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LSL Property Services favourite to buy HoC

Following the news this morning that The Money Group’s Tony Murtagh has made a bid for Home of Choice, a source close to the deal says the network and the bank’s preferred bidder is LSL Property Services and the deal is likely to be completed by tomorrow.

LSL is the parent company of Your Move, Reeds Rains and Intercounty.

In January Lloyds Banking Group sold its Halifax Estate Agencies for £1 to LSL Property.

Gerry O’Brien, chief executive of Home of Choice, says: “Tomorrow I expect to be telling our brokers about the new listed owner who will bring financial security to the network.  

“Their questions about backdated fees, commission and pipeline will also be answered.  

“The business is working furiously behind the scenes to ensure that brokers are properly supported during these challenging times and I thank everyone – staff, brokers and third parties  – who are solidly behind the continuation of this great business.”



Charity boss calls for home ownership exams for FTBs

Malcolm Hurlston, chairman of debt charity Consumer Credit Counselling Service, says mortgages for first-time buyers should be sold like driving licences and applicants should have to sit exams. In a speech at CCCS’ recent annual convention Hurlston called for the Financial Services Authority to issue certificates to anyone buying their first home. He told attendees […]


Social networking can help build trust

Social media is revolutionising the way news is spread around the world. The speed at which natural disasters are now communicated is mind-boggling. Pictures of recent earthquakes in Chile and Haiti were appearing on sites such as YouTube and Facebook within minutes. Information and comment on the volcanic ash that disrupted flights in the UK […]

Santander should scrutinise its own staff and practices

I am experiencing an appalling situation with a hypocritical approach to underwriting being displayed by Santander. I have clients who are purchasing a property that will become their home upon completion. The property is being let to tenants but will offer full vacant possession upon completion. As the property is tenanted the Santander underwriters have […]

India budget: BJP focuses on growth

By Kunal Desai, Head of Indian Equities

With markets kept open on Saturday, finance minister Arun Jaitley delivered a promising budget focused on growth and decentralisation. While many complained about a six-day working week, there was much to be pleased about and the markets rallied in the afternoon to finish in the green.


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  • HOC AR 6th May 2010 at 1:33 pm

    I totally agree with anony 11:14 re the HOC Staff

    I was at one of the meetings in Birmingham this morning and although we dont really have any more definate information, as usual the regional director was upbeat, positive and as helpful as he could be. Remember these guys on the front line have also not been paid since who knows when and I doubt if they have any idea if they still have a job. Despite all this he always answers his phone, always returns calls and always tells us what he knows. How many other BDMS and managers do we know who always seem to disappear when things go bad??? Not these guys, paid or not they are there for us.

    I for one will be hanging in there until the end because I know no other network will give me such quality support from such quality people.

    This deal will happen and when it does, we will sitting pretty with the backing of a company the size of LSL.

  • David C 6th May 2010 at 1:01 pm

    Firstly, I am not a HOC AR and neither am I a recruiter! I have read all the comments on the various announcements with amazement. This centres around the incredible level of support still being expressed for the HOC directors, I’m genuienely amazed. I’ll keep an eye out for them when I’m next on the cross channel ferry- strolling along beside it!
    My understanding is that;
    a) they have mis-managed the Network by overextending themselves with the bank, not managing the downturn in business, undercharging their members and taking enormous salaries (£750,000 in bonuses last year accoording to one poster on here).
    b) They have repeatedly lied to the AR’s about the Networks financial situation and when payments were going to be made.
    c) it appears that they have turned down a bid which would have ensured all creditors would have been paid, thats not just you guys but the local sandwich shop, builder and anyone else with outstanding invoices.
    d) In addition if the current bid is accepted what about the money I, the British taxpayer, is owed? Why should the board turn down an offer that would pay the taxman back, surely the FSA should have something to say about this?

    Yet despite all this I still keep reading supportive comments about the directors, don’t know wether to laugh or cry. Are you positive posters prepared to respond to the points made above, I’m genuinely keen to know how you manage to disregard these points?

