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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Agencies opening, expanding, acquiring - crisis, what crisis?

Despite Brexit and economic uncertainty, there is still confidence from many agencies that are expanding, opening and acquiring even this late in the year.

In Lincolnshire, Brigg agent Howard Hewson has opened his own agency in the town - having worked in the industry there for 26 years. With his wife Julie, who also has 15 years' experience in estate agency, he has taken on a franchise of the Grantham-based Newton Followell agency.

Local press reports cite Hewson as saying the branch started at the beginning of last week and by the middle of the week, but had already put its first house up for sale and received instructions on another two.

Meanwhile HomeXperts - which almost exactly a year ago announced it was expanding thanks to a £250,000 loan - has announced a raft of new franchisees. 

They are operating in Birmingham, Cheshire, Hampshire, Nottinghamshire, Surrey and the surrounding areas, and operating in both the sales and lettings sectors.  

HomeXperts founder and managing director Sussanne Chambers claims that her franchisees “typically achieve 98.1% of the original asking price on sales” - a figure based on 100 sales in the period leading to July 2014.

HomeXperts franchisees work from home and have in the past said that they convert eight out of 10 market appraisals to business, compared to an industry average of a third. 

The firm was established by Chambers in 2010 and has won a number of Sunday Times franchise agency awards.

And a property business has been set up by the son of Northern Ireland’s former first minister Peter Robinson - although a newspaper suggests mystery surrounds exactly what part of the industry it is involved in.

The Irish News says Gareth Robinson has set up a new company called NI KSD, which according to Companies House involves 'buying and selling of own real estate'.

Robinson - who already operates a PR firm - has not set up a website for the property business. The newspaper writes that: “The Irish News tried to locate the ... office and speak to Mr Robinson about his new venture but was unsuccessful.”

Gareth Robinson has also been named in a recent BBC investigation involving payments from a County Down developer. 

Before becoming a founding member of the DUP in 1971, Peter Robinson worked as an estate agent; this summer, he launched his own Belfast-based property company.

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