By Sarah Abrahams, AngelNews

Sarah Beeny is an English property developer and television presenter, best known for presenting the Channel 4 property shows Property Ladder, Property Snakes and Ladders, Streets Ahead and Britain’s Best Homes. In June last year, Sarah turned entrepreneur when she launched the property website, Tepilo, which provides a place for people to buy and sell their homes directly, avoiding the need to pay estate agent’s fees. The site allows people to negotiate prices directly and also offers advice about buying and selling, as well as designing a home for profit.

Sarah, you have become a household name throughout the UK following the success of your television and writing career, and now you have launched your own property website, Tepilo, which is aimed at easing the process of buying and selling a home. Where did your inspiration for Tepilo come from?

I was thinking of starting Tepilo for some time. There is a general perception held by the public that selling your home is daunting and incredibly complicated. Of course this isn’t the case at all. By providing a simple to use platform, with advice and a step by step guide, I thought we could help people through the process and dispel the myth that selling a home can be a minefield.

At the end of the day, we need to kick start the economy; buying and selling houses is a great start — so why not save some pennies in the process?

Do you think there’s room for yet another property related website in an already crowded UK market?

There are several other portals out there, but most charge a minimum fee to upload and sell your property online. Not only is Tepilo completely free to use for the vendor and buyer but will give you all the advice you need along the way.

I’m passionate about property and really believe that the public will warm to Tepilo — it’s already creating quite a buzz!

What’s been the reaction from the public?

Feedback has been incredibly encouraging, from both consumers and businesses alike.

Most people have found Tepilo really simple and easy to use and we also have some great looking properties on the website. The “ask me a question” function has been a particularly successful addition to the site; it’s working really well.

Is there any significance to the name — Tepilo.com?

My father had a fictional story about Tepilo Castle; he used to tell me about it all the time when I was very young. To me it seemed like a magically and beautiful place — and so it seemed fitting to name the site after the castle as we all aspire to live in our dream home.

So explain to us how Tepilo.com differs from the many for sale by owner (FSBO) websites emerging in the UK?

I wanted Tepilo to be different from the beginning, for instance;

• The site is completely free to use — with no charges for uploading your property

• Tepilo makes it easy for you — the site is packed with advice, including a library of hints and tips that we are constantly updating.

• We provide practical profit enhancer tips too — in particular the “design for profit” section lays out ideas on how to design your house to maximise your profit.

• We host the negotiation process through the site. The users are completely in control of how much they want to offer or accept on a home, but by negotiating on the site I thought we could give the vendor more opportunity to get a good deal or hold out for the price they want.

• We encourage the personal touch — using owner descriptions and a magazine style layout, we aim to give buyers much more of an insight into what’s great about each property.

Who do you see as competitors for Tepilo.com — are you going head to head with property portals?

There is nothing quite like Tepilo online, but we’re not competing head to head with any other portals, in fact we are working directly with one or two. We would like to be seen as an additional resource for their users, and a good option for those not already advertising online.

What kind of business model will the website operate under — how will the site generate revenue?

I plan to keep the site free for users and in order to generate revenue we will use advertising and affiliate schemes, but this won’t be used to excess. By keeping the team small this means our cost base is low, which is what makes this possible.

What are your long-term plans for Tepilo?

I see this as a long term, education project, and firmly believe that Tepilo will be an essential place to advertise your property or search for the best deals and advice. By listening to user feedback, we aim to constantly evolve and adapt to our users’ requirements. As more people get to grips with selling their property and reaping the rewards I hope to see far more private sales.

For more information about Tepilo vist www.tepilo.co.com

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