This month Amanda interviewed Sarah Beeny, star of Channel 4’s "Property Ladder and Property Snakes and Ladders".
Sarah, who is due to give birth to her 4th son on 2nd October, has recently launched a property website, Tepilo.
Taking on estate agents where it hurts, the site is entirely free. Whether you use it as the sole way of marketing your home, or as an addition to using a traditional agent, you can upload and market your property via the site without the usual commission charge which agents charge. The site is also packed with advice, from buying and selling houses to lighting tips.
I asked Sarah why she decided to form Tepilo. In her usual straight style, her answer was simple: “I could never understand why we paid estate agents so much. On an average house sale we pay them up to 12 times as much as we pay the solicitor for doing the legal side, which to me seems madness when you compare the qualification levels of the two professions”.
She was however keen to say:
“We are not an estate agent. Tepilo is a platform to allow people to take control of buying and selling their own home.”
Having raised solicitors, I asked if Sarah was advocating that people should also undertake the legal process themselves:
“Absolutely not. You would have to be flipping mental to not have someone take care of the legal side for you. The process is bewildering – at least a professional would be able to flag up any issues with the transaction”. She added: “We offer clear advice throughout the process, but people are still responsible for appointing a solicitor once a sale has been agreed -just as you normally would.”
We moved on to whether there were any charges at all involved with Tepilo:
“Not at all – using the site to sell or indeed buy a property is entirely free. Should you want a For Sale board, we can facilitate that via a service who will come, put it up, and then remove it at the end of the process for around £40, but that is optional”.
Aware that some people are uncomfortable discussing money, I enquired how the site dealt with the process of offers:
“The negotiation process is carried out through the site, which helps to depersonalise the process and takes the emotion out of the transaction. The users are completely in control of how much they want to offer or accept on a home, but it does give more opportunity to get a good deal or hold out for the price you want.”
I was somewhat curious about the name, and asked where that came from. Rather charmingly, Sarah told me:
“My father had a fictional story about Tepilo castle which he used to tell me about when I was very young. It sounded like a wonderful, magical place and so I named the site after it, because we all aspire to live in our dream home.” Aware of the readers of our site, I asked Sarah if Tepilo was for everyone, particularly our members. Sarah was clear:
“Tepilo is a platform to allow people to take control of buying and selling their own home, which in itself is usually empowering. I believe control is an important element in circumstances such as divorce – take control of it and no one can touch you. Don’t destruct – take control of the rest of your life”.
To find out more about Tepilo, go to: www.tepilo.com