The proptech market has absolutely exploded in the last decade. A huge number of startups have launched, offering new and innovative technological solutions to challenges faced within the property industry. Whether it’s property management, tenant referencing, utility management or digital viewings software, there now seems to be a business out there claiming that their product can solve all of your problems.
As much as this development is exciting, it can quickly become a total minefield when you’re faced with a procurement project. With so many options available and little in the way of guidance, the pressure to find the right software can make the process more stressful than its worth. But as a proptech company ourselves, we’ve seen first-hand the revolutionary benefits to our customers of deploying the correct solution for their agency. The best proptech businesses are able to save agencies countless hours of admin, dramatically improve their customers’ experience or help them to generate more business. So we’ve put together a list of our favourites to help you navigate the market better.
The property buying process is being rapidly digitised by Offr’s very clever technology. They’ve built a website widget that agencies can instantly add to their marketing website, allowing customers to make private offers, bid in auctions, book viewings, upload proof of funds, download legal documents and even digitally sign contracts. Offr even lets you customise the tool so that it matches your brand colours.
We think that this technology has the potential to really mix things up and early adopters have an opportunity to differentiate from the competition. Currently, Offr have various products built for property sales, but their lettings version is coming soon.
Finding a suitable property in London can be a serious challenge. But for many renters, just knowing what area of the Capital is best for them is an even earlier hurdle, especially if they’re new to big smoke and unfamiliar with its intimidating scale and confusing transport.
That’s where SearchSmartly come in. They’ve built a clever tool that allows users to search for properties even before they know which part of town they want to be in. Their website provides a series of questions on things like budget, proximity to schools and workplaces, as well as the importance of green spaces and gyms. The algorithm then returns a selection of properties in areas that match the criteria specified, which we think is pretty smart.
For agents, it’s worth keeping an eye on SearchSmartly as they grow and ensuring the properties you manage are listed, as we’re expecting their user base to grow significantly.
Thirdfort is an identity verification solution, designed specifically for lawyers and conveyancers. Without a full understanding of a client’s financial position or confirmation of their ID, legal professionals are taking serious risks in working with them. But traditional methods of gaining this information were confusing, long-winded and clunky.
With Thirdfort’s digital solution, it takes just three minutes to access everything that’s required; which gives the lawyer peace of mind and the client a quick and hassle-free user experience. Their app uses face-recognition technology as well as open banking protocols to securely run AML and source of funds checks before providing the results and supporting documentation.
This year’s coronavirus lockdown restrictions have further accelerated growth in certain areas of the proptech market, especially those facilitating digital viewings. One such company is Homu, who have completely redefined online home viewings with their property verification service.
Users can send Homu a home they are interested in, then a ‘HomuCritic’ will perform the viewing on their behalf. They’ll carry out a 200+ point inspection of the property, including things like mattress comfort, noise levels and natural light. This will then be shared with Homu customers via a digital viewing report, along with the photos and video walkthroughs. You can then sit back with a cup of tea, knowing you have all the information you need.
According to IMMO, the average seller receives 92% of their asking price using a traditional sale process. This, along with the other potential downfalls like uncertainty on timings or deals falling through, has led them to develop another method. They buy properties at a fair price and on a seller’s chosen date, with no commission in sight. Not only that, but there are no agents fees and IMMO will cover the legal costs.
Anyone can get an initial offer from IMMO in minutes by simply entering a few details about their property using the simple tool on their website. To give you a fair price, IMMO’s valuation model is based on 100+ parameters as well as a professional inspection of your property that happens at the next stage. If accepted, you can choose the exact completion date and even lease the property back if you want to stay longer.
‘Enhanced PRS yields’ is the bold and ambitious claim made by SKWIRE on their website. They’ve built a tech-first real estate investment platform that uses a sophisticated self-learning AI trained on over 150m data points to identify best-of-class investment opportunities. They manage their full portfolio and offer fully-tailored rental experiences, including flexible leases and personalised furnishings, which tenants can handle from within their digital platform.
Their four-step process starts by sourcing properties using its AI, which predicts any property's rental revenue with 93%+ accuracy, meaning SKWIRE can buy the very best assets matching local demand. Their buyers then use a semi-automated filtering process to due diligence 100 properties per day across the UK. Purchased properties then go through a full refurb and are let through a tech-supported property management system allowing each PM to look after 300 homes with 24/7 tenant service.