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Plug in to the app revolution

If you’ve developed a new fondness for agile operations, you can make a more permanent switch with these apps and plugins – all specifically designed to liberate, shorten and streamline processes. Lisa Isaacs reviews the latest and greatest.

Lisa Isaacs
COMPLIANCE

Landmark

The ‘new normal’ means being ready to adapt and respect the wishes of clients while the shadow of Covid-19 hangs over us. Landmark’s Quick Sale Ready (QSR) pack allows agents to complete customer due diligence (CDD) with little or no contact.

Link to Apps featureBen Robinson says that moving to no or low-contact digital compliance is actually key to speeding up transactions, claiming agents who gather information upfront electronically can reduce transaction times by up to four weeks.

“Take searches, for instance. There is no need to wait for delayed searches due to council backlogs or closures,” comments Ben. “Agents can order our ‘No Sale No Fee’ searches via our online platform, with no upfront costs to mitigate risk. And don’t forget that beneficial ownership and AML checks can be carried out electronically via the Landmark platform.”

Agents can order our ‘No Sale No Fee’ searches via our online platform to mitigate risk. Beneficial ownership and AML checks can also be carried out electronically via the Landmark platform. Ben Robinson, Landmark.

Ben also recommends that agents electronically distribute the buyer pack at the point an offer is accepted to get things moving quickly – a pack that includes an online Property Information Questionnaire (PIQ) and Law Society forms.

Access to Landmark’s services is via a secure, online platform with support provided by Account Managers, where needed. In addition, all of Landmark’s products and searches can be ordered as pack or as individual components.

END-TO-END LETTINGS

Goodlord

Goodlord digitises the entire lettings process for a streamlined and cost-effective experience for everyone involved. All lettings essentials are automated, including contract generation, tenant communication, reference chasing, payments, signatures and legal compliance. In fact, the Goodlord platform is reported to save the average agent 50-70% of admin per let – freeing time to focus on customer service and increasing fee-earning property management capacity.

Link to Apps feature“We save our agency clients thousands of pounds by vastly reducing the time spent on administration,” comments William Reeve. “For instance, Goodlord reduces the manual task of distributing mandatory documents – such as the How to Rent Guide, EPC and Gas Safety information – at the right times. We also offer commission-earning insurance, broadband and utility switching facilities, void management services and corporate lets. This means the same technology can be used to service a wide range of client needs and add extra revenue streams all whilst reducing the need to coordinate multiple stakeholders.”

We also offer commission-earning insurance, broadband and utility switching facilities, void management services and corporate lets, adding extra revenue streams. William Reeve, Goodlord.

In times of social distancing, Goodlord also eliminates the need for in-person interaction, and its service currently applies to Right to Rent checks. A link is sent to a tenant and the process is online. For agents, its cloud-based platform can be accessed from anywhere – on the road, in the office or from the sofa – and integrates with Flatfair, Qube and Reapit, with more partnerships being developed.

VALUATIONS

Zeus

Link to Apps featureRather than an app that agents need to integrate with, Zeus is an app agents need to be part of. It’s essentially a lead generation tool wrapped up as an instant valuation service for the general public. Nick Christoforou at Zeus says when agents subscribe to the app, they automatically receive instant valuations requests without spending time or money canvassing for business.

No need to visit the property. Our data shows our app’s average valuation is consistently within just 5% of the eventual deal price, for both sales and lettings.

Nick adds that the accuracy of the owner-submitted information is actually good enough to replace a physical valuation, saving agents time and one-to-one interaction, “No need to visit the property. Our data shows our app’s average valuation is consistently within just 5% of the eventual deal price, for both sales and lettings.”

SIGNATURES & ID VERIFICATION

Yoti

Yoti is a cloud-based or integrated API solution that allows estate agents to get agreements signed without human contact or pen sharing – ideal if there’s any hesitancy over meeting in person.

Yoti’s electronic signatures are sent as encrypted messages plus they’re legally binding and are admissible in court.

