BREAKING PROPERTY NEWS – 11/01/2022
Daily bite-sized proptech and property news in partnership with Proptech-X.
OnTheMarket Deepens Succesful Partnership With Sprift And Smartmail Offering
At present there is an instructions drought. With the average amount of properties listed for sale per agency branch in the UK at an all-time low, about one third less than normal for a January market.
Responding to this huge problem, OnTheMarket, the third largest property portal, through its existing tie up with Sprift, will now be able to give its agents an exclusive, propensity digital tool that seeks out new stock, which is both on and off the market.
Called SmartMail, OTM’s agents can now utilise the service for a fee, and automate their prospecting journey. The advanced software, developed by Sprift, founded by veteran Matt Gilpin, acts in many ways like a heat seeking missile, with a targeted approach that finds property for agents who need to replenish their stock levels.
Matt Gilpin is clearly proud of the even closer business ties that the new service brings, ‘We’re pleased to be offering SmartMail to OnTheMarket agents, as we truly believe this is the natural next step in us continuing to empower agents and their businesses using property-centric data through our partnership with OnTheMarket.’
The value of Smartmail, is that it does not just tell agents what is available and presently being offered by other agents, and build a campaign to capture it.
Its higher value is to communicate with potential vendors who have not yet decided to list, which it does through its advanced software, which can precisely focus on specific geographic areas, house types etc. Which means agents can target ‘their type of inventory’ a very hyper specific way to win instructions.
Since Jason Tebb has taken over the helm of OTM as CEO, it is clear that his agent centric approach is winning on many levels, not only has he personally engaged with OTM’s agent membership, by having a listening and open-door policy. He now is ardently supplying agent members with the digital hand tools that modern agents in the 2020’s need to move forward and prosper.
Jason Tebb commenting on the deeper tie up with Sprift, states that,
‘In a market where demand is still very much outweighing supply in many instances, now more than ever it really is all about inventory, and with the addition of the SmartMail prospecting tool we’re ensuring our agents are well-equipped to win more listings.’
From my many years in estate agency, often opening cold start branches with zero stock, had SmartMail been around as an automated solution to powering the number of properties those branches had to sell, I would definitely have been an advocate.
The profitability of a residential agency rests solely on its flow of instructions, a mantra that big corporates like Connells understand only too well, ‘the agent with the most properties sells the most properties’ – this is especially true in 2022, where the number of registered buyers far exceeds the number of properties that have a for sale board.
With my proptech analyst hat on, the pandemic has made all of the property portals reconsider their role, with property technology SME’s increasingly seeing their best route to market being strategic alliances with forward thinking CEO’s like Jason Tebb.
In some ways it is a simple equation, most agents have an analogue, extrovert mindset, with little time to work out the best tech to power their business. If the big architecture is sourced for them like this exclusive deal between OTM and Sprift, agents can get on with the day job, relaxing in the knowledge that their best interests are being looked after.
Gove The Leveller Looks To Bang Developers Heads Together Over Cladding
It might just be my suspicious mind, but the ever-opportunistic Housing and Levelling Secretary Michael Gove has taken a full swing at the developers caught up in the cladding scandal, just at the point there might be an opening for a new prime minister.
He certainly is scoring high on soundbites, regarding the need to be tough on New Home Builders who have possibly built shoddily put together properties, and he now wants to pull low level homes into a compensation category, so that faultless leaseholders are not left to foot all of the bills.
This all sounds great, apart from the fact that the amount that Gove is seeking to ‘voluntarily’ extract from builders; they have until March to comply, is only a fraction of the true cost estimated at £50BN will be required to sort out the sub-standard building problems.
Whilst it might score great political points for Mr Gove and any hopes, he has of becoming prime minister – when he is not stuck in the BBC lift – his flawed solution will do little to help the suffering homeowners living in properties they cannot sell, lease, or re-mortgage.
The comeback from the building industry has been quick, and falls into the following categories:
The build specifications were fine at time of construction, so no need of compensation, as it was only after the Grenfell disaster (2017) new fire and other building regulations came into play.
The component parts that were put into new builds, were not of the correct standard and that is a supply chain issue and those who produced these materials are the culprits.
If New Home Developers are faced with multi-billion-pound tax liabilities, it will act as a deterrent to build further properties, it will also damage any prospect of the 300,000 new homes being delivered by 2025, another soundbite from a previous Housing Secretary, now long forgotten.
For me there are many questions and huge amounts of stakeholders who potentially are sitting with substantial liabilities. Where for example do the lenders and the surveyors stand in all of this? And the solicitors? The poor homeowners utilise the services of professional bodies to help them ‘buy’ property, these professionals are their eyes and ears.
If a RICS surveyor has said that a flat is worth £400,000, and six months later it is found not to be up to standard, and the owner cannot re-sell it, or lease it, and has to pay for a fire watch service as the fire regulations are not being met, where is the surveyor, solicitor, and original lender in all of this, not to mention the builder who built the unsafe property.
Disco Gove, may well dance in and then dance out of being the Housing Secretary just as he did holding other high office governmental offices, where he made high impact decisions and then safely parachuted out to another job.
But the ones left behind the families in homes not fit for purpose do not have the luxury of being able to move anywhere, and as the Grenfell inquiry grinds into yet another year, with all the barristers saying that it was not their clients fault it was someone else in the supply chain, will anyone including the London local authority be held to account. I feel not, it is likely to end with the usual ‘lessons will be learned’ and a pulling down of the main structure.
If you have a view – please let us all know by emailing me at [email protected] – Andrew Stanton Executive Editor – moving property and proptech forward.