Braemore acquires Complete Letting to consolidate HMO specialism

A SCOTTISH estate agency has strengthened its specialism in managing Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) following its latest acquisition.

Braemore Sales and Lettings has added more than 90 HMO properties to its Edinburgh branch after buying the student rental portfolio of city centre rival, Complete Letting (Scotland) Ltd.

This deal will also see Braemore forging another link with the vendor’s other Marchmont Road-based company, Nestival Ltd, which specialises in providing accommodation for Edinburgh’s Fringe or “Nests” as they describe them, to the entertainment industry worldwide throughout the year.

Outside the traditional student letting season, Braemore will link up with Nestival to offer its clients portfolios on a short-term basis throughout the Edinburgh Fringe to industry staff and performers.

CEO of Braemore, Andrew Seldon, said “We are one of only a handful of agencies with a team dedicated to HMO lets, providing professional guidance on purchasing, investing, converting and licensing a property.

“The addition of this prime, central Edinburgh portfolio almost doubles our HMO stock levels, and cements our reputation as the go-to HMO expert. It creates a strong platform on which to innovate and strengthen our customer service, as well as expand further through more acquisitions in and around the capital. “The collaboration with Nestival, and their highly successful niche service, also adds an exciting dimension for landlords to take advantage of.”

The Fringe is the world’s largest arts festival, which spans 25 days and features more than 55,000 performances of 3,548 different shows in 317 venues. It is surpassed only by the Olympics and the World Cup in terms of global ticketing events.

In the capital, the student population is over 59,000 and is catered for by approximately 7,000 properties. That population is growing and so is demand, according to Andrew.

He added: “As lockdown restrictions begin to ease, this acquisition is a timely signal of our continued confidence in Edinburgh and its all-year-round appeal as a place to live, work, study and holiday. The student market in Edinburgh – as well as in St Andrew’s where we operate a sister branch – continues to expand, making HMOs a very attractive investment.”

In the last five years, Nestival has been crowned Best UK Entertainment Industry Accommodation Provider 2020 and triumphed in the Scottish Enterprise Awards 2019. From its Edinburgh origins, Nestival has expanded to provide Serviced accommodation across the UK and expanded its operation across Australia with further expansion plans in the pipeline in 2021 in America and Canada.

Becki Linley, Co-Founder and Owner at Nestival Ltd, said: “With an extensive portfolio of both private, serviced and hotel accommodation available in all manner of locations across the world, Nestival has been responsible for housing thousands of industry professionals and guests every year in quality, comfortable and secure accommodation at a competitive rate. 

“With the current sale of Complete Letting to Braemore, we can now focus on our growth across the UK whilst reassuringly continuing to offer our usual service and portfolio of student accommodation to the Edinburgh arts industry without any disruption to business.

“I am excited to bring a new agent under the wing and into the nest, and also importantly offer our Nestival services to our transitioned landlords many of whom have been with Brian and I for a number of years, whilst also potentially getting to meet new ones through Braemore.”

Braemore is part of the Edinburgh-based Lomond Group of residential letting and sales agencies across England and Scotland, and is the sister agency of fellow Scottish chain Stonehouse, which operates out of Aberdeen and the surrounding district.

Stonehouse also recently completed its own acquisition, that of the letting portfolio formerly managed by Burnett & Reid, thought to be the oldest legal practice in the city of Aberdeen, and one of the longest-established in the UK.

‘Continued confidence in Edinburgh’ … Braemore CEO Andrew Seldon