Link to Apps featureResearch used by Thomas Mellor at Yoti Sign found that approximately 85% of all contracts signed electronically are done so within the first 24 hours – while approximately 40% are signed within the first 60 minutes, so the transactions take place far more quickly.

Research used by Thomas Mellor at Yoti Sign found that 85% of all contracts signed electronically are done so within the first 24 hours – while 40% are signed within the first 60 minutes. Thomas Mellor, Yoti.

“Our clients have simplified their processes, saved money and time on admin tasks, and generated more revenue from a higher volume of transactions,” says Thomas.

Yoti Sign also has a built-in function for verifying documents and proving the identity of tenants, which can currently be used for Right to Rent checks.

FLOORPLANS

PlanUp

Link to Apps featureFloorplans created with paper and pen can become a thing of the past for agents who take advantage of PlanUp’s iPad app, which allows agents to digitally draw a plan while at a property. What’s more, creating the floorplan on site can also help create property descriptions as PlanUp’s software can be used as a note-taking tool. “We have multiple options for all room types, which can be selected and altered easily, from wall and floor descriptions to bathroom and kitchen fittings,” comments PlanUp’s Steve Flatman.

These selections build sentences alongside the room name and dimensions. The descriptions are then saved alongside a plan or are automatically imported into back office systems, including Vebra Alto, Expert Agent and AgentPro. Agents can copy and paste a number generated against a plan into its CRM software, after which a plan and description automatically populates a brochure.

We have found that most vendors really like to see their property being professionally drawn using technology rather than being sketched on a notepad. Steve Flatman, PlanUp.

Digitally drawing at the property not only saves time but it is also a USP says Steve. “Vendors like to see their property being professionally drawn using technology rather than being sketched on a notepad.” PlanUp’s floorplans can be customised, transformed into 3D and be made interactive by converting them into Photo Plans for added wow factor.

INVENTORIES

Inventory Hive

Inventory Hive is a cloud-based software with administration reduction at its heart. Encompassing all the lettings stages from check in to check out – including Right to Rent checks – the product is designed to reduce time spent by the agents in a property, eliminate personal contact with tenants (if required) and give the hard pressed property managers the ability to manage inventories digitally from anywhere – even if there’s no wifi.

Inventory Hive encompasses all the lettings stages from check in to check out – including Right to Rent checks and it is designed to reduce time spent by the agents in a property. Richard Abbots, Inventory Hive.

“We digitally capture tenant signatures and photo feedback, allow pre-arrival documents to be served electronically and show ‘before and after’ photos side-by-side on screen for easy verification.

Link to Apps featureThis is all done whilst automatically audit-trailing the communication within our robust reports.” says Inventory Hive’s Richard Abbots.

Currently Inventory Hive integrates with Jupix, Fixflo, Propco and 360° cameras, and it’s currently working within the Reapit Foundation’s beta programme.

PROPERTY MAINTENANCE

Fixflo

Fixflo is a cloud-based repairs and maintenance software, adopting an open API approach that integrates with more than 40 different software systems. The tenant-facing side is a picture-based reporting app that automatically identifies issues. The self-help guidance results in tenants resolving an average of 18% of faults themselves – negating property visits and call-out charges. Of those not fixable by tenants, 92% of issues reported using Fixflo are resolved after one trade visit.

Fixflo automates processes, such as work orders, quotations and instructing gas safety checks. Managers using Fixfl o are typically able to manage 35% more homes than those without. Rajeev Nayyar, Fixflo.

Link to Apps featureFor property managers, Fixflo automates frequent processes, such as the creation of work orders, requesting quotations and instructing gas safety checks. “Property managers using Fixflo are typically able to manage 35% more properties than those without,” says the company’s Rajeev Nayyar.

“We’ve recently released free upgrades to help agents assess a rental property’s Covid-19 status before someone is sent to a property, and we’ve added in-system reports and analytics to help management understand how repairs are being handled and service levels achieved while team members are working from home.”

