Agents don’t get proptech

Proptech advertising imageJust five per cent of property businesses consider themselves technologically advanced, according to research by Qube Global Software.

As the technology landscape continues its rapid pace of change, the research suggests that a large proportion of property companies will be playing catch up, rather than taking up the mantle of technology trailblazer.

The survey of 960 real estate and FM professionals, conducted in autumn 2016, set out to discover where businesses see themselves on the journey to technological maturity, how they’re using the software already available to them and how they are preparing for future advancements in technology, including robots and AI (Artificial Intelligence).

While largely aware of the role technology can play in improving the way their businesses are run, the survey highlighted that only a small proportion believe they are currently harnessing it successfully. Only 5 per cent of businesses see themselves as tech pacesetters, with a further 20 per cent believing they are proficient in their use of technology. That leaves a remarkable 75 per cent of the Real Estate/ FM industry believing themselves to be at the early stages of their technology journey.

John Cuppello, CEO of Qube Global Software, said, “This research shows that the property industry believes itself to be slow to adapt to new technology. While it’s certainly true that a proportion is resisting transformative change, partly due to budgetary constraints and partly because of a lack of understanding about its potential, I believe more property professionals may be using advanced technology regularly in the workplace than they realise.

The White Paper ‘Embracing Transformative Change: Insights into Technology and the Real Estate Sector’, exploring the research in full, is available for download at wpcontent/uploads/ sites/5/2017/01/Embracing- Transformative-Change-1.pdf

Conveyancing revolution

My Home Move says that it is “leading the conveyancing revolution” with Voice biometrics – as it moves forward with ‘Nuance’.

The Nuance Biometrics Platform aims to make conveyancing quicker, easier and safer for its clients.

Once integrated into My Home Move’s existing telephony systems, the voice biometrics system will ensure clients no longer have to answer a series of security questions when they call to speak to their conveyancer. Instead their voice will be matched to a recording, or print, taken during the company’s initial ID verification process.

The screening process, which will take only a few moments, identifies over 100 points of measurement within the voice print, and when every point is matched the caller’s identity is verified, routing their call directly to the conveyancer with confirmation of the verified status. If the voice match fails then other factors, such as additional security questions, will be used to authenticate the client before they can proceed to talk to the conveyancer about their case.

Doug Crawford, CEO of My Home Move said, “We have been at the forefront of delivering cutting edge technology to our clients for over a decade. Voice biometrics are another important protection against a variety of fraud types that are on the increases so we have proactively sought and invested in a solution to ensure the protection of our client’s data from such threats.”

Nested gets new funding

As if agents needed more competition from digital start-ups, a company called Nested that offers to buy a client’s home if a buyer can’t be found has won a fresh £8 million injection of cash.

Launched 14 months ago, Nested promises vendors that it will sell their homes via its own listings on Rightmove and Zoopla within 90 days or provide them with an interest-free loan to buy their next property.

Nested is chasing the 40 per cent of home movers in the UK who do not have a mortgage and therefore find it frustrating when they caught in lengthy buying chains.

If the sale price is more than the valuation range the profit is split

There are some catches to the deal. Nested guarantees to sell a vendor’s property, but only for 95-98 per cent of the asking price in return for a hefty 2.5 per cent sales fee. If the property is sold for more than the valuation range, it splits any ‘profit’ 70/30 in favour of the lender.

But if the property does not sell, Nested then takes out a first-charge mortgage on the property and advances the necessary cash to enable the vendor to move home. When the property sells, the ‘bridging’ mortgage is then cleared.

Matt Robinson, Nested, image
Matt Robinson

“There are lots of people in this situation and we think we can build a very big business which helps a lot of people,” said Chief Executive of Nested Matt Robinson.

But despite the ambitious claims, Robinson admitted that Nested is completing only five deals a month at the moment, although he says the company will eventually reach 10,000. “Based on what we’ve seen so far, I believe we can,” he said.

Goodlord raises further £7.2m

Richard White, Goodlord, imageGoodlord, the rental transaction platform, has attracted the attention of leading Silicon Valley fintech investor Ribbit Capital, raising £7.2 million from the Palo Alto team, alongside new money from existing investors LocalGlobe and Global Founders Capital. This is Goodlord’s second major fundraising in seven months and will enable the proptech business to improve the technology behind its service and continue its goal of revolutionising the rental market.

Goodlord, which has already processed tenancies worth more than £200 million, sells its cloudbased platform to some of the UK’s biggest estate agencies, including Strutt & Parker, Life Residential and Remax.

The platform is designed to make the rental transaction quicker and more transparent: agents can smooth the process of finding and securing a home for tenants, ensure landlords receive tenants’ references quickly and collect deposits and rent online.

With Goodlord, the letting can be completed in hours and saves agents 50 to 75 per cent of their administration costs.

Richard White, CEO, said, “More and more people will be renting their homes for longer. They want to see quick, professional and efficient service from both agents and landlords.

Goodlord can provide this in a way that is familiar to a generation that expects to complete purchases, order takeaways and hail a taxi using their phone in seconds.”

Virtual Reality arrives in Wales

Virtual Reality imageCardiff property agent, Jeffrey Ross, now offers its customers a new way to view properties with the launch of its virtual reality (VR) platform. Jeffrey Ross is one of the first property agents in Wales to introduce VR, meaning that prospective buyers can now view homes through VR headsets without having to leave the comfort of their own home.

Ross Hooper-Nash image
Ross Hooper-Nash

Ross Hooper-Nash, Director of Jeffrey Ross, said, “We are always looking for new ways to help our customers view properties, we know how much time it could save both buyers and sellers if an initial viewing can be done via a platform such as VR. It’s particularly beneficial for prospective buyers who aren’t based locally and want to view a property quickly.

“That first viewing of a potential new home can be quite daunting for all parties involved and whilst video tours and photographs do an excellent job of providing an overview of a property, a VR tour can actually make you feel like you are walking around the rooms and hallways – it’s a completely new experience. The technology is so good that you can see the intricacies of each room and really feel like you are already in the property.

Jeffrey Ross already has over 50 homes set up with VR tours which can be viewed at uk/JRVR. It will be offering the service to all its clients and the cost will be included in their overall fees. Ross continued, “We want to offer this service to all of our clients, regardless of the size or value of the property. We’re really proud of this new service and hope that it will set us apart from the competition.”

The platform uses Matterport technology and each home takes less than two hours to film, using a 3D camera.

View My Chain launches its Consumer View

View My Chain logo imageView My Chain has started allowing home movers across the UK access to an early beta version of its game changing consumer view.

The tool was launched in October 2016 and delivered an immediate benefit to early adopters by reducing their transaction times by a very significant two weeks compared to the rest of the market.

The PropTech startup was also recently highlighted in the recent report by Exane BNP Paribas on the property market, which described it as a tool that “reduces the friction of the home buying process” which “has been neglected in many other products we have explored”.

Sohail Rashid image
Sohall Rashid

Sohail Rashid, Founder & CEO claims that the tool is unique, “There is no other software solution on the market which offers agents instant visibility of the progress of all of the properties connected in a chain.

“View My Chain empowers agents to be more pro-active which clearly delivers an immediate benefit to consumers: faster completions and less fall-throughs.”

Martin Taylor of Taylor Hill & Bond, based in the South of England is very impressed with the system.

He says, “View My Chain gives us a competitive advantage over other local agents. The visibility and transparency that we can share with consumers throughout the home moving process gives them more assurance of the work we are doing to ensure a prompt completion.”

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