Industry Interview: Tijan Penpee of Comparehomes.
Why was Comparehomes created?
Comparehomes.co.uk was created to simplify the process of finding an apartment through an estate agent. The process of searching and screening has always been the hardest part of finding a home and at Comparehomes we help to separate the wheat from the chaff.
When customers place a request through Comparehomes we connect them with up to 4 agents in their local area. Each agent then has 4 chances to provide the right property to meet that person’s requirements. When a customer sees something they like, they initiate contact with the agent of their choice. Until that time their contact information is kept private to ensure the control remains firmly with the customer.
For agents registered with Comparehomes we remove the pain of finding the right person –potential tenant/Buyer. We pre-qualify every customer to ensure that any leads are the real deal. Best of all Comparehomes is a performance based portal which means that every lead we provide is FREE. We only take commission once a deal has been made.
We believe real estate is a people business and we want to keep it that way. People like to do their own research when looking for a property and Comparehomes takes the bottleneck out of the whole process. We simplify it, saving 70% or more of the valuable time they would have spent elsewhere searching for the right property.
We help customers avoid spending hours compiling a list of properties to then realise that they’re no longer available or that a specific element of their requirements is missing from the property. No longer will home searchers have to cope with agents not responding or finding the same property listed by one too many agents. We believe that renting an apartment should be as easy as renting an Uber or hotel room and we’re on a mission to make that a reality.
Do you think that the way people are searching for property is changing?
The way we searched for properties before the millennium involved juggling between estate agents door to door. Since then we’ve seen the birth of a multitude of property sites giving home seekers increased choice. Unfortunately all this choice can be time consuming. A search for a property in a specific area reveals an endless list of photo-shopped homes, most of which are no longer on the market or don’t meet a searcher’s criteria.
The problem that we’ve been seeing is that for agents the time that it takes to set up profiles, stay active and update listings has led to lots of outdated listings and unmanaged profiles on numerous real estate portals. Brokers and agents have so many things competing for their attention that junk leads and time wasters have become difficult to deal with.
We believe real estate is a people business which is why at Comparehomes we place a consultant between every lead and the agent. If you are a slow adopter of technology, we feel you and we are there for you. If you are not pro-active enough, we feel you too and we are there for you. Comparehomes.co.uk can manage customer requests until the client is actually ready for a viewing helping to streamline agent’s workflow.
Are UK estate agents easy to approach with innovative concepts like yourselves?
At first we thought this would be a difficult task but with the experience of having launched an affiliate marketing network successfully in the past, I don’t see this as a big deal at all. I know it’s only a matter of time and with the way things are going, it’s proving to be easier than expected. A number of agents are already signed up to our service, including some big names, without any real marketing.
Is social media important to your business?
Social media is very important to our business, trust me, we placed more emphasis on social media than we placed on google. Whilst both have their own significant and unique propositions, social media is proving to be more beneficial as it puts us directly in touch with customers. Saying that, referrals are still top notch for customer acquisition and retention and the feedback we are getting about our service is second to none.
What are your thoughts on Estate Agent Networking?
Estate Agent Networking is the most reputable convergence platform for all estate agents in the UK and we’re very proud to associate with it.