-employed mothers around the country.
“Mums know a thing or two, don’t they?” he says. “And quite rightly people trust mums. Every mum who works for me will be honest and tell the truth. That’s so important because for the vast majority of people, selling their home is the biggest financial transaction of their lives.” The biggest financial transaction, maybe, but as Doorsteps’ business model shows, it doesn’t have to be a costly transaction.
Claims and statistics
- Your listing online and live within 24 hours
- Doorstep customers save an average £5,121 in estate agency fees
- The average sale is agreed in 20 days
- The average Doorstep seller gets 99% of their asking price
Fees and services
Doorsteps’ main selling point is its low prices. As such, it offers two packages, one for £99 and a more comprehensive one for £199. With both, sellers get a free instant valuation, a dedicated account manager, weekly reports, sales progression and negotiation, and their property listed on hundreds of websites, including Rightmove and Zoopla.
The £199 package also comes with professional photos, floorplans and a professionally-written property description.
Doorsteps also offers a number of extras that can be purchased with either package, at any time during the sales process. These include accompanied viewings (£66 per viewing or £100 per hour for an open house), for sale boards, videos and EPC (£72).
Doorsteps in new to the online estate agency market, but in its short life has gained a very prominent position. In terms of customer satisfaction, the company scores 9.4/10 (five stars), placing sixth on our table of 11. The companies preceding it do so by an almost negligible amount: the highest scoring company has 9.8/10, whereas the lowest scoring company has 8.4/10, making Doorsteps a top performer in this category.
In terms of value, Doorsteps takes second place on our cheapest online agents table, which features 11 companies overall. Doorsteps is therefore one of the most inexpensive online estate agents, but while the company promises support and guidance throughout the sales process, the budget nature of the packages available means you may have to put slightly more work in than you would with other, more costly hybrid agents.