Lettings firm throws down gauntlet to Countrywide – ‘We will buy your local brand’

An independent lettings firm has made an unusual announcement, openly saying that it will buy a Countrywide brand in the event of a sell-off or the collapse of its parent company.

Harry Conti and Marcus Askam-Yates, who run Student Housing in Lincoln, say that they have the ‘green light’ from bankers to make the purchase of Lighthouse Property Services.

The pair have also written to Countrywide, making it aware of their interest in acquiring Lighthouse, but say they have not had a response.

Countrywide bought student-focused Lighthouse as part of a buying spree in 2011. It was established as an independent in 2000.

Conti, 26, and Askam-Yates, 28, are both former University of Lincoln students and set up their own business four years ago.

Like Lighthouse, Student Housing specialises in the student market. It currently provides accommodation for over 1,000 students in some 300 homes.

Conti said: “We’ve been looking at the market for some time, and while we are growing at a really fast rate, other letting agents are struggling.

“Now is the ideal time for us to expand by buying other letting agents.

“If you look at Countrywide, the company that owns Lighthouse Property Services in Lincoln, it has lost 97% of its share value in the last 12 months alone.

“Many industry experts believe Countrywide will not be around in the next few months.

“Several branches have closed and many senior managers have been laid off recently, so the company is clearly in a downward spiral.

“We’re worried about where this leaves landlords and students renting through companies like Lighthouse Property Services.

“What will happen to them if Countrywide is not trading in September when students return to university?

“We’ve sought finance to acquire the Lighthouse brand from Countrywide in the event of a collapse which will allow Student Housing to provide a seamless transition for students and landlords currently with Lighthouse.”

“By acquiring Lighthouse, we would be able to ensure that all tenants move into their accommodation as planned without disruption and landlords to continue to receive an income.”

However the pair admitted that purchasing Lighthouse is by no means certain, and that they are looking at other acquisition targets.

As well as its Lincoln office, Student Housing has recently opened an office in Nottingham.

Homesearch EOS

Email the story to a friend


  1. Jamie Lester

    Good luck guys!! CW should take it!!

  2. Hillofwad71

    If they are very patient should pick it up for SFA! Why not just entice the prime movers and shakers of tLighthouse out  with a golden hello and offer them equity

    The clients will surely follow. Its the way of all flesh

  3. spin2009

    I know how they feel. I made a similar approach to Woolworths with the backing of the Northern Rock Great Idea Funding Unit. Never had the courtesy of a reply.

    I declined to publicise my genius idea on the basis that if it was a good idea I would prefer to keep it to myself and respect the “possible” vendors confidentiality.

    I have of course now written to Countrywide with the offer of a higher offer if they decide to accept any offer.

    If am unsuccessful in my approach I propose moving on to The Coca Cola Company with the backing of The Payday Loan Corporation Inc of Lincoln Falls Nebraska.

    Inertia buying is the new big thing!


  4. whatdoiknow58

    Well done to the two guys in Lincoln in getting a free trade advert. If there is someone out there with a business to sell they may get a call but not from CWD. Just for anyone’s information when I was employed by CWD (in better times) we would get anywhere from 3 to 10 unsolicited approaches on a weekly basis from the reasonably serious to the downright nutters wanting to buy this or that Branch as they thought they could do a better job. The serious received a courteous reply thanking them for taking the trouble to contact us etc.etc. The remainder were ignored. Pretty sure which one I would bet on here. Lol.

  5. corset1

    I have to chuckle the boys from lincoln are using all the tricks in the advertising handbook and good luck to them. I am based in Nottingham and have watched their markeing strategys and its all very aggressive and trendy. However its a tough time to be an agent and the market is not expanding as it used to. We have all had 100% growth when we went from our first property to our 2nd etc but the trick now will be maintaining and sustaining a good long term model. The problem is you only get to be the new boys/girls for a short period of time and once all the dust has settled you are still just a letting agent which lets houses. I think if most people in the business had a pound for every new agency that was bringing something new to the market, which then turn out to be identical to all the rest , we may have had a nicer holiday this year.The only good thing about all this legislation is that maybe it may bring some actual innovation to the market for real.


You must be logged in to report this comment!

Comments are closed.

Thank you for signing up to our newsletter, we have sent you an email asking you to confirm your subscription. Additionally if you would like to create a free EYE account which allows you to comment on news stories and manage your email subscriptions please enter a password below.