  • Bob Scott 6th May 2010 at 10:26 am

    Anyone that knows me,will know i dont have a vested interest in this situation.However,i have had the good fortune in a previous life to run a very succesful Network of note from regulation until it was acquired by a lender in 2007,weeks before the run on Northern Rock.Therefore ,i have only experienced the best of times in the market.I am fortunate to know Richard Coulson and Gerry OBrien very well,along with the majority of Directors at most of the remaining networks.I can tell you that purely from a business perspective,i would not change places with any of them.I repeat an earlier statement that the initial reports scared the life out of me,not just for HoC but for the remainder of the intermediary market.If we are to believe,as i do,that business is finally picking up,we must all hope that the lads succeed here and get HoC back on track asap.They had everyones support and faith during the best of times,try to show a little in the darkest of times.I have no idea how the deal will eventually look and would not like to speculate,but the business prowess of LSL in recent years to establish them in this league must also be of some comfort.
    I wish Richard,Gerry and EVERY HoC AR the very best of luck.I know you all deserve it.

  • Cameron Barack 6th May 2010 at 10:01 am

    I attended one of these meetings and was a little dismayed at the atitude displayed by the HOC staff. Firstly we were kept waiting for half and hour, secondly the regional director and deputy chairman wasted a further 25 mins telling us what a terrible time they had been through in the last few days and the tears they had shed. Apart from the times when the excellent representative from LSL spoke my ‘Guff-o-meter’ was reading off the scale. What *should* have happened is that it should have been explained that LSL were looking to buy a productive, compliant, self-motivated, experienced sales force and that HOC needed our acquiesscence to be sold to them being the primary and ONLY asset of HOC. What *should* have happened is that the 2 reps from HOC should have doffed their caps and asked in the nicest terms possible whether or not the primary asset agreed to being sold to another company. Lads – you are dealing with people who have been around the block a fair few times….every time you go for the sympathy vote or the “we are all in this together” schtick you are pushing people further away. I’ll be joining “NewCo” because I was very impressed with Lisa Charles-Jones from LSL and I feel that they will steer HOC in the right direction…; Less of the crocodile tears – let’s get back to doing business pronto.

  • Joe Sprado 5th May 2010 at 11:14 pm

    Some very interesting comments from advisers and business, also a well known business man.

    I will say this…..I understand how people who have not been paid must feel, I know how I feel.

    BUT from what I have been told, read and seen myself at a very recent Roadshow (Directors standing up in front of advisers) it appears to me that the HOC people are really trying to do the right thing by us advisers…….I know staff and directors have not been paid and yet they are still working tirelessly for their brokers and to save the Network and broker businesses.

    This is not the HOC appreciation society I do not say this lightly as i am also peed off at not being paid at the last moment.


    Looking back at Networks and businesses that have gone bust, I did not see directors or staff being as up front as the ones at Home of Choice.

    Nor did these other networks (from what i seen at the time) act as fast as HOC directors or try as hard to get the advisers paid……NO more the other networks ran for the hills and fell Quiet !!

    As for businesses….we are all big boys and girls we know problems can occur.

    It is easy for people to shout about how bad this is and certain individuals and businessmen shouting about how HOC is still doing wrong……..

    I believe I am not naive, and until proven otherwise I say this……….

    That the Board and staff of HOC have BALLS!!!!!

    That they are ploughing on, working hard trying their best to salvage a good network and get advisers paid.

    I say a good network as I have been around over twenty years as an adviser, I have also been through a Network problem before…. in 1994 when Britannia life shut its AR division over night leaving some advisers in the crap with no where to go.

    6 networks over twenty years…..I have been with 6!!

    I will say except for this cock up HOC have been a great help to me and I hope the brand or the culture is not lost for good.


    Give them a chance I believe you and I may be pleasantly surprised yet.

    HOC, time is running on……. the clock is ticking!

