Industry veteran becomes chair of franchise giant as founder retires

May 20, 2019

The founder of franchise giant Belvoir, Mike Goddard, has now stepped down as chair of the company, two years after quitting as its chief executive officer.

Goddard founded Belvoir with his wife Stephanie in 1995 and at yesterday’s Annual General Meeting of the firm – the last with Goddard as chair – the current chief executive Dorian Gonsalves spoke of the pleasure he had of working with the founder since 2005.

Related: Property and Estate Agent Franchises UK – What Buying an Estate Agency Franchise Means for UK Franchisees

“Through his entrepreneurial spirit and his passion for franchising, Belvoir has become the largest property franchise group in the UK.  I would like to express my personal and the board’s sincere gratitude for all that Mike has done and achieved as founder, chief executive and chairman over the past 24 years” Gonsalves said.

Taking over as chairman from today is industry veteran Michael Stoop, who has 40 years experience in the industry, much of it involved with franchise operations.

Related: Property & Estate Agency Franchises – Search Franchise Reviews Directory

During that time he has been managing director of Winkworth, was the head of Xperience (the agency franchising arm of Legal & General), was group managing director at Martin & Co – now named The Property Franchise Group – and is still involved on the board of at least one PropTech company.

Stoop is, in addition, vice-chairman of The Property Ombudsman.

“We welcome as chairman, Michael Stoop, who has over 40 years’ experience of the property franchise sector and has already made a significant contribution since joining the [Belvoir] board in March 2018” says a statement from Dorian Gonsalves.

Related: Belvoir Franchise

The AGM heard that Belvoir’s first quarter trading for 2019 was exceeding expectations in all three of its activity areas – sales, lettings and financial services.

By Graham Norwood

Source: Estate Agent Today

Belvoir Lettings outperforming on all fronts

May 18, 2019

Belvoir Lettings PLC (LON:BLV), the UK’s largest property franchise, said it is outperforming the three key markets in which it operates.

After a robust first quarter of 2019, the board is confident of meeting market expectations for the full year.

Year-on-year growth of 6.3% in Management Service Fees (MSF) from lettings was well ahead of the reported 1.2% growth in the rental index of 1.2%, while growth of 10.3% from sales MSF compared with a drop of 1.5% in property transactions. Net banking from financial services (on a like-for-like basis) was up 20%.

Related: Property and Estate Agent Franchises UK – What Buying an Estate Agency Franchise Means for UK Franchisees

In the year to date Belvoir’s Assisted Acquisitions programme has supported six franchisees to acquire a local competitor, adding £1.2mln of network revenue, nearly 800 managed properties and over £100,000 a year of recurring MSF.

There are still £2.0ml of deals currently with lawyers and a strong pipeline of further opportunities to underpin the group’s growth target for 2019, Belvoir said.

“The board is very encouraged by trading in Q1 with our franchise model proving that, even in a challenging year for the property market, it has the resilience to overcome and indeed benefit from changes in the sector,” said Dorian Gonsalves, the chief executive officer.

Related: Property & Estate Agency Franchises – Search Franchise Reviews Directory

Mike Goddard, Belvoir’s founder and non-executive chairman, is retiring from the board at today’s annual general meeting. He will be succeeded by non-executive director, Michael Stoop.

“Through his entrepreneurial spirit and his passion for franchising, Belvoir has become the largest property franchise group in the UK. I would like to express my personal and the board’s sincere gratitude for all that Mike has done and achieved as founder, CEO and chairman over the past 24 years,” Gonsalves said.

Related: Belvoir Franchise

“We welcome as chairman, Michael Stoop, who has over 40 years’ experience of the property franchise sector and has already made a significant contribution since joining the board in March 2018,” he added.

By John Harrington

Source: Proactive Investors

Northwich lettings agency scoops second award of the year

April 9, 2019

A NORTHWICH lettings business has scooped its second award of the year, having been put forward by a panel of expert judges. Belvoir Lettings, in Castle Street, had already won the Gold Award for Lettings within Northwich at the British Property Awards (BPA), picking up the gong in January.

The company has now been awarded a bronze award for the north west as part of the BPA regional awards.

Franchise owner James Whalley was thrilled when he heard the news, and admits it came as a bit of a shock.

“To be honest we really weren’t expecting this so it was a very welcome surprise,” he said.

