The estate agency group Humberts, which narrowly avoided collapse early this year, now claims to have turned around its fortunes thanks to the controversial ditching of old-style offices.
The company says that the first four months of trading under its new ownership - and with a “high tech, high touch” company philosophy - has seen it become profitable, exceeding its new management’s expectations.
In an upbeat statement issued to Estate Agent Today overnight the company says: “Not even the closure of all its high street stores has made a dent on the balance sheet.”
In September Humberts came off the High Street and moved towards a Humberts Hub arrangement, which we outlined some months ago.
The first Hub, in Poundbury near Dorchester in Dorset, is set to open later this year. It will be a 4,500 square foot bespoke office which will fulfil the Humberts goal of extending its activities far beyond property sales and lettings.
It will be headed up by what the firm calls Property Consultants and Lifestyle Concierges; they are expected to be able to advise, or link with suppliers, across a range of property management issues for owners and investors. This will extend well beyond the sale or lettings of homes.
“This move away from its’ competitors outdated trading methods is proving to be the winning formula in offering both loyal and new customers a service that they trust and are proud of” says the overnight statement, which does not include figures giving details of the company’s position.
“We are moving into a new era where customers will enjoy working with their Humberts property consultant. For the most part, the UK market dreads interaction with their estate agent due to historic inefficiency and we are proud that Humberts is changing that” comments Matt Spence, the new chief executive.
The company says it has additionally been able to “significantly increase marketing spend” which it claims has improved business.
Director of sales and marketing, Tim Simmons, adds: “The positive trading results have given us a huge boost – both in terms of company morale after a tough few years, and our company budgets. This is a hugely exciting phase for Humberts and we are pleased to say at this point there is still plenty more to come so, watch this space.”
The company claims the hubs model will “boost Humberts profits even further” and will allow the company to move into new territories including South Hams in Devon, North Cotswolds, Cheshire, and the Frome and Bruton areas of Somerset.