Northern Ireland online estate agents return home with 'cheaper alternative'
The Northern Irish founders of Purplebricks are returning to the province to launch their online estate agency.
The website was set up by Michael (41) and Kenny Bruce (39) in April 2014 to challenge high street estate agents with a claim to be a cheaper alternative for consumers.
Through Purplebricks, home-owners can sell their homes for a fixed price of £665 + VAT, which aims to be cheaper than traditional estate agents. The letting part of the business offers landlords a service to make it easier to finding tenants.
The company employs "local property experts" to provide valuations and help negotiate the property's sale.
The brothers attended St Comgall's College in Larne before moving to England the age of 18. They have a combined 40 years experience in the sector, and used to run estate agent Burchell Edwards before its sale to Connells in 2011.
Purplebricks, which has a strong base in England and Wales, employs 150 people, three of which are based in the province since its launch in Northern Ireland. In the last six months, the business has seen quick growth with sales tripling in that time, the firm claimed.
Chief executive Michael Bruce said the brothers were happy to be setting up in the province. "Having spent most of my childhood in Northern Ireland, I am delighted to be able to return home, bringing Purplebricks with me to offer the local people the chance to save thousands of pounds, as well as high quality 24/7 service, when selling their homes.
"We are leading a property revolution, changing the way people are buying and selling houses. We are challenging the traditional estate agency model, which has been left untouched for too long.
"Thousands of people have come to us, rather than traditional estate agents, because our model works - we cost less and the service provided by our local property experts is first-class."
Kenny Bruce said the property market in the province is beginning to turn.
"We are certainly seeing signs the market is stronger and consumer confidence is higher."
The business has received backing from some big-name investors, including former Capita chief executive Paul Pindar. .