PROPTECH-X ‘Proptech & Property News’: Chestertons | Coadjute | Housing Secretary

In today’s news, Andrew Stanton discusses two huge agencies to be put up for sale, Coadjute’s latest integrations, and the Housing Secretary’s pet pressure

Daily bite-sized proptech and property news in partnership with Estate Agent Networking and NewsNow.

Two big-name Agencies go on the market

When in the midst of a buoyant property market, it is always a time of opportunity. This can be very true for owners of profitable residential agency businesses, or for core letting agency businesses.

Chestertons, a brand that is almost two centuries old and presently owned by Salah Mussa, has put itself on the market and appointed advisors from Deloitte with the job of finding a new buyer for the agency. With a likely valuation of £100 million, Chestertons boasts 30 London agencies and a vibrant franchise arm with 70 sites across 12 countries. 

With gross annual profits hovering well under £10 million for the whole concern, the price tag might seem a bit bloated, but with a large amount of the business revenue over £26 million coming from lettings, it could be a really good fit for someone.

The second company looking at a possible exit is the Leaders Romans Group, which has a 150-branch footprint that delivers over £30 million in operating profits, indicating a likely exit price of £350-£400 million. 

Again, at its core is a large phalanx of lettings. This is comforting because, when the residential sector inevitably goes through boom-and-bust cycles, lettings is steadier and easier to depend upon for future revenue.    

Property News - Chestertons

Will Coadjute become the national grid for real estate?

For the last three years, Coadjute has quietly been gathering momentum. As part of its strategy, the blockchain-driven solution has been integrating with leading real estate CRMs. Think Reapit and Dezrez, stalwarts of the agency verticals.

It has just announced that it now integrating with Rex, Agent Hub, Veco and Power Bespoke software providers, as it increases its digital reach.

Steve Dawkins, CRO at Coadjute, explains that it intends to knit together all the moving parts of real estate with Coadjute as a facilitator, connecting CRM platforms to other parties in the property market.

Dawkins said: “Coadjute delivers real efficiencies to busy estate agents who have better things to do…there is greater transparency, a reduced risk of fraud and an accelerated process with significantly less admin. Conveyancers will be able to protect sensitive client data by Coadjute’s encrypted network.” 

I was amazed the other day to see a senior in the legal sector opine that in 20 years, blockchain will be the keystone technology, facilitating everything from smart contracts to a huge portion of legal processes. The legal professional even mentioned the millions of disputes that Amazon was concluding using AI rather than having storerooms of physical files.

We at Proptech-PR and Proptech-X have been following John Reynolds, Dan Salmons and Steve Dawkins and the Coadjute team since their start-up. With the present hiatus, where the pandemic has allowed a breathing space and a point of reflection on how real estate is done, it might just be that Coadjute is very much in the right place at the right time.

It is fascinating to see how this will play out. Do you think blockchain will be the de facto operating system of global real estate?

Property News: Robert Jenrick and his dog Toffee
Robert Jenrick and Toffee, the Housing Secretary’s poodle cross (Source: Robert Jenrick)

Will the Housing Secretary bend on the plight of tenants?

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick will receive correspondence from a 35-strong band of MPs and interested stakeholders, who will demand that tenants should have the right to rent with a pet.

It might seem like an inconsequential issue, but an unforeseen consequence of the banning of tenancy fees means that landlords – who in the past might have taken tenants with pets – cannot legally do so now. 20% of landlords who once allowed renting with pets, now do not.

Heads for Tails, a charity for pets put it, the Tenant Fees Act, “effectively prohibits landlords from asking for pet damage insurance and it fails to include a separate pet deposit as part of its list of permitted payments.”

Andrew Stanton is the founder and CEO of Proptech-PR, a consultancy for Founders of Proptechs looking to grow and exit, using his influence from decades of industry experience. Separately he is a consultant to some of the biggest names in global real estate, advising on sales and acquisitions, market positioning, and operations. He is also the founder and editor of Proptech-X Proptech & Property News, where his insights, connections and detailed analysis and commentary on proptech and real estate are second to none.

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