    As for the LSL deal, LSL are a large creditable and responsible city listed business who are in our industry.

    I have looked at their website and done some light research on them.

    I believe they understand brokers and the industry they work within….

    Simple request HOC…….Please push the deal through so advisers can get on with business.

    Please note this is not a KISS HOC ASS blog it is based on what I have seen, heard, read and what I have been through in this industry over twenty odd years.

  • Heywood Ublomi 5th May 2010 at 9:48 am

    Rich it’s ‘you’re’ not ‘your’. Where did you learn english at St James’s Place?
    I’ve just seen a balloon hovering over the venue for today’s meeting – wondering if Shearer and Soprano are gonna parachute in to make an entrance. I’ve heard they are gonna base the meeting on “Family Fortunes”. Our survey asked – “What’s The Chance Of HOC Getting Out of This Alive”….you said “Zero”…..our survey said “Bigger, better, stronger, faster”.

  • KH 4th May 2010 at 8:01 pm

    Don’t trust LSL – they took over Chancellors Associates Chartered Surveyors and ever since their surveyors have had very little work as LSL also own ESurv who hold onto all the work.

  • Anon 4th May 2010 at 6:00 pm

    Because I am not yet confident enough to submit business I decided to do my accounts for last year. This has not cheered me up, well apart from a tiny tax bill ;o)
    Tomorrow should be an interesting day.

  • Jamie Coats 4th May 2010 at 5:57 pm

    Lucky for me I don’t need any medication as I am a director and owner of a highly profitable company which supplies services and hence have no axe to grind for any potential bidder. I merely point out the obvious. Do you have a vested interest?

  • tmurtagh 4th May 2010 at 5:41 pm

    My view is freely available ..07786 437796..look forward to your call.

  • ric HOC AR 4th May 2010 at 5:41 pm

    Oy Anonymous at 5.29pm, are you drunk? because I don’t understand what on earth your babbling on about, if you are can I suggest it’s a little early in the day and you should be keeping a clear head so you can focus at tomorows meeting, it’s not even 6 o’clock. If you are sober then I suggest you take some medication and resit your english GCSE

  • Jamie Coats 4th May 2010 at 5:36 pm

    Oh and Openwork and Keith Carby have little to do with a bid. Keith is not part of Openwork and the guys at LSL are bsuinessmen and make their own decisions based on logic. So as the chap above says wait until the meetings and make decisions on facts.

  • Jamie Coats 4th May 2010 at 5:29 pm

    Regarding which way to go and scaremongering it all boils down to how much there is in the pot. So lets say HOC have no debt and no asset and a great pipeline then I would buy it and all is well. If they have load’s of debt and not enough pipeline to meet running costs then I would buy the assets not take over the company. Is this Tony’s view? The facts are the facts and only what is possible will happen. If the latter would you take on dept and still pay a purchase price. I assume any purchaser has some common sense. For the brokers I feel really sad but reality is what will make the decision so plan accordingly.

  • Brian Dobson 4th May 2010 at 5:19 pm

    It has been very interesting reading all the hyperbole written in the last hour or so. Surely the easiest thing for us to do is attend the roadshows, listen to what is said and then we can make our minds up as to what is the best course of action to take.

    From my point of view it makes no sense to jump ship at this time as this acquisition will make HOC more secure than it has ever been.

    My advice would be to make a business decision based on the facts and not on conjecture. Hopefully the recruitment feeding frenzy will stop and we can all get back to doing good business and getting paid for it. Anybody else been appalled at the outrageous claims that recruiters have made in the last week or so? Doesn’t do our industry any good at all!

  • ric HOC AR 4th May 2010 at 5:01 pm

    LSL that own Reeds Rains who use Openwork and who own Linear and have a share in Openwork where Keith Carby was a director whose apparent bid was not succesful, erm a smell a rat in the kitchen wat am gona do a smell an Openwork coming through the back kitchen door wat ama gona do, am gona leave that network thats wat am gona do. Sorry but you have driven me as mad as a bag of bannanas, will we all receive counselling after this as well as our pipelines.

