Online estate agency Emoov has called in the administrators after being unable to find a buyer.
The move into administration has been widely anticipated in the industry for several days and now chief executive Russell Quirk has sent an email to all Emoov staff explaining the position.
He says: “They say that entrepreneurs should never give up. But at the same time, one needs to know when efforts have been truly exhausted and when you simply have to call it a day.”
He goes on to say that despite his efforts over the weekend to find a buyer that potential purchasers who had been lined up had not made viable offers to acquire the business.
Emoov has been facing strong competition from the sector’s main players such as Purplebricks, Yopa and Housesimple who are still trading successfully and illustrating that the online model for selling homes is not dead.
Now Mr Quirk and the board members have appointed administrators, James Cowper Kreston.
‘Loyalty And Hard Work Shown By Staff’
Mr Quirk also says that ‘today is a truly sad day’ and that he appreciates the loyalty and hard work shown by staff over the nine years since the firm was founded.
He adds that Emoov sought to make the home selling and buying experience better, leading with a ‘customer first, tech-enabled proposition’.
Finally, he says that he is ‘sincerely sorry that it has come to this’.
The appointment of administrators comes just six months after the firm merged with two rivals to create a business worth £100 million.
The other firms were the online lettings platform, Urban, and the online estate agents founded by Channel 4 presenter Sarah Beeny, Tepilo.
There were plans for this combined business to float on London’s stock exchange but the initial public offering was shelved.
Declining UK housing market
One of the reasons for the Emoov position is the declining UK housing market with the Bank of England recently predicting a 30% drop in residential property prices should there be a ‘no-deal’ Brexit.
Other estate agencies have also seen a decline in their valuations in recent months, including Purplebricks – the agency widely seen as offering the stiffest competition for smaller players.
However, not all online agents are struggling with Yopa recently raising funding from investors and the property portal OnTheMarket floating successfully earlier this year.
Meanwhile, rival estate agents have told one news outlet that they are approaching Emoov sellers and trying to persuade them to move their instructions away from the online seller to them.
One estate agent said: “We have been asking Emoov sellers if they would like to move to another firm, like other agents we know.”