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Graham Awards


Ex-Reapit guru aims to make HMO sector more appealing to agents

Ex-Reapit and ex-Countrywide tech guru Gary Barker has joined co-living HMO platform COHO as a non-executive director - just weeks after becoming a board director at Guild parent company epropservices.

COHO offers a bespoke property management platform for letting agents and smaller portfolio landlords; the service is increasingly turning its attention to winning agent clients.

Barker says: “I’m a techie and solutions person at heart, and when [founder Vann Vansgard] demonstrated COHO to me I was immediately working through how it offered agents a way to take advantage of a new part of the lettings sector and to increase their revenues and services.


“I believe that the HMO sector will see a significant explosion and without any stigma attached to it.  I believe that it won't just be young individuals that look to take advantage of shared living, but also those mid-age homeowners with a room that they want to offer out, for financial and social benefits.”

Barker’s 15 years as chief executive of Reapit were preceded by senior finance and IT roles at Countrywide working with figures who have become industry-wide names including Grenville Turner, Bob Scarff, Ben Taylor, and Lee Wainwright. 

Barker continues on his new role: ”The agents currently operate in a real estate bubble that is controlled and managed by external and economic factors.  Most real estate agents operate a sales and lettings business so that they can obtain regular income from their rental portfolio andthen variable income from the sales market.  

“However, what is also well known is that the private rented sector and HMO accounts for over 50 per cent of the total rental market, for which agents don't currently operate in, but a space where I feel that they can and will operate with the right technology.”


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