The managing director of troubled estate agency Humberts says he has been “inundated” with prospective buyers since news broke over last weekend that the firm was in talks with administrators.
Ian Westerling told Estate Agent Today: “We are seeking a purchaser for the business to try and safeguard as many jobs as we can.
“No offices have officially closed as yet and we've been inundated with prospective purchasers.
“It is unclear as yet as to how the eventual sale will be configured. What is clear is that there is a positive appetite of interest for the Humberts brand."
It is understood that Humberts has asked insolvency consultancy Begbies Traynor to handle a possible sale if a buyer can be found.
Only last week Begbies Traynor issued a report stating that the UK’s real estate sector, embracing estate agencies as well as other aspects of the property industry, was facing “increased levels of financial distress” since the triggering of Article 50 to mark the official launch of the Brexit process.
The company remains tight-lipped about the number and location of staff believed to have been made redundant.
However it has now emerged that at least some of the Humberts employees laid off last Friday were not paid for April - an indication of the financial position of the firm, which is also widely reported to be late in reporting figured to Companies House.
Rumours have been circulating about individual Humberts offices and staff members since the weekend announcement by Ian Westerling.
For example yesterday EAT was told by a Humberts staff member that the most south westerly five of the agency’s 22 offices were the most financially secure and were therefore ‘safe’ from the redundancies which are already apparently underway at some of the firm’s offices.
This five are Truro, Honiton, Bridport, Taunton and Yeovil; the claim has been put to Humberts but there has been no official response so we cannot confirm the suggestion.
The company - which is 176 years old, first called in administrators a decade ago, and split from Chestertons in 2014 - has a prime central London branch as well as at least one office that is operated by a franchisee.
No official announcement has been made about the fate of these operations or any other specific branch.