“We were judged on our customer service in terms of friendliness, willingness to help, local knowledge and speed of responses and even in our wildest dreams we didn’t think we’d receive two prestigious awards in such a short space of time.

“We got a call from the British Property Awards out of the blue to say that we’d been put forward to the regional awards and had achieved the Bronze Award – it’s amazing.”

Related: Property and Estate Agent Franchises UK – What Buying an Estate Agency Franchise Means for UK Franchisees

James has also praised the national Belvoir team for their support over recent months which has contributed to the two recent awards. The company runs 170 branches.

He said: “Thanks must go to the team at Belvoir for their continued efforts in helping us secure this award – we couldn’t have done it without them.”

James has also backed plans for a second Northwich BID term.

“We will most certainly be voting for a second term for the Northwich BID,” he said.

“We would encourage all businesses to say yes too as it’s a really exciting time for Northwich and the BID’s work will help the town continue to prosper.

“There’s never been a more important time to support our fellow businesses in the Northwich area which sustain the local economy.”

By Ned Bristow

Source: Northwich Guardian

Franchise giant Belvoir says fees ban effect will be ‘less than expected’

February 1, 2019

Belvoir has this morning told shareholders that the effect of the Fees Ban coming into effect in June will be less than expected.

In a statement to the City the firm says: “The Board has assessed that the impact from the ban on tenant fees will be less than the previously estimated eight per cent of gross profit.

“The effect is now believed to be less than six per cent initially, reducing further to three over nine months.”

In a strategy that will be looked at keenly by competitors, Belvoir says the minimising of the fees ban impact is down to the company’s “diversification into financial services, and our franchisees adopting additional revenue streams.”

The comments come after the Belvoir Group told shareholders of what it calls “another year of continued and encouraging growth” with revenue up 21 per cent to £13.7m (2017: £11.3m): it says this strong showing is “outperforming both the sales and lettings elements of the housing market and the financial services market.”

Management fees from lettings were up 7.1 per cent, much of it down to Belvoir’s assisted acquisitions programme. Sales fees were up 8.5 per cent “compared with the HMRC reported two per cent decrease in the number of residential property transactions for 2018.”

Group income from financial services was also on the rise thanks to the first full year of ownership of Brook Financial Services and the lates-in-the-year acquisition of MAB (Gloucester) Limited.

Related: Property and Estate Agent Franchises UK – What Buying an Estate Agency Franchise Means for UK Franchisees

Dorian Gonsalves, chief executive of Belvoir, says: “In 2018, Belvoir delivered on its promise to support franchisee growth through its Assisted Acquisitions programme, adding network revenue of £6.9m, ahead of our £6.6m target for the year and over double that achieved in 2017.  Meanwhile, we are also pleased to see our organic lettings growth and our increase in sales transactions exceeding market performance.

“The Group’s diversification into financial services has also delivered growth, and our late-2018 investment in MAB Glos will provide the platform from which to offer specialist high street mortgage advice through our network of lettings and estate agents. The Board believes that Belvoir is well-prepared to both meet the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities anticipated in 2019.”

Source: Letting Agent Today

Belvoir scoops gold award for consistent customer service

January 23, 2019

BELVOIR Lettings has scooped a coveted award as it celebrates its 10th anniversary.

The Castle Street letting agency picked up the Gold Award for Lettings as judged by the British Property Awards (BPA).

Following several rounds of mystery shopping, Belvoir was found to have the highest-rated customer service in the area.

Franchise owner James Whalley said: “I am extremely proud to have received this award and thanks must go to the dedication of our team to deliver such an outstanding service.

“We are 10 years old as a family business this year and it is such an honour to be recognised in this way.

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“This is the pinnacle of our achievements and ranks number one. Belvoir consistently strives to provide a first class service to its landlords and tenants alike and this has certainly paid off.”

The letting agent has won awards previously for its charity work raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support, and was also awarded ‘Charity Champion’ in 2013 and 2014.

Related: Belvoir Lettings shares rise as it hails success of its assisted acquisitions programme

Following on from the Gold Award win, James says he and the team won’t be resting on their laurels in 2019 and have already set out plans for the future.

He said: “Our goal for this year is to continue expanding our business and help landlords secure properties to satisfy the high demand from tenants.

“We will also continue to build on our customer service to ensure our customers receive the best service possible. ”

Source: Northwich Guardian

Belvoir Lettings shares rise as it hails success of its assisted acquisitions programme

January 15, 2019

The assisted acquisitions programme has been embraced by all three networks within the Belvoir Group, with 11 taken up by the Belvoir network, 13 by Northwood and 2 by Newton Fallowell.

