Property tech (proptech) has been on the rise recently as internet savvy buyers, comfortable with the likes of Uber and Airbnb, want an easier way to buy, sell and rent property without dealing with expensive and ineffective estate agents. Here's our pick of the bunch.
We will start with the only company that has gone public on this list, Purplebricks. The online-only estate agent uses "local advisors" to try and smooth the buying and letting process out and can save money by not having a physical presence on the high street.
Founder Michael Bruce explained the idea behind the company to Startups.co.uk: "Using our local property experts on the ground and a unique online platform, Purplebricks allows people to oversee every aspect of their property transaction as it happens, at the touch of a button, rather than waiting for an estate agents office to open."
What Purplebricks does differently is charge flat rates, which help transparency and, most importantly, saves consumers money. Purplebricks charges £798 (up from £599 pre-IPO) to sell your property (except in certain London postcodes where it is £1,158), compared to the average rate of 1.8% of the property price traditionally charged. This leads to average savings of £4,572 for sellers, according to Purplebricks.
The fully-managed letting service is £66 per month, with a flat fee of £299 (£199 pre-IPO) or £599 in London, and Purplebricks provides a full set of 24/7 management tools. Local advisors offer support to sellors and lettors and will take photographs, create a floor plan, write a description and prepare the advert for online aggregators like Rightmove and Zoopla.
Purplebricks listed at 100p a share at IPO on London's AIM exchange in December 2015, valuing the company at £240.2 million (high street estate agents Foxtons, by comparison, has a market cap of £537 million).
Brother and sister Paul and Gemma Young founded and launched Settled in 2015 after Gemma left her job at Google. Settled is a platform that allows homeowners to cut out the middle man when selling a property, much like Airbnb but for sales.
Much like Purplebricks, property owners can pay Settled £299, who will then visit your property, take photos and create a floor plan before placing adverts across all of the major portals (95% of all property searches in the UK are online, with Zoopla and Rightmove the dominant aggregators). You can arrange bookings remotely and Settled provide support all the way up to completion. Settled claims to save customers £4,400 on average.
Gemma Young, Settled's CEO, told Techworld: "We're very focused on homes rather than houses, so sellers that love their homes are enabled to have real conversations" with potential buyers.
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