A start-up proptech firm that enables tenants to bid via rental auctions for properties on letting agents’ websites is about to launch into the London market.
Founder Spencer Rose (pictured, below) says LetsBid4Lets.com’s software will help agents market properties directly through their own websites rather than relying on the big portals for leads.
“The software is built, but we are looking to raise funding from investors to pay for marketing activity to attract tenants to the websites of the agents who sign up with us,” he says.
For a fee the company will supply letting agents with white-label auction software to market their rental properties through an eBay-style bidding process.
During the auctions tenants will be invited to bid for properties and, if they win, secure them for an agreed rental period.
Spencer, who has a property development background from his time at investment firm Palmhurst Group, says tenants using the site will be pre-referenced by FCC Paragon before being allowed to bid.
“These references will last for 60 days so if a tenant doesn’t win on one property then they will be able to use the same reference to bid on another, which will be a first for the UK rental market,” he told The Negotiator.
“The world has changed but the way to let a property remains exactly the same as when I joined the sector during the late 1980s,” says Spencer.
“Our logic with this business is that auctions are a tried a tested way of selling property and people understand it, but no one has applied it to the lettings process yet.
“We believe it can provide transparency for the process both for landlords and tenants.”
LetsBidForLets.com hopes to copy the success of Rentberry.com in the US which lists 100,000 properties and claims more than 50,000 users and describes itself as a price negotiation platform between landlords and tenants.
Unlike LetsBid4Lets.com, Rentberry cuts out letting agents and invites landlords to offer their properties via an auction directly to tenants. The service has said it is planning to launch in the UK later this year.
“When Rentberry launches in the UK there is a worry that it could take business off agents, so we’re offering agents the opportunity to take up the technology before that happens,” says Spencer.
LetsBid4Lets has a holding page on which it’s inviting interest from the industry. Spencer says some 200 departmental heads have been invited to attend a launch event on June 29th at London’s Shard tower at 6.30pm.
LetsBid4Lets has the backing of prominent proptech blogger James Dearsley (pictured, right) and investment expert Anthony Codling – who has shares in the business – both of whom are speaking at the Shard launch event.