Belvoir Lettings PLC (LON:BLV) shares rose on Thursday after the UK’s largest property franchise group exceeded its 2018 target for assisted acquisitions by its franchisees.

The AIM-listed lettings agent said beefing up the assisted acquisitions programme is a core part of its growth strategy.

During 2018, franchisees completed on 26 transactions under the Belvoir-assisted acquisitions programme, increasing the acquired annualised network revenue to £6.9mln; the target for the year had been £6.6mln.

These acquisitions are expected to add in excess of £600,000 a year of recurring management service fees, which is the main revenue stream for the group. It also adds more than 4,400 managed properties, increasing the portfolio by 7%.

The Belvoir Group now represents over 62,000 managed properties.

In comparison with 2017, the average size of the business acquired increased by 85% to £266,000 in 2018 from £144,000 annual revenue in 2017. This reflects a contraction of the number of agents in the sector not only among the smaller operators but also many of the larger independent agents, as the impact of the number of landlords selling their properties due to a less favourable tax regime and the increased regulation on lettings agents took effect.

Belvoir provides funding of up to 30% of the purchase price through its assisted acquisitions team. In 2018, the group contributed £660,000 in total towards purchases, representing around 9% on average of the purchase price.

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CEO lauds franchise opportunities

“The Assisted Acquisitions programme, now in its sixth year, has gone from strength to strength and continues to grow. Since 2014 we have provided both commercial and financial support to 70 of our franchise owners, many of whom have doubled the size of their business overnight,” said Dorian Gonsalves, the chief executive officer of Belvoir Lettings.

Related: Belvoir Lettings Interim Earnings Rise, Declares Unchanged Dividend

“We continue to witness consolidation within the sector, a trend which supports our 2018 prediction that there will be 20% fewer agents by the end of 2020. This is evidenced by our acquisition opportunities pipeline being far greater than in previous years,” he added.

“Our franchisees are professionally and financially equipped to take advantage of these opportunities and we currently have 83 franchise owners who are actively searching for a suitable match within their territory. Belvoir is here to support our franchisees’ entrepreneurial growth ambitions, which will benefit the group and our shareholders alike,” Gonsalves concluded.

In afternoon trading, shares in Belvoir Lettings were up 1.1% at 92.50p.

Source: Proactive Investors

Property franchise giant reveals £3.6m deal

November 29, 2018

Lincolnshire-headquartered property franchise giant Belvoir Lettings has announced the acquisition of the Gloucester arm of Mortgage Advice Bureau for £3.6m.

The listed company has snapped up MAB (Gloucester) through its subsidiary Brook Financial Services.

MAB Glos, which trades as Mortgage Advice Bureau, is the largest appointed representative firm of the wholly owned subsidiary of AIM-listed, Derby-headquartered Mortgage Advice Bureau (Holdings).

MAB Glos provides mortgage and related financial services to clients through its network of 63 business partners.

Michelle Brook, managing director of Brook, will manage the whole financial services division overseen by Mark Newton, executive director of Belvoir Lettings.

Related: Property and Estate Agent Franchises UK – What Buying an Estate Agency Franchise Means for UK Franchisees

The financial services director, Tim Wood, and all four business development managers are to stay within the MAB Glos business.

For the year ended 31 December 2017, based on unaudited financial statements, MAB Glos generated revenue of £3m and pre-tax profits of £467,000.

Related: Belvoir boosts franchise support with three new hires

Belvoir chief executive Dorian Gonsalves said: “We are delighted to announce the acquisition of MAB Glos, whose network of 63 Business Partners will entirely complement our existing network of 300 property franchisees, both in terms of the management infrastructure and the cross-selling opportunities, creating a total of 364 offices, including Brook, operating under the Belvoir Group.

“We believe that the acquisition of MAB Glos will provide the basis for developing a network of financial advisers to support our franchisees at a local level, in addition to the existing mortgage advice services delivered centrally by Brook.

“This will give our existing property franchisees the ability to ‘build a business within a business’ by either utilising an existing MAB Glos mortgage adviser or taking on their own new adviser on-site.

“This will in turn achieve greater penetration of financial services to the group’s client base for the benefit of both individual franchisees and the group as a whole.”

