PROPTECH-X ‘Proptech & Property News’: Checkboard | ViewRabbit | Propertymark

A roundup of the week’s top property and proptech news stories in partnership with Estate Agent Networking.

Checkboard launches today, building trust one check at a time 

James Owusu, founder and CEO of Checkboard

Today is the official launch of Checkboard, a next-gen KYC and finance checking platform which services tenants and buyers at lightning speed. 

James Owusu, founder and CEO of Checkboard, said: “We are building trust one check at a time. The entire system where tenants and buyers have to prove who they are and their financial background multiple times is not broken, it is just slow and inefficient and has gaps.

With tenants and buyers eager to move forward, Checkboard is experiencing a gravitational pull towards its solution, giving users the power to do self-serve checking at pace.

Checkboard has enjoyed a meteoric rise and stellar backing. In March it announced over £620,000 of investment. One of the investors, Edwin Appiah of Cornerstone Partners, saw the merit of Checkboard: “Inefficiencies in the application process provide a real opportunity to innovate and digitise customer onboarding practices.”

Checkboard is looking to align itself with all of the agency CRMs so that adoption will be as quick and painless as the user experience. With 15 integrations due to be completed by the end of August, estate agents will be able to easily pull data directly from their CRM systems.

Read the Checkboard press release in full

MyIdentity trust scheme launches to provide efficient digital identity verification

Stuart Young, director of Etive

A digital identity trust scheme, called MyIdentity, is set to become the central hub for consumers, to help them prove who they are, once, in a more secure digital way. Under the scheme, home buyers and sellers should no longer be repeatedly asked to provide their identity details to all the parties involved in the chain of transactions. 

With my other hat on, as a proptech real estate analyst and consultant, I must admit a personal involvement in this. However, despite my bias, it’s widely regarded that there is a fundamental need to have a single defining truth when it comes to identity checking.

So, when a person sells, buys, or rents, they can be digitally identified just once and once only, saving time and money. What’s also important is that this identity is trusted by all stakeholders in the process, to avoid needless bottlenecks.

Having been involved in the mix at the Government level, where evidence has been drawn from, I really feel that we are on the edge of a breakthrough. Digital will soon be seen as an empowering force, leading to quicker completions and more control over how consumers share their identity details…and who they share their identity details with.

Estate agents, licensed conveyancers, solicitors, and mortgage intermediaries operating in Battersea, Chiswick, Clapham, Putney, Wimbledon, Richmond, Kew, Cheltenham, Gloucester, Harrogate, and York are to be the first to benefit this year from trials of MyIdentity, making home buying and selling a quicker and more secure digital process.

Housing Minister RT Hon Christopher Pincher MP said: “It is good to see the progress being made on rolling out this scheme. We know that buyers and sellers are confused and frustrated by the current process where they have their identity checked multiple times. A single check which can be relied upon by multiple parties will help us to deliver a modernised and better home buying experience.”

Stuart Young, director of Etive, the company delivering the trust scheme, said: “We are really pleased that the residential property industry has come together on this to work and improve such an important aspect of the home buying and selling process.”

Read the MyIdentity press release in full

Is mortgage lending about to enter a period of reflection?

During the pandemic, all lenders battened down the hatches and required borrowers to comply with more stringent criteria. Bigger deposits were required and people who took mortgage holidays or accepted Government-backed pandemic finances found it impossible to get housing finance.

Now many are asking those in the lending industry to make borrowing mortgages easier as the country comes out of lockdown and normalises. 

But the Mortgage Advice Bureau, through their leading man in lending Brian Murphy, feels that a slower and more careful approach was now required.

Murphy said: “…the impact the pandemic has wreaked on the economy, particularly in terms of unemployment, has not been as severe as most were forecasting. Once the last of the government support measures have ended, there will no doubt need to be a period of reflection while lenders assess the consequences before normalising criteria to pre-pandemic levels.”

With the Bank of England base rate at 0.1% and mortgage products launching at less than 1%, it will be interesting to see which lenders break rank first to pander to the needs of the borrowing nation.

Trading Standards back ViewRabbit’s “optional fees”  

Michael Riley has been receiving a lot of brickbats, mostly from the very people who stand to gain under a pay-per-viewing concept put forward by ViewRabbit. 

Now, Trading Standards seems to think the concept is above board, as those wanting to view have a choice; go the free route and arrange a traditional viewing or choose to pay £30 and get a confirmed instant viewing. 

It appears that there has not been a widescale canvassing of what the public want yet, but given 72,000 people a year use an online agent to market their home, it seems there may well be a lot of folks who might like the idea of paying to hop to the front of the queue, given the present scarcity of property. 

This is a news story that’s going to run, rabbit, run, rabbit, run, run, run.

Propertymark CEO Nathan Emerson thinks proptech is here to stay

Writing in the publication Estate Agent Today, Propertymark CEO Nathan Emerson has extolled the virtues of what digital can do for the agency industry. In a very balanced piece, he says that though there is confusion as the proptech landscape is fragmented, clear verticals are opening up and maturity may well be on the way. This might well mean smaller sales teams and more tech. 

In the article, Emerson states: “It is imperative for any property agent, whether lettings or sales, to keep abreast of the digital transformation revolution which is occurring at this moment in time. This will not only ensure that they are engaging with the most relevant products for the short and medium-term, but they are also in a position where they can strategically place themselves to continue to deliver and exceed client and customer demands.

“Whilst a complete end-to-end solution has not been entirely adapted on a property sale, it is still possible to not only list and remotely market property but be in a position where a potential buyer can now view full 3D interactive videos, floorplans and effectively filter out potential choices to a much more granular detail.”

Due to this, Emerson says, the viewing to sale ratio has decreased. Estate Agencies have become more efficient as a result of this shift to dynamic, small teams using “carefully integrated digital solutions”.

Weekly proptech news in partnership with Estate Agent Networking

Andrew Stanton is the founder and CEO of Proptech-PR, a consultancy for Founders of Proptechs looking to grow and exit, using his influence from decades of industry experience. Separately he is a consultant to some of the biggest names in global real estate, advising on sales and acquisitions, market positioning, and operations. He is also the founder and editor of Proptech-X Proptech & Property News, where his insights, connections and detailed analysis and commentary on proptech and real estate are second to none.

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