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Tops directors in new agency launch after administration

Wednesday 4th February 2009

Two former bosses of Norfolk estate agency Tops, which went into administration last week, are launching a separate new business selling houses under the ownership of property developer John Howard, the Eastern Daily Press reports today.

Called Moving House, the new estate agency is open for business and will be launched officially at the end of the week, says the paper.Howard had previously bought the Fine & Country franchise and the Auction House arms of the business from Tops.

Its lettings business had also been sold, to another purchaser.According to the newspaper, the administrators of Tops, Begbies Traynor, confirmed last night that 40 to 50 properties of pipeline stock had been sold to Moving House and that the remaining 485 properties that had been listed with Tops Residential were being sold to another Norwich estate agent in a deal being finalised today.

Former Tops directors Bryan Baxter and Roger Lake are now both employees of the new agency, Moving House.

Lloyd Biscoe, of Begbies Traynor, told the newspaper: “What the former directors of Tops did was to protect the value of the business, negotiating with John Howard to achieve a higher realisation than could have been expected in a break-up situation and they saved a number of jobs. It is such a shame that Tops Residential closed down, but it was the loss-making element of the business.

”Tops Property Services had been established in Norfolk for 18 years, had eight offices and was highly successful until the crash. It is understood that 25 people were made redundant when it went into administration.

The news comes as another high-profile regional estate agency business, in south Devon, is also reported to be going into administration, but with interest likely from would-be purchasers.

Today’s edition of Estate Agency News reports in its respected annual league table of estate agents that the top ten firms between them closed nearly 400 branches during 2008.


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