  • Anonymous 4th May 2010 at 4:31 pm

    Re Sabrina Davaloe’s post at 12.22pm, an email went out at 11.03am yesterday informing us of the roadshows, the dates, times etc. If you haven’t seen it, ask HO to email you a copy. The media only gets it’s information from the communications HOC send out.

  • steve 4th May 2010 at 3:59 pm

    Reading between the lines you say “should” because the plan is for lsl to take it out of administration to wipe out the debt.

    It’s strange that every relaease by the directors say it is a done deal and you say it isn’t.

    My income wil be clased as one of those “debts” and will probably get wiped out!!

  • tmurtagh 4th May 2010 at 3:56 pm

    Hoc ar posted at me..07786 437796…..if the board have accepted the lsl bid,why dont they just say now that there is no administration and dispell all your fears once and for all…i would.

  • s.smith 4th May 2010 at 3:36 pm

    I only say ‘should not’ as its not a done deal and it may be that HOC enter administration then LSL buy it free of the debt. This would still be good news for you as things would continue as normal and you would finally get paid. I know its hard being left hanging, I will share more as soon as I can.

  • HOC AR 4th May 2010 at 3:27 pm

    Tony – Why are you so sure that the LSL bid means going into admin. They are brave men if they are going to announce at the meetings tomorrow that we get anything but every penny that is owed to us and security of our pipelines going forward. Rumours that we may be presented with a take it or leave it deal after admin but surely the major creditor LTSB would block such a move?

  • steve bell 4th May 2010 at 3:21 pm

    Well once again the stories flood out and yet still nothing legal and binding. The BDD’s hold all their own meetings trying to set up frims of their own with HOC AR’s then they are on the phone today saying evrything is fine you will get double bubble this Friday….its like Fred Carnos circus on a bad day. lets just get what we can and get out of here i for one have had enough !!!!
    Openwork have offered me a great deal and i intend to take it…make your move but the option to stay here is no one of them

  • tmurtagh 4th May 2010 at 2:40 pm

    To annon posted at 2.24…support the Murtagh bid…get paid and listen to the plans going forward…if you then want to leave ,ill wish you all the best.

  • Kim Morgan 4th May 2010 at 2:24 pm

    I am a HOC AR and really don’t know what to do. The TRUST is lost and having a few days to shop around I can see ‘what I think’ are better deals out there for myself. Now, if all this is true and HOC survives, they still have me over a barrell and my money, as it will cost me to leave now I have seen their true colours!!!!!!! Any suggestions

  • kam 4th May 2010 at 2:20 pm

    HOC AR…Jumping ship while i still have a life vest!!! Im not going sit around while they patch up the leak for it to burst again in a few months!!!!!

  • Steve 4th May 2010 at 2:17 pm

    Why do you only say “should not involve HOC going into admin”??

    Why not “does not involve HOC going into admin”???

  • tmurtagh 4th May 2010 at 2:14 pm

    Anonymous post at 1.53….tell more if you know….it is not fair that the staff and network members are drip fed tit bits….if the lsl bid has been accepted by the board…tell everyone.!!

  • HOC AR 4th May 2010 at 2:12 pm

    Please Please go to the respective mtgs being held in the next three days and hear the news first hand from, Richard, Gerry and his team. Do not rely on this blog to guide you and decide your future.
    A very happy HOC AR!!!

  • Sarah Smith 4th May 2010 at 1:53 pm

    To confirm HOC is NOT in administration the deal with LSL will be a purchase and should not involve HOC going into admin as part of the deal. Just be patient and don’t go cancelling contracts etc until you know more details.

  • Ciaran Coyle 4th May 2010 at 1:36 pm

    CONFUSED HOC AR… Need clarification from board re the proposed bids and if LSL are successful does it still mean going into adminisration?? Official communication ASAP!

