Lettings agents have faced competition from online and hybrid competitors for several years now and companies such as Howsy – which today bought the assets of Upad – but also Accommodation.co.uk, Purplebricks and MakeUrMove, all claim to offer a similar service to traditional agents for a fraction of the cost.
The least-known is Home Made. It has been ticking over for two years developing its tech and testing out its service with several hundred landlords.
It offers them a £948 tenant find service including accompanied viewings plus property management for 4%, way below the industry average of 10%-12%.
But its service is about to step up a gear following the appointment of senior lettings figure Jo Green (pictured, above), as the company seeks to expand.
“My role is going to head up both expansion in build-to-rent (BTR) but also its development within the professionally-managed private rental market portfolio and block sectors,” she says.
“For me the biggest pull of Home Made was that it has proved that the concept will work in the market and has landlord case studies in the bag.”
Home Made isn’t like other proptech platforms in the field, Green claims, because it offers a ‘fourth way’ that’s neither traditional, hybrid nor online.
The tech-based business operates in the capital out of a hub with property management staff on the road conducting appraisals and managing properties, a model which is likely to be rolled out to other cities soon including Manchester.
During her early career in general sales Green completed a law degree in her spare time and then joined a firm of solicitors in the property management sector.
But the lure of sales proved too strong and she later joined PRSim, LSL’s build-to-rent business and was one of the small clutch of property professionals there for BTR’s birth alongside ‘PRS champion’ Andrew Stanford within the Ministry of Housing.
“Build to rent was very much a moss-covered stone at the top of a very big hill,” she says. “It’s also very much the direction we need to be going in the country.”
She then switched roles to head up sales at IdealFlatmate.com before joining Home Made to head up its business development.
“LSL saw build-to-rent as an opportunity and although they were late to join the party, their position as one of the largest property managers in the private rental market gave them a strong position to start from,” she says.
Green claims the lettings industry divides into two on build to rent; agencies who think build-to-rent is just another arm of the existing industry, and those who’ve realised it’s a new sector slowly taking shape.
“I think there were some naysayers out there who say that we’ve seen all this before and it’s not going to be that exciting, but I think it’s turned out to be the opposite,” she says.