The number of new tech start-up companies grew by 14 per cent in the UK last year, with proptech a fast-growing sub-sector. A number of new UK companies have exploded onto the property market with various technologies trying to make (what can be) a stressful process into a much easier one, whether renting/buying or selling. Here we look at a few of them with an outline of what they offer the property professional.
Founded in 2015, Just Move In helps agencies go further with their 5*-rated Home Move Platform. They aim to save agents and home movers time, money and hassle with their three core services: Home Setup, Utility Management and Tenant Referencing. Their unique Home Setup service allows agents to offer their customers a complimentary call with one of Just Move In’s team of experts, who will help them manage the time-consuming admin involved with moving home, such as: informing the council, switching energy providers or finding a deal on their TV & Broadband.
Launched in 2016, this startup provides a fast and more efficient way for residential property investors to stay ahead of the market by determining when, where and what to build. It uses an integration platform of hundreds of datasets that foresee the UK market for over 20 years, with online data analytics providing companies and professionals with accurate real estate expertise and date such as house prices, yields, demographics etc.
Founded in 2014 as a short-term rental platform it expanded earlier this year with an app aiming to capitalise on the growing requirement for companies to save money by utilising spare space in their leased property. The app enables tenants and landlords to have flexibility to see the number of days in a year that a property is available for sublet legally.
The founders set up this company having fallen victim to a landlord rent scam. Now all tenants and landlords can do background checks.
Founded by a former com prop manager after he felt the commercial property industry was resistant to tech, this company set out to be the UK’s first online commercial estate agent. It became a fully registered commercial estate agent in 2017, offering three levels of service from free to a one-off fee of £800 – covering complimentary marketing materials for listing a property through to a full marketing service with negotiation and drafting of Heads of Terms.
Previously known as GetRentr, the service offers assistance to agents and landlords by setting out and tracking licensing regulations in every local authority in the UK with an automated compliance monitor which reviews portfolios in real-time. This enables landlords to easily comply with the local rules, saves money, avoids fines and ensures tenants are safe. It also exposes any dodgy dealings.
Claims to provide the UK’s first online network of verified agents, landlords and tenants. The founders set up the company on the back of being victim to a landlord rental scam. This company enables both landlords and property renters to do background checks using a profile showcasing important credentials, together with further security checks using a proprietary algorithm.
With Google as one of its investors, this company uses AI to provide a virtual assistant to landlords, agents and property managers to enable them to automate tasks such as chasing rent/service charge payments or arranging a contractor. It claims that joining is as simple as providing a telephone number and email address and that everything works through a core API.
Founded in 2016, it provides a real estate/ property management platform to help potential buyers see what they can afford in the market and compare against other buyers in the area. Aims to provide instant transparency between estate agents, sellers and buyers using a unique scoring system.
Founded in 2017 (working closely with UK-based lawyers) and FCA-regulated, this company uses ID verification technology to help buyers and law firms validate the source of funds. Again, founded on the back of being the victim of a scam, the start-up aims to assist in identifying clients and security protecting money transfers during the property sales process.
With the aim of creating a more accessible buy-to-let mortgage marketplace for investors, borrowers and brokers, this platform is a peer-to-peer marketplace giving investors access to buy-to-let mortgages, and borrowers quicker access to a mortgage. So far they have arranged around 1,500 mortgages.
Formerly named ‘Unmortgage’, changing its name in September this year, Wayhome provides a new way for people to access homeownership, with its pioneering part-own-part-rent system. This enables people to purchase as little as 5% in a property, without a mortgage, and then rent the rest. Unlike ‘shared ownership’, people aren’t limited to new build properties and can ‘staircase’ (buy more of the property, reducing their rent) whenever they want by as much (subject to some limits), or as little, as they choose.
Wayhome provides a new way for people to access homeownership, with its pioneering part-own-part-rent system.
Launched in 2016, it promises to help homeowners sell their property in 90 days or they will give you the money to make your next purchase interest-free. Using algorithms, it provides sellers with a property valuation within seconds and guarantees a minimum price from day one. It then reviews the quick valuation and organises an inspection before confirming a guaranteed offer and placing adverts on property portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla, even arranging viewings. In exchange for a guaranteed sale, Nested charges a minimum of 1.8% commission, plus another 20% of any money made above the algorithmically decided value.
One of the younger companies on this list (formerly Nanoget) it started life as a messaging service to allow landlords and tenants to communicate with each other directly rather than via an agent. Since then it has become a white label tech service to help estate/letting agents go digital – for example enabling investors to advertise property on Rightmove/Zoopla as well as collecting deposits and rent offline, storing referencing info and managing contracts.
Rachel Duncan is a Director in the Property Team at Boyes Turner, a leading full service law firm.