Students will go through a lot studying for their A-levels, but one thing they don’t often do is set up a multi-million-pound business – but that’s exactly what Akshay Ruparelia did.
A millionaire property tycoon at just 19 years of age, the young entrepreneur’s online estate agent Doorsteps.co.uk aims to revolutionise the “archaic and backwards” UK housing market by offering a 97% discount on home-selling.
The child of two deaf parents who he acts as a carer for, Ruparelia experienced moving house as a youngster and was shocked at the levels of commission estate agents were charging for what he saw as a simple task.
Officially launching Doorsteps.co.uk in December 2016 having developed the concept during the second year of his A-levels, the online and offline agency operates with a hybrid model, embracing the use of modern technology.
Previously described in the press as the “Uber of the property world”, Doorsteps.co.uk hires self-employed ‘local property consultants’ proportionate to the number of properties it has to sell at any given time.
A process that cuts overheads massively, it also allows buyers to take more control of the process and involvement, including hosting viewings, which tend to be a massive cost burden on traditional agents.
Charging only £99 upfront, there is no commission on the sale of any properties made via the site; with Ruparelia selling his first home – a five-bedroom detached house with a swimming pool – during the middle of his exams.
Without a driving license at the time, he had to get a spin from his sister’s boyfriend to visit the property.
Having planned to attend either Oxford or UCL, Ruparelia deferred entry to pursue his business, a decision that appears to be paying off.
Now valued at £12m after just one and a half years in business, Doorsteps is already the 14thlargest estate agency in the UK.
While it’s undeniably an extremely competitive marketplace, Ruparelia’s start-up – rated in the top five for customer service – has already grabbed 0.5% of the UK market (£0.5bn).
And don’t be surprised if his reach keeps widening.