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”.Softening market“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.” house network Universal Acquisitions Ltd Ziggy Seagroatt April 3, 2019Nigel Lewis2 commentsAndrew Stanton, CEO Proptech-PR Real Estate Influencer & Journalist CEO Proptech-PR Real Estate Influencer & Journalist 3rd April 2019 at 12:10 pmWhy would someone pay for the assets of a company that was losing £250,000 a month? I am not sure what value there is in buying into an online model, given that since last September, Hatched, Emoov, Tepilo, and others have failed, and none of them made a profit. Marc ‘Ziggy’ Seagroatt would be better off setting up some cold start offices, at £160,000 a go, break even year two with all cost back, marginal profit year three, and £200,000 plus profit year 5 onwards.Instead, ‘Ziggy’s’ online model will probably involve hundreds of thousands if not millions in advertising the service of the company, backed up with a tiny a self employed listing sales force and a minimal after sales service.If only the onliners had a marketing strategy that included sales people who promoted the listed property, rather than waiting for the passive influx of buyers finding the properties online and then interfacing with the vendor direct, that might actually be useful.Log in to ReplyAndrew Stanton, CEO Proptech-PR Real Estate Influencer & Journalist CEO Proptech-PR Real Estate Influencer & Journalist 3rd April 2019 at 8:51 amBuying the assets? (whatever they might be) of a business that losses £250,000 a month, to me is a questionable concept.With Purplebricks share price at 2016 levels, under 140p a share all last month, and Tepilo, Emoov, Hatched, House Network and two other online agents having ceased trading since Sept 2018, are online agents not proving to be Proptech Dinosaurs of the present?A large lumbering, cash burning giant, moving unsteadily, and aimlessly in the property jungle until they finally keel over when the food supply (cash flow) runs out. Proptech is a brilliant aid to agency, but it does not replace the human element the men and women in the industry whose experience, effort and expertise makes transactions flow.My thoughts are unless it is just a tax write off, Marc ‘Ziggy’ Seagroatt should perhaps of invested 160K into a traditional cold start office, (maybe 20 of them, so 3.2M) and break even in 2 years, all cost recovered (so 3.2M recovered), make a marginal profit year 3, and by year five you will be making 200k profit on a turnover of 700K if you have a multi-discipline business per branch.His alternative strategy seems to be more speculative, spend multi-millions on advertising your brand as you have no offices, employ sales people on a self employed basis, mainly as listers, employ no front line negotiators or sales managers to run the sales strategy.Then cross your fingers that properties listed online ‘sell themselves’ as buyers and vendors connect directly to organise viewings and sales. And invest limited money in sales progression as the business model relies on instructions and upfront fees, rather than fees on completion.Thoughts?Log in to ReplyWhat’s your opinion? Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.Please note: This is a site for professional discussion. Comments will carry your full name and company.This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.Related articles BREAKING: Evictions paperwork must now include ‘breathing space’ scheme details30th April 2021 City dwellers most satisfied with where they live30th April 2021 Hong Kong remains most expensive city to rent with London in 4th place30th April 2021 Home » News » Agencies & People » Ailing online agency House Network saved by drilling magnate previous nextAgencies & PeopleAiling online agency House Network saved by drilling magnateUK’s first online estate agency recently went into administration after facing dramatic increases in customer acquisition costs, but is now up and running again.Nigel Lewis3rd April 20192 Comments3,781 Views
Funeral mass was held May 11 at Saint Patrick Church, Jersey City, for Amy Hulings, Detective, JCPD of Jersey City. She passed away May 6. A true Jersey City native, Amy was born at the Margaret Hague, was a graduate of St. Dominic Academy and attended St. Peter’s University. Amy joined the Jersey City Police Department in 1999 and was promoted to detective in 2006. A dedicated officer, she was recognized for her service to the department and community at large and was the recipient numerous meritorious police awards and a member of the NJ Honor Legion. In 2012 Amy was named the Jersey City Saint Patrick Day Parade Police Officer of the year and in 2015 she received the Irish Echo Irish American Law and Order Leaders award.She had a tremendous outgoing spirit and infectious personality which people gravitated toward. She loved the beach, particularly Lavallette and Fort Pierce, Fla., but most of all she loved her family, particularly her nieces and nephews whom she doted on. She will be missed by all lucky enough to know her.Amy was predeceased by her father Michael Hulings, JCFD and sister, Jennifer Toth. She is survived by her mother, Maureen Hulings and her partner, George Whelan; brother, Lieutenant Michael Hulings, JCPD and his wife Gina; nieces and nephews Kimberly Kopacz and her husband Kenneth, Justin Toth, Kayleigh Hulings and great niece and nephew Kelsey and Kenneth Kopacz; aunts and uncles, Willis and Dorothy Hulings, June Dugan and George Reuther, Linda Kochanski, Robert Killeen(Ret. JCFD) and Leslie, Ellen and Michael Kroliczak and Thomas Killeen as well as many cousins and friends who she loved but are too numerous to mention.Services arranged by the McLaughlin Funeral Home, Jersey City.
