LONDON – An Indian-origin teenager has made a fortune by selling houses through his online estate agency business during his school lunch breaks and has become one of UK’s youngest millionaires, a media report said.
While other youngsters were kicking a ball around the playground, Akshay Ruparelia, 19, was quietly negotiating huge property deals on his mobile, the Daily Mirror reported.
He hired a call centre service to answer his company switchboard while he was in class and rang clients back after the school bell rang.
Within months, investors were buying shares in Ruparelia’s firm “www.doorsteps.co.uk”. In little more than a year, the company has been valued at 12 million pounds and the teenager has sold 100 million pounds worth of homes.
Ruparelia’s school friends nicknamed him “Alan Sugar” after Baron Sugar, the business tycoon and “Apprentice” star.
The teenager said he is now on a mission to put traditional High Street estate agents out of business because they charge thousands of pounds in commission to sell a house — and he does it for just 99 pounds.
His idea is proving so popular that this week Ruparelia’s company became the 18th biggest estate agency in the UK — just 16 months after his website went live, the Mirror reported.
The firm, which the teenager started after relatives loaned him 7,000 pounds, already employs 12 people and is set to double in size with investors having already handed him 500,000 pounds to get their hands on shares.
He is raising five million pounds with a share issue and is recruiting an expanding network of mums across the UK who work self-employed showing clients around properties he has been asked to sell.
“I want to rip up the old-style way we sell homes in this country,” said the teenager, who set up the business between lessons at Queen Elizabeth High School in Barnet, London, and still managed to get five A Levels, three at A* and two A grades in maths, economics, politics, history and financial studies.
“People have had enough of being ripped off by High Street agents in flash suits and cars charging them a fortune, but actually doing not a lot to sell their home,” he added.
“Why give an estate agent a small fortune just for putting photos of your house on the internet?
“Quite rightly people trust mums. Every mum who works for me will be honest and tell the truth. It is important. For the majority of people selling their home is the biggest financial transaction of their lives,” he said.
Akshay Ruparelia has put plans of studying economics and management at Oxford University on hold because of his expanding business.