LEAD & DIARY MANAGEMENT

InspectRealEstate

This cloud-based sales and lettings software ensures that no lead falls through the cracks and also creates an agency that’s responsive around-the-clock, all while creating more time for negotiators. InspectRealEstate handles communications relating to leads and viewings, with a synced intelligent diary management system. In practice that means automated responses are sent to inbound enquiries as soon as they are received, and vetted viewings are booked directly into the diary – even if requests are made overnight.

Agents using InspectRealEstate come into their office every day with a fully planned, mapped out and confi rmed diary of viewing appointments, ready to crack on. Milton Jannusch, InspectRealEstate.

Link to Apps feature“Agents using InspectRealEstate come into the office every day with a fully planned, mapped out and confirmed diary full of viewing appointments,” says Milton Jannusch. The prospect of such a time-saving tool in the face of a pent-up demand for property viewings, visits and inspections is very attractive, adds Milton: “With restrictions gradually lifting, agents can use our solution to book property visits, and move stock quicker than humans can coordinate and confirm viewings.”

PROPERTY REPORTING

TouchRight

TouchRight transforms paper-based reporting into a digital process. It encompasses all lettings and property management milestones; including inventories, check-ins, check-outs, maintenance and many more. Manual effort is reduced drastically resulting in less transcribing, uploading, reformatting and renaming of photos, with custom templates available on any device for a professional, branded end result.

TouchRight has had increased uptake of its ‘over the phone’ inspection templates and ‘self service’ options in lockdown, in which tenants and landlords fi ll in their own reports without an agent. Terry Lightfoot, TouchRight.

Link to Apps featureTouchRight has seen an increased uptake of its ‘over the phone’ inspection templates and ‘self service’ options during lockdown, which has allowed tenants and landlords to fill in their own reports without a physical property visit from an agent. “We feel the ability for remote comments, photos, signatures and issues to be added without any physical contact will continue to prove popular,” says Terry Lightfoot.

TouchRight runs off a cloud-based dashboard so it can be accessed anywhere. “The mobile apps work on both iOS and Android devices, and our Open API connects with Fixflo, Acquaint, agentOS, SME Professional, Qube SLM and Signable. We also have open negotiations with Reapit and Arthur Online,” adds Terry.

WEBSITE ENHANCEMENTS

Locrating 

Decision making is about gathering data and Locrating gives home movers access to a myriad of information without having to navigate away from an agents’ own website – a crucial aspect considering time spent on site is one of the aspects ranked by Google. Transport, school and amenity information is displayed against properties at a granular level – down to inspection reports, exam results, catchment areas and parent opinions in the case of schools, for instance – without the agent having to complete a jot of its own research. “Our plugins can also be used instead of alternative map providers, such as Link to Apps featureGoogle, which can save money,” says Locrating’s Erica Tandy. “In fact, some agents have found that they saved more just in Google Maps charges than the cost of our plugins – and our plugins offer many more features on top.” Locrating’s plugins are compatible with all websites and are highly configurable to match an agent’s site design, plus full technical support is offered throughout.

Our plugins can be used instead of alternative map providers, such as Google, which can save money. Some agents have saved more just in Google Maps charges than the cost of our plugins. Erica Tandy, Locrating.

TENANCY ADMIN NO PHOTOS?

Propoly

Propoly is an integrated lettings platform that steps in to automate and digitalise tasks from the point at which a tenant makes an offer right through to check out. Agents can manage each tenancy via a live dashboard feed, progressing lets with very little manual administration. An easy ‘yes’ ‘no’ system triggers automation and population in the background, with tenancy agreements, renewals, acceptance letters, reminders and compliance documentation all created and electronically distributed within minutes.

Link to Apps featureAgents can also process and monitor payments within the Propoly platform, plus there’s a series of automatic prompts regarding compliance that need resolving before agents can safely progress tenancies to the next stage.

Using one connection and enjoying benefits from others is a crucial aspect of Propoly, with deep integration with partners creating a ‘one stop shop’ set up. Agents will discover inbuilt tenant referencing provided by HomeLet, and utility switching and void management services provided by Tenant Shop – the latter two commission-earning aspects that can be switched on with a click of a button.

June 26, 2020

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