A long-standing estate agency with three major branches has shut after 27 years of trading - blaming online competition and ‘race to the bottom’ fees.
Maitlands Estate Agents in Plymouth was an award-winning firm which has employed over 300 staff since being set up in 1994.
Its website looks as if the agency is still trading but local media report the immediate closure of its three major offices in and near the city; a separate rental business, Maitlands Residential Lettings, is unaffected.
Maitland Estate Agents managing director Andy Blacklock is quoted in the Western Evening Herald as saying he was “devastated” and “deeply saddened.”
“This decision, as you can imagine, has not come lightly. Having formed the original business in 1994, me and my team have grown the business over the years employing nearly 300 staff since its formation.”
The agency shut a fourth office in the city back in 2019, with the intervening period being a struggle according to Blacklock, who is quoted: “It has seen our model come under extreme pressure as a traditional estate agent with high street locations, paying not only rents but business rates and employing staff. With new competition and new models we have seen massive pressures on fees being reduced, at a time we have seen rising costs and a serious lack of property stock post the pandemic boom locally.
“Despite our best efforts to diversify into new markets including new home sales, we have been unable to produce the incomes required to sustain the business.
“Having being involved in over 10,000 local property transactions over the years and being very much part of our communities, I would personally like to thank every single client that has supported us over the years, and to every single member of our team that have worked so hard to deliver a high-class service and genuinely caring for every client they have dealt with.
“I hope those that have dealt with us over the years know how hard we have worked to deliver an experience that was different from many other agents.
“...This has been the hardest decision I ever made in business and I would ask anyone that may know those that may be affected by this decision to give them the support they truly deserve.
“Maitlands has never just been a job for me and my team but a way of life and I hope every single member of the Maitlands team will soon be doing what they are great at soon.”
A detailed history of the company and more on the closures can be found on the Devon Live website here.