House Network, the UK’s first online estate agent, has been acquired by a London-based company after ‘dramatic’ increases in the cost of gaining instructions forced the agency into administration.
The purchaser is Universal Acquisitions Ltd (UAL), which was set up last month ahead of House Network being named in a winding-up petition. UAL has one shareholder, 43-year-old construction drilling entrepreneur Marc ‘Ziggy’ Seagroatt.
House Network is up and running again and has a new management team with wide estate agency, digital market and e-commerce experience. The revived firm will be reorganised and a new business plan is to be implemented.
UAL says its research shows House Network was a “strong business that delivered strong profits for many years and built market share through customer referrals”.
“Unfortunately, investment was made into the firm, preparing it for a potential IPO, at a time when the market was softening.
“A dramatic increase in the cost of acquisition led to financial difficulties forcing the firm into administration. We are delighted we have been able to very quickly get the firm operational again so it can continue to offer the quality of services it is known for.”
House Network was first incorporated in 2003. Its most recent accounts to include profit and loss figures reveal that it made a loss of £3.1 million before tax during its financial year to 28th February 2017.
“We are not coming into this blind with grand plans to disrupt an industry overnight,” says UAL. “We are realistic about the online estate agency sector and, for example, do not believe it will have a 25% market share in the next 12 months.
“However, we do see areas of growth and expansion which can be achieved by stabilising the business and providing the excellent staff at House Network with the products they need to excel.”