AFTER: The master bedroom after the renovation.But they called in the professionals for the structural, electrical and plumbing work.Not bad considering it was their first house renovation.In fact, the end result is so impressive that the property has been selected to grace the pages of Home Beautiful magazine.Mr Reay said the couple are planning to use any money they make on the sale of the property to move back to the Sunshine Coast.The property is being marketed without a price guide by Craig Lea and Cayle Blaxland of McGrath Estate Agents – Wilston.RENO FACT CHECKTime taken: 3 years Total spend: $250,000 AFTER: A close-up of the front of the house after the renovation.Mr Reay said he could see the character of the home hidden behind the “ugly asbestos sheeting”.“I knew there was a beautiful swan behind it!” he said.But little did the couple know just how much hard work they had ahead of them in restoring the circa 1910 cottage to its former glory.“You could drop a tennis ball inside the house and it would roll from one end of the house to the other, the stumps were that bad,” Mr Reay said.“It had the original kitchen sink and a dodgy reno job had been done in the ‘70s where they closed in the front and added asbestos to the bathroom — nothing was done properly.” AFTER: The back of the house at 101 Victoria St, Windsor, after the renovation.They lived in the house for six months before starting the renovation process.The first stage involved excavating underneath the house to create a lower level.“We needed to get the foundations sorted,” Mr Reay said.“We couldn’t lift the house because the old fireplaces wouldn’t have survived, so that’s why we had to excavate instead of going up.“We planned the whole downstairs around that fireplace.”Then it was time to pour the concrete slab and install retaining walls. More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus13 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market13 hours agoThe couple moved out for a couple of weeks during the excavation and installation of new plumbing, but then moved back in for the rest of the project. BEFORE: The front of the house at 101 Victoria St, Windsor, before it was renovated. AFTER: The living room after the renovation.Mr Reay said one of the most challenging parts of the renovation was filling in the gaps between the hundreds of original VJ walls in the home.“We went through about 300 tubes of ‘No More Gaps’ — that was a nightmare of a job,” he said.“To save on money, I did all the demolition work, a bit of the bricklaying, a lot of the framing downstairs, and some tiling, painting and landscaping.“A lot of the cosmetic stuff where I thought I could get the same look as a tradesperson, I had a crack at.“I watched a lot of YouTube!” AFTER: The kitchen after the renovation.“At one stage we had no hot water hooked up, so it was the middle of winter and we were showering by boiling a kettle and using an electric camp shower,” Mr Reay said.“That lasted about three months because I was too tight to pay a plumber to hook it up.“And we had to climb up a ladder to get in to the house!”Due to the nature of Mr Reay’s FIFO work, there were many delays.The couple decided to keep the renovation inside the footprint of the original house to save time and money on development applications.“Then we started closing it in slowly,” Mr Reay said.“I removed two walls upstairs — one to create a dining area and we used that wall as a barn door for the master bedroom.“We tried to reuse as much as we could. Even down to the bricks we dug up from the garden. We used those for the footing around the fireplace downstairs.” BEFORE: The bathroom before the renovation. BEFORE: The kitchen before the renovation. Dane Reay and Rebecca Bartley inside the home they have renovated in Windsor. Image: AAP/Sarah Marshall. THEY went for three months without hot water and had to climb a ladder to get in and out of the house, but it was all worth it if you ask Dane Reay.The Brisbane fly-in-fly-out worker with a passion for home renovating admits his partner, Rebecca Bartley, was a “trooper” to live through their latest project.The couple stumbled across the tiny, rundown cottage in Windsor on their way back from another disappointing home inspection. RELATED: Flipped colonial cottage with a twist BEFORE: The living room before the renovation. BEFORE: A close-up of the front of the house at 101 Victoria St, Windsor, pre renovation. AFTER: The front of the house at 101 Victoria St, Windsor, post renovation.“We kept missing out on everything,” Mr Reay said.“We’d go to an open home and they’d be under contract already.One day, they had been to an open house in Wilston and were on their way home when they saw an agent hammering in a for sale sign for a property at 101 Victoria Street.“We stopped and asked if we could have a look inside the next morning and (the agent) agreed,” Mr Reay said.“We pretty much bought it the next morning off market.” AFTER: The bathroom after the renovation.Upstairs, the third bedroom became part of the open plan living, kitchen and dining area modelled around the feature fireplace.They exposed the brickwork on the fireplace and got creative by making one side a feature wall.“We were just in Paddington one day at a cafe and I got the idea from that so got home and got a bit creative with the paint brush,” Mr Reay said.“We were going for a Scandinavian look, but with the character of a Queenslander.” The other original two bedrooms and bathroom were left untouched and a back deck was added.Downstairs, the master bedroom is accompanied by a study/fourth bedroom, ensuite, laundry and garage. MORE: Humble home a Hampton’s haven BEFORE: The back of the house at 101 Victoria St, Windsor, before the renovation. BEFORE: The concrete slab is laid for the master bedroom downstairs.