  • HOC AR still, just, I think 4th May 2010 at 1:29 pm

    I think Tony Baloney is blowing up his own ringer ding donger and should go back to what he does best, which by all accounts includes all sorts of activities, nod nod wink wink. Goalllllllllllllll

  • Roger Pettit 4th May 2010 at 12:27 pm

    What happened when you took over Baltic Pine,Tony???

  • A64 Jaguar Man 4th May 2010 at 12:25 pm

    If HOC get a 10 point penalty and we meet GE Money or Simply Biz in the play-offs I’m willing to play right-half. Longhorne will be OK in goal.

  • Chris Hulme - HoC AR 4th May 2010 at 12:24 pm

    Interesting. I would agree entirely with Tony Murtagh (first comment) in that ALL our current pipeline and outstanding commissions MUST be honoured in any bid to revive this business. The Directors of HoC have obligations under the Companies Act to protect its creditors and not enter into contracts that just get them out of a hole and leave the creditors with nothing.
    Any bid that sees these fees lost in Administration by investor will be equally bad as HoC just going into Administration anyway.
    If the Directors of HoC do undertake such a move that leaves the AR’s with nothing, we will form an action group to take the Directors to task. Tomorrows meeting will be an interesting one.

  • Sabrina Davaloe 4th May 2010 at 12:22 pm

    We haven’t received any statement from HOC regarding the roadshows or potential purchase, and yet again we’re having to learn everything from the media. HOC seriosuly need to sort out their communication with their AR’s!

  • Sabrina Davaloe 4th May 2010 at 12:21 pm

    We haven’t received any statement from HOC regarding the roadshows or potential purchase, and yet again we’re having to learn everything from the media. HOC seriosuly need to sort out their communication with their AR’s!

  • David Roberts 4th May 2010 at 12:14 pm

    We have been told this morning that the deal is done and O/S commissions and pipeline business will be paid, this was also said last Friday? We are still awaiting confirmation direct of this arrangement rather than through the media. We were not however told of any administration arrangements….. is there yet another sting in the Tail?
    I am an HOC AR.

  • tony murtagh 4th May 2010 at 12:13 pm

    Tony Murtagh mobile=07786 437796…no scaremongering…the truth as i know it..please call.

  • Tony Ward 4th May 2010 at 12:09 pm

    If HOC go into administration do they get a 10-point penalty?

  • Ally Patterson 4th May 2010 at 12:00 pm

    I would suggest to all to note that the initial comment, was made by potentially the party that has lost out, and smacks of scaremongering. Surely HOC will be prevented from saying too much due to non disclosure agreements, and as the potential new owners ara a PLC, they will probably handle the announcement to the city first.

  • HOC AR 4th May 2010 at 11:53 am

    I would think so as we would be creditors too. It would also mean that they are in breach of our contract due to restricting trade which would open up a few other opportunities I suppose.

  • HOC AR 4th May 2010 at 11:52 am

    I would think so as we would be creditors too. It would also mean that they are in breach of our contract due to restricting trade which would open up a few other opportunities I suppose.

  • tony murtagh 4th May 2010 at 11:49 am

    Will HOC board confirm urgently if the LSL bids involves administration ?..if so what happens to the network members permissions ?

  • HOC broker 4th May 2010 at 11:39 am

    if HOC goes into admininstration and is then bought, doesnt that mean all our pipeline commission is lost?

  • emma tempest 4th May 2010 at 11:37 am

    Thats great news! I never doubted the board of HOC would have something up their sleeves.

  • emma tempest 4th May 2010 at 11:36 am

    Thats great news! I never doubted the board of HOC would have something up their sleeves.

  • tony murtagh 4th May 2010 at 11:22 am

    The directors must protect and do what is best for the “creditors” whilst they are in an insovent situation.The Murtagh bid is the only bid that protects all the creditors….If you are a network member or a creditor you must urge the board NOT to vote for the lsl bid if it involves administration.