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Eddie_George

How Technology Could Kill Off High Street Letting Agents

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Bring it on!

High streets up and down the country are littered with letting agents charging sky-high fees for signing simple contracts, ripping-off tenants and landlords alike. As the UK's housing crisis worsens, more people are being forced to rent -- home ownership is at a 25-year low and rental numbers rose to four million households in 2013-14, double the number in 2002. Consumer rights charity Citizens Advice is handling 80,000 complaints about private rental accommodation every month. Something has to give.

"If this was a software market or any other kind of pure technology market people would be looking at this and thinking it's incredibly, incredibly fragmented and its ripe for disruption," George Spencer tells WIRED.co.uk.

That's exactly what he wants to do. The 28-year-old former PHP developer wants to eradicate high street letting agents... in the next ten years. In 2011 Spencer founded Rentify, an online letting agent applying Amazon-style logistics and bigdata principles to property rental. The company has attracted over £6.7m in venture capital investment so far, with plans to raise the same amount again this year. Rentify currently has 150,000 landlords and is growing by 10,000 a month. And if you're a tenant, it doesn't charge any fees.

"Your blood boils that these people have been allowed to get away with it for so long," he says. "I feel like we should've done this years ago. I can't believe that nobody has."

http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2015-04/07/rentify-letting-agent

Edited by Eddie_George

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As someone who is just coming to the end of a fixed term let the sooner the better. How these parasites get away with it I don't know.

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As someone who is just coming to the end of a fixed term let the sooner the better. How these parasites get away with it I don't know.

Its all about getting the flow from new builds and larger landlords. They will all have vested interests in keeping the system going with kickbacks and exclusive deals.

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People have been trying to do this since 1995, if not earlier, it may happen but it will probably take someone with a bit more nouse than an ex-PHP developer.

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Letting agents have all that high street real estate and eyeball space. It's unlikely these people will make a difference.

Real estate costs money, and does 'eyeball space' matter any more in the era of smart phones? I've been househunting for a while but haven't set foot in an estate agent's office at all, it's been done over the internet and phone. One agent even employed an elderly local retired gent in his eighties to simply open the door of a house and let me look around; nobody came out from an office.

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People have been trying to do this since 1995, if not earlier, it may happen but it will probably take someone with a bit more nouse than an ex-PHP developer.

Disagree, nowadays you only need an idea to go viral and there is very little to stop it - as long as the basic mechanics and costs are generally favourable to most parties - which definitely seems the case here.

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People have been trying to do this since 1995, if not earlier, it may happen but it will probably take someone with a bit more nouse than an ex-PHP developer.

The programming is the easy part - any student could do it (and at least this one's ex-PHP). If he's got VC funding, he's convinced someone hard-nosed he has something more to offer.

There's another potentially-interesting venture called iProperty raising funds right now. Open for investment if you believe in taking on the agents!

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Real estate costs money, and does 'eyeball space' matter any more in the era of smart phones? I've been househunting for a while but haven't set foot in an estate agent's office at all, it's been done over the internet and phone. One agent even employed an elderly local retired gent in his eighties to simply open the door of a house and let me look around; nobody came out from an office.

It still matters but nowhere near as much. Estate agent's windows often seem to have someone peering in but it looks mostly out of passing curiosity and I expect they'll be doing any serious searching at home. The passing curious might well attract the odd sale or two but I'd be surprised if it's anywhere near as significant these days as it used to be.

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It still matters but nowhere near as much. Estate agent's windows often seem to have someone peering in but it looks mostly out of passing curiosity and I expect they'll be doing any serious searching at home. The passing curious might well attract the odd sale or two but I'd be surprised if it's anywhere near as significant these days as it used to be.

Frankly you could hire an electronic billboard, and it would offer the same facility as an estate agent window - and be generally less obnoxious to interact with than the average contents of the shop.

Edited by StainlessSteelCat

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The programming is the easy part - any student could do it (and at least this one's ex-PHP). If he's got VC funding, he's convinced someone hard-nosed he has something more to offer.

There's another potentially-interesting venture called iProperty raising funds right now. Open for investment if you believe in taking on the agents!

Nothing wrong with PHP if you use it correctly and for the right purpose.

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You still need an army of people capable of taking showings and opening the door for people at the correct times. If the landlord is prepared to do that and take liability for the listing, then no agent is required.

The problem for a long time has been that you can't list a rental yourself on Right Move and that's where everybody looks. This attempt to setup an online letting agents will fail big time, just like Googles competitors. Let's hope our failed PHP developer has pocketed a few quid out of this.

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it will slowly go over to internet only,I have bought 4 houses in the last 3 years all done over the internet and phone,I dont go in estate agents anymore,most of the houses for sale in the windows are either sold or loss leaders,I went into an estate agents in the early norties,I said you have 5 properties in your window I want to buy? he said erm they are all sold,I said they havent got sold on them in red,he then offered me 5 other properties £30k more........tossers

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