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PropTech Today: technology solutions; is this even legal?

Today is the day. 1,600 people will gather in London for FUTURE: PropTech, an event I have supported when there were fewer than 50 people in a room and it was a chance to chat to a few people over a beer. 

It has come a long way since then. PropTech has thrived in the last five years both in recognition, investment and understanding. This promises to be one of the largest conferences in Europe to date. 

What is interesting this year is that the property market is really there in force. It isn’t just about PropTech people talking to PropTech people about PropTech. Let’s see how it goes... 


Selling the flat: an update 

Anyway, on with the property journey. How’s it all going? Not brilliantly, it has to be said. 

As you will be able to see, my Rightmove stats are not coming along well at all. Again, I love the transparency here and, with only a subtle call from the ‘agent’ I am able to come to the conclusion something has to be done about it.

It's pretty obvious that something needs to be done to get it back into the search results – click-throughs seem relatively consistent. 

I was told - whether this was true or not - that manipulating the pictures and/or a price change will make a huge impact to this, so let's investigate both. 

Manipulating the pictures

First and foremost, we are all visual people. I get that. Second of all, the feedback I have received (again the automation of this is very helpful), has stated that people are struggling to understand what it would look like without the tenants’ stuff in the place. See an example of the feedback below:

So, it is in a poor condition. My tenants leave imminently but this is a problem as I will have to wait to get my pictures redone as they look shocking. 

However, a piece of tech I have been looking at - introduced to me at the Property Investor Show a couple of weeks ago - really could change this sort of issue. It is so good that I wonder if there are any issues with this sort of representation - maybe they have to have an advisory comment on them to state this is a reflection on how the flat could look. 

BoxBrownie is an Australian company which seems to be growing well due to word of mouth and a transparent pricing model to make photo improvements as well as many other neat tricks. Equally it’s are full on bold and brash Aussies who say it like it is. 

Anyway, take a look at the photos before and after...

Before - huge issue with clutter

After - with nothing in the room so just photo removal

After - this time with something known as virtual staging:

An interesting way to show the property in a way that perhaps some may want to see it. 

I think you will agree, a much better representation of what the property ‘could’ be like. 

Virtual tour editing

Interestingly, this also can be done with the virtual tours. 

This is a little bit more difficult to demonstrate, but the below image is what the property looks like with full furniture as it is now: 

Then with it all removed as per above:

And now with the 360 image:

Now, if you compare the above to the actual 360 I showed last week, you get the idea of how this is quite helpful in your virtual tours: 


So, I have dealt with the first issue of photos and clutter - at least while my tenants are there - but what about the other side of things? At the end of the day, let’s be honest, there is only one thing that stops a property from selling; price. 

We have lowered it from £650k down to £625k. Talking to those around, it it was needed. Let’s see if this sparks some interest. 

Tell you what, it was ridiculously easy to do that. One click and I made the change. Almost too easy, it has to be said! 

If not, we may have to let it again and hold on to it - the school fees will have to wait - and a whole new trial on lettings tech will ensue. 

Watch this space... 

*James Dearsley is a partner in PropTech Consult, digital transformation specialists for the real estate sector.

  • Martin Williams

    Reduced .... Don't tell me the agents over-valued it !

  • Russell Gould

    Hi James, did you consider selling with the tenants in place and marketing the property to other landlord investors? Great for you as you continue to earn rental income until completion, great for the buyer as they have income from completion (and likely no refurbishment or lettings costs) and great for the tenant as they get to stay in their home. They might even help market the property to impress their new potential landlord. That's exactly what we do here at Vesta (www.vestaproperty.com) - sell with tenants in place. We are still very new so totally understand why you might have been hesitant or not even aware of us. However, 90 days since launching we have 104 properties sold subject to contract and starting to attract a lot of landlord and investor attention. Next time maybe....

  • Derek Ross

    James. I am sure that you are more than aware, but the quality of the photos is really bad, the 360, is awful. For the 25k that you have reduced you could get some professional photography, completely dress the scene produce an amazing bespoke advert and board and take a holiday in the Maldives. I really would investigate getting the images correct and if possible wait for the tenants to leave. Humans are fickle creatures and we have had so many instances where another agent has marketed a property for months, we have completely changed the marketing sometimes spend ing more than a day with a professional photographer and taking twilight shots etc, the results have seen the same properties sold within a short period of time without reducing the asking price, I hope all goes well and you get to pay the school fees! Nearly forgot to say, love your column, really is good reading.


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