Source: Insider Media

OnTheMarket Adds 6,000 Estate Agent Branches Since February Listing

November 5, 2018

OnTheMarket PLC said Thursday the number of UK estate agency branches covered by listing agreements with the property website was now above 11,500.

The company said it has added additional agent firms with more than 6,000 offices to its agreement list since its initial public offering earlier in the year.

In mid-February, On The Market raised GBP30.0 million after placing 18.2 million shares at 165 pence each. The initial public offering valued the firm at GBP100.0 million in market capitalisation.

In late October, OnTheMarket announced it had signed an agreement with the UK’s largest property franchise Belvoir Lettings PLC to advertise all its UK properties through the OnTheMarket site in a long-term agreement. Belvoir has 300 branches in its network across its Belvoir, Northwood and Newton Fallowell brands.

Related: Coup for OnTheMarket as it signs Britain’s biggest franchise agency

This followed a number of similar deals with 200-branch Hunters Property Group, 50-branch Chancellors Group of Estate Agents Ltd and 100-branch Arun Estates amongst others since it listed. The firm has also signed deals with “thousands” of smaller one to three branch agents.

“Our first stage of growth has been focussed on rapidly expanding our agent base and we are pleased that the latest increase to 11,500 offices highlights the strength of agent support for an agent-backed portal,” OnTheMarket Chief Executive Officer Ian Springett said. “With a scalable portal, strong funding and a progressive ramping-up of marketing activity, growth since IPO has accelerated and momentum is continuing. This gives us confidence as we look to the coming months.”

Related: Property and Estate Agent Franchises UK – What Buying an Estate Agency Franchise Means for UK Franchisees

Shares in OnTheMarket were 0.4% higher at 123.00 pence on Thursday.

Source: Morningstar

Coup for OnTheMarket as it signs Britain’s biggest franchise agency

October 23, 2018

OnTheMarket has this morning announced that franchise giant Belvoir will list all of its 300-plus branches on the challenger portal.

This includes the full range of Belvoir sales and lettings properties through its Belvoir, Northwood and Newton Fallowell brands.

“We have for some time believed that the property portals landscape was ripe for disruption. OnTheMarket is the first serious contender for several years to be injecting genuine competition in the interests of agents and property searchers alike” says Belvoir’s chief executive Dorian Gonsalves.

“It is agents who provide the portals with the majority of their content and income. It is also agents who serve their clients and property searchers on the ground in selling, letting, buying and renting property” he continues.

Related: OnTheMarket Adds 6,000 Estate Agent Branches Since February Listing

“I’m very pleased to be announcing our strategic support for OnTheMarket as an agent-backed business and am confident that with agent momentum building it will continue to go from strength to strength.”

Belvoir Franchise Support Team Raise Over £3000 for MS Society UK

October 2, 2018

Nine members of the Belvoir Central Office Franchise Support Team joined forces to complete the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge, raising over £3000 for the MS Society UK.

Chief Financial Officer, Louise George, who is a keen athlete, said: “This was a 25-mile walk that took on the peaks of Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough, and included 5,200ft of ascent. On the day there was a great team spirit, with everyone supporting each other to get over all the physical hills and mental barriers. It just shows what can be achieved when everyone works together; it was an amazing day and the Belvoir team was awesome.

“MS is an unpredictable condition, which affects more than 100,000 people in the UK. It’s different for everyone, but is often painful, exhausting and can cause many problems with walking, movement, sight, and mental health. The donations, which total over £3,000, have been overwhelming. We would like to thank everyone that has sponsored us.”

Related: Belvoir Lettings Interim Earnings Rise, Declares Unchanged Dividend

Caroline Kew, Area Fundraiser for the MS Society said:” I would like to offer a huge thank you to the staff of Belvoir’s Central Office, their customers and business contacts for raising over £3,000 through their Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge. The amazing enthusiasm and commitment of everyone to support people who have been affected by multiple sclerosis is outstanding! The Belvoir team should be very proud of everything they have achieved.”

Belvoir has 300 High Street Offices across the UK, and encourages all franchisees to support local and national charities, recognising their efforts by awarding the title of Charity Champion to the office that raises the most money each year. Belvoir Warrington, run by Gary and Amanda Pemberton, won the Charity Champion Award for a record third consecutive year at Belvoir’s Annual Awards 2018 after raising thousands of pounds for the Children’s Adventure Farm Trust (CAFT) and Macmillan cancer support